Request for advice: Conditioning times and methods

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Finn

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G'day! I've got a couple lagers I'm working on -- probably foolish for a guy of my brewing experience, but it's physically impossible to do lagers in the summertime without a second fridge, the acquisition of which my wife would take as a declaration of war...

Beer 1 is Mrkristofo's Bohunk Pilsner that's been modified by scarcity of materials -- it's darker than it's supposed to be and, because of a mathematical error on my part, stronger. OG is 1.066 (!). I brewed it on Dec. 30 and it's been bubbling happily away at 47 to 52 degrees ever since. I'll probably rack it to secondary this coming Monday.

On this one, I need to decide (a) how long should I lager it for best results? and (b) how long should I let it bottle condition? Also, (c) is it OK if bottle conditioning happens in warmer temperatures, like 80 or 90 degrees if it gets into summertime, or should I be out there digging a wine cave for it?

Beer 2 is John Palmer's recipe for dopplebock, followed fairly faithfully with the exception of a hop substitution (lot of that going around). OG is 1.080 (!!). I brewed it yesterday, Jan. 10, and right now it's in the camper at 65 degrees getting fermentation started -- after krausen forms, I plan to take it into the shed with the pilsner for primary fermentation at about 50 degrees.

On this one, I need to decide the same stuff. Also, I'm wondering how long I ought to let it bottle condition. It came out stronger than I thought it would, and I'm guessing it'll taste like crap for at least six months ...?

I can resist drinking the stuff as long as I need to, since I've also got a batch of Brit bitter going and will probably be putting up some nut brown in a couple weeks after I bottle it. (I've got four carboys, might as well be using them all!)

Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the help I've gotten from folks on this forum. When I first found this resource, I was an extract-in-a-bucket kind of guy. I've learned a ton from you. Hopefully someday when I'm doing my own mashing and lautering and making a beverage that I can in good conscience inflict upon friends as well as enemies, I'll return the favor to the next generation of noobs.

Cheers!

--Finn
 

TexLaw

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It sounds like you aren't able to lager either beer at good lagering temperatures (i.e., around 34F), right? If so, that will affect that lager character that you might be looking for, but you can still have good beer.

I'd give that big Pilsner at least a couple months of conditioning, and that doppelbock at least three. See where you are after that.

As for priming, 80F is okay, but 90 is pushing it pretty hard. At that temperature, bad things can start to happen fairly quickly to a beer. I wouldn't want to leave my bottles at that temperature for the 2-3 weeks it would take to prime them. Can you keep them inside, where they can stay cooler (assuming your inside is cooler)?


TL
 
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Finn

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TexLaw said:
It sounds like you aren't able to lager either beer at good lagering temperatures (i.e., around 34F), right? If so, that will affect that lager character that you might be looking for, but you can still have good beer.

I'd give that big Pilsner at least a couple months of conditioning, and that doppelbock at least three. See where you are after that.

As for priming, 80F is okay, but 90 is pushing it pretty hard. At that temperature, bad things can start to happen fairly quickly to a beer. I wouldn't want to leave my bottles at that temperature for the 2-3 weeks it would take to prime them. Can you keep them inside, where they can stay cooler (assuming your inside is cooler)?


TL
I could bring 'em inside during the summer -- it doesn't usually get over 80 inside. Another thing I could do is slide 'em into the crawlspace under the house -- it's almost always cool in there, like 65 degrees in the summertime. Come to think of it, that's probably what I need to do. I can't think of a better place to bottle-condition.

The lagering will be happening in the woodshed, which is a lean-to on the north side of the garden shed where the lager is in primary now. It's consistently about 10 cooler because there's a wall between it and the garden shed heater, so the batches will be lagering at temperatures starting around 37 and slowly wandering up to about 45 by the first day of spring.

Thanks TL!

--Finn
 

TexLaw

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You're welcome. Those lean-to temperatures are still just a little high for lagering, but it'll work.

Oddly enough, the 65F under your house is a little cool for priming. Priming seems to occur best at around 70-75F. A week or so at 80 shouldn't damage the beer, so you may want to start the bottles there for 7-10 days and then move them to the crawlspace. Wait another couple of weeks or so and see what you have. Adjust the process according to your results, and have fun!


TL
 
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