Storing lager at room temp

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dlettow

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Will storing a lager at room temp undo the benefits of lagering?

I've made many lagers but have always kept them chilled in a spare fridge until I'm ready to put it in the keezer. In the case of an Oktoberfest for example, this can be months. I rarely use this spare fridge for anything else, so it is only plugged in when I need it for this purpose. Using a Kill-a-watt, I know the electrical consumption is close to $5 a month. So running for 4 or 5 months for one keg of beer ends up practically costing more than the beer itself.

I'm thinking of trying to avoid the fridge all together this year. I live in Wisconsin, so in the winter months my attached garage averages about 30 degrees. I'm thinking of making 2 or 3 beers I'd like to lager in January and utilize the natural cold to lager them for 4-6 weeks. Once the weather starts to warm up, I'll move them into the basement, which is between 60 and 70 degrees year round. Will storing them at 60 degrees after a 6 week cold lagering defeat the purpose of lagering them?
 

Sammy86

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Will storing them at 60 degrees after a 6 week cold lagering defeat the purpose of lagering them?

Storing them in bottles or kegs?

Once they've lagered, everything presumably has dropped out, meaning when you move them if in buckets/carboys/etc you may jostle some things around.

IMO, you're better off packaging and leaving them in the garage.
 

IslandLizard

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Lagering is the "clearing period" after fermentation (and diacetyl rest) have finished. Lagering is typically done at near freezing temps to allow all the suspended (powdery Lager) yeast to precipitate, yielding crystal-clear beer. This may take 3-12 weeks or even longer, depending on the yeast used and your Lagering standards.

After lagering the beer needs to be carefully transferred to a serving keg or bottling bucket, preventing the yeast to resuspend. Even lifting the keg too fast or swaying it, when pulling it out of the lager chamber (fridge/freezer) can bring some yeast back into suspension.
 

hottpeper13

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I lager in the keg with CO2 and at 33*. After a time,could be 4 weeks or a little more it's ready for the kegerator. If there's no room then it comes out (basement 54-64 depending on season) to make room for the next one. All my beers spend 4+ weeks in the lagerator. Most of my beers are gone in 6 months so I don't get staling or off flavors. If you plan on storing these at ambient for more then 6 months you might want to explore the LODO section here.
 
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dlettow

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I don't practice LODO practices on the hot side (I don't doubt there could be benefits), but once it hits the fermentor, it stays void of oxygen from there after. A co2 harvester ensures no o2 is sucked back in during the cold crash, the keg is purged by the massive amounts of co2 given off during active fermentation, and then I use co2 to do a closed transfer to the purged keg. My beers are pretty shelf stable.

I've always lagered in the serving keg, but the idea that yeast may re-suspend makes sense. If the main concern is re-suspension of the yeast, I'll add an additional transfer after 6 weeks to a new keg to reduce the chance of this happening. I think I'll give this idea a try this year and see how it stacks up to my past methods.
 

hottpeper13

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I have a beer in primary now that I forgot to Whirlfloc ,used 833 hella bock yeast and it was totally cloudy at 3 weeks. I kegged it and put in 33* lagerator and will be transferring to a clean keg when done, or i might be pulling NEIPA type haze for the entire keg.
 

Protos

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Every autumn and winter I brew from 12 to 20 different lagers (smaller batches of 5L), lager them in a barn as long as the weather is cool (so, most beers get a long lagering up to 3 or 4 months), then bottle and keep them at room temps up to a year long, through the hot summer.
Used to fret about it initially, then noticed no detectable deterioration (aside from hoppy styles loosing some hop zing) and now I don't worry too much about the storage temp-control. The difference is really negligible in my experience. After 6 months light beers get somewhat duller, however little of them stay for so long anyway. My strong lagers age gracefully whatever's the storage temp, although at 1 year of age they're definitely past their prime, which is between 6 and 9 months.
IDK, maybe I'm breaking the rules and do everything wrong, but I'm totally satisfied with my warm-stored lagers. YMMV.
 
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