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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through April 17, 2007 * Lagering the lager < Previous Next >

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matt_dinges
Advanced Member
Username: Matt_dinges

Post Number: 508
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 139.55.230.193
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 02:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got my first real lager (temp controlled fermentation at 50*F) finishing up primary. Yeast is WY 2124 Bohemian.

I'm planning on taking it out of the fridge for a diacetly rest sometime today(Fri) and using the yeast cake for another brew on Sun.

My question is on lagering. My preference is to transfer this to a corny keg. I have carboys, but I can't fit a carboy & a fermenter into my fermentation fridge...plus, I'd just be dirtying a carboy and exposing the beer to more oxygen...

So,

1) should I immediately start force carbing this beer in the keg?

2) should I allow it to secondary at primary temps for awhile longer (about 50*F) before I move it to lower temps?

3) My kegerator maintains someplace around 44*F...is this cool enough to lager or should I use another fridge that I can get lower?

Thanks for your input!

Cheers
matt
 

John Baer
Member
Username: Beerman

Post Number: 194
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 141.158.20.2
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 03:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Matt,
This is what I've been doing lately, with good results. Primary, D-rest, then transfer to a corney for secondary at 40 to 45 degrees. I hook up the gas immediately, so it is carbing at the same time. When you tap it you'll get a couple pints with some trub in the beer initially, but it clears up after that.

What are you making next? I also have a yeast cake of 2124 ready to go, I think I'm going to make one more O-Fest.

JB
 

matt_dinges
Advanced Member
Username: Matt_dinges

Post Number: 509
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 139.55.230.193
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 03:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

John,

This beer was a pils, German style with Hersbruckers. Next I'm going to do something like an Alt beer...amber and quite hoppy(I'm using Pacman yeast on the other half of these batches). Then I'll probably do a bock type beer or strong O-fest. I may do another pils though first...

Thanks for the response. Sounds like I have my head on straight!

Cheers
matt
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 814
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 67.153.37.2
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 03:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1)I do not, I do transfer to keg to lager but do not carb until the week before I am going to tap.

2)Is it done fermenting?

3) 44 is not ideal but you can certainly lager a beer at this temp. It may take longer to get that clean lager quality you are looking for.
 

matt_dinges
Advanced Member
Username: Matt_dinges

Post Number: 510
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 139.55.230.193
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 04:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul,

1) I assume you put a little head pressure on the keg though, right?

2)It should be done fermenting...but I'm going to check it soon today. This is day 12 of primary. If I don't feel like it is ready, I have another option for brewday this weekend.

3) how low do you go? I've got an old fridge that I could probably get as cold as I wanted, but my only temp controller will be used to maintain primary temps for the next batches...I doubt the old beast would freeze it though.

Thanks.

Cheers
matt
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1015
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 64.60.73.3
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 04:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Paul. CO2 is a yeast inhibitor. IMHO, you do not want to introduce excessive CO2 by force-carbonating until you are near the end of your desired lagering period.

While some on this board have disagreed with me (and thus also with Fix and Noonan and Kruger and Lewis, et al), yeast are a necessary part of the lagering process. Why else would practically everyone recommend that you lower the temperature no more than approximately 5 degrees F per day? So you don't give the beer a sudden chill?

Give the yeast a chance to clean up the beer before carbonating. Are you really in that much of a hurry?
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6268
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I pretty much always carb the keg before lagering. I do a long enough pimary that yeast activity during lagering isn't an issue.

"Why else would practically everyone recommend that you lower the temperature no more than approximately 5 degrees F per day? "...because they haven't tried it any other way to see what happens? Graham, I can tell you from my own experience that there's no problem just crashing to lagering temp. Have you tried it both ways to compare for yourself?
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 815
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 67.153.37.2
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1) You can put some head pressure on it but I do not see any reason to do so.

2) I just ask if it is done because I would wait until it is complete before moving off of most of the yeast.

3) Lagering can be done as close to freezzzzing as you want to go. I have a old subzero fridge that I can get to hold 32-33 with its own controls. It is an under counter model that hold a 5 gallon carboy fine. When I lager in a corny I throw it in my serving cooler and drop the temp to 35. The only time this causes a problem is when I am serving a Ale at the same time as I am lagering.
 

Paul Erbe
Advanced Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 816
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 67.153.37.2
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 04:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny hits a good point in that the key to good lagers is patience. You can not hold them to your schedule.
 

Little Dipper
Member
Username: Littledipper

Post Number: 215
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 206.114.61.199
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 05:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One good reason for carbing before/during lagering is so you can snag a little sample once in a while to see how the beer changes over time. I prefer to take a little taste every week or so (just a couple ounces) to see how it's progressing and if that can be a carbonated sample, I prefer it that way.

I, too, always crash cool and carbonate during lagering - it's much easier than dropping the temp a little bit each day. 32 degrees is your goal, but I only have one fridge for serving, so it gets lagered at 40 degrees.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6831
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.220
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 05:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Paul and Graham about CO2 inhibiting yeast. I would wait to carbonate until the lagering has finished. My experience is also in line with Denny's about no detrimental effects from crash cooling to lagering temperature after the D-rest. When I have done this I have noticed no difference from when I gradually chilled the beer.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 4687
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 05:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have done both lagering under pressure, and lager without, and the only difference I have noticed is sometimes it takes longer lagering under pressure for the sulfur bite to subside for some yeasts - sometimes up to 6 weeks. Anymore, I just like to hit the kegs with 12-15 psi, and bleed off the pressure relief valve a couple of times a week. That seems to induce a little scrubbing action that helps to get rid of the sulfur bite.

The critical component (IMO) is to hit it with enough CO2 to seal the oval ring.
 

John Baer
Member
Username: Beerman

Post Number: 195
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 141.158.20.2
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 05:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wasn't there an article recently in BYO or Zymurgy discussing fermentation under pressure? I don't recall any significant deteriments discussed. What I recall was that it seemed to have an impact on ester production.

As far as cooling goes, I've done it both ways, crash cooled to 32 degrees and stepped it down a few degrees a day, I can't say that I noticed a difference. I've also lagered my beers with and without pressure and haven't noticed any differences. So, depite what Noonan, et al say about it, I haven't noticed any negative impact on the final product.

For me it makes the process easier, with one less step and less equipment to clean.

JB

(Message edited by beerman on March 30, 2007)
 

Tony Legge
Intermediate Member
Username: Boo_boo

Post Number: 264
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 142.163.72.191
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

But he isn't fermenting under pressure. He is planning on lagering under pressure.

I crash cool to 32f and it has worked out for me and as for lagering in cornys....well I don't have enough to do that and I do have a dedicated lager fridge that will hold 2 carboys. Must get a few more cornys, as the fridge will hold 4 of them.
 

Sean Richens
Intermediate Member
Username: Sean

Post Number: 400
Registered: 04-2001
Posted From: 142.161.24.235
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 01:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A bit of head pressure (3-5 psi, I think) during lagering was common practice. Like refrigeration, it slows yeast activity and makes it take longer. That is held by some to be a good thing.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1016
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 03:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny sez: "I can tell you from my own experience that there's no problem just crashing to lagering temp. Have you tried it both ways to compare for yourself?"

Denny, "no problem" can be neither quantified nor qualified, and the whole issue is one that can't be proven or disproven without a lot of equipment that we don't have and time and effort that we probably don't care to expend.

Look at it this way: Does the beer benefit from crash-cooling, lagering under pressure, or anything else suggested in this thread, or are these issues simply about saving a miniscule amount of time?

To me, at least, I'm willing to invest the little bit of extra time and effort to comply with the accepted body of knowledge on this subject, because the science makes sense (once upon a time, I was a biology major). If I and everyone I read is wrong about it, the worst that I have wasted is the few seconds it took to walk down the basement stairs to turn the controller knob down 5F.

To each his own, I guess. I do things that other brewers would consider insane, and my beer still comes out OK. But I do try really hard.
 

Tom Meier
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 542
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.156.19.70
Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 04:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I recently kegged the cleanest, lighest lager I've ever made, which used a 3 week primary and then crash cooled. This one had zero cold break though, which was a confounding variable so I can't say which technique made it better.. hmm, guess I'll have to brew again soon to see. darn the luck.
 

matt_dinges
Advanced Member
Username: Matt_dinges

Post Number: 511
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 139.55.230.193
Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 08:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom,

To get rid of the cold break, what did you do?

I was considering trying to rid my next lagers from cold break before pitching onto the cake.

Cheers
matt