HOMEBREW Digest #5557 Mon 25 May 2009

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  Lagering Question and priming (Thomas Rohner)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 07:19:32 +0200 From: Thomas Rohner <t.rohner at bluewin.ch> Subject: Lagering Question and priming I always add the priming solution directly off the burner. A small amount of yeast, that comes in contact with the scalding hot solution will certainly die, but there is still lots of living yeast to do the job. While adding it, it drives some CO2 out of the almost flat beer, building a blanket on the surface and driving out oxygen of out bottling container. Then we turn the container 180 degrees back and forth a couple of times, venting off CO2 in between.(We use the same type of HDPE container as our fermenters. It has a rounded rectangular footprint, so turning agitates the mixture.) We have consistent carbonation and no detectable oxydation issues. By the way, about a year ago we switched from DME to plain beet sugar for priming. We started it, because we didn't have any DME around at that time, but we found it made no difference. Except in price and availability... We (our little brewclub) brewed 300+ 15gal all grain batches over the last 10 years. This brings me to my question: Lagering procedures When we started brewing bottom fermented beer, we did it by the book. (Primary, secondary, cold lagering and then bottling or kegging) I know, how it's done professionally. Primary in conical, yeast discharge, secondary(if at all) then transfer to pressure resistant lagering tank for lagering and carbonation. Since we have no pressure resistant fermenters or lagering tanks (except kegs), we simplified the procedure. Now we ferment(50F) only in the primary, do a diacetyl rest(60F) nearing sugar depletion. This happens during the first week, then we cool it down a little below fermentation temperature(46F) for another week. After that, we transfer it off the yeast into the bottling container, add the priming solution and bottle. After 1-2 weeks warm rest for carbonation, we put it into our walk-in cooler at 37F for 1 to many months. Of course, we sample the brews, starting after the carbonated beer is cooled. It enhances a lot over the first month in cold conditioning. Longer conditioning enhances it some more, but only slightly. We reuse the lager yeast successfully up to 6 times.(after that, some ales or wheats or belgians or ? are on our schedule) Doing a lager the right way would prohibit bottle conditioning, as far as i've read. Do you think, the way we do it is hurting the product? We compare our beers with commercial examples quite often and we are better than the average and => than the good ones from bavaria. Even a brewmaster from a multi million barrel Austrian brewery who tasted it, said he likes it better than the beer he has to brew... What are your thoughts about our "lagering" procedures? Do you think, doing it the "official right way" would enhance it considerably? We are always striving for perfection, but also for simplicity... Cheers Thomas Return to table of contents
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