CARBONATING LAGER HELP

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RoBBo71

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So I've made a few ales and I'm reasonably happy and familiar with the process.

Well recently I had a go at making lager. Honestly, I approached it in quite a half-arsed manner by adapting my ale method and following some rather rudimentary instructions.

The end result (so far) is a small carboy of golden liquid which has been lagering for several weeks.

Now I need to add some fizz and I'm not sure how to proceed. I carbonate my ales after fermentation, at roomish temp, by adding more sugar and allowing remaining viable yeast to bottle carbonate my brew.

My lager has been at 1°C for several weeks now. Is remaining yeast dormant or dead? Can I carbonate using the method above or do I need to introduce carbon dioxide directly into the beer?

Any an all advice gratefully received!

Cheers...
 

An Ankoù

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You can bottle the beer with priming sugar just as you would an ale. There's no reason why the yeast should be dead. But, in my experience, it's going to take months to carbonate. I leave mine for 6 months. Lager's a long-term investment, I'm afraid, but the so called pseudo lagers come on much quicker.
When you've bottled up, leave the bottles at about 20C for a couple of weeks and then store them in the cool: 5-10C.
 

RoBBo71

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You can bottle the beer with priming sugar just as you would an ale.
Oh wow! I am super chuffed with your reply. Thought I'd have to purchase some expensive CO2 gizmo. But yeah, I can totally do that. Thanks for your response.
 

An Ankoù

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Oh wow! I am super chuffed with your reply. Thought I'd have to purchase some expensive CO2 gizmo. But yeah, I can totally do that. Thanks for your response.
Decent bottles, don't overprime. Some lager yeasts keep on nibbling away at the polysaccharides and you can end up with gushers. I do 3-4 g absolute max of sugar in a 50cl bottle. Good luck.
 

kadmium

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Good advice there, however if they have already been lagering several weeks, I would think they should be quite drinkable in 3 weeks.

Layering in the cold cleans up the beer and "crisps" it up. I found that when kegging, they really hit their stride about 3 or 4 weeks in. So if you already lagered, the small refermentation in the bottle shouldn't do too much damage.

I would leave em at room temp (21c) for 3 weeks then chuck em in the fridge and try one after a week or so.

Disclaimer: I have not bottled a Lager in a very long time.
 

MHB

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Its very important to rack or bottle the beer cold.
Lagering in large part is causing what in Ale would be called chill haze to form then giving it time to sink to the bottom. This type of haze is caused by high molecular weight proteins joining up with polyphenols, its the removal of this complex that helps Lager be clean and crisp. An old name for Lagering was Chill Proofing.
Allow the beer to warm back up and like temporary haze will promptly go back into solution - undoing all you have achieved by lagering.
Best to rack the beer to a priming bucket Cold (leaving all the precipitated matter in the primary) with the right amount of sugar mix well and bottle. If you are worried about the amount of yeast in solution you could add a bit of a nice clean yeast to the priming bucket (rehydrate it first) only a gram or two would be enough for a 23L batch (reduce proportionally to match the size of a "Small Carboy").

The amount of viable yeast in the lagered beer will depend on a couple of variables. Mainly at what point you started cooling the beer, and how fast you cooled it. Lager yeast will keep fermenting down to almost 0oC if; there are some fermentable sugars available; you cool it down slowly enough.
If you slowly reduce the temperature the yeast will adapt and keep chipping away. If you crash cool it will mostly go dormant and settle out with all the other trub. Likewise if the beer is fully attenuated, its a lot harder for the yeast to keep working.
Given what you have done (pushed the brew to completion and crash cooling) I would be very tempted to add some yeast at bottling time.
Mark
 

RoBBo71

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OK then. Plenty of info there to formulate a plan of attack. Thanks All.
 

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