Condition lager at fermentation temperature?

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Pensionday

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Apologies for plausibly a simple question; however, I cannot find firm information on this!

I am currently conditioning a lager (Marzen) that I brewed last month (Juli-en? šŸ˜). It was fermented and then cold-conditioned using a typical lager profile. The problem: I only have one fermentation fridge, and I'd like to use the yeast cake (from my first lager) for a second darker lager (Dunkel).

Question: My original Marzen has been at 1 deg C for 2.5 wk, after it's original fermentation + d-rest. It has since been transferred off the primary into keg, to complete it's cold conditioning (I plan for another 6 weeks - ~8 wk total). Would it be detrimental to raise the temperature of the Marzen keg to 10-11 C (in fridge) while I ferment a second lager? That is, should I use my fridge for a second lager brew with a cold-conditioning lager side-by-side?

I ask as I've only brewed ales for the last few years, and I'm now most interested in expanding into lagers.

I really appreciate your insights / input.
 

MHB

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One thing about Lager brewing as opposed to Ale is that it is fairly technical. The demands for high quality temperature control and large healthy yeast pitches canā€™t be overemphasised!

There are real differences between the two approaches that you really need to get your head around to make good let alone great lager.
There is one major problem with what you are suggesting; part of Lager brewing is the "Chill Proofing" stage. This is where the beer is cooled, flock forms, precipitates, and is either filtered or racked off so it isnā€™t carried over to the packaging. For the flock to form the beer must be kept under 4-5oC and the colder the better (well until the beer freezes). It must be kept cold for long enough for the flack to fall to the bottom (why many big brewers use horizontal lagering tanks). If the beer warms back up the flock will redissolve and you will have undone the advantages gained before it warms.
If your serving fridge is cold enough (<5oC) you would be better off moving the keg of Marzen there, maybe move it back when the bock is lagering...

I would recommend three fridges for serious lager brewing, one for primary fermenting, a lagering fridge and one to serve from.

Here is a brief step through on the lagering process BYO Magazine, reading through what Braukaiser has to say is worthwhile to.
Lager is all about planning and process.
Mark
 

Pensionday

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Thanks Mark. I didn't dive in without serious research of lagers, although dividing folk law vs evidence-based approaches is somewhat challenging... Hence wondering if my secondary (keg) being warmed back to 11 C would be problematic. You're right in that the precipitate and flocking will be variable according to temp, even though I'm off the yeast/trub.

Appreciate the thoughts... A higher energy bill beckons!
 

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