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Lagering Temps

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T.D.

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Hi,

This weekend I will be brewing my first ever real AG lager. Its going to be a Bohemian Pilsner. I bought a wine fridge to use for lager brewing. The main goal was to get a good constant fermentation temp of around 13 degrees, which it does nicely. I was also hoping it would get nice and cold (around 4 degrees C) on its coldest setting so I could use it for lagering too. I just tested it out and the coldest setting is perfect for fermentation, but too high for lagering (around 13 degrees as I said before). From what I gather with lagers the low fermentation temp is the biggest deal, but obviously the lagering stage is still quite important!

My question is, if I rack to secondary and lager as per normal, but I do it at 13 degrees instead of 2-4 degrees, am I going to get any real lagering benefits? I have read that the higher the temp, the longer you lager, but at 13degC that would mean I'd have to lager for about 6 months! :eek:

So if I put the secondary fermenter back in there at the coldest setting (13degC) to "lager" for 4-6 weeks will it actually still be worth while?

Cheers! :beer:
 

AndrewQLD

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The goal of lagering is to drop the temp below normal fermentation temps and to store the beer at this 4-6c for up to 3 mths, this changes the metabolic rate of the yeast but it does not throw it into dormancy, during this time the yeast is working (slowly) at cleaning up the flavour of the beer, I can't see this happening at 13c, normal fermentation temps, as the yeast will still be producing their normal by products and not going over to "clean up phase" if you get my meaning.

Having said that a lot of people don't bother lagering and are quite happy with their results, I usually lager for a min of 6 weeks at 6c, but have pushed the odd one through with just a weeks conditioning time.

Cheers
Andrew
 

sluggerdog

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TD, If you cannot lager you might find a lot of yeast throughout the brew.

Maybe give gelatine a go, this will help drop the yeast right out which is one of the things that happens while lagering.

do a search for gelatin for some reading on it.

Pretty much I juist add 1 tablespoon of gelatin to some warm (not boiling) water and stir until mixed. then pour it into the cube/fermentor a few days before you bottle/keg.

crystal clear beer everytime.
 

PeterS

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It might be of some interest that John Palmer in his book recommends the following:

* Check the yeast information for recommended fermentation temperature.

* The temperature difference between the primary phase and the lager phase should be 5-8C.

* Nominal lagering times are:

3-4 weeks at 7C,
5-6 weeks at 4C
7-8 weeks at 2C

* Nothing is absolute. Brewing is as much an art as a science.

It is interesting to note that it takes longer to lager at the lower temperatures. Colder lagering temperatures seems to produce a smoother beer. This would seem to be due to to the additional precipitation and settling of extraneous protein (like chill haze) and tannins that occur at lower temperatures.

:beer:
PeterS....
 

fergi

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hi slugger,just on the gelatine bit,if you use gelatine on your beer then wouldnt that take out all your yeast ,and then when you bottle you wouldnt have enough yeast to carbonate the bottled beer,this is only a question ,i am not sure if my theory is correct or if the gelatine only applies to keggers because they can artificially carbonate
cheers
fergi
 

T.D.

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PeterS said:
It is interesting to note that it takes longer to lager at the lower temperatures.
[post="81683"][/post]​
Yeah, I got that around the wrong way in my post.


Thanks for the input guys. Slugger, the clarity, while important, is not my primary goal - I just want the beer to taste like a lager (ie more delicate, less fruity etc). Depending on how things go with this brew I might go for a bit of finings next time. It sounds like those quintessential lager characteristics come as much from the lagering process as they do from fermentation. Oh well, I can't do much about the high lagering temp unfortunately!

What does make a difference is the ambient temperature. When I first bought this fridge it was still proper winter weather and the coldest setting then gave me about 6 degrees C - but now its a bit warmer that's gone up to 13!

Oh well, we'll just see what happens - the proof is in the pudding as they say!

Mash water is currently heating. Soon the house will be filled with that sweet smell of mashing malted grain! I love brew days!:D

Thanks again people - I'll give you an update in about 6 weeks!
 

tangent

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Too right, they should make a mash smelling aerosol for weekends when there isn't enough time for a mash :)
Chicks should rub some fresh mash behind their ears.
 

sluggerdog

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Fergi: When using gelatine you still have enough for bottling. It doesn't take out all the yeast. (I've never done this however I have been told by others it does work)

TD: Maybe try a different yeast to suit the temps you can supply such as:

2112 California Lager Yeast.
Particularly suited for producing 19th century-style West Coast beers. Retains lager characteristics at temperatures up to 65 F, (18 C) and produces malty, brilliantly clear beers. Flocculation - high; apparent attenuation 67-71%. (58-68 F, 14-20 C)

Otherwise I use safale quit a bit at around the 16C mark, in doing this I have had people, even brewers think it is a lager yeast at work.

Plus your drinking it within 2 weeks. NO lagering needed with an ale yeast.

Lastly, with the gelatine, it's not just for the clarity, if you have made a brew with a low floccuation yeast without the suitable lagering time, sometimes you will get a yeastly almost sulphur taste to the brew so the gelatine pulls this out and clears it up at the same time.
 

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