Lager questions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Okay...I've been drinking almost exclusively homebrewed beer for the past 2 1/2 months. Some have been a little miserable and some have been really quite good, but they're all ales and I'm damn ready for some lager.
    So...I'll tackle a lager brew this weekend and I need to get a handle on a few things. There's the basics of lagering, which I understand pretty well, but there's also some logistics to figure out for the particular sequence I have in mine.
    First, I have grains and yeast on hand for a basic Helles. I'd like to mash that out and get it going right away. Then I'd like to put a Helles Bock on the cake as soon as I can get it out of the primary bucket.
    I have a carboy for secondary/bulk lagering the Helles, but my chest freezer isn't big enough to fit the primary for the Helles Bock at the same time.

    So...My choices seem to be:
    1) Primary, D-rest and do a (very) short bulk lager in the bucket for the the first batch and rack directly into the bottling bucket for bottle priming/lagering. (I'd have my second batch ready to go...long ass brew day)
    Or...
    2) Primary and D-rest in the bucket, rack to the carboy for secondary/lagering (which takes up my chest freezer for the duration) and collect the slurry and hold it until the first batch is bulk lagered and ready to bottle. (Long time to wait to start the second batch)

    The burning questions are...
    Can I bottle directly out of the primary bucket after the D-rest and temp drop.?
    If I can't, what's the shortest reasonable bulk lagering period (in the carboy) that I can do before I can bottle and free up my chest freezer?
    Homebrewers do this sort of thing all the time. I just feel like it's got to be easier than it seems. ;)
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    lagering yeast takes at least 2 weeks, twice the time for ales then at least 2 to 3 week lagering and conditioning, if you want something quick use 05 yeast, ferment at 60 for 7 days then let it age and drop in the bottle
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Plenty of ales in the house...I don't mind taking the time to get the lager fermented...I just want to figure out how to time the successive batches for best use of the temp controlled fermenter. As long as I bottle out of the primary and bottle-lager, I think I can make everything happen. All I really have to worry about is where to find fridge space to store 4 cases from 2 different batches (though they will be staggered) for a decent lagering period. ;)
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I had the same questions when I started brewing lagers. I ended up buying a second 5 cf freezer so I can do 2 batches at the same time. But since it takes more than twice as long for me to make a lager than drink a batch, I still can't brew only lagers - I'd run out. Now that I have a 6 tap keezer that can hold 8 kegs, I'm wondering how close I could get to brewing only lagers if I do the last 2 weeks (of 4 weeks total) of lagering in the keezer. That also gives me a head start on carbonating.
     
  5. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    you can transfer to the bottling bucket after the d rest and bottle them, let them carb and then lager in the bottle. I'm not sure if that is ideal, but if you need to free up the space it's possible, and should still give you a good beer. if the bottles are carbing at the same time the second batch is fermenting, you can lager them together, first batch in bottles, second in a fermenter.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's just what I've been thinking...
    Since the first batch is a lower-gravity Helles and will probably be a little less finicky about the lagering process, I think I can get it in the bottle and free up my yeast cake and freezer. It seems like 3 weeks is a reasonable possibility.
    If the second batch, a higher gravity Helles Bock, takes 3-4 weeks to ferment out, it means that I can get good carb in the bottled Helles, transfer the Bock to secondary, put it all in the freezer and drop to lagering temps. I won't have any trouble getting the 5 gallon carboy and 2 cases in the freezer but there's just no way to get a carboy and a bucket in there.
    After a month or so of lagering I can bottle the Bock and by that time the Helles should be fine for drinking. Once it's all in bottles I can free up my freezer for more ales, if need be. That'll be mid-summer, though, so the chest freezer might just be set for cold beer storage. ;)

    I better get brewin'!

    Thanks for the input, guys!
     

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