lager time

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Russ, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Arbe0

    Arbe0 Member

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    I think I have figured out most things about the lager process, except for one.
    After the primary and into the secondary it seems some people only keep it in the secondary for a month or so, then bottle for between 2 to 6 months?
    Do I have this right?
    Is there an ABV level that denotes how long to lager?
    I know different people do things different ways, I just need a good starting place.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    bottle it and let it sit for a month, lagering is the cold conditioning of beers brewed with lager yeasts, no big deal how long really, its all up to you.

    I personally only cold condition for a couple of weeks myself, although I have found the longer the better as far as clearness
     
  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    6 months in the bottle is way too long. It takes mine about 3 weeks in the bottle to develop carbonation at an acceptable level. Again, I don't add yeast at bottling. I'm considering reducing my lager time (secondary) from 4 weeks to 2 weeks. I don't want to wait a year for lager to be ready when it only takes 2 weeks to drink it!
     
  4. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    I just recently decided to make a Pilsner Urquell clone, which is a lager. Been brewing beers for 20 or more years, and I have always exclusively made ales. This was the first lager. And like you, I found it to be very confusing. Because everywhere I looked, it was ferment at this temp, hold at this temp, then drop down to this temp. And then the next person saying, no no no, hold it at this temp all the way through, but slowly decrease the temp over a 48 hour period. Then the next saying, that's stupid, don't do that...drop slowly at (T-delta5/yeast var(8)+degF deviate{sceptre|viking12}^1/2 break-four over 7-gals uppressure-foot*dispersal rate in nanonds... In other words...

    I don't think anybody has a damn clue. "Follow yeast manufacturer instructions". Ok, package says "it performs best from 44—54 deg, but on Wednesdays, yeast like to get in an early weekend, so they like it warm so the asexual female ones can go topless". Arrrrgghhhh!!!

    I gave up and went with a low-end of the temp range for the yeast for fermentation, might do a diacetyl rest when most of the fermentation is over (that will depend on what's going on in real-life), and then I'll knock the thermostat on the converted freezer to around 36 deg for a few weeks. I might take some samples along the way to see how it's progressing. I might not. Depends. I try to go for the low end of the complication spectrum when doing hobbies. Makes me more likely to keep doing them. :p
     
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    One thing I've read in several places is you should gradually lower your temps so that the yeast doesn't get shocked, leading to (the above mumbo jumbo I don't understand, but the yeast could release some undesirable flavors). Seems reasonable to me, so I lower mine by 1.7°C per day until I reach my desired lager temp.
     
  6. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    I'll agree with that, but I went with a slightly more aggressive temp reduction schedule for mine. I didn't read about that until AFTER I had put it into primary and stuck it in the fridge. Common sense (uncommon experience?) told me that sudden cold shock wouldn't be good for the yeast, so I reduced my temps in 12 hr increments, from around 60 deg when I pitched my starter, to the 48 deg mark over about a 48 hour period. That works out to 6 deg (F) drops per 24 hours..or about 3 deg C per day. Not too bad, I'm guessing, since the fermentation took off very efficiently with very little lag time and got pretty vigorous over the next few days.
     
  7. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Only maybe half dozen lagers at this point. Since I don't have a thermal well, probe taped to side of carboy with a towel and bubble wrap. When I'm ready to lager, rack then I start at like 55 (on the temp controller) and drop it 5 degrees at a time whenever it seems that the external and temp controller reading are about the same.... until I get down to 35. From there I let it sit two weeks (to the next available weekend, so maybe it's 2-1/2 weeks). Seems to be long enough. Bottle it up. Usually takes 2-3 weeks to carb up. Kinda the same progression for primary; never really thought about shocking the yeast (they're hardy buggers), more about the fact that the temp controller and ambient are not reading the same thing, I want the whole set up to stabilize.

    In the end, whatever works, works. I'm with EbonHawk, weed through the excess BS and figure out what works. Have fun doing it. It's a hobby. I have a job. I don't need another one. RDWHAHB, right?
     
  8. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    Oh damn, I just realized what RDWHAHB stands for! I tell everybody that (several friends have expressed interest over starting this hobby and have been helping me occasionally, trying to "learn"). I tell them to just try it, don't stress out over it, read everything you can, then put it to good use. Relax. I even catch myself stressing over this or that and I just remember what Charlie told us all those years ago... :-D
     

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