Lagering

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by mark3885, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. mark3885

    mark3885 New Member

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    Is there a right way or wrong way to lager? I lager in bottles , mini kegs and now want to lager 10 to 12 gals in a stainless half keg. Question is should there be a layer of co2 on the beer while it's lagering? I would think so , what are your thoughts?
     
  2. KC

    KC Active Member

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    "Layer" is an invalid term because gas doesn't stratify. It is better to lager without oxygen in the headspace. You can purge with CO2 before filling, or top off the vessel so there is no head space. You'll need over 15 gallons to do the latter in a half keg.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Nope. The right way to lager is to keep your beer cold. You're lagering - the beer is saturated with CO2 when you cool it, you're keeping it cold, a liquid that is saturated with one gas can't dissolve another (dang it, my high school chemistry teacher WAS right, this stuff will come in handy some day). Question (and commentary on how to solve this): Why don't you use smaller vessels you can fill (the reason for a carboy's design is to expose a very small surface area to air)? Two five-gallon carboys would solve your problem/concern without needing to try to keep a layer of gas on the beer.
     
  4. KC

    KC Active Member

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    Chilling that liquid increases its capacity
     
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  5. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Lagering should take place under no pressure. In other words, the beer needs to de-gas sulfur. If you seal the beer in a keg or a bottle or whatever, you seal the sulfur in the beer. It can get smoother, but if there’s sulfur in there, it’s stuck there.

    Lagering in a glass carboy works well, but great care needs to be taken to avoid oxygen. As close to freezing as possible, without actually freezing. Lagering can take a good beer and make much better, even great.
     
  6. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Some breweries lager (sorry cold store) their beer slightly below 32°. I’m pretty sure beer has a freezing point a few degrees lower than water. I lager at 32° for at least 2 weeks.
     
  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Your right to say lagering, cold storage is lagering. You can “lager” an ale, I do all the time. And yes, it can slightly below freezing. The colder the better
     
  8. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I know. ;)
     
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  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If it's in a keg, you can easily pur
    I disagree. Purging the keg releases a cloud of sulfur when it's present in the beer. And beer that has a definite sulfur aroma in the glass ceases to do so after a little aging and successive purgings.
     
  10. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    It's not as good as venting in a lagering vessel over 3-4 weeks and and bottles are stuck with it. It may wane over time, but you have that smell of trub in your beer (or match sticks, however it smells to you). Yuck.
     
  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Well, it would definitely have to be lagered well in a carboy if bottling, but I'll stick with getting it off the yeast (source of the sulfur) and into a keg for lagering.
    Are there easily accessible references or articles that explore the difference? I'd be interested in finding out more definitively than the usual "conventional wisdom" type of internet research. There's this BYO article, https://byo.com/article/the-key-to-better-lager-cornelius-kegs/ , the title of which seems to suggest kegging is better, but I'm not going to give them my billing information just to read the article. Maybe someone with a subscription can glance over it and see if there's anything of interest.
     
  12. KC

    KC Active Member

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    I think that's a DIY article for a fermentation controller
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Wonder what kegs have to do with temp controller?
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I do, too. My lagering fridge reaches about -1 Celsius (30 degrees). Beer's primarily an ethanol solution, and ethanol makes a pretty good antifreeze.
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I keep all my beer at 34F all of the time so in a sense its all lagering
     
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  16. mark3885

    mark3885 New Member

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    I want to use a half keg for lagering due to space restraints in my lagering fridge . I have a pulley system to lift the keg in and out of my chest freezer. I can purge the keg with co2 before lagering with no pressure but sealed.
     
  17. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Interesting discussion!

    I have been lagering after racking to secondary in a carboy. I’m definitely using a corney keg next time for the easy purge capability. But I would still rack fermentation to secondary to clean it up before transferring to a keg for lagering.

    For those of you that lager in a keg, do you transfer to a final keg after lagering for conditioning of finished product?
     
  18. mark3885

    mark3885 New Member

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    Fermentation then to secondary then to the keg for conditioning is my plan.
     
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  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I've transferred to secondary then keg or directly form primary to keg on different occasions but either way, the transfer to a clean keg after final clearing and "lagering" in the first keg is really helpful. Mostly it allows you to move the keg around without stirring up yeast sediment.
     
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  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I ferment in one vessal then rack into keg where it largers and conditions under co2 at or around 12 psi until i pour the last pint then rinse and repeat...
     
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