Lager conditioning

Conditioning / Lagering / Ageing / Dispensing of Bottled and Kegged Beer.
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jonesy
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Lager conditioning

Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

Hi All

I have just purchased a fermenting fridge and controller (wave goodbye to the frozen pet bottles) :P and was looking at trying a lager.

The question i have is around the times required to make a lager. From what i have read i will need to (rough times quoted here) ferment for 2-3 weeks at 10 degrees or so and then once fermentation is complete store it at near freezing for another 4 weeks. Does the storing at near freezing for 4 weeks need to be in a fermentor or can this be done in the bottle. The reason why i ask is that if it needs to be in the fermentor my fermenting fridge will basically be in use for 6-7 weeks doing the 1 batch :nup: but if i'm able to cold condition this in the bottles it wont be as bad as i have another bar fridge that I could store a few in and maybe ask the wife to remove some food from the main fridge to create a bit of space ;).

Maybe I need another fridge :lol:

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by stux » 6 years ago

You probably need another fridge, you always need another fridge ;)

Lagering has to be done cold. The colder it's done the longer it takes. 0-4C would be good 2-6 weeks. I use s23 and lager for 2 weeks in the fermenter then transfer to a keg for carbing in the keg fridge... Which really is some more lagering. Yeast don't necessarily like doing their thing under pressure though. You can rack to a second vessel to lager, but that's more effort and infection risk
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12


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Post by Ralph » 6 years ago

Yeah Jonesey, I'm with you on your last thought and with stux- why stop at the one fridge? As you can see, it really limits production, particularly when farting around with lagers.
Q. Are you sure you can only fit one fermenter in your fridge? Try using cubes or the plastic jerry cans for fermenting and/ or conditioning. I can just fit four batches in my big (400-odd L) fridge, makes life much easier with multiple batches in the same temperature- controlled space.
I generally do batches of lagers together, often half a dozen of them one after another (and often re- using yeast slurry too, it saves on messing around with a big starter for liquid strains). However, I have two fridges, one stays at ferment temps, be it ale or lager, and the other doubles as a cold conditioning/ lagering/ serving fridge.
If I had to operate from one fridge, I would have at least two batches underway at once, if not more. Obviously the last one has to be finished before changing temperature, but the last step is often taking the fermenter out for a diacetyl rest at room temperature for a few days while the rest of the fridge starts chilling.
Either way, it isn't the simple production line, there's usually a batch waiting longer than necessary to enter the next phase.
Oh, so in answer to your questions, yeah, lagers do indeed take that long, I usually ferment for 2 weeks, lager for at least the same and seldom is there a reliable short cut (I was spanked for diacetyl at the Nats, trying to do it in under 4 weeks). This is one reason why some folks have been messing with lager strains at ale temperatures, helps speed the whole thing up, I'm not quite convinced though and not really willing to risk a few batches to find out.
If its any consolation, I have a batch of Dortmunder (like this one but 100% Pils malt) that's been in the CC fridge since December, every so often I sneak a sample, and geez, its a mighty good 'un! One day I'll get around to bottling it...
I'd do a few batches of ale for speedy turnaround and to stock up before turning the temperature down. :drink:
Last edited by Ralph on 04 Mar 2011, 18:04, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by stux » 6 years ago

Yep, i've just about finished building my second tempmate to turn my cold-storage 400L into my Ale fermenter fridge...

the other one can be the lager ferm chamber :)

hmmmm...

I'm going to need another fridge to store the kegs as they condition... ummm... drat :)

seriously considering a big chesty
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12


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Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

Thanks for the replys Stux & Ralph

I had that thought about more than one fermenter at once last night Ralph and yes I can fit two fermenters in one on top of the other so once i've found something to go in to the fridge to take the weight of the top fermenter (cant see the standard rack that's in there now working) I'll put 2 batches down and let them both ferment together. Two batches in 5-6 weeks sounds a lot better than 1 :P

I'll also let the wife know that there's people out there telling me to buy another fridge so its something i should do :lol:

Thanks again.

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

Hi Ralph or anyone else

I was thinking more about this and with my option of doing two at once it will mean i wont have an empty fermenter to rack to :scratch: in fact i'll need another 2.

When you said earlier you use cubes or plasic jerry cans to condition are these just the ones from a local hardware store? and does it mean you dont need an airlock on these when conditioning. Buying a couple of these would be cheaper than 2 more fermenters and would leave more money for a 3rd fridge ;)

Sorry if its a bit of a basic question but i havent gone done this path before.

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by Ralph » 6 years ago

Yep Jonesy, just the water containers from the hardware, food rated is ideal, I think there's a discussion on here about them somewhere (anyone seen it?). The big green shed has cylindrical 25L water drum for <A$20, they're excellent, but also the square- section 25L 'cube', just not sure how much they cost.

I use clingfilm on just about everything instead of a bubbler- style airlock. Makes life much easier when trying to squeeze all those vessels into a confined space such as a fermenting fridge where the overall height is often a challenge. Use the lid seal to hold the film in place, sometimes I use a string of pipe cleaners, or on cubes, just a rubber band. Also means no worry about backwash when moving the vessels around, that was a real PITA for me before I discovered the wonders of film.

You may be able to get away with just the one extra FV/ cube though? After you rack/ move the batch from one vessel to the other, the original will be empty, clean it up and use it for the next batch.
Hope this helps! :luck:

Obligatory: :drink:
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Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

Thanks again Ralph I saw some fermenters a few weeks ago in Bunnings for about $15 (they sell them as camping equipment) the only thing missing I thought was an airlock which stopped me buying a couple but i guess thats not the case. :P

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by Ralph » 6 years ago

No worries Jonesy! Hope this sorts out the problem! :drink:
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Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

OK one more question which will surely be my last :roll:

I put 2 lagers down last Saturday (12th March) using PP's Munich Helles recipe and a Wyeast danish lager yeast in one and a swiss dry lager yeast in the other. My plan after all that i read was that i would ferment at 10 degrees for 10 days or so and then take it out of the fridge for a diacetyl rest as it would be around 1.015 - 1.020 for a couple of days and then back in the fridge to lager at about 5 degrees for a month or so.

Well that was my plan anyway :think: My OG when I put them in the fermenter was 1.042 & 1.045 and I've just done a check today (7 days later) and they are both down to 1.012 or in other words got there a lot quicker than i thought.

Have I missed my chance for a diacetyl rest and therefore should I just lager them now or should i still go ahead and ramp up the temp for a few days? Im hoping its similar to my other concerns that i've had with my BIABing so far which is theres nothing to worry about :pray:

They both tasted OK when i took the sample although the danish lager one was very cloudy.

Any comments appreciated.

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by stux » 6 years ago

If you did them at 10C, you probably wouldn't have needed a diacetyl rest anyway. And yes, I suspect you have missed your chance

For the brew to get into conditioning that quick, I'd assume it wasn't actually at 10C... if the fridge was at 10C the brew could be at 12C due to yeast generated heat... which is a fine temperature for many lager yeasts anyway.

I would personally leave it for another week or two to condition on the yeast, and then lager. You might even find the gravity drops slowly at a point or so every other day as the yeast condition away their leftovers.
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12


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Post by jonesy » 6 years ago

Thanks Stux I thought that might be the best approach but always feel better after a second opinion.

I actually had my temp controller on 8 thinking that it would then ferment at 10 but its my first attempt with the fridge/controller so maybe i need to get to know it a bit better.

Besides all this im sure my worn out taste buds wont pick up a bit of diacetyl anyway :)

Cheers

Jonesy

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Post by shibolet » 6 years ago

Jonesy,
i also recently brewed a Munich helles. i used Saflager dry yeast 34/70 and also had an almost complete fermentation in around 7 days. i think you should increase the temp to around 14-16C for a couple of days and than crash it down as cold as you can for another few days. i would than bottle and lager the beer in the bottles at 0-2C for at least a month.
I have read somewhere that lagering in the bottle is just as good as lagering in a second vessel.
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Post by stux » 6 years ago

Speaking of lagering, I just checked my helles and noticed an ice berg sticking out of the beer! I've been using a new temp probe and the fermenter was touching the cooling coils!

Anyway, dialed it up to 4C from 2C and pulled the fermenter away from the back of the fridge
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12

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