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  1. #1

    Lager test: Hot vs Cold


    Good morning gents,

    I'm a tiny bit bored with the mundane bit of work I'm busy with, so I'm writing this in the 2-min breaks I take in between. Hopefully I can pique some interest here and see if someone else can also do a similar test. Let's see.

    To the point. A few weeks ago I brewed a Vienna lager thing. It was a pretty simply recipe - 43% Pale malt, 43% Vienna malt and 14% CaraMunich II. Fermented with S-23 in lager temps (14C for 2 weeks), so it was in the end leaning closer toward being made like a true lager is made. However, since "lager" doesn't refer to the fermentation but rather to the storage post-fermentation, I figured I'll run a test. I wanted to see how big of a difference you really get when you lager your beer hot vs cold. So, this is what I did...

    I bottled the entire batch in the same manner. Carbonation drop per bottle, so the carbonation should be pretty similar. After bottling I set all bottles in the same crate in the same cool environment (around 18C) so that it can carbonate for 2 weeks. Since it's the same batch, and even bottled in the same bottles (Grolsch swingtops), I have a lot of confidence that the beer is the same, and only the lagering will have an effect here.

    After 2 weeks I took two bottles out of the crate and stuck them in their "testing environments". The one fridge was stuck to the back of my fridge, set to 4C. Apparently lagering needs to be done at 5C or less for "maximum effect", so I figured 4C is a good temperature to select.

    The other bottle was not stored in the fridge. It was Cremora'd, in other words, stuck on top of the fridge, right above the cooling element on the back. While it's not "hot", per se, it's possibly the most consistently "warm" area in my house, consistently sitting at around 23C, so I figured it'll be a good place to set the beer. Set it on top at the back of the fridge, and there it's waiting.

    The testing will commence at the end of September, if I can hold on for so long. We'll see. I bottled the batch on the 14th of July, if I'm not mistaken, so the beers have been sitting in the bottles now for 7 weeks. The cold stored one has been sitting in the fridge now for 5 of those 7 weeks, and I want to give it at least 8 weeks, so let's see how things turn out.

    PS thread was created now so that I can just have the numbers and dates and stuff down. I'm going to forget them if I don't keep track of them for now. Let's see if you guys have some ideas or predictions about what's going to happen.

    I also have to add I am no expert on beer testing. I'm not a judge and I won't be able to tell which is technically "better". I'll just be comparing them, side by side, possibly in a blind test (will ask my wife to help), and give my results on the experiment. I know what to look for in these beers and that helps, so I'll be able to note which beer is more malt-forward, which has stronger notes of biscuits, nuts, malt, sweetness, bitterness and that crisp bite that I've come to detect in the others I've been tasting along the way. I can give or promise nothing more, but also nothing less, so let's see!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    The testing will commence at the end of September,
    Well thats disappointing! I thought I was reading your final synopsis

    Its a pity you didnt have a couple more bottles to 'cook',and be able to do little taster comparisons over time. I would imagine at 23 deg there is a point quite early on where the beer is 'beyond' just bottle conditioning.

    I am very interested in your feedback, as we both used S-23 for the first time and had similar brewdays. I am finding my pilsener is still very phenolicy, fusal, and solventy. I think US-05 would have given a much cleaner, crisp (which I associate with lager) beer.
    Cheers,
    Lang
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "Dudddde...Hold my beer!".... ; "I wonder what will happen if I ...."
    www.ginormity.com

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Langchop View Post
    Well thats disappointing! I thought I was reading your final synopsis

    Its a pity you didnt have a couple more bottles to 'cook',and be able to do little taster comparisons over time. I would imagine at 23 deg there is a point quite early on where the beer is 'beyond' just bottle conditioning.

    I am very interested in your feedback, as we both used S-23 for the first time and had similar brewdays. I am finding my pilsener is still very phenolicy, fusal, and solventy. I think US-05 would have given a much cleaner, crisp (which I associate with lager) beer.
    I have two bottles with your name on it for a swap in the near future. These two have had a combination of the two "lagering" methods, being stored warm, then cooler, then cold over the course of the past few weeks. They're part of my "drinking crate", which are the ones I've tasted and am very happy with. Also looking forward to your feedback on these. I find no fusels in my brew, at all. In fact, they're so smooth to me that they almost drink like a soft drink, they just "fill me up" more, so to speak. Feels like I've eaten a slice of bread after drinking one. I think it's due to the high ending gravity.

  4. #4
    I just found 2 of my dark blonds (that's what I'm calling them now) that I stored separately to give to my one friend, he has been here and had a few from the fridge so these ones don't have an owner and were stored in the kitchen so I will do a side by side with you. I've had the others lagering for a month in my beer fridge so once you've done your comparison I'll pull them out and see if I can taste anything. Its US05 so shouldn't need the lagering ito. Phenols and sulfur but I've definitely tasted the difference on the alt I brewed a while ago. Much crisper if you store it cold.

    Would love to see what you taste from the aging. Your taste tests are the closest thing I've seen to a beer judge

    Happy drinking
    Jannieverjaarkoeldrank

    Sent from my SM-A750F using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    If I could add my 2c, if you look at what happens once bottled you'd find that the remaining yeast in suspension feeds off the carbonation drop until no more remains - carbonation ensues. Once this is achieved, no more reaction can take place. Doing this at high or low temperature would either push stress on s23 (I've never used it before) or not resulting in ester or off flavor. Lagering ensures a low and slow process and the result would be in the taste, once done cold crashing will drop whatever out of suspension.
    I'd be keen to hear your result, but am banking on low and slow.

    I personally do quick lagering at higher temps using 34/70 and have yet to be disappointed.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jannieverjaar View Post
    I just found 2 of my dark blonds (that's what I'm calling them now) that I stored separately to give to my one friend, he has been here and had a few from the fridge so these ones don't have an owner and were stored in the kitchen so I will do a side by side with you. I've had the others lagering for a month in my beer fridge so once you've done your comparison I'll pull them out and see if I can taste anything. Its US05 so shouldn't need the lagering ito. Phenols and sulfur but I've definitely tasted the difference on the alt I brewed a while ago. Much crisper if you store it cold.

    Would love to see what you taste from the aging. Your taste tests are the closest thing I've seen to a beer judge

    Happy drinking
    Jannieverjaarkoeldrank

    Sent from my SM-A750F using Tapatalk
    Yeah I'm really looking forward to this test. For one, I get to drink two beers side by side. I'll get my wife to assist in this and get her opinion on the matter as well. I honestly think there will be a difference, but I'm not 100% sure it'll be as much as I'm expecting, so lets see.

    PS: Thanks for the comment on my reviews being like a judge's. I'm no judge, but I do try

    Quote Originally Posted by groenspookasem View Post
    If I could add my 2c, if you look at what happens once bottled you'd find that the remaining yeast in suspension feeds off the carbonation drop until no more remains - carbonation ensues. Once this is achieved, no more reaction can take place. Doing this at high or low temperature would either push stress on s23 (I've never used it before) or not resulting in ester or off flavor. Lagering ensures a low and slow process and the result would be in the taste, once done cold crashing will drop whatever out of suspension.
    I'd be keen to hear your result, but am banking on low and slow.

    I personally do quick lagering at higher temps using 34/70 and have yet to be disappointed.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
    Yeah I've read up that S-23 is a very good yeast to use, but it can be VERY tempermental according to reports I've read. I picked up none of those issues though, it seems, and I'm just not sure why. I didn't treat this beer or this yeast particularly well and didn't spend more time on anything than usual. I just did as I always did. I didn't even rehydrate the yeast. I just pitched. Fermentation was very rapid as per other reports on S-23 and I'm very happy with the yeast.

    Langchop ran off my experience and also did a brew with S-23. As I have it, he's nowhere near as happy with it as I am.

  7. #7
    OK, slight update to this. I did some research and it seems like you can't lager a beer in the bottle. It can condition, but apparently that's not the same as lagering. Lagering should be done in the fermenter, uncarbonated and not under pressure. I'm not sure what the difference it in the end product, but I figured I should mention it for clarity.

    So yeah, the test will be "cold vs warm conditioning". I guess the effects will be the same though. I'll hopefully be doing this test next weekend, which means the beers will have stood warm and cold for 9 weeks. I guess that's long enough?

  8. #8
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Yea, fuck it! test it. LOL
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  9. #9
    It's only lagering if it's been left in a cold cave through winter.
    My point is, it might not be EXACTLY the same but I think it's more than valid a test. (Fermentation under pressure is still fermentation. ?)

    I think there will be a detectable difference, but it will be tough to decide if it's a freshness difference or a lagering/conditioning difference.
    Cheers,
    Lang
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "Dudddde...Hold my beer!".... ; "I wonder what will happen if I ...."
    www.ginormity.com

  10. #10

    So this time my patience ran out quicker. I had those amber ales. One stored outside and one in the fridge but mine was closer to 6 weeks then Toxyc's 9.
    I agree with Lang close enough to lagering for me.
    Tested them with my brother and the first thing you observe is the significantly different head. The lagered had almost no head while the hot one had about an inch of white head consisting of large bubbles.
    My hypothesis is that although the CO2 absorbed into the beer when it was cooled it was somehow not as tightly bound and released much quicker after un capping. Therefore the beer itself was less bubbly as well and tasted flatter.
    The overall taste was very similar, the only reason the difference was percieved was due to the side by side comparison (atleast for our crude palettes) we couldn't pin down the taste but decided to describe it as a mineraley medicineey tang.
    Probably some issues with my brewing method that becomes more apparent when not hidden by the bubbles.

    Still a good beer though. But those were the last of that batch.
    I'm late in brewing my next

    Cheers
    Jannieverjaarkoeldrank

    Sent from my SM-A750F using Tapatalk

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