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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    Northwold Jhb
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    4

    Lager fermentation and conditioning


    Hi All - I am fermenting my first lager and would appreciate some advice.

    I started the fermentation at 10 degrees and after 10 days it is still bubbling. I assume the longer fermentation time is due to the colder temperature. Once this is complete my understanding is that I need to condition the beer. Should I just drop the temperature to around 2 degrees and just leave it in the original container or is it better to transfer it into another vessel for this (I believe this is called racking?)

    Also given that I am going to bottle the beer - should I just bottle it once the fermentation is complete and store the bottles at the 2 degrees or is it better to condition in a vessel before bottling?

    Thanks
    Russell.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by rusql View Post
    Hi All - I am fermenting my first lager and would appreciate some advice.

    I started the fermentation at 10 degrees and after 10 days it is still bubbling. I assume the longer fermentation time is due to the colder temperature. Once this is complete my understanding is that I need to condition the beer. Should I just drop the temperature to around 2 degrees and just leave it in the original container or is it better to transfer it into another vessel for this (I believe this is called racking?)

    Also given that I am going to bottle the beer - should I just bottle it once the fermentation is complete and store the bottles at the 2 degrees or is it better to condition in a vessel before bottling?

    Thanks
    Russell.
    Hi. My 2 cents worth. I just completed the most amazing tasting Oktoberfest Lager...obviously my opinion.
    Fermented at 12 degrees for 3 weeks. Then bottled it and let it condition at the same temperature for 2 weeks. Now I just take them out of the 12 degree chamber and cool it in my wifes fridge before consumption. Luckily she likes it too.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    The longer fermentation is due to colder temps yes- mostly. Assuming healthy and enough yeast and nutrients and so forth.
    You may or may not want to look into a diacetyl rest for your lager before crashing the temps.

    I don't do a lot of lagers, still one thing I have to learn more about. Maybe someone like Toxxyc can chime in.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Pretoria
    Posts
    2,493
    Ah yes, lagers, the staple of the South African man. Welcome.

    So, lagers are typically fermented at lower temps. Because of that, yes, fermentation takes longer, but it's also important to pitch the correct amount of yeast. For lagers, you typically pitch twice the amount of yeast that you would for an ale. If you don't, you risk off flavours, very long fermentation times or, worst case scenario, stalled fermentations.

    2 Weeks, in your case, isn't a particularly long time, but it is long. I would ramp the temperature up by 1C per day until you reach the top end of the yeast you're using's happy temp. You didn't mention what yeast it is, but that's typically between 13C and 15C. My lagers these days ferment to completion in the same time as my ales - BUT I tend to pitch a slight bit warmer and then chill everything down. This helps a little bit more yeast growth during the aerobic phase and, in my opinion, leads to a faster ferment.

    Regarding your lagers, the golden rule I follow (and opinions differ) is that lagering helps. That means bulk aging at near-freezing for extended periods. Uncarbonated, unbottled, but off the yeast cake. If you have a nice conical that means you can tap off the yeast cake and lager in the fermenter. I don't, so I tap my beer into an HDPE2 cube, seal it and stick it in the fridge for weeks to months before kegging or bottling. To me, that results in a crisper, smoother beer that simply cannot be matched by regular bottle-after-3-weeks beers.


    If you cannot cold store, the closest I've gotten was to bottle, and then let the bottles carbonate at the same temperature as what you fermented at at the end. In other words, if you finished your lager at 14C, keep them at 14C for 2~3 weeks. Then get them cold and keep them cold. It gets closest, from what I've seen.

  5. #5

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