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How to brew lagers?

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Zephyr259

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Having tried making one, I'll just say to think about what air-lock you're using and the impact of cold-crashing.

I used a blow-off tube and forgot that cooling = suck-back. Cue half a pint of sanitiser in the brew and it going down the drain.
I did that with a california common, drank it anyway as an acid based sanitiser (generica starsan varient) is perfectly safe once diluted. Only issue was the hops weren't really evident and that may be a side-effect of sanitiser contamination, like when folks don't drain a keg fully.

For lagers, I tend to start fermenting about 10c, after 5 - 7 days, depending on OG, I'll ramp up 1c per day to 16c then let it finish. If I think it's struggling to hit FG then I'll raise it to 18c. I'll normally then cold crash for at least a week, maybe 2 before bottling and letting it carb up warm. I've never actually lagered a batch properly as I don't have the storage to keep them cold for weeks to months without tying up my fermentation fridge.
 

Justin Dean

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Essex so I ro water myself with 3 stage filter. Add a tspn baking soda. I ferment 15psi. 2 days 16c 2 days 18c 2 days 20c 2 days 22c 1 to 3 days 24c then cold crash 2 to 3 days. Inline filter and keg. Then leave a week and drink.
IMG-20201125-WA0008.jpeg
 

MagnusTS

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I’ve done 5 lagers now. My usual routine is a week and a half at 11C, then raise 2C a day to 18C, hold it there for a week then reduce by 4C a day to 1C then hold it there for 2-6 weeks depending on ABV, colour and whether I’m kegging or bottling.
Thanks for this @MickDundee, I'm doing my lager tomorrow and think I will follow your routine.
How do you alter your 1C time based on ABV, colour, and keg/bottle?
longer for higher abv?
 

MickDundee

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Thanks for this @MickDundee, I'm doing my lager tomorrow and think I will follow your routine.
How do you alter your 1C time based on ABV, colour, and keg/bottle?
longer for higher abv?
I can’t find the article I had in my favourites that set it but I’ll have a look later for you. It was something like 2 weeks for 4% beer and it went up incrementally from there.

Lagering for longer certainly won’t do any harm. I’ve never done one stronger than a 5.5% Vienna and I’m pretty sure I did 4-5 weeks for that one (although I might have done longer). I usually do at least 4 anyway even if the chart said 2.
 

MagnusTS

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I can’t find the article I had in my favourites that set it but I’ll have a look later for you. It was something like 2 weeks for 4% beer and it went up incrementally from there.

Lagering for longer certainly won’t do any harm. I’ve never done one stronger than a 5.5% Vienna and I’m pretty sure I did 4-5 weeks for that one (although I might have done longer). I usually do at least 4 anyway even if the chart said 2.
Many thanks.
I'm going to have a go at the Greg Hughes Dortmunder Export (5.1%) tomorrow.
 

Brewnaldo

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Anyone pressure lagers? Nect brew will be such. Made a pretty good Helles already but wanted to know, even though you can pressure ferment at higher temps, will the yeast still be ok at normal lager temps under pressure? Want to do a 12 degree one while ambient temp still allows
 

BlackRegent

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Anyone pressure lagers? Nect brew will be such. Made a pretty good Helles already but wanted to know, even though you can pressure ferment at higher temps, will the yeast still be ok at normal lager temps under pressure? Want to do a 12 degree one while ambient temp still allows
Not sure what you would gain from fermenting under pressure at lager temps other than free carbonation. I thought the main use of pressure fermentation was to inhibit ester production at higher temps? As I understand it, pressure fermentation of itself doesn't speed up the fermentation process, it's the combination of pressure and the higher temps that pressure permits. If the plan is to ferment at cooler temps why not just ferment traditionally?
 

Brewnaldo

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Not sure what you would gain from fermenting under pressure at lager temps other than free carbonation. I thought the main use of pressure fermentation was to inhibit ester production at higher temps? As I understand it, pressure fermentation of itself doesn't speed up the fermentation process, it's the combination of pressure and the higher temps that pressure permits. If the plan is to ferment at cooler temps why not just ferment traditionally?
Just experimenting really. Have only done 1 pressure ferment so far and that was at 18 degrees IIRC. Want to see how clean I can get it and how quickly I can get it from grain to glass etc
 

jonh

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+1 for the Brulosophy method:


Works great with 34/70 in my experience.
 

Justin Dean

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Anyone pressure lagers? Nect brew will be such. Made a pretty good Helles already but wanted to know, even though you can pressure ferment at higher temps, will the yeast still be ok at normal lager temps under pressure? Want to do a 12 degree one while ambient temp still allows
Essex so I ro water myself with 3 stage filter. Add a tspn baking soda. I ferment 15psi. 2 days 16c 2 days 18c 2 days 20c 2 days 22c 1 to 3 days 24c then cold crash 2 to 3 days. Inline filter and keg. Then leave a week and drink.
View attachment 36389
 

umfana

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+1 for the Brulosophy method:


Works great with 34/70 in my experience.
+1 on top of your +1.
This yeast and method are my go to for anything pilsnerish.
 

MagnusTS

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How did this recipe turn out? I have it on my to-brew list - any tips for this one?
It's still in the fermenter. These lagers take a long time don't they? Still got another 4 weeks lagering.
 

BeerCat

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Brulosophy method works really well. I ferment mine like this. Pitch cold with lots of yeast (normally all the fresh yeast from a previous batch or a 3l starter). I start around 5c then let it free rise to around 8 or 9c. Hold it there for about 10 days then slowly bring it up to 18c and hold until day 21. Crash to 0c for a week adding finings halfway through and keg. If I don't have room to crash it I leave it at room temp whatever that may be until I do. Soft water is important for the style.
 

MagnusTS

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Brulosophy method works really well. I ferment mine like this. Pitch cold with lots of yeast (normally all the fresh yeast from a previous batch or a 3l starter). I start around 5c then let it free rise to around 8 or 9c. Hold it there for about 10 days then slowly bring it up to 18c and hold until day 21. Crash to 0c for a week adding finings halfway through and keg. If I don't have room to crash it I leave it at room temp whatever that may be until I do. Soft water is important for the style.
Thanks. That looks like a good schedule.
I saw the Brulosphy article which found no difference using shorter lagering, interesting stuff. But I thought that for my 1st ever lager in my new fermentation fridge I would go traditional with a long lagering at 4C.
Maybe for my next lager I will try a quicker schedule, it has been sitting in my brew-fridge for what seems like about 7 months. 🙂
 
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