So, what’s the point of lager?

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jceg316

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That's "simple"?

I'll be honest, I can't taste a difference between most of the systems I have tried, with the exception of leaving it to condition for many weeks!

This constant adjustment of temperature reminds me of the dozens of minute Hop Additions that are promulgated by the so called connoisseurs as "improving" something or other.

For me, brewing should be a pleasure, not something that takes up hours of my time and patience in the rather spurious belief that, sometime in the distant future, I will taste something better.

It's much easier to brew it, cold crash it, carbonate it and then let it sit on a shelf for ten or more weeks. In the meantime, I can brew something that doesn't need the same amount of conditioning time!
It's probably one of those things that's easier to do than to describe. If you have a brew fridge with a good temperature control it's just a matter of changing the temperature every so often.

I do agree brewing should be fun and only do what's enjoyable to you. Before I got a brew fridge I would ferment warm because I couldn't be bothered to keep chucking ice onto my FB. I got some very good results warm fermenting though. Through this process I have learnt yeast is very important in a traditional lager and some corners can't be cut if I want to get a good Munich helles or Czech pils.
 

chthon

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Just remember that the key to a decent lager is to let it condition for a looooong time! If it's good it will get better ...

... and if it isn't then you need to try a different brew!
When I brew bock, I let it 14 days in fermentation vessel, including a couple of days at a temperature of around 16°C. Then I move it to secondary (with a bit of brewing sugar to push out oxygen), and I leave it for 4 to six weeks at lager temperature before bottling. And then still again 2 weeks carbonation and 2 weeks conditioning again at lager temperature. So, yes, I also come to three months before drinking!
 

chthon

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I turn my lagers around in 4 weeks. 3 weeks fermenting and a week at zero and its crystal clear by then. My last lager achieved a massive 91% attenuation and finished at 1004. I think it was 20% rice but i cant find the recipe and do not remember what yeast i used.
Yeah, I think I am possibly overcautious, but I can spare the time. Also, bock is at least 1.066 starting gravity, so it might need a bit more conditioning.
 

MickDundee

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I turn my lagers around in 4 weeks. 3 weeks fermenting and a week at zero and its crystal clear by then.
Before I made my Vienna Lager I was reading a blog from a bloke who’d won comps with his, and he said that he ferments for 4 days at 10C then ramps up the temperature by a degree every 12hrs until he reaches 16, then holds for a week before lagering for a week, carbonating and bottle lagering.

That’s what I’m trying - I should hit 16 today.
 

Dutto

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Yeah, I think I am possibly overcautious, but I can spare the time. Also, bock is at least 1.066 starting gravity, so it might need a bit more conditioning.
With a potential ABV above 7% you have all the time in the world.

Personally, I would put most of it way back on the shelf out of sight, so that I could drink it on those warm days of an "Indian Summer" sometime around September! athumb..
 

Garrison_Brew

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Thought I'd chime in. Mostly for a laugh.

I brew around 90% Lagers. Mostly German styles as its what I really do enjoy. I've found the time you wait lagering a lager is very dependent on the style. My Doppelbock was lagered for 4 months before I tapped the keg. I tried it at 4 weeks in keg and it wasn't up to much, still very alcoholic tasting, wasn't clear. It came second in the strong lager table in LAB's Lager than life. Same goes for my Schwarzbier. That came second in the NHBC. That was also aged for about 6 months in keg and at the end I wish I had more.

The myth that lagers need months to age isn't all that true. I've kegged and tapped Czech style pils at 3 weeks that tasted better than Pils Urquel. There's no doubt an element of time helps improve the beer, but its likely subjective to process and fermentation also. Don't get me wrong, I often brew, keg, carbonate and tap the keg within 3-4 weeks. But if its something I know will be better aged, I wait.

I do brew once a year an American light pils that is based on a pre prohibition Budweiser recipe. Comparing it to Budweiser its pretty similar, if not more Malty and more hoppier. I use WLP 840, which is rumored to be Budweiser yeast, Lager for 2 months in keg and bottle. It's one of the first beers to be asked for by family and friends.

I love brewing lagers as they're completely different to Ales. You can hide some faults in ales, You can't always hide a fault in a lager. It's the challenge I enjoy just as much as the beer.
 

ericmark

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Name some and I'll tell you if I've tried them or not. Does it take 8 weeks to make a loaf of bread?


Define proper lager. And don't say Corona.
This is also my thoughts when reading the replies,
Wikipedia said:
Lager is a type of beer conditioned at low temperatures. Lagers can be pale, amber, or dark. ... As well as maturation in cold storage, most lagers are also distinguished by the use of Saccharomyces pastorianus yeast, a "bottom-fermenting" yeast that also ferments at relatively cold temperatures.
I see replies on here quoting 20°C that is not what I would call "low temperatures" I have not really tried lagers to be able to comment but this
lager.jpg
looks nice even if it isn't. But to my mind lager does not mean a light beer, it is how it is brewed, and if beer is brewed as a larger then either you can't brew all year round or you need refrigeration. Seems the natural rock cellars where it was brewed were 8°C and over 12°C I would not call it a Lager.

So as to what is the point, well two reasons for Lager, one it will keep, and two you can brew it in winter without needing to heat where it is brewed.

But having said that, I looked at the sell by dates for Lager and Bitter in Supermarket in the days when we could wander around them and inspect the goods, and there seemed to be no difference between best by dates or sell by dates.
 

chthon

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My bock from winter last year still tastes very nice. Stock almost finished now.
 

HoppyTommy

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That's "simple"?

I'll be honest, I can't taste a difference between most of the systems I have tried, with the exception of leaving it to condition for many weeks!

This constant adjustment of temperature reminds me of the dozens of minute Hop Additions that are promulgated by the so called connoisseurs as "improving" something or other.

For me, brewing should be a pleasure, not something that takes up hours of my time and patience in the rather spurious belief that, sometime in the distant future, I will taste something better.

It's much easier to brew it, cold crash it, carbonate it and then let it sit on a shelf for ten or more weeks. In the meantime, I can brew something that doesn't need the same amount of conditioning time!
The elaborate temperature adjustments are a convenient excuse just to keep visiting the brew shed. It's thirsty work adjusting that Inkbird controller by 2 degrees!!!!
 

BeerCat

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Before I made my Vienna Lager I was reading a blog from a bloke who’d won comps with his, and he said that he ferments for 4 days at 10C then ramps up the temperature by a degree every 12hrs until he reaches 16, then holds for a week before lagering for a week, carbonating and bottle lagering.

That’s what I’m trying - I should hit 16 today.
Best of luck Mick, would like to know how it comes out. Sometimes i raise it slowly and sometimes straight up but not noticed any difference to be honest. Also read of pitching around 5c with a massive amount of yeast and letting it rise naturally but have not tried it. I know if i leave it 3 weeks it will definitely be ready to crash, i don't open the fermenter until i add finings so i like to be sure. Generally take 2 weeks before the bubbling stops. I think your above method would work better for bottling.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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The first week of fermenting has gone well. This weekend has been more of a challenge with the warmer weather and having no cooling in my fermentation cupboard (not been an issue brewing ales). My shed is fairly well shielded from the sun but today the temperature inside my fermentation cupboard has been slowly increasing from 11C toward 13C. Arghhh!

Fortunately, I batch cook meals and put several helpings (why would predictive text choose “hurlings”, my cooking’s not that bad) in the freezer.

The solution to my rising temperature issue has been to defrost a cottage pie in the fermentation cupboard!

Problem solved. ;)
 

foxbat

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The first week of fermenting has gone well. This weekend has been more of a challenge with the warmer weather and having no cooling in my fermentation cupboard (not been an issue brewing ales). My shed is fairly well shielded from the sun but today the temperature inside my fermentation cupboard has been slowly increasing from 11C toward 13C. Arghhh!

Fortunately, I batch cook meals and put several helpings (why would predictive text choose “hurlings”, my cooking’s not that bad) in the freezer.

The solution to my rising temperature issue has been to defrost a cottage pie in the fermentation cupboard!

Problem solved. ;)
If you've already been fermenting a week then the rising temperature is a help not a problem. Your flavours are already locked in and it's keeping the yeast awake for the diacetyl rest that's your focus now.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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If you've already been fermenting a week then the rising temperature is a help not a problem. Your flavours are already locked in and it's keeping the yeast awake for the diacetyl rest that's your focus now.
That’s encouraging, looks like the warm weather is staying a few more days, really don’t want to defrost all my food to keep the temperature under control!
 

Garrison_Brew

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If you've already been fermenting a week then the rising temperature is a help not a problem. Your flavours are already locked in and it's keeping the yeast awake for the diacetyl rest that's your focus now.
Pretty much this, However lager fermentation is still exothermic, so you'd likely find the temp of the lager fermented 1 to 2c higher than the temp of the room. Nothing to be concerned about if I'm being honest. Have you taken a sample yet to see where you are with fermentation/taste?
Regards to lagering once packaged, stick it somewhere as cool as possible.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Pretty much this, However lager fermentation is still exothermic, so you'd likely find the temp of the lager fermented 1 to 2c higher than the temp of the room. Nothing to be concerned about if I'm being honest. Have you taken a sample yet to see where you are with fermentation/taste?
Regards to lagering once packaged, stick it somewhere as cool as possible.
I’ve not even opened the fermentation cupboard as yet, just peered through the window every so often to watch the slow gentle blip of the bubble trap.

I don’t think taste will help (unless it’s rank) because I’m not really a lager drinker and this is my first attempt, with help from a few new friends.

As I go into the second week of fermentation should I now raise the temperature of my cupboard to 13C (probably means the FV is 15C from your note about exothermic reaction). I’m using MJ M84 yeast which has a temperature range of 10-15C.
 

Garrison_Brew

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I’ve not even opened the fermentation cupboard as yet, just peered through the window every so often to watch the slow gentle blip of the bubble trap.

I don’t think taste will help (unless it’s rank) because I’m not really a lager drinker and this is my first attempt, with help from a few new friends.

As I go into the second week of fermentation should I now raise the temperature of my cupboard to 13C (probably means the FV is 15C from your note about exothermic reaction). I’m using MJ M84 yeast which has a temperature range of 10-15C.
Just let it free rise up to 15c. M84 is fairly good at keeping esters low at higher temps. I always sample my beers through fermentation(around 7days in) as it allows me to see if I need to bump up the temp for a diacetyl rest or not. With you fermenting on the warmer side of the lager temp, I suspect you'll be fine.
 
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