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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: harbicide on June 02, 2013, 09:10:36 PM

Title: Lagering Time
Post by: harbicide on June 02, 2013, 09:10:36 PM
In reading Noonan's 'New Brewing Lager Beer' he specifies 7 to 12 days per each 2 degrees Plato.  For my 1.065 OG beer that would be 8 weeks of lagering (minimum).  To me that seems excessive, so what is the current consensus for lagering time?  I plan on lagering at 32F.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: saintpierre on June 02, 2013, 09:21:31 PM
That's seems about right to me. I was thinking 6-8wks for a beer of that strength assuming FG of 1.012-1.016.
If your antsy you could always take a bottle out of push a sample and see what your preference is.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 02, 2013, 11:33:46 PM
My light lagers are ready to drink in 6 weeks, but 8 weeks is even better, so a bigger lager would be a 2 month lager after a month in the primary under my regimen.  You could try warming up for a diacetyl rest and bottling and holding warm for a week then cold crashing (or if kegging, just crash after the diacetyl rest, then apply CO2 while lagering) and give it a couple weeks and start sampling.  The lagers are drinkable early, but they just get so much better with more time - or at least I think that they do.

YMMV, of course.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: a10t2 on June 03, 2013, 12:29:13 AM
Yeah I think that's nuts. My personal preference is 2-3 days/°P, but I have no problem with going faster than that when I have to, especially for average gravity and below.

It's not empirical evidence or anything, but my Maibock scored a 41 in the first round of NHC and it was 11 weeks old at that point. Assuming it was stored cold the whole time, that's 3.3 days/°P of lagering.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 03, 2013, 12:56:39 AM
The old German rule was 1 week per oPlato. The new old rule is 1 week for every 2oPlato.

So a 1.048 beer should be fine at 6 weeks.
A 1.060 beer should be fine at 7.5 weeks. Sean's had more time.

I also know you can get the beer clear faster at 32oF.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: The Professor on June 03, 2013, 02:29:49 AM
...For my 1.065 OG beer that would be 8 weeks of lagering (minimum).  To me that seems excessive, so what is the current consensus for lagering time?...

It's all personal preference in the end, but 8 weeks doesn't seem excessive at all.
For me 12 weeks minimum would be preferable.

The old Horlacher brewery in Easton, Pennsylvania (closed in 1978) for many years made a beer they called PERFECTION. I don't know what the original gravity was, but I do remember that it was higher ABV than most other "regular" beers.  PERFECTION was  lagered for 9 months (even though it most  likely wasn't as high as OG 1.065). 
And it's very well known that Ballantine aged their famous IPA (OG 1.075, 70-75 IBU)  for a full year before releasing it.

Of course, as far as homebrewing goes, any beer is ready to drink when your tastebuds say so.  But the great character of a long aged brew can be something of a revelation...if you can hold out long enough. ;D

What I took to doing years ago is to brew a quicker maturing "quaffer" beer to enjoy while time works it's magic on a heftier brew.  It'm a good excuse to brew more often (not that I really need an excuse). ;)
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: malzig on June 03, 2013, 11:36:46 AM
I warm condition my 12 °P lagers for about 2 weeks at 62°F (I naturally carbonate in the keg) and cold condition for 2-3 weeks, so I guess that is close to 2-3 days/°P.  These days my lagers are clean going into the lagering phase, so it's mostly just to drop the yeast clear.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: erockrph on June 03, 2013, 11:50:48 AM
What I took to doing years ago is to brew a quicker maturing "quaffer" beer to enjoy while time works it's magic on a heftier brew.  It'm a good excuse to brew more often (not that I really need an excuse). ;)

This is a great practice. Generally every 4th or 5th batch I brew is a "cellar" batch. Instead of making a starter I generally brew a lower gravity brew. This gives me something ready to drink fairly soon, and then I get a "bonus brewday" a little bit later for the big beer.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 04, 2013, 02:12:32 AM
Yeah I think that's nuts. My personal preference is 2-3 days/°P, but I have no problem with going faster than that when I have to, especially for average gravity and below.

It's not empirical evidence or anything, but my Maibock scored a 41 in the first round of NHC and it was 11 weeks old at that point. Assuming it was stored cold the whole time, that's 3.3 days/°P of lagering.
I would agree with you.
Once you are done fermenting (and you ferment properly) you can lager just couple of days (this would also apply for ales).

Let's remember that Germans are lagering and carbonating at the same time (can not force carbonate).
This means that fermantation is still going on.
This is why it takes them longer time to lager.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 04, 2013, 02:33:48 AM
Yeah I think that's nuts. My personal preference is 2-3 days/°P, but I have no problem with going faster than that when I have to, especially for average gravity and below.

It's not empirical evidence or anything, but my Maibock scored a 41 in the first round of NHC and it was 11 weeks old at that point. Assuming it was stored cold the whole time, that's 3.3 days/°P of lagering.
I would agree with you.
Once you are done fermenting (and you ferment properly) you can lager just couple of days (this would also apply for ales).

Let's remember that Germans are lagering and carbonating at the same time (can not force carbonate).
This means that fermantation is still going on.
This is why it takes them longer time to lager.
The German brewers can force carbonate if the CO2 has been recovered from fermentation. Then it is considered a natural ingredient from the brewing process, and can be used. Industrial derived CO2 is verboten. This would mean that the small breweries would not do it due to cost.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on June 04, 2013, 01:59:53 PM
What I took to doing years ago is to brew a quicker maturing "quaffer" beer to enjoy while time works it's magic on a heftier brew.  It'm a good excuse to brew more often (not that I really need an excuse). ;)

This is a great practice. Generally every 4th or 5th batch I brew is a "cellar" batch. Instead of making a starter I generally brew a lower gravity brew. This gives me something ready to drink fairly soon, and then I get a "bonus brewday" a little bit later for the big beer.

You've gotta keep a queue of cellar beers going - its the only I can stay patient and allow them to finish!
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: morticaixavier on June 04, 2013, 03:04:40 PM
What I took to doing years ago is to brew a quicker maturing "quaffer" beer to enjoy while time works it's magic on a heftier brew.  It'm a good excuse to brew more often (not that I really need an excuse). ;)

This is a great practice. Generally every 4th or 5th batch I brew is a "cellar" batch. Instead of making a starter I generally brew a lower gravity brew. This gives me something ready to drink fairly soon, and then I get a "bonus brewday" a little bit later for the big beer.

You've gotta keep a queue of cellar beers going - its the only I can stay patient and allow them to finish!

+1, I only recently managed to start building up a 'cellar' of my brews. (actually just the most central interior closet in my house which, at least according to the cat, who sleeps right next to the door when it's hot, is slightly cooler than the rest of the house.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: beersk on June 04, 2013, 03:52:32 PM
My stepdad is going to help me build a collar for a 9 cubic foot chest freezer this weekend so I can expand my cold storage. I'll still have 2 beers on tap, which I think is plenty, but have 2 spaces for kegs to lager. My old kegerator, a Haier fridge with tower, will become my fermentation fridge. It'll fit 3 kegs, which is all I really need to be fermenting at one time. Super stoked!
I haven't brewed a lager yet this year, I need to change that and try to brew lagers 50% of the time.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: The Professor on June 04, 2013, 04:51:54 PM
...Let's remember that Germans are lagering and carbonating at the same time (can not force carbonate).
This means that fermantation is still going on.
This is why it takes them longer time to lager.

Of course one can consume beers as soon as they clear...that's just a matter of personal taste preference and/or homebrewer impatience.  There are definite flavor benefits from a longer aging time for lagers and ales...it's up to the individual to decide if it's worth waiting a bit longer for a significantly enhanced experience.
 
Conditioning encompasses a wider range of effects than simply carbonation.  One need only compare the taste of an alcoholically "hot" sample of a just fermented and cleared barleywine with a sixth month old (or older) sample from the same batch.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: malzig on June 05, 2013, 10:47:53 AM
Once you are done fermenting (and you ferment properly) you can lager just couple of days (this would also apply for ales).
I haven't managed to get it down to just a couple days yet, it usually takes me at least a week to drop the beer clear, but otherwise I agree with this and it fits my experience.  I make sure my Lagers are done at the end of fermentation.  At that point they are clean, delicious and nearly ready to drink right from the fermenter. 

My observation has been that Lagering them a long time just tends to dull all the lovely fresh flavor that makes them taste like fresh beer in Germany, making them taste more like a bottle that's had to cross the Atlantic.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 05, 2013, 10:14:35 PM
Once you are done fermenting (and you ferment properly) you can lager just couple of days (this would also apply for ales).
I haven't managed to get it down to just a couple days yet, it usually takes me at least a week to drop the beer clear, but otherwise I agree with this and it fits my experience.  I make sure my Lagers are done at the end of fermentation.  At that point they are clean, delicious and nearly ready to drink right from the fermenter. 

My observation has been that Lagering them a long time just tends to dull all the lovely fresh flavor that makes them taste like fresh beer in Germany, making them taste more like a bottle that's had to cross the Atlantic.
I would agree with you.
My yeast is quite powdery.
After reaching FG I let it sit about a week at 40-42F.
Then I filter it off and carbonate at 32F.
After carbonation, it is ready to package and drink.
Title: Lagering Time
Post by: majorvices on June 06, 2013, 02:09:31 AM
So, the whole point of "lagering" is to let the yeast finish working at cold temps to clean up diacetyl and other off flavors and to create carbonation. It's supposed to be a process where the yeast are still working, even going as far as adding active yeast (kruasening) to the  lagering tank. If you are not doing that, there's really no need to lager except to clear the beer and "round out" some flavors. Rule  of  thumb, 1-2 weeks for 1.050ish beers and 4-6 weeks (maybe 8 ) for anything over 1.065.

Quite simply, you don't need extended lagering if you arent following traditional lager protocol and you may be missing out on fresh beer.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: klickitat jim on June 06, 2013, 03:38:02 AM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.
Title: Lagering Time
Post by: majorvices on June 06, 2013, 12:44:21 PM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.

Maybe. depends what your definition of "plenty"is. You have a limited amount of time on the yeast before you introduce autolysis. Granted, homebrew beers can probably go several weeks, you still want to get it off the yeast.

Point is, if you are doing a d-rest you are speeding up the yeast conditioning time that normally happens during traditional lagering. So if you are not doing a traditional lagering method you only need a couple weeks for most low gravity lagers. And certainly no more than 6-8 for higher gravity lagers, if that much.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: beersk on June 06, 2013, 01:07:32 PM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.

Maybe. depends what your definition of "plenty"is. You have a limited amount of time on the yeast before you introduce autolysis. Granted, homebrew beers can probably go several weeks, you still want to get it off the yeast.

Point is, if you are doing a d-rest you are speeding up the yeast conditioning time that normally happens during traditional lagering. So if you are not doing a traditional lagering method you only need a couple weeks for most low gravity lagers. And certainly no more than 6-8 for higher gravity lagers, if that much.
Really? You think autolysis happens that quickly? I've had good results lagering on the yeast cake for an additional 2+ weeks after the primary.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: anthony on June 06, 2013, 02:00:12 PM
So, the whole point of "lagering" is to let the yeast finish working at cold temps to clean up diacetyl and other off flavors and to create carbonation. It's supposed to be a process where the yeast are still working, even going as far as adding active yeast (kruasening) to the  lagering tank. If you are not doing that, there's really no need to lager except to clear the beer and "round out" some flavors. Rule  of  thumb, 1-2 weeks for 1.050ish beers and 4-6 weeks (maybe 8 ) for anything over 1.065.

Quite simply, you don't need extended lagering if you arent following traditional lager protocol and you may be missing out on fresh beer.

Agreed.

I think it really depends on what your goal is. Just a week or two ago, I had a brewer stop by who brews at a small regional brewery in Bavaria, and he ribbed me quite a bit that our Maibock wasn't lagered long enough.

And if you're filtering, you're rounding out flavor and removing yeast in one shot, then the only thing you need to worry about is diacetyl and other ketones.

Of course if you follow this pseudo-accelerated schedule, other things will need to be adjusted as well, for instance hop bitterness. Many lager recipes are formulated with the idea that the beer will be lagering for 5+ weeks and the hop level is adjusted accordingly.

Can you make tasty lager following the traditional German schedule? Absolutely, I walked around the breweries in Aying and Andechs and was absolutely blown away by the "freshness" of the beer, the softness of the malt, and the overall complexity. And the beers are in tanks for well over a month before they are served to the public. Can you make tasty lager following an accelerated schedule? I think you can, but you have to balance a lot more variables.

Frankly, on the professional level, I have a lot of motivation to follow an accelerated schedule. But if I were still homebrewing, I would most likely follow a more traditional path because you have the time to spare anyways.
Title: Lagering Time
Post by: majorvices on June 06, 2013, 02:32:26 PM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.

Maybe. depends what your definition of "plenty"is. You have a limited amount of time on the yeast before you introduce autolysis. Granted, homebrew beers can probably go several weeks, you still want to get it off the yeast.

Point is, if you are doing a d-rest you are speeding up the yeast conditioning time that normally happens during traditional lagering. So if you are not doing a traditional lagering method you only need a couple weeks for most low gravity lagers. And certainly no more than 6-8 for higher gravity lagers, if that much.
Really? You think autolysis happens that quickly? I've had good results lagering on the yeast cake for an additional 2+ weeks after the primary.

It depends on the beer and how much dead yeast you carry over from previous pitches. You are most likely fine for 2-3 weeks, maybe even longer. My point is simply some people lager much longer than necessary expecting benefits from yeast that are no longer active.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 07, 2013, 08:39:17 PM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.

Maybe. depends what your definition of "plenty"is. You have a limited amount of time on the yeast before you introduce autolysis. Granted, homebrew beers can probably go several weeks, you still want to get it off the yeast.

Point is, if you are doing a d-rest you are speeding up the yeast conditioning time that normally happens during traditional lagering. So if you are not doing a traditional lagering method you only need a couple weeks for most low gravity lagers. And certainly no more than 6-8 for higher gravity lagers, if that much.
Really? You think autolysis happens that quickly? I've had good results lagering on the yeast cake for an additional 2+ weeks after the primary.
I think autolysis can happen pretty quickly. 4 to 6 weeks. Now question comes why it does not happen in the bottle condition beer? I think it is amount of yeast you have in bottle/keg/jar.
autolysis still happen there but it is in much less cells that die and it does not have sagnificant impact on the flavor of the bottle.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 07, 2013, 08:45:37 PM
So, the whole point of "lagering" is to let the yeast finish working at cold temps to clean up diacetyl and other off flavors and to create carbonation. It's supposed to be a process where the yeast are still working, even going as far as adding active yeast (kruasening) to the  lagering tank. If you are not doing that, there's really no need to lager except to clear the beer and "round out" some flavors. Rule  of  thumb, 1-2 weeks for 1.050ish beers and 4-6 weeks (maybe 8 ) for anything over 1.065.

Quite simply, you don't need extended lagering if you arent following traditional lager protocol and you may be missing out on fresh beer.

Agreed.

I think it really depends on what your goal is. Just a week or two ago, I had a brewer stop by who brews at a small regional brewery in Bavaria, and he ribbed me quite a bit that our Maibock wasn't lagered long enough.

And if you're filtering, you're rounding out flavor and removing yeast in one shot, then the only thing you need to worry about is diacetyl and other ketones.

Of course if you follow this pseudo-accelerated schedule, other things will need to be adjusted as well, for instance hop bitterness. Many lager recipes are formulated with the idea that the beer will be lagering for 5+ weeks and the hop level is adjusted accordingly.

Can you make tasty lager following the traditional German schedule? Absolutely, I walked around the breweries in Aying and Andechs and was absolutely blown away by the "freshness" of the beer, the softness of the malt, and the overall complexity. And the beers are in tanks for well over a month before they are served to the public. Can you make tasty lager following an accelerated schedule? I think you can, but you have to balance a lot more variables.

Frankly, on the professional level, I have a lot of motivation to follow an accelerated schedule. But if I were still homebrewing, I would most likely follow a more traditional path because you have the time to spare anyways.

I think taste of lagering is like taste of decoction. Did you give guy a beer, he took a sip and declare that it was not lagered enought?

There is a lot to a flavor of the beer.
May be you MaiBock tasted different to Matt because you were using domestic malts. May be you we're using imported malts but they get fresher malts.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: anthony on June 09, 2013, 04:38:03 PM
We use imported malts. I'm guessing the real difference he noticed is that we used the Augustiner yeast which can be a little fruity, lagered or not, and they use something a little more traditional at Faust.

Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: tschmidlin on June 10, 2013, 07:23:05 AM
Only 6 lagers experience so not an expert. But I think there's little doubt that plenty of time on the yeast is a good thing.

Maybe. depends what your definition of "plenty"is. You have a limited amount of time on the yeast before you introduce autolysis. Granted, homebrew beers can probably go several weeks, you still want to get it off the yeast.

Point is, if you are doing a d-rest you are speeding up the yeast conditioning time that normally happens during traditional lagering. So if you are not doing a traditional lagering method you only need a couple weeks for most low gravity lagers. And certainly no more than 6-8 for higher gravity lagers, if that much.
Really? You think autolysis happens that quickly? I've had good results lagering on the yeast cake for an additional 2+ weeks after the primary.
I think autolysis can happen pretty quickly. 4 to 6 weeks. Now question comes why it does not happen in the bottle condition beer? I think it is amount of yeast you have in bottle/keg/jar.
autolysis still happen there but it is in much less cells that die and it does not have sagnificant impact on the flavor of the bottle.
In my experience, in a 5 gallon carboy with initially healthy yeast and an average strength beer, autolysis takes much longer than 3 months to be a problem.  I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: denny on June 10, 2013, 04:20:34 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.

Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: tschmidlin on June 10, 2013, 04:49:40 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.
Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Then simply watching out may not be enough.  You'd best wear your mirrored clothes to reflect the laser back into the elephant's eye so it goes stampeding off in the wrong direction and tramples the lion with the wolverine on its back.  Then you'll finally be safe.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: denny on June 10, 2013, 05:12:09 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.
Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Then simply watching out may not be enough.  You'd best wear your mirrored clothes to reflect the laser back into the elephant's eye so it goes stampeding off in the wrong direction and tramples the lion with the wolverine on its back.  Then you'll finally be safe.

Thanks for the advice!  :)
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: beersk on June 10, 2013, 05:38:03 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.
Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Then simply watching out may not be enough.  You'd best wear your mirrored clothes to reflect the laser back into the elephant's eye so it goes stampeding off in the wrong direction and tramples the lion with the wolverine on its back.  Then you'll finally be safe.

Thanks for the advice!  :)
Hahaha! I love Austin Powers...
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: edvinjonsson on June 10, 2013, 05:39:10 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.
Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Then simply watching out may not be enough.  You'd best wear your mirrored clothes to reflect the laser back into the elephant's eye so it goes stampeding off in the wrong direction and tramples the lion with the wolverine on its back.  Then you'll finally be safe.

Thanks for the advice!  :)

Always good info in here  :D
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: a10t2 on June 10, 2013, 05:44:32 PM
You'd best wear your mirrored clothes

You have no idea... http://www.betabrand.com/discolab.html
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: denny on June 10, 2013, 07:21:46 PM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_R7l7QN6ZwEM/TEz27GUT30I/AAAAAAAAAs4/FKuQPJUPiY0/s1600/CI+mirror+suit.jpg)
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: tschmidlin on June 11, 2013, 06:59:24 AM
You'd best wear your mirrored clothes

You have no idea... http://www.betabrand.com/discolab.html
Awesome stuff - I think it would go well with your hat.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 11, 2013, 10:48:58 AM
Only $65 for the Smoothatron 3000...that is so awesome.

http://www.betabrand.com/collections/discolab/disco-kimono.html
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: a10t2 on June 11, 2013, 04:32:15 PM
Awesome stuff - I think it would go well with your hat.

I'm definitely getting the short shorts.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: tschmidlin on June 12, 2013, 08:33:43 AM
Awesome stuff - I think it would go well with your hat.

I'm definitely getting the short shorts.
That would be awesome
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: denny on June 12, 2013, 04:41:01 PM
Awesome stuff - I think it would go well with your hat.

I'm definitely getting the short shorts.

I think I need to bleach my brain to get rid of that image....
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: gmac on June 14, 2013, 03:52:58 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.

Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Usually you can't really tell when a thread goes awry but in this case it's nice to see the exact spot where the wheels fell off.
Title: Lagering Time
Post by: denny on June 14, 2013, 04:35:46 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.

Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Usually you can't really tell when a thread goes awry but in this case it's nice to see the exact spot where the wheels fell off.

Anything to help!
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: a10t2 on June 15, 2013, 04:09:06 AM
I think I need to bleach my brain to get rid of that image....

You say that now, but just wait until Club Night. ;D
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: tschmidlin on June 15, 2013, 07:20:17 AM
I think I need to bleach my brain to get rid of that image....

You say that now, but just wait until Club Night. ;D
Club night, if done properly, provides its own bleach.
Title: Re: Lagering Time
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 15, 2013, 03:34:48 PM
I think that, much like a shark riding on an elephant's back, it is something to watch out for but not necessarily anything to worry about.

Yeah, but what if it was a shark with frickin' lasers?
Usually you can't really tell when a thread goes awry but in this case it's nice to see the exact spot where the wheels fell off.

Is this called "jumping the shark"?