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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Bel Air Brewing on December 31, 2021, 08:26:25 am

Title: Aging Lagers
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on December 31, 2021, 08:26:25 am
Getting ready for a big competition.
Two Pilsner lagers to be entered.
Both of them the same recipe, except one had treated water.
The Pils that has aged for two months is very mellow and balanced in flavor, with a bit of maltiness.
The beer kegged this week is stellar! Good hop and malt nose. But it is “sharp” in flavor, versus the first one which is mellow.
Is this the result of the aging process?
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: majorvices on December 31, 2021, 08:43:46 am
This is a favorite topic of mine because I don't think much happens during the lagering process except for clarification. The exception being higher gravity lagers. 7-14 days for a 1.050ish gravity lager should be plenty -- or how ever long it takes to get the clarity where you want it. I can see more argument in aging higher gravity lagers since they have more ester and fusel development. So maybe 4-6 weeks?
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Frankenbrew on December 31, 2021, 09:43:13 am
Getting ready for a big competition.
Two Pilsner lagers to be entered.
Both of them the same recipe, except one had treated water.
The Pils that has aged for two months is very mellow and balanced in flavor, with a bit of maltiness.
The beer kegged this week is stellar! Good hop and malt nose. But it is “sharp” in flavor, versus the first one which is mellow.
Is this the result of the aging process?

Which one had the treated water? Certainly, that could be responsible for the difference.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: RC on December 31, 2021, 11:15:12 am
All that happens during aging/lagering is that the yeast and other solids settle. These have flavor, mostly bad (have you ever tasted krausen?). When this stuff settles, it cleans up the flavor. This is more noticeable in lagers because they aren't as robustly flavored as ales. Yeast cells in particular have a lot of crap stuck to them. This is probably where the sharp flavor comes from. As the cells settle, the beer becomes smoother.

I have never aged a high-gravity lager but I question if any cleanup/conversion of fusel alcohols or esters would happen if the beer is lagered at ~32F. Maybe at room temp it would occur, but at near freezing? I can't imagine that there is enough yeast activity to achieve this...?

Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Fire Rooster on December 31, 2021, 11:39:05 am
Getting ready for a big competition.
Two Pilsner lagers to be entered.
Both of them the same recipe, except one had treated water.
The Pils that has aged for two months is very mellow and balanced in flavor, with a bit of maltiness.
The beer kegged this week is stellar! Good hop and malt nose. But it is “sharp” in flavor, versus the first one which is mellow.
Is this the result of the aging process?

My procedures for ales brewed are longer than most.
Batch is not in full drinking rotation until about 9 weeks.
For the very reason you mention, sharp vs mellow.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: chinaski on December 31, 2021, 05:17:23 pm
Getting ready for a big competition.
Two Pilsner lagers to be entered.
Both of them the same recipe, except one had treated water.
The Pils that has aged for two months is very mellow and balanced in flavor, with a bit of maltiness.
The beer kegged this week is stellar! Good hop and malt nose. But it is “sharp” in flavor, versus the first one which is mellow.
Is this the result of the aging process?
You can taste yeast in suspension.
My procedures for ales brewed are longer than most.
Batch is not in full drinking rotation until about 9 weeks.
For the very reason you mention, sharp vs mellow.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on December 31, 2021, 07:14:40 pm
Should have made this more clear...

The "sharp" tasting beer is the fresh one, in the keg 4 days. It had chemicals added to the water. Very good, with an edge to the flavor. More hoppy.

The "mellow, smooth, well balanced" beer is the one that is about 6 weeks old, with standard tap water (filtered). Good, more malty.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: narvin on December 31, 2021, 07:42:53 pm
Hop bitterness also mellows with age as the alpha acids oxidize. This is independent of any changes due to cold conditioning and could be part of the difference.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on December 31, 2021, 07:49:35 pm
I won gold medals in some bigger comps with pils that were 3 weeks old. The key is to drop the yeast as others have stated. Some yeasts drop faster than others. 34/70 drops super fast, WLP833 stays in suspension for weeks. The yeast has a sharp, biting and to me, a metallic flavor and is not pleasant at all.

Once the yeast drops, lagering seems to smooth out the beer, but its  not as dramatic as dropping the yeast.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Fire Rooster on January 01, 2022, 02:46:40 am
I won gold medals in some bigger comps with pils that were 3 weeks old. The key is to drop the yeast as others have stated. Some yeasts drop faster than others. 34/70 drops super fast, WLP833 stays in suspension for weeks. The yeast has a sharp, biting and to me, a metallic flavor and is not pleasant at all.

Once the yeast drops, lagering seems to smooth out the beer, but its  not as dramatic as dropping the yeast.

Regarding your pils that was 3 weeks old.  If I may ask, I have a couple of questions.

What yeast was used , and what was the fermentation temperature ?

Did you cold crash, if so what was the temp and time ?

Thanks
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 01, 2022, 03:43:47 am
We use Diamond exclusively for lagers.
Ferment at 52-54 degrees.
Cold crash at 32, for 5 to 6 days.

SOP for Bel Air Brewing.

I know...the question was not directed at us!
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Fire Rooster on January 01, 2022, 03:54:11 am
We use Diamond exclusively for lagers.
Ferment at 52-54 degrees.
Cold crash at 32, for 5 to 6 days.

SOP for Bel Air Brewing.

I know...the question was not directed at us!

Good info, thanks!

I don't cold crash, or should I say don't have a way to do it.
5.3 gallon speidel fermenters are used.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: nateo on January 01, 2022, 07:44:41 am
This is a case where fermenting in kegs is helpful. I put the fermenter keg in the keezer to cold crash then rack into the serving keg from there. It's all closed transfers so little risk of cold side oxidation.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: HighVoltageMan! on January 01, 2022, 08:17:01 am
I won gold medals in some bigger comps with pils that were 3 weeks old. The key is to drop the yeast as others have stated. Some yeasts drop faster than others. 34/70 drops super fast, WLP833 stays in suspension for weeks. The yeast has a sharp, biting and to me, a metallic flavor and is not pleasant at all.

Once the yeast drops, lagering seems to smooth out the beer, but its  not as dramatic as dropping the yeast.

Regarding your pils that was 3 weeks old.  If I may ask, I have a couple of questions.

What yeast was used , and what was the fermentation temperature ?

Did you cold crash, if so what was the temp and time ?

Thanks
I fermented the beer at 48-50 under 4-5 PSI with 34/70. After a week I gradually raised the temp and pressure to 55F and 18-20 PSI over several days to carbonate the beer and perform a D-rest. By day 13, I crashed the beer to @ 33F. Day 14 I cleared the beer with gelatin. I use a 1/4 barrel sanke keg (tall) as a fermenter and a floating pick up. The beer is lagered mostly in the fermenter. By 3 weeks the beer was packaged and shipped. 34/70 is the fastest lager yeast I know of. It drops really fast, 2124 is a close second and 833 takes much longer than the other two. I haven't tried Diamond yet.

If you want to get the beer off the yeast, I have transferred the beer to a keg 2 days after clearing with gelatin. The beer isn't perfectly clear, but almost all the yeast has dropped.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Fire Rooster on January 01, 2022, 09:27:43 am
Good stuff, thanks
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: rburrelli on January 01, 2022, 10:15:35 am
Should have made this more clear...

The "sharp" tasting beer is the fresh one, in the keg 4 days. It had chemicals added to the water. Very good, with an edge to the flavor. More hoppy.

The "mellow, smooth, well balanced" beer is the one that is about 6 weeks old, with standard tap water (filtered). Good, more malty.
If gypsum was the major addition then your hops should be a little sharper and the beer should be a little dryer.
Title: Re: Aging Lagers
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on January 01, 2022, 01:30:58 pm
Should have made this more clear...

The "sharp" tasting beer is the fresh one, in the keg 4 days. It had chemicals added to the water. Very good, with an edge to the flavor. More hoppy.

The "mellow, smooth, well balanced" beer is the one that is about 6 weeks old, with standard tap water (filtered). Good, more malty.
If gypsum was the major addition then your hops should be a little sharper and the beer should be a little dryer.

Yes, Gypsum and CaCl2. That's it. The beer turned out so good, brewed up another 10 gallons yesterday, Classic German Pils. But TexMalt was used this time...it's a long shot.