Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: micsager on June 22, 2011, 07:05:14 pm

Title: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 22, 2011, 07:05:14 pm
Hey guys -

I brewed my first lager before leaving town a bit back.  on the 12th.  It's still bubbling well in my plastic buckets, getting about 8-10 bubbles per minute.  I have good temperature control.  So, my questions.........

According to Palmer, I should transfer when it hits one to four bubbles per minute or 3/4 of gravity reduction.  Well, I'm at that 3/4 reduction, but like I said, it's still pretty active.  So which numbers takes priority?

Second question is once transferred and I've hit final gravity, do I just reduce temperature and lager, or do I keg and lager, or do I keg, carbonate and lager?  I ain't gonna bottle.

Thanks



Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tygo on June 22, 2011, 08:38:30 pm
Well, I usually just wait until it's 3/4 done and then bump it up 10 degrees for a D-Rest, whether it needs it or not, and let it finish out.  Then transfer to the keg on the gas in the serving keezer and let it lager until it's ready.

But I've seen advice to ferment at say 50F until it's close to done, then transfer and let it lager at 40F or so for an extended period of time to finish fermenting.

Not sure what the best answer is there but the way I've been doing it has produced some tasty lagers.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tschmidlin on June 22, 2011, 09:40:14 pm
Bubble timing is too misleading, I would trust the gravity and go from there.  I would raise the temp for a d-rest like tygo says.  When it hits final gravity, I would crash cool, keg, and carb/lager it.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 22, 2011, 10:26:40 pm
Go by the gravity.  I like to do the D-rest when it is 2/3 the way down, so that you have enough activity to clean up the Diacetyl.

Lower the temp slowly.  I lagerin the 34 to 35F range.  That may take longer, but I like the results.  Force carb, enjoy.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 08:52:24 am
OK, I raised the temp controller ten degree before leaving for work this morning.  If I understand folks right, the next steps are:

1. wait for full attenuation
2. Cool to about 35 degrees
3. Keg the beer, and lager for a month or so
4. force carb.
5. drink and (hopefully) enjoy

I thought I would need to transfer to carboys.  I never do that with my ales.  Is it also not needed here?
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tygo on June 23, 2011, 09:15:19 am
You got it.  No secondary necessary.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tschmidlin on June 23, 2011, 10:03:22 am
You should also carb at the same time you are lagering.  3 and 4 happen concurrently, not sequentially.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 10:09:05 am
You should also carb at the same time you are lagering.  3 and 4 happen concurrently, not sequentially.

Good deal.  Thanks to all.....   I can sure see why most small craft brewers only do ales.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 23, 2011, 10:47:08 am
You should also carb at the same time you are lagering.  3 and 4 happen concurrently, not sequentially.

Good deal.  Thanks to all.....   I can sure see why most small craft brewers only do ales.
Tank space is golden.  Lagers tie up the tanks.  So...  ales.

I have bought many more cornies and a chest freezer with temp. control to do lagers right.  Extrapilate to a production brewery and that is a big investment.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 23, 2011, 10:53:12 am
Let your gravity be your guide.

I like to do a D-rest at 60F for most of my lagers. Raise the temp slowly and let it sit at 60F for 5-7 days and look for 2-3 days of consistent gravity readings, then slowly reduce the temp to 40 for another week or two, then keg. At that point you are ready to chill down to lagering temps and lager for 4-12 weeks.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 10:59:17 am
Let your gravity be your guide.

I like to do a D-rest at 60F for most of my lagers. Raise the temp slowly and let it sit at 60F for 5-7 days and look for 2-3 days of consistent gravity readings, then slowly reduce the temp to 40 for another week or two, then keg. At that point you are ready to chill down to lagering temps and lager for 4-12 weeks.

Well, I was at 50 degrees, but set that to 60 as I left the house this morning, My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.  Probably raise a bit quickly given your statement above. 
Hard as I may try, I doubt I can wait three months........   LOL :D
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 23, 2011, 11:09:15 am
Let your gravity be your guide.

I like to do a D-rest at 60F for most of my lagers. Raise the temp slowly and let it sit at 60F for 5-7 days and look for 2-3 days of consistent gravity readings, then slowly reduce the temp to 40 for another week or two, then keg. At that point you are ready to chill down to lagering temps and lager for 4-12 weeks.

Well, I was at 50 degrees, but set that to 60 as I left the house this morning, My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.  Probably raise a bit quickly given your statement above. 
Hard as I may try, I doubt I can wait three months........   LOL :D

I tend to have the same problem.  :)

4 weeks will be fine.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 23, 2011, 12:33:44 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Hokerer on June 23, 2011, 12:45:26 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?

The idea would be to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the wort in the bucket instead of just the air temperature in the fermentation chamber.  They can be quite different.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 23, 2011, 01:01:32 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?

The idea would be to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the wort in the bucket instead of just the air temperature in the fermentation chamber.  They can be quite different.

I can understand if it's just a temperature probe to display the temperature, but I would not connect the fridge temperature probe to the bucket or immerse it in liquid.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 23, 2011, 01:09:29 pm
My temp probe for the conical goes into a thermowell that is in the beer.

For lagering in the chest freezer, the temp probe is taped to the cornie, under some insulation.

Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 23, 2011, 01:14:58 pm
My temp probe for the conical goes into a thermowell that is in the beer.

For lagering in the chest freezer, the temp probe is taped to the cornie, under some insulation.


.

+1

Thermowell in conical and bubblewrap over probe around bucket.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 01:23:23 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?

The idea would be to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the wort in the bucket instead of just the air temperature in the fermentation chamber.  They can be quite different.
Bingo, that's it.  I heard it on an episode of Brewstrong. 
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 01:25:15 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?

The idea would be to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the wort in the bucket instead of just the air temperature in the fermentation chamber.  They can be quite different.

I can understand if it's just a temperature probe to display the temperature, but I would not connect the fridge temperature probe to the bucket or immerse it in liquid.
Why not, i've done it since day one.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 23, 2011, 01:40:33 pm
My probe is taped to the side of one bucket with some insulation.

Why are you taping and insulating the probe to the bucket?

The idea would be to get a more accurate reading of the temperature of the wort in the bucket instead of just the air temperature in the fermentation chamber.  They can be quite different.

I can understand if it's just a temperature probe to display the temperature, but I would not connect the fridge temperature probe to the bucket or immerse it in liquid.
Why not, i've done it since day one.

Fridges and their compressors aren't designed to cool liquids or solids.  They are designed to maintain the ambient temperature of the air in the fridge.  The reasoning behind this is that it takes less energy to cool the air instead of the objects in the fridge.  As long as the fridge maintains the temperature of the air, the objects in the fridge will maintain their temperature.

If you put the probe in the liquid, the air temperature will continue to rise and the compressor won't turn on until the temperature of the liquid triggers it.  Then it will take more energy to cool the liquid by using the air.  The compressor will run longer.  Additionally, the fridge isn't directly cooling the liquid.  If you were using something like a glycol wrap around the bucket or fermenter, then you'd want to measure the temperature of the liquid (and you'd want to measure the temperature of the glycol to determine when the thermal transfer was complete).

So by using the temperature of the liquid to control the fridge compressor, you're running the compressor longer and using more energy to cool the fermenting beer.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 23, 2011, 02:12:37 pm
As long as the fridge maintains the temperature of the air, the objects in the fridge will maintain their temperature.

Not sure I agree with that statement.  Remember, yeast creates heat. 
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 23, 2011, 03:11:42 pm
So by using the temperature of the liquid to control the fridge compressor, you're running the compressor longer and using more energy to cool the fermenting beer.

You may be running the compressor longer, but you should be cycling less often since the mass of the liquid does not change temperature as quickly as the air.

So perhaps it's six of one, half a dozen of the other as far as the compressor is concerned.

More to the point, since you're trying to control the fermentation temperature of the beer, not the ambient air temperature, is not the temperature of the beer what you would want to be measuring?
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Hokerer on June 23, 2011, 05:39:10 pm
Fridges and their compressors aren't designed to cool liquids or solids.  They are designed to maintain the ambient temperature of the air in the fridge.  The reasoning behind this is that it takes less energy to cool the air instead of the objects in the fridge.  As long as the fridge maintains the temperature of the air, the objects in the fridge will maintain their temperature.

In the short term, that is an untrue statement.  Yes, objects in the fridge might eventually reach equilibrium with the air temperature in the fridge, but the timescale is too long to do us any good.

Say you start with your wort and the air in the fridge both at 65F.  As fermentation gets going, since it's an exothermic process, the wort can get 5 to sometimes even 10 degrees warmer than ambient.  If your temp controller is measuring the air temp, it'll turn the fridge on just long enough to cool the air back down to 65F and then cut back off.  NO way does that get the temp of five gallons of wort down to 65F also.  That warm wort will warm the fridge air, the controller will turn the fridge on again, cool the air, and then shut off.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Eventually the wort temp will reach 65F but it'll take days and days for that the happen.  By that time, the damage (due to too high fermentation temps) has already been done.

If instead, you're measuring the temperature of the wort itself, when the controller kicks in, it won't cut off until the wort reaches 65F.  Yes, it'll run the fridge longer, but it'll get the wort to the temp that you actually want it at.  Also, due to it's thermal mass, it'll take much longer for the wort to warm up, thus making it a much longer time before the fridge needs to run again.

So it's not even as good as six of one / half dozen of the other.  Measuring the air temp, your wort probably won't be at the desired temp during the time you most care about.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 23, 2011, 07:30:02 pm
It's very simple. Either chill to your desired temp with an IC or ???and pitch or cool it in a fridge until you get it to you desired temp and pitch. The second option requires perfect sanitation.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tschmidlin on June 23, 2011, 07:51:25 pm
It's very simple. Either chill to your desired temp with an IC or ???and pitch or cool it in a fridge until you get it to you desired temp and pitch. The second option requires perfect sanitation.
"Perfect sanitation" would be sterilization, and no one does that.  I cool stuff overnight in my fridge frequently and don't have problems with standard sanitation procedures.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 23, 2011, 07:54:09 pm
It's very simple. Either chill to your desired temp with an IC or ???and pitch or cool it in a fridge until you get it to you desired temp and pitch. The second option requires perfect sanitation.
"Perfect sanitation" would be sterilization, and no one does that.  I cool stuff overnight in my fridge frequently and don't have problems with standard sanitation procedures.

Don't you agree that good sanitation is even more important when you wait to pitch? And perfect sanitation does NOT mean sterilization, it just means you are extremely careful. Sanitation and sterilization are not the same.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: tschmidlin on June 23, 2011, 07:57:24 pm
It's very simple. Either chill to your desired temp with an IC or ???and pitch or cool it in a fridge until you get it to you desired temp and pitch. The second option requires perfect sanitation.
"Perfect sanitation" would be sterilization, and no one does that.  I cool stuff overnight in my fridge frequently and don't have problems with standard sanitation procedures.

Don't you agree that good sanitation is even more important when you wait to pitch?
No.  I think good sanitation is equally important whether you pitch right away or wait.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 23, 2011, 08:24:41 pm
So it's not even as good as six of one / half dozen of the other.  Measuring the air temp, your wort probably won't be at the desired temp during the time you most care about.

You are correct with respect to the wort.

My point was more to the impact/wear and tear on the compressor. Minimizing cycling should extend the life of the compressor even if it runs longer occassionally.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 23, 2011, 10:36:34 pm
Fridges and their compressors aren't designed to cool liquids or solids.  They are designed to maintain the ambient temperature of the air in the fridge.  The reasoning behind this is that it takes less energy to cool the air instead of the objects in the fridge.  As long as the fridge maintains the temperature of the air, the objects in the fridge will maintain their temperature.

In the short term, that is an untrue statement.  Yes, objects in the fridge might eventually reach equilibrium with the air temperature in the fridge, but the timescale is too long to do us any good.

Say you start with your wort and the air in the fridge both at 65F.  As fermentation gets going, since it's an exothermic process, the wort can get 5 to sometimes even 10 degrees warmer than ambient.  If your temp controller is measuring the air temp, it'll turn the fridge on just long enough to cool the air back down to 65F and then cut back off.  NO way does that get the temp of five gallons of wort down to 65F also.  That warm wort will warm the fridge air, the controller will turn the fridge on again, cool the air, and then shut off.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Eventually the wort temp will reach 65F but it'll take days and days for that the happen.  By that time, the damage (due to too high fermentation temps) has already been done.

If instead, you're measuring the temperature of the wort itself, when the controller kicks in, it won't cut off until the wort reaches 65F.  Yes, it'll run the fridge longer, but it'll get the wort to the temp that you actually want it at.  Also, due to it's thermal mass, it'll take much longer for the wort to warm up, thus making it a much longer time before the fridge needs to run again.

So it's not even as good as six of one / half dozen of the other.  Measuring the air temp, your wort probably won't be at the desired temp during the time you most care about.

I disagree.  A fridge is designed to cool air, not liquid.  The thermal transfer of heat from the liquid to the gas may keep the compressor running, but it won't take days to reduce the temperature.  It should take hours.  As an example, put a 2-liter bottle of any liquid in a fridge.  It will cool within 8-10  hours, probably less.  Even with yeast at peak fermentation, an efficient fridge will maintain the temperature of the liquid.  The increase of temperature from a yeast thermal reaction isn't enough to outperform a modern efficient fridge.  Used with a proper temperature regulator (the same Johnson Control one that most folks have) and a proper tolerance, it won't happen.

Heat radiates and is not stored.  The fan in a fridge circulates the air to increase thermal transfer and then maintains the air temperature which subsequently maintains the contents temperature.

Putting the probe in a liquid makes the ambient air drop to the lowest level possible to reach the cut-off temperature of the probe.  In most fridges, this is approximately 30°F-34°F.  So the compressor may turn off when the liquid reaches your desired temperature (let's say 52°F), you still have a chamber full of air that is 30°F-34°F that continues to absorb heat from the liquid.  This can cause the liquid to cool down well below where you want it to.  Additionally, when your liquid reaches the turn-on temperature (let's say, 54°F), the ambient air will be well above that due to the absorption of heat from the yeast reaction and the lack of cooling in the chamber.

The critical thing to remember is that you're not directly cooling the liquid.  You are cooling the ambient air to cool the liquid.  The device is designed to do that efficiently.  If you were using something different to cool the liquid, such as a glycol or another cooling coil, then it would be practical to check the temperature of the liquid.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: narvin on June 23, 2011, 11:27:19 pm
Tim, I'm going to have to disagree as well.  A fridge is designed to cool air, but not to your fermentation temperature target of 68, or even 48 for lagers.  The coils will always be chilling the air well below your desired temperature, and it's the job of a temperature controller to regulate the duty cycle of the compressor to keep it within your desired temperature range.  Measuring your desired temperature -- beer temperature -- is the best way to do this.

I always ferment with my probe in a thermowell, and the wort temperature swing during fermentation is never more than +/- 1 degree from the target. 

If you are measuring the temperature of the air instead and set the threshold to a single degree, it will be more consistent but far worse for your compressor because it's cycling on and off so much.  Increasing the differential when measuring the air means that the air will heat up and cool down more even though the beer won't be affected as quickly due to its thermal mass --  which is exactly what happens when you measure liquid temp, except you don't have to guess what temperature your beer is at.  So I really see no reason, practical or otherwise, not to measure the beer temperature directly.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 24, 2011, 05:49:18 am
+1

Water has a heat capacity about 4 times that of air; this means that a given amount of water needs about 4 times as much heat to raise its temperature as that needed to raise the temperature of an equivalent amount of air. In other words, it’s much harder to change the temperature of a given amount of water than it is to change the temperature of the same amount of air.

Fluids have much better thermal conductivity because by their nature they are more dense than a gas. Due to the inherent heat capacity and thermal conductivity of water being higher and better, the compessor will work longer to reduce the temperature of the liquid but will cycle less due to increased heat capacity.

Monitoring the temperature of the beer using a thermocouple in a thermowell that is in direct contact with the beer would be the preferred method in an effort to potentially maximixe the life expectancy of the compressor.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: oscarvan on June 24, 2011, 06:22:40 am
I'm with Tim. I use two small freezers to ferment two buckets each. I have dual stage temp controllers with the probe in the air in the freezer. If I were to stick a 80º bucket in there and tape the probe to it the temp in the freezer would go to  minus 20º until the bucket reached 68º, running constantly and the mechanics getting pretty toasty in my 90º garage. Plus, the other bucket went in at, say 76º....so where does that end up when the thing finally shuts down?

Nope, everything nice and easy, probe in the air set at 66º and both buckets gently get there in about 8-12 hours, while the freezer mechanicals get to work, rest work, rest........

As far as the exothermal characteristics of fermentation, yes, that happens. So, I start at 66º and when the initial fermentation slows, I'll turn it up to 68º........

For completion's sake, the process is different in winter than summer. In winter I can get the wort down below 70º no problem and pitch right away. But in summer the barn is 90º after the burners run all day and I now place the yeast from the fridge in the fermenteezer to WARM to 66-68º and then the buckets, which I get down to about 80º with the chiller coil......then 8-10 hours later when all is equalized I pitch.....
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 24, 2011, 06:37:00 am
I'm with Tim. I use two small freezers to ferment two buckets each. I have dual stage temp controllers with the probe in the air in the freezer. If I were to stick a 80º bucket in there and tape the probe to it the temp in the freezer would go to  minus 20º until the bucket reached 68º, running constantly and the mechanics getting pretty toasty in my 90º garage. Plus, the other bucket went in at, say 76º....so where does that end up when the thing finally shuts down?

I hear you...but once the temp of the beer reaches setpoint, the freezer will shut off and won't come back on for an extended time, whereas keeping the probe in the air the compressor will cycle on and off much more, this will cause your freezer to work harder and reduce potentially reduce the life expectancy of the compressor.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 24, 2011, 06:41:33 am
The starting transient is the hardest on the motor.

One should also consider the delta T around the setpoint on the controller.  I think I have mine at 2F to minimize the cycling a little.

The conical is in the big fridge called the garage in winter.  I add heat in that case.  No worries about cycling the motor (there is that pesky one year cycle).
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 24, 2011, 07:02:54 am
I'm with Tim. I use two small freezers to ferment two buckets each. I have dual stage temp controllers with the probe in the air in the freezer. If I were to stick a 80º bucket in there and tape the probe to it the temp in the freezer would go to  minus 20º until the bucket reached 68º, running constantly and the mechanics getting pretty toasty in my 90º garage. Plus, the other bucket went in at, say 76º....so where does that end up when the thing finally shuts down?

I hear you...but once the temp of the beer reaches setpoint, the freezer will shut off and won't come back on for an extended time, whereas keeping the probe in the air the compressor will cycle on and off much more, this will cause your freezer to work harder and reduce potentially reduce the life expectancy of the compressor.

That's true, but it's also what is was designed to do.  If you put your temp probe in a deep thermowell you could likely freeze the outer layer of beer before the compressor cycled. Your best shot is to get your wort to the desired temperature before it ever goes into the fridge or freezer and then let the controlled ambient air keep it that way.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: bluesman on June 24, 2011, 07:05:53 am
I'm with Tim. I use two small freezers to ferment two buckets each. I have dual stage temp controllers with the probe in the air in the freezer. If I were to stick a 80º bucket in there and tape the probe to it the temp in the freezer would go to  minus 20º until the bucket reached 68º, running constantly and the mechanics getting pretty toasty in my 90º garage. Plus, the other bucket went in at, say 76º....so where does that end up when the thing finally shuts down?

I hear you...but once the temp of the beer reaches setpoint, the freezer will shut off and won't come back on for an extended time, whereas keeping the probe in the air the compressor will cycle on and off much more, this will cause your freezer to work harder and reduce potentially reduce the life expectancy of the compressor.

That's true, but it's also what is was designed to do.  If you put your temp probe in a deep thermowell you could likely freeze the outer layer of beer before the compressor cycled. Your best shot is to get your wort to the desired temperature before it ever goes into the fridge or freezer and then let the controlled ambient air keep it that way.

That's very possible.... but I chill my beer down near setpoint prior to loading in the keezer.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 24, 2011, 07:12:48 am
I was assuming that the wort was warm and you were using a thermowell. If you chill it first, either method will work well. In fact, the thermowell would probably work better in that case, although I've never tried.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: narvin on June 24, 2011, 07:18:23 am
I'm with Tim. I use two small freezers to ferment two buckets each. I have dual stage temp controllers with the probe in the air in the freezer. If I were to stick a 80º bucket in there and tape the probe to it the temp in the freezer would go to  minus 20º until the bucket reached 68º, running constantly and the mechanics getting pretty toasty in my 90º garage. Plus, the other bucket went in at, say 76º....so where does that end up when the thing finally shuts down?

Nope, everything nice and easy, probe in the air set at 66º and both buckets gently get there in about 8-12 hours, while the freezer mechanicals get to work, rest work, rest........


Freezers were not designed to cycle on and off repeatedly with the coolant never reaching its coldest temperature.  You want it to run continuously and then shut off for a while for the sake of its lifespan. If you're not going to measure the temperature of the wort, at least set the differential to 4 degrees, or put the probe in a small jug of water to avoid rapid cycling, as air temperature caused by convection currents changes quickly.

When I can't get my wort down to ferment temps and need to drop it 20 - 30 degrees before pitching, I find that the worst that happens is that I overshoot by about 5 or 6 degrees.  Setting the target temperature higher at first fixes this problem.  Another advantage is that with the freezer running constantly, I can get it down to pitching temps in about 4 hours.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 24, 2011, 08:12:08 am
I agree that freezers were not designed to cycle on and off frequently.  They are designed more to keep the ambient temperature well below the freezing point and anything below that really doesn't matter.

However, a fridge is designed to keep the ambient temperature within a range, and their compressors are designed to handle frequent on-off cycles.  Think about how many times at 26 cu.ft. fridge's door is opened on a summer day with 5 kids running around.  However, this kind of activity is not common with a freezer.  You usually open that bad bear up once or twice a day and that's it, possibly less.

And about putting the beer in the fridge at the proper temperature, the same is true with food.  You never want to put a warm turkey into the fridge because it will warm everything up in the fridge.  It's best practice to let it cool to at least room temperature and then put it in the fridge.  Additionally, it's just better to pitch at fermentation temperature anyway, so the only heating you'll get is from yeast metabolism, which will be slight and manageable with a good regulator.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 24, 2011, 08:19:07 am
Interesting discussion here.  I guess as with many things, we all have our own opinions, and do things our own way.  And as most of us don't have glycol chillers, we have to modify equipment to meet our needs. 

I'm sticking with taping the probe to the side of one buckets with some insulation.  It has served me well for about 5 years.
I do always get my wort to fermentation temp priot to putting in the freezer, so maybe that has helped me.  Who knows?
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: weithman5 on June 24, 2011, 08:21:01 am
I with 5 kids running around.    You never want to put a warm turkey into the fridge because it will warm everything up in the fridge. lator.


how the hell do you have warm turkey left with 5 kids running around.? ;D
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: weithman5 on June 24, 2011, 08:37:34 am
although i am in the process of building a fermentation chamber and all i brew have been lagers right from the start.  i have used a large styrofoam cooler (we get frozen vaccines in them) and this holds my fermenters. (usually 1 or two 1 gallons) (why i am building a bigger one). i use the foam/gel packs frozen and keep them in the cooler with the fermenter and this has kept temperature down easily.  in the winter i warm it up with an 8 watt christmas light. 
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 24, 2011, 09:06:08 am
Just leave the turkey out on the counter for a few days and snack on it until it's gone. :D
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: Tim McManus on June 24, 2011, 11:05:34 am
Interesting discussion here.  I guess as with many things, we all have our own opinions, and do things our own way.  And as most of us don't have glycol chillers, we have to modify equipment to meet our needs. 

I'm sticking with taping the probe to the side of one buckets with some insulation.  It has served me well for about 5 years.
I do always get my wort to fermentation temp priot to putting in the freezer, so maybe that has helped me.  Who knows?

I too am enjoying the discussion.  It's broadened my understanding of some the different uses and techniques folks use.  If it works for you and it makes great beer, who I am to say you're doin' it wrong?  :)
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on June 24, 2011, 11:35:10 am
Interesting discussion here.  I guess as with many things, we all have our own opinions, and do things our own way.  And as most of us don't have glycol chillers, we have to modify equipment to meet our needs. 

I'm sticking with taping the probe to the side of one buckets with some insulation.  It has served me well for about 5 years.
I do always get my wort to fermentation temp priot to putting in the freezer, so maybe that has helped me.  Who knows?

I too am enjoying the discussion.  It's broadened my understanding of some the different uses and techniques folks use.  If it works for you and it makes great beer, who I am to say you're doin' it wrong?  :)
"great beer"  Well sometimes.  How 'bout we just say "good beer"
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: narvin on June 24, 2011, 12:17:13 pm
I agree that freezers were not designed to cycle on and off frequently.  They are designed more to keep the ambient temperature well below the freezing point and anything below that really doesn't matter.

However, a fridge is designed to keep the ambient temperature within a range, and their compressors are designed to handle frequent on-off cycles.  Think about how many times at 26 cu.ft. fridge's door is opened on a summer day with 5 kids running around.  However, this kind of activity is not common with a freezer.  You usually open that bad bear up once or twice a day and that's it, possibly less.


Normally in modern frost free systems only the freezer has the evap, and the fridge thermostat operates a duct, allowing freezer air to blow into the fridge. The compressor runs until the freezer is satified, the thermostat powering the compressor is only connected to the freezer. If the fridge requires cooling but not the freezer, there's plenty of freezer air to circulate into the fridge after the compressor has turned off. Eventually the cmpressor will start again when the freezer temp gets too high.

If you have a small mini fridge, there's a freezer box on top that stays at freezer temps.  On a wine fridge, they usually have a disclaimer saying something like "Do NOT leave the door open for an extended period of time, or repeatedly open and close the door, as this can shorten the life of the compressor".
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ccarlson on June 24, 2011, 01:01:28 pm
I agree that freezers were not designed to cycle on and off frequently.  They are designed more to keep the ambient temperature well below the freezing point and anything below that really doesn't matter.

However, a fridge is designed to keep the ambient temperature within a range, and their compressors are designed to handle frequent on-off cycles.  Think about how many times at 26 cu.ft. fridge's door is opened on a summer day with 5 kids running around.  However, this kind of activity is not common with a freezer.  You usually open that bad bear up once or twice a day and that's it, possibly less.




Normally in modern frost free systems only the freezer has the evap, and the fridge thermostat operates a duct, allowing freezer air to blow into the fridge. The compressor runs until the freezer is satified, the thermostat powering the compressor is only connected to the freezer. If the fridge requires cooling but not the freezer, there's plenty of freezer air to circulate into the fridge after the compressor has turned off. Eventually the cmpressor will start again when the freezer temp gets too high.

If you have a small mini fridge, there's a freezer box on top that stays at freezer temps.  On a wine fridge, they usually have a disclaimer saying something like "Do NOT leave the door open for an extended period of time, or repeatedly open and close the door, as this can shorten the life of the compressor".

Every fridge I've seen does have the evaporator in the freezer, but the thermostat controls the fridge temperature and that's where the probe is located. The fridge may be duct fed, but it's still the primary controlled area. The freezer temp is secondary.
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: micsager on July 06, 2011, 02:47:44 pm
Thanks for all your help guys. 

The beer is carbonated and lager nicely.  I did cheat a little last night and filled a growler to share with a friend.  Right now I would say it's an average beer.  Nothing to spectacular, but the two of us finished the growler off nicely. 

I'll give another month before I bring one into the kegerator.  Gonna try and save the other for NHC in Seattle.  (wish me luck)   
Title: Re: lagering newbie
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 06, 2011, 07:14:08 pm
I'm new to this forum, so I don't want to make any enemies, but my lager chest is not frost free and is a top loader, which reaches temperature and holds hit for a real long time - it hardly runs at all for holding a lager temperature between 45-55F.  Maybe it cycles more than if I did things differently, but I have always taped the thermistor to the side of the fermenter at the krausen line wrapped in some bubble wrap.

I don't know the reasoning fully, but the beer is pretty good.

Cheers!