Author Topic: Brewing Lagers  (Read 919 times)

Offline BrewQwest

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Brewing Lagers
« on: February 19, 2013, 09:40:36 PM »
Though active on many other forums under various pseudonyms ( I like to lurk  ;) ) ....I always run into the very same scenario when it comes to brewing lagers....Many say they wait until winter to brew their lagers and many say by March it will be too warm to brew lagers any longer... ????????? .... I am sure there is a real world answer to this dilemma but I fail to recognize it right away.... Can some of you enlighten me??
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 01:05:07 AM »
I would guess these people do not have refrigerator space to chill their lagers for fermentation during the summer.  And they either don't know about or don't want to do a a swamp type cooler.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 04:00:40 AM »
Can a swamp cooler really keep things down to ~9c?
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Offline tygo

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 04:46:25 AM »
Can a swamp cooler really keep things down to ~9c?

It can if you are diligent about swapping out frozen water bottles frequently but that's a real pain.
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 05:51:31 AM »
To me, it is more of a matter of tap water temperature. When using my various chillers, I can get closer to lager temperatures this time of year when cooling wort. They still go in the fermentation freezer, but less wait time prior to pitching. Summer can be tough getting anything below 80F without a prechiller and sump pump combo.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 08:08:23 AM »
It is easier fod me to do lagers in the winter. Large amonts of snow and ice to make ice water and pump through the chiller. Th. Onical is in the 40F garage with a temp controller on heat.

The Chest freezer is full of lager in the summer.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2013, 08:12:04 AM »
To me, it is more of a matter of tap water temperature. When using my various chillers, I can get closer to lager temperatures this time of year when cooling wort. They still go in the fermentation freezer, but less wait time prior to pitching. Summer can be tough getting anything below 80F without a prechiller and sump pump combo.

rather than a prechiller/sump pump, you can knock most of the heat off with hose water first, then create a loop with ice water and get it down to 45df - I live where the water is always ~75-80 and I almost always can pitch right after running off to the fermentor, even in August. 

to the OP - sorry, not much help here - I have freezers for my fermentors b/c I can't even ferment an ale without them!  >:( :o
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 11:31:40 AM »
To me, it is more of a matter of tap water temperature. When using my various chillers, I can get closer to lager temperatures this time of year when cooling wort. They still go in the fermentation freezer, but less wait time prior to pitching. Summer can be tough getting anything below 80F without a prechiller and sump pump combo.

rather than a prechiller/sump pump, you can knock most of the heat off with hose water first, then create a loop with ice water and get it down to 45df - I live where the water is always ~75-80 and I almost always can pitch right after running off to the fermentor, even in August. 

to the OP - sorry, not much help here - I have freezers for my fermentors b/c I can't even ferment an ale without them!  >:( :o
Uhh, that is the prechiller, sump pump method I was referring to. I do try to get it down with an old wort chiller if only to cut down on the amount of ice required. Still easier to do it this time of year.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 11:40:34 AM »
My garage is so cold in the winter that I have to put a lightbulb in my lager chest to warm it up, so for me winter is actually mor difficult, because I have to control both ends of the temperature spectrum for lagers.   ???
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Offline blatz

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 11:43:36 AM »
To me, it is more of a matter of tap water temperature. When using my various chillers, I can get closer to lager temperatures this time of year when cooling wort. They still go in the fermentation freezer, but less wait time prior to pitching. Summer can be tough getting anything below 80F without a prechiller and sump pump combo.

rather than a prechiller/sump pump, you can knock most of the heat off with hose water first, then create a loop with ice water and get it down to 45df - I live where the water is always ~75-80 and I almost always can pitch right after running off to the fermentor, even in August. 

to the OP - sorry, not much help here - I have freezers for my fermentors b/c I can't even ferment an ale without them!  >:( :o
Uhh, that is the prechiller, sump pump method I was referring to. I do try to get it down with an old wort chiller if only to cut down on the amount of ice required. Still easier to do it this time of year.

sorry I misunderstood then as most people refer to a "prechiller" as running hose water through an IC in ice and pumping that through the IC in the wort without any kind of recirculating loop.  That is not what I am refering to - I used to have the hose connected to my IC in the wort and use that until it hit 100df, then switched to a recirculating loop of ice water - I consider that different than prechilling the water.  When I prechilled, it was an absolute waste of water and ice. 

now I just use 2 CFCs in the same manner - 1 for hosewater, 1 for recirced icewater.   
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 11:46:09 AM »
Craigslist - look for a dorm room fridge big enough to hold a bucket.

A temp controller is about $100. That's 2-3 lager brews, which isn't asking much.

Granted, you can only do one at a time. But do you really WANT to do more than one "swamp cooler" at a time?
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 02:05:33 PM »
Even if you use an ice bath to chill, you can get down to lager pitching temps by submerging some frozen, sanitized water bottles in your wort once it gets down to the 70's or so. I have successfully brewed lagers using a swamp cooler in the summer in my 68F ambient basement, but swapping out frozen water bottles 2-3 times a day is a royal PITA.

I am fortunate in having ambient temps in my basement ranging from 48F-61F right now, and tap water right around 53F. This is prime time for brewing lagers for me right now.
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Brewing Lagers
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 02:49:03 PM »
Those frozen bottles are a PITA to squeeze through the neck of my better bottles I use in my fermentation freezer. They might work well in my conical though. It doesn't fit in the freezer, but I have rigged a thermo electric cooler to help bring down the temp a few degrees.