Author Topic: Lagering Time  (Read 5741 times)

Offline harbicide

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Lagering Time
« on: June 02, 2013, 02:10:36 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.
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Offline saintpierre

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 02:21:31 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.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 04:33:46 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.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 05:29:13 PM »
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.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 05:56:39 PM »
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.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 07:29:49 PM »
...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). ;)
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Offline malzig

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 04:36:46 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.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 04:50:48 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.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 07:12:32 PM »
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.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 07:33:48 PM »
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.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 06:59:53 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.

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

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 08:04:40 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.

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.
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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 08:52:32 AM »
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.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 09:51:54 AM »
...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.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Lagering Time
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 03:47:53 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.