Author Topic: Lagers  (Read 1343 times)

Offline flbrewer

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Lagers
« on: May 11, 2015, 12:27:26 AM »
In general, are lagers more difficult to produce given the means to ferment them in? I know it takes longer, but I'm curious if technically, it's harder to produce good results.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 12:46:13 AM »
In general, are lagers more difficult to produce given the means to ferment them in? I know it takes longer, but I'm curious if technically, it's harder to produce good results.
Lagers tend to be less forgiving of flaws in fermentation than ales. If your practices are solid, then it is otherwise no more difficult to produce a good lager than most other beers.
Eric B.

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 01:54:26 AM »
In general, are lagers more difficult to produce given the means to ferment them in? I know it takes longer, but I'm curious if technically, it's harder to produce good results.
Lagers tend to be less forgiving of flaws in fermentation than ales. If your practices are solid, then it is otherwise no more difficult to produce a good lager than most other beers.
Nor really more time involved.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2015, 03:12:07 AM »
My lagers turn out better than my ales.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2015, 04:20:18 AM »
My lagers turn out better than my ales.
Same here, generally speaking. I can't say that I've ever brewed a lager that I didn't like, but I've had some misses on ales. I look forward to brewing my Märzen more than any other recipe of mine, by a lot.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 04:52:23 AM »
In general, are lagers more difficult to produce given the means to ferment them in? I know it takes longer, but I'm curious if technically, it's harder to produce good results.
Give it a shot. Get some lager yeast (2) and make two starters. Get about 12 lbs of pils malt and make some wort. Use about an ounce of some nutral bittering hop at 60 minutes, maybe Magnum. Boil for 90 minutes and chill it to 50º. If you cant get it that cold put it in your fermenter and put the fermenter in your chest controller overnight set at 50. In the morning pitch your yeast. After a few days start raising your temp by one degree per day till it gets to 68. Take a gravity reading. In about 4 days take another.  If they are the same, and you dont smell or taste butter, set the temp to 32. Leave it there for a week. Bottle or keg like any other beer.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 11:41:44 AM »
Lagers are simple ingredient lists, combined with a procedure that will give a clean, crisp flavor. The procedure is where it gets involved. One must control the temperature and time profile to make the lager yeast do what you want.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 12:52:26 PM »
besides the other things mentioned, for me the next step to really good lagers was figuring out i needed a  healthy and large amount of yeast pitched in the mid-upper 40's, in very well oxygenated wort. then keeping a cool (most times 48-50F) steady fermentation until around 60-65% attenuation is reached, followed by warm up to about 62F to clean up.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 05:20:48 PM »
It depends on how precise you are with your ale fermentation techniques. If you already pitch healthy yeast, oxygenate and control fermentation temperatures then you have all the techniques you need to brew lagers. If you're chucking in your yeast at suboptimal rates and fermenting at room temperature then you might find you need to work on your fermentation processes with your lagers.
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Offline swampale

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2015, 12:05:09 PM »
My lagers don't take as long as my Kolsch does.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2015, 12:53:15 PM »
My lagers don't take as long as my Kolsch does.

I can have a kolsch ready in 3-4 weeks. I can also have a helles ready in that time frame. I will tend to lager most of my higher gravity lagers longer than lower gravity lagers, but even then not longer than 3-4 weeks. A lot of times though I think folks are lagering lower gravity lagers way longer than needed. If you use some fining they only need about a week at cold temps and usually are ready.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2015, 01:12:07 PM »
A lot of times though I think folks are lagering lower gravity lagers way longer than needed. If you use some fining they only need about a week at cold temps and usually are ready.

+1
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2015, 01:18:29 PM »
My lagers don't take as long as my Kolsch does.

I can have a kolsch ready in 3-4 weeks. I can also have a helles ready in that time frame. I will tend to lager most of my higher gravity lagers longer than lower gravity lagers, but even then not longer than 3-4 weeks. A lot of times though I think folks are lagering lower gravity lagers way longer than needed. If you use some fining they only need about a week at cold temps and usually are ready.
I think a lot of brewers get hung up on the old "1 week per 1 degree Plato" thing. That may hold true if you lager at warmer temps, but I lager around 30F and I'm usually tapping my kegs as soon as they are fully carbonated.

For big lagers (doppelbock specifically) I'll lager for a month or two, then condition at cellar temps for maybe 6 months or so. I think that warmer aging does a little bit better at mellowing alcohol and other flavor development that I'm looking for by cellaring a big beer.
Eric B.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2015, 01:22:44 PM »
I think the real thing is that very few brewers actually do a traditional lagering process anymore. We do diacetyl rests at higher temps and that causes the beer to condition faster. Traditionally a lager would be slowly cooled to lagering temps while fermentation is actually taking place and often krausened with a fresh batch then carbonated by spunding. I doubt many folks are doing that commercial or home brewed.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Lagers
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 01:46:32 PM »
It wasn't that long ago that I was asking how to make lagers. With some study, a ton of suggestions from guys here, and a couple winters dedicated to lagers, I do believe I've got it now. I've given up on trying to do American adjunct lagers, too much work for something I can buy for 50 cents a can. But I have narrowed in on Helles and Dunkel. I've learned that proper ingredients are vital. I've settled in on Weyermann pils, and Best Malz munich light and dark. Either german hops from germany or a neutral hop like Magnum (my personal preference). I chose Wyeast munich because I can get it fresh off the teet, and I really like how it performs. I pitch below my target temp and gradually walk it up one degree per day to 68 (because 68 is where my hydrometer is calibrated to). When its all done I chill to 30f and leave it a week. Then I gel fine by the method I learned here. I leave it another week then bottle condition.

I just shipped my latest helles and dunkel to Spring Fling in Bend. And to Dr Homebrew for a show in July. We'll see how they do. I'm dead set on fine tuning these two beers till they medal at the big show. My next step is to start tweaking pH now that i have a meter. It may be a long journey, but what else is there to do? And the leftovers are pretty tasty along the way.