Author Topic: what lagering does  (Read 1628 times)

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2019, 02:36:39 PM »
On the Ayinger tour the guide said that when a beer meets specs in the lagering process, it gets filtered and packaged.
Let the taste buds be the guide.  I recall once having an organic Pilsner that had been "traditionally" lagered for over six months, transferred to the tanks with residual extract for carbonation.   It was quite stale at packaging.
EDIT That beer was not just stale, but quite hazy.  It is a little noted fact that chill haze forms and precipitates in lagering; but will also continue to evolve in cold storage, eventually becoming permanent haze, the beer at this point having lost all its body and foam positive proteins to this haze.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 02:46:40 PM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2598
  • Water matters!
    • Bru'n Water
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2019, 04:32:05 PM »
I’ve used the Wehienstephaner yeast without lagering and its fine. But I’ve also used the Samiclaus yeast S-189 and it was terrible until it lagered for six weeks. After that, it was one of the finest beers I’ve ever made.

Lagering can be a necessity with some yeast.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3213
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2019, 07:47:20 PM »
I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2019, 07:50:52 PM »
I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?
+1
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2598
  • Water matters!
    • Bru'n Water
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2019, 08:05:40 PM »
I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?

Good point, however my beer was quite clear long before the flavor improved. I believe it is due to fermentation by-products and not yeast solids.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2019, 08:10:29 PM »


I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?

Good point, however my beer was quite clear long before the flavor improved. I believe it is due to fermentation by-products and not yeast solids.

How are these byproducts being reduced if not by precipitation?
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline tommymorris

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2304
  • Tommy M.
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2019, 08:17:17 PM »


I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?

Good point, however my beer was quite clear long before the flavor improved. I believe it is due to fermentation by-products and not yeast solids.

How are these byproducts being reduced if not by precipitation?
Maybe they are precipitated but they are smaller and take longer to sink.

Also, chemical reactions are possible. Oxidation is one that we don’t want (except maybe in Barley Wines). Maybe there are others. I don’t know actually.

Offline narcout

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1961
  • Los Angeles, CA
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2019, 08:25:10 PM »
What I find interesting about all this is that there is no yeast activity involved,  purely a matter of physical processes.

I don't think this is correct.
There's nothing left to dismantle; the house it just collapsed on itself.  - A. Savage

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3213
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2019, 11:38:19 PM »
So, essentially, there must be yeast activity that continues beyond mere fermentation, much like diacetyl uptake, that cleans the beer up despite flocculation?

If so, that would upend some current ways of thinking and put us back into some previous thoughts about maturation....interesting.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2019, 11:59:24 PM »
It would upend not just us, but the professional and scientific literature as well, which advise that yeast activity is best allowed to go to completion warm where yeast is most active, while cold temperatures can then be employed for physical stabilization without expectation of yeast activity.  Also mainstream practice for the last 50 years or so, where state of the art lager production process has been a free rise to room temperature,  hold until FG reached and no diacetyl detected, and immediate chilling to 0°C for dosing of chillproofing agents, filtration, carbonation and packaging.   This could all be misguided,  but a lot of research and money has gone into determining best practices.   

Perhaps if we find the flavor of a beer is improved by six weeks or more held cold on the yeast, we really should have just held it at room temperature for a couple of days more.  Which can be tried next go around with the yeast.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline RC

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2019, 12:19:42 AM »
there must be yeast activity that continues beyond mere fermentation...

No. Well, no, and a tiny bit yes. Fermentation is finished when all the sugars that are going to be consumed are consumed. The yeast then go dormant. They do have a small amount of metabolic activity in the dormant phase--and this is the "tiny bit yes" I refer to. They consume their glycogen store, which they built up during fermentation, to stay alive during dormancy.

It's possible that this small amount of metabolism is partially responsible for a beer improving during lagering, but my money is on simple yeast settling due to time and gravity. Yeast removal gets rid of a lot of flavor-active stuff.

When I was brewing commercially I recall filtering a helles. I blindly tasted the pre-filtered beer, right at the valve that fed into the filter, and the post-filtered beer, right at the valve at that came out of the filter. Striking difference. (I actually preferred the pre-filtered helles. Having the yeast still there added a fullness that was missing from the post-filtered beer.)

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2019, 12:28:20 AM »


I actually preferred the pre-filtered helles. Having the yeast still there added a fullness that was missing from the post-filtered beer.

A factor in my moving away from filtering.  It's been hard for me to learn to accept a little turbidity,  but when I did go back and filter a batch a few months ago, it just didn't measure up in flavor and texture.   Raises a question about maturation of beer:  when is it mature enough?  Can the processes be taken too far?  I think so.  Like I mentioned above (#17,) you can lager a beer to death too.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline narcout

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1961
  • Los Angeles, CA
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2019, 12:34:12 AM »
I think people use the term "lagering" alternatively to refer to both "cold maturation" and post maturation cold storage for colloidal stability and clarification, which adds to the confusion.

Chapter 4 of Kunze: Beer Production (Fermentation, maturation and filtration) covers these processes in great detail. 
There's nothing left to dismantle; the house it just collapsed on itself.  - A. Savage

Online Robert

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3819
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2019, 12:58:55 AM »
I think people use the term "lagering" alternatively to refer to both "cold maturation" and post maturation cold storage for colloidal stability and clarification, which adds to the confusion.

Chapter 4 of Kunze: Beer Production (Fermentation, maturation and filtration) covers these processes in great detail.
Flavor maturation process is accomplished by yeast.   Physical stabilization process (optional) is accomplished by chilling augmented by some combination of adsorbants, precipitation, centrifugation and filtration.  Since the optimal  conditions for these two processes are in conflict, it is best to separate them,  and even Kunze recognizes this.   

Being German he does, however, betray a romantic attraction to the Märzen process (or some variation of it,) the least optimal method.  To the original question in the OP, "lagering" in this sense is absolutely not necessary, quite the opposite.   

To further address the OP, the question started "if my beer tastes good...."  Stop.  If your beer tastes good, you're done, unless you need to clarify it for your satisfaction.  All that has followed is about how to proceed if the beer doesn't taste good yet.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 01:07:44 AM by Robert »
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline RC

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
Re: what lagering does
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 01:44:14 AM »
If your beer tastes good, you're done

Yup. This is the ultimate benchmark, and it depends only on your palate. So I might suggest doing what I do: tap that lager as soon as it's drinkable and enjoyable for you (friends and competitions be damned!), and then appreciate the change you detect over time as it "lagers and matures" (i.e., as it changes as the yeast settles).