Author Topic: Lager in a Keg?  (Read 4619 times)

Offline Podo

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Lager in a Keg?
« on: December 16, 2010, 07:57:35 PM »
Hey y'all,

I brewed a german pils a couple weeks back, and I'm thinking about how to go about lagering when it's time.  I was thinking of xferring it to a keg and lagering it in my kegerator for a few weeks.  Think this will work?  I'm guessing the right thing to do would be to put it on gas just enough to purge all the oxygen out, but should I lager it under a little bit of pressure, or just purge all the gas and let it be?  When I'm done lagering, should I transfer it again to a fresh keg, or can I serve straight from the secondary?  I wasn't planning on using any clarifiers, mostly because I've never used them before.  Thanks!

Dave
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Offline blatz

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 08:35:19 PM »
Hey y'all,

I brewed a german pils a couple weeks back, and I'm thinking about how to go about lagering when it's time.  I was thinking of xferring it to a keg and lagering it in my kegerator for a few weeks.  Think this will work?  I'm guessing the right thing to do would be to put it on gas just enough to purge all the oxygen out, but should I lager it under a little bit of pressure, or just purge all the gas and let it be?  When I'm done lagering, should I transfer it again to a fresh keg, or can I serve straight from the secondary?  I wasn't planning on using any clarifiers, mostly because I've never used them before.  Thanks!

Dave

Lager in the keg, under pressure or not, it doesn't really matter so long as you have purged the head space.

I serve from the "lagering keg/secondary" and have crystal clear beer with no issues, but some guys like to rack to another keg - personal preference thing.  Me, I'm lazy and if there's no perceived improvement, I don't bother.  YMMV.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 11:26:57 PM »
Dave, I'd put it under at least 5 psi just to make sure it seals, otherwise you could end up with O2 leaking in around the o-rings.  But you can totally lager in a keg, and rack to another or not.  It's totally up to you.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 04:03:08 AM »
I lager in the keg all the time. I purge the keg and then pressurize to 10-15 psi and begin lagering at 36F in my keezer.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 05:29:30 AM »
I'd put it under the pressure needed to get the correct carbonation. This way the beer will ne carbonated when it is done lagering.

Kai

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 05:34:20 AM »
I lagered an Octoberfest in a keg this year and it worked very well.  I only put enough pressure to seal it up but I would take Kai's advice and put carbonating pressure on it.  There is definitely no need to transfer to another keg.

Offline Mikey

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 05:45:38 AM »
I once pressurized a keg (head space only) with 20 psi and then put it in my lagering cooler. When I went to check it a few weeks later there was a vacuum in it. I now rock and roll the keg to force carb it. That way it will stay pressurized when it is cooled and as previously mentioned, it's ready to drink.

Edit: I failed to mention that I purge the head space 3 times before I force carb it.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 07:25:05 AM by Mikey »

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2010, 06:42:58 AM »
I lager in kegs.  More of them fit in my lagering freezer, and it's much easier for me to raise and lower and keg into a tight spot than a carboy.

I purge all the air out of the keg with CO2 before filling it (which is just good anti-oxygen transfer practice), then top it off to make sure the seals are tight.

Whether I put carbonating pressure on it or not at this stage depends on whether I intend to filter it or not.  Filtering carbonated beer is lame, so I take that into account.  If I'm doing a lazy filter, I'll just jumper two kegs together with a clear tube and watch the clarity as it goes.  I tend not to filter my beers or do this method unless I need to move a keg to another location and don't want clarity to suffer.  This jumpering method works for all sorts of things (oxygen-free dry hopping, making eisbock, blending kegs, etc.).
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Offline blatz

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2010, 06:58:26 AM »
just for posterity - I assumed pressurizing enough to seal (20-30 PSI) was a given  :D ;)
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Offline tygo

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2010, 07:07:53 AM »
So what does everyone do with the little bit of sediment that will accumulate in the bottom of the keg when lagering in it.  Blow off the first pint or so?  Does anyone use a bright tank with the dip tube trimmed off an inch or so?
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Offline blatz

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2010, 07:22:00 AM »
So what does everyone do with the little bit of sediment that will accumulate in the bottom of the keg when lagering in it.  Blow off the first pint or so?  Does anyone use a bright tank with the dip tube trimmed off an inch or so?

I usually crash it before racking to a keg for lagering, so the carryover is a small amount.  then I just know the first pint goes down the drain, and all is well after that - maybe a hazy pint or two but nothing drastic.

bright tank with a cut dip tube is a good idea, IMO, if you'll be moving the keg around - i.e. taking to a picnic/party, etc.  but if its just going to stay in the kegerator, I don't bother.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2010, 07:33:01 AM »
This isn't strictly a lagering question.  Yes, I blow off sediment with the first pint.  But that doesn't get all of it.  Take the keg somewhere in your car and you'll see.

If it's for home use and isn't being moved, then blowing off the sediment with the first pour is usually enough.

If I'm going to be moving it and I care about how it looks, then I'll transfer it using the jumper technique I just described.

If it's for competition, I'll probably fine or filter it, either in the keg or in a smaller container.

I never cut dip tubes, because then my kegs aren't interchangeable.  I'd like them all to act the same way.  And I think you can still have problems even if you cut the tube because you can still wind up bouncing a keg around enough to make it hazy.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 07:47:46 AM by gordonstrong »
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 07:41:11 AM »
Just to add some more detail.

I like to use a fining agent like gelatin in most of my lagers unless it will be lagering for the long term then I won't use one as it should clear on it's own. I don't filter my lagers eventhough I have a filter I prefer to use fining agents mostly because it's less time consuming. I add the gelatin right after kegging then begin lagering (note: the beer must be cold prior to fining). I like to lager between one and three months uncarbonated although I have done it both ways.

After lagering and prior to serving I'll blow off the gelatin and sediment and begin the carbonation process which takes about 1 to 2 weeks at 14psi or thereabouts. Sometimes it takes a few pints to really clear out the sediment but as Gordon stated, if the keg is stationary it should remain clear without filtering.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 07:42:49 AM by bluesman »
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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2010, 08:30:36 AM »
I tend to let my lagers finish fermentation in a keg with cut dip tube (technically that makes it a mix between a secondary fermenter and a bright tank). The dip tube is actually cut quite generously and leaved behind about a pint of beer.  Letting the beer finish fermentation in a closed vessel allows it to build up carbonation naturally (saves CO2) and purge O2 introduced during transfer. If you are not careful you may stall or significantly slow fermentation with this technique. For starters I do suggest letting the beer finish in the primary and then rack to a lagering vessel. In this case you also will have less sediment and may not need a cut dip tube.

I like having no sediment in the serving keg in case I need to move it around. I even reuse empty serving kegs w/o cleaning and sanitizing them first by refilling them with beer from a lagering keg.  I may do this once or twice. Because I always fill a few bottled from the lagering keg I would know if a bad beer on tap is because of a dirty serving keg or if it was a bad beer to begin with.

Kai

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Lager in a Keg?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 08:39:08 AM »
I too lager in kegs and use gelatin as a fining agent in some beers.  I pressurize for carbonation at the same time.   I have found that carbonation does not interfere with drop out during the fining process.
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