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cowboykyle

lager conditioning question

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Ok, so the projected plan for my three lagers is to brew (almost done), carbonated for 18 days, then cold lager for up to three months.  

 

My question, does carbonation take place at lower temps?  I am pretty sure it does, just more slowly.  So if I throw the bottles into the fridge at bottling time, and hold the temp to around 40F, will it carbonate over the three months that I keep it in there?  Why would I need to carbonate at 70F before cold conditioning?  

 

Thanks in advance!  

 

 

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Both of those yeasts are rated down to 48F.

 

I think you're confusing the difference between fermentation and conditioning. 

 

Many people seem to think that there's only value in conditioning at temperatures where yeast are active. But that's not true, whether we are using ale yeast or lager yeast. 

 

Even at temperatures lower than the rated fermentation temperatures, the yeast continue to work, but very slowly. 

 

4 steps

 

Fermentation is the process where yeast converts sugars to alcohol (also co2,but most of this off gasses).

 

Carbonation is when the yeast eat sugars and convert them to co2 (and a small amount of alcohol).

 

Warm conditioning is when fermentation and carbonation are done, but the beer is at a temperature when the yeast is still active. 

 

Cold conditioning happens at temperatures where the yeast is not very active. But even at refrigerator temperatures, ale yeast will be a little active, but much less active. Food spoils more slowly in the refrigerator, but it still spoils.  Same concept. But other things are happening, as well. There are biological changes and chemical changes. 

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You need to carbonate at the temperature range intended for the yeast you are using.  No lager yeast is going to specify refrigerator temperatures.  You can pull PDF's of all yeast specifications quite easily by Googling them.

 

S-23 AND W-34/70: 48.2 to 71.6, ideally 53.6 - 59

 

You should carbonate your beers in that ideal range.  If you carbonate in the total range, i.e. go down to 48.2, assume it will be much, much slower.  If you put them in 40 degrees for 3 months, plan on having flat beer due to the yeast taking a nap.  

 

So you have two options.  1) Follow the manufacturer's specifications.  2) Put them in the fridge for 3 months.  Pull 1, discover it's flat.  Pull all the others and let sit in warm temps for a month, then put them back.

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11 hours ago, RickBeer said:

You should carbonate your beers in that ideal range.  If you carbonate in the total range, i.e. go down to 48.2, assume it will be much, much slower.  If you put them in 40 degrees for 3 months, plan on having flat beer due to the yeast taking a nap.  

 

I think I am neglecting to consider that the yeast is really what carbonates the beer....  and putting the temperature outside the yeasts range will prevent that from happening... I guess I was wondering if maybe even at low temps there were still active yeast, to ever so slowly carbonate... evidently that is not the case.  

 

 

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39 minutes ago, cowboykyle said:

 

 

I think I am neglecting to consider that the yeast is really what carbonates the beer....  and putting the temperature outside the yeasts range will prevent that from happening... I guess I was wondering if maybe even at low temps there were still active yeast, to ever so slowly carbonate... evidently that is not the case.  

 

 

They'll eventually carbonate. How long do you want to wait? A year or two might be enough. 

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OK. I'm confused here. I just bought some lagers and plan on brewing some them soon after having done 40+ batches of ales. I just don't want to screw up.

 

As a background, I have a mini wine cooler fridge thingie that has a range of about 45-72 degrees that I use for my ales and keep the fermenting temp constant at 68ish for fermenting. Our house has a temp range of about 66-82, depending on the season. The "fridge" is helpful as it keeps the temp constant and protects the LBK from occasional heat wave, such as we are having here this week in Southern California with our house hitting 80+ (I know I know, no comments on the weather puleeeze).

 

So my question: I plan on carbonating at the manufacturer's rec'd temperature, but for how long? After bottling, I was planning on sticking the bottles in my "fridge" for 4-6 weeks at about 56 degrees. But after that can I pull them out and "warm condition" them at room temp? Or do they have to live at 56 degrees-ish until I chuck them in the fridge for drinking purposes? I don't want my little "fridge" tied up for too long as I want to use it for fermenting my ales.

 

 

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OK, one more stupid question on this topic here. After the carbonation step, what would happen if I let it condition at room temperature? I assume off flavors of some type or another. I only ask b/c my little fridge has limited capacity and I didn't want to tie it up with a lot of stuff at lager temp.

 

And I assume conditioning it in the refrigerator will result in barely conditioning at all.

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1 hour ago, MRB Josh R said:

You can condition it at room temps, if you wish, but try to keep it as cool as possible. Off-flavors are unlikely at this point, it just might not taste as "crisp" as it normally would with lagering.

what he said!  

 

i 'warm' conditioned some Doppelbock lager last spring, at around 70F.  It turned out very nice, and potentially, because it has a lot of maltiness to it, a richer, fuller beer because of the warm conditioning.  

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Follow-up question.  I just bottled my first lager.  I brewed it in a temperature controlled wine fridge at 55 degrees.  I plan to carbonate at room temp about a month and than I am trying to figure out what to do with it.  Not enough room in the wine fridge to long term condition.  I can either just keep it at room temp (70-72 this time of year) or put it in a small dorm fridge which I put on minimum setting and seems to be leveling out at around 50-51 degrees at that setting.  I plan on doing a few of each just to test, but was curious what is the lowest conditioning temp that should be used?  Does cold conditioning have to be done at a temperature the yeast is rated for?  I suppose I can set up the dorm fridge on a timer and turn it on and off each hour, but that may be more trouble than its worth if 50 degrees is fine (and I think it should be, I think the yeast is rated down to 48 degrees (W34/70) and this may introduce wider temperature swings).  Someday maybe I will build and set up a temperature controller for the dorm fridge, but wanted to get some input from the group first as maybe it's not necessary if a somewhat consistent 50 degrees is held.  I just don't want the yeast to fall asleep, wake up, fall asleep etc if the fridge cycles between 47-50 if that can effect the final product.

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On ‎2‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 0:41 PM, Mjc said:

Follow-up question.  I just bottled my first lager.  I brewed it in a temperature controlled wine fridge at 55 degrees.  I plan to carbonate at room temp about a month and than I am trying to figure out what to do with it.  Not enough room in the wine fridge to long term condition.  I can either just keep it at room temp (70-72 this time of year) or put it in a small dorm fridge which I put on minimum setting and seems to be leveling out at around 50-51 degrees at that setting.  I plan on doing a few of each just to test, but was curious what is the lowest conditioning temp that should be used?  Does cold conditioning have to be done at a temperature the yeast is rated for?  I suppose I can set up the dorm fridge on a timer and turn it on and off each hour, but that may be more trouble than its worth if 50 degrees is fine (and I think it should be, I think the yeast is rated down to 48 degrees (W34/70) and this may introduce wider temperature swings).  Someday maybe I will build and set up a temperature controller for the dorm fridge, but wanted to get some input from the group first as maybe it's not necessary if a somewhat consistent 50 degrees is held.  I just don't want the yeast to fall asleep, wake up, fall asleep etc if the fridge cycles between 47-50 if that can effect the final product.

Just now read your post. I hope your dorm fridge was better than the one I swiped from my daughter. Before I purchased my Inkbird controller I placed water bottles in the fridge and monitored the temps. Thought I had found the sweet spot at 53 degrees every time I checked the water temps over 2 weeks. The following morning, brew day, I opened the fridge to find 3 gallon jugs frozen solid. LOL. I had planned to use it for my first true lager. Resorted to using a cooler with ice bottles for that batch. I was going out of town and asked my then 17 year old to swap bottles twice each day. "No problem, Dad. Got it. Don't worry". Discovered later he hadn't swapped the bottles once. Happy accident, the rauchbeer attempt was incredible anyway.
As you have probably discovered by now, the Earth's temperature is generally in the low 50 degree range throughout most of the occupied places on the planet. Conditioning/lagering occurs over a range of temperatures. If the temperature drops below the lager yeast's optimal range, not a huge deal. The still do what they do best, which is try to find a way to live. If they sleep, they'll reawaken when conditions improve. 

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