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maverick

Lager Temp Questions

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Ok, so Ive racked my German Bock to the carboy, and Im supposed to move it to a cool fermentation area (48-60). I was planning on using my beer fridge, but the "warmest" I can get it to is 46-47...will a couple of degrees on the cool end matter?

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Depends on the yeast, some will go to sleep, some will just work slower. Post your yeast, hopefully some lager brewers will answer, I just do ales myself, so far.

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Every yeast, whether lager yeast or ale yeast, has an optimum temperature range. It varies from yeast to yeast. Looking it up online at the manufacturer's website, or a website that sells it, should tell you what that range is.

This means the yeast will work best within those temperatures. A few degrees warmer or colder won't matter a whole lot, but it's not optimum. And going too far out one way or another means you're courting disaster, either in the form of off-flavors that may not condition out or killing the yeast completely (both occur when it's too hot), or else having the yeast get too cold to work and they just stop fermenting, so you're not making beer.

If you're considering putting the keg in a place that's a little too cold, you may have to wait longer to bottle your beer, and since lagers take a little longer anyway, it may not be worth the wait (unless this is an absolutely amazing beer, but I'm thinking it would have to raise the dead to be worth an even more extended fermenting/lager time). Still, if that's only a couple of degrees lower than the optimum range, it may not make much difference at all.

I would say go for it, especially if that's the only way you can get consistent temperatures, which I would consider more important than being in the optimum range.

I brewed a bock yesterday, and the yeast I used (White Labs Bavarian Bock) targeted 50-58 as optimum. I have a fridge and a Johnson Controller, so I know I can keep it at a set temperature for the whole time. Lagers require a little more TLC.

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I've only found Saflager W-34/70 Weihenstephan to be close to the temperature ranges you mentioned at 48-59F, but Like Dave said earlier a few degrees either way should be too much of an issue. I would make sure you're getting an accurate reading from the fermentor itself and not just the air in the room though.

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I like doing cold fermentations with lagers. I use the method described in Brewing Classic Styles.

we recommend chilling the wort to down to 44º (7º C) and racking the beer away from the bulk of the cold break material before oxygenating and pitching the yeast. The fermentation chamber should be set up to warm slowly over the first 36 hours to 48 hours to 50º F (10º C) and held at that temperature for the rest of fermentation. This results in a clean lager, with very little diacetyl.

If you follow that procedure the fermentation will only be off of recommended by a few degrees. But the fermentation also creates a little heat so it could be good. Worst case scenario it takes a little longer to ferment. Using this method I haven't had to do any diacetyl rests.

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