Hello. I have experience making ales at home. What special equipment do I need to make a lager? I would start with a malt extract, I think. Does Northern Brewer sell equipment for making lagers? Cheers!
The only thing you would need differently would be some method of fermenting and storing the beer at a cold temperature. Lager means to age or store from the word lagern which I believe translates to cave. Typically people will use some type of refrigerator/freezer that they can control the temp on, some people on here even use snow banks to lager. Opinions on this, of course will be all over the board, but you need to get fermentation Temps down into the 50s Fahrenheit generally for a true Lager beer, with subsequent storage temperatures close to freezing.
Here is some fairly standard information on brewing, fermenting and lagering a beer:
Brewing Lager Beer | MoreBeer.
And to give our host a plug;
Well if you already do all grain no reason to do extract. The mash is the mash. Like Voodo says its the fermentation temperature which you can do in a swamp cooler.
As @brew_cat said no reason to do extract. Think blonde ale vs Pilsner. Just different yeast and ferm temps. The only things you need is good temp control, Time, and a way to store it cold for a bit.
I don’t do anything very much different for lagers vs. ales. I have been experimenting with using lager yeasts in the mid 60s Fahrenheit and have been happy with most of my results so far. I’ll eventually run more experiments to compare warm vs. cold fermentations when feasible, but for me at least here in Wisconsin, it’s as easy as putting a fermenter in the basement in winter at 55 F or in the garage in spring or fall when temperatures are around 40-55 F – that’s a lager. If you want to brew traditional lagers and aren’t in a cold climate, then a chest freezer with the temperature turned up to ~50 F or other means of temp control will suffice. Doesn’t need to be super complicated or expensive.