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Fermenting Lager and Ales

I am somewhat new at the brewing gig and have done strictly ales up to this point (5 batches). I currently use a chest freezer as my fermentation chamber with an external temp controller.
Question 1: I have heard that you want to bottle and condition a lager before the actual lagering stage, is this correct?

Question 2: If I dont want to wait the extended period that it takes to do a lager to start another batch of ale, is this possible with only one fermentation chamber? Could I get away with primary for lager in the fermenting chamber, bottle and condition it and then lager it in a fridge thus freeing up fermentation chamber to the ale?

Im not sure if that makes sense so if any of you can decode this and give me some tips I am all ears!!

  1. you can certainly bottle condition before lagering. In fact, I would encourage that to ensure that there’s enough, healthy yeast to support conditioning. I say that with a caveat. Here’s what I would do:
  • ferment your lager at around 50°
  • after about a week of ACTUAL fermentation start raising your temps 2° every 12 hours until you reach mid 60°s
  • sit for at least 3 days
  • cold crash for 3 days at as close to freezing as you can
  • bottle as normal and allow temps to raise to room temp for conditioning
  • once you know bottles are carbonated lager away
    This method will allow for optimal fermentation while ensuring the yeast clean up the by products of fermentation. The cold crash will get as much trub to drop out while still ensuring enough yeast to carbonate.
  1. see step 3 above. When you get to this step you can then ferment an ale. Also, you can absolutely Lager the bottles in the fridge to open your ferm chamber. Another thing you can do is to time your lagering with a cold crash for an ale.

Thank you for the insight. I get what you are saying about the timing as well and that makes sense although I have not yet every cold crashed an ale (something new for me to try!!). I am also assuming that I do this all in the same fermenter (no secondary) until bottling.

Not sure where you live but I only do lagers in the winter months and take advantage of the cold temperature as to not tie up space. Summer I do Belgian and saison for the same reason except take advantage of the heat

Primary vs Secondary… the choice is yours. Truly it’s really a “brite vessel” unless you are adding fermentables. I’m a secondary man myself. My personal experience when I moved to 10gal batches and had to use 2 carboys. A few times I secondaried one carboy and left the other. I saw the secondary clear quicker while leaving less trub in the kegs.

The “risks” of secondary are blown out of proportion. Sure if your risky with sanitizing and rack haphazardly you can run into issues. But, I assume e you would sanitize a new carboy, and the beer contains dissolved CO2 that will come out of solution when racking thus avoiding oxidation and helping to clear the remaining headspace. I suggest you try both and see what works best for you.

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I live in the Texas panahndle so that makes sense. I just started brewing in late December so I haven’t had long to get my feet wet. I may just brew and Oktoberfest this summer and wait to do more in the winter months.

I’ve secondaried my last 3 batches just to make room and I’ve liked the results. I may play around a bit and see which I prefer

There are as many options as there are brewers … I meself enjoy some “characteristic” qualities in a brew… and hops being one of them… I’m not so sure I’ll do any more lager yeast’… I will lager an ale when its a brew that needs to be clean"er"… Its a way of processing your brew AFTER its fermented that can and will change the brew… Don’t get me wrong, there are many very good lager brews out there… I choose to have something come up quicker, and have fruity/estery character… So I will do Ales… They can also be cold aged… OR, even do some cellared… 50* or so… Sneezles61

That’s fine for a darker lager or maybe even a bock. But a pils I would use a lager yeast myself

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