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Lager Fermentation Question

So trying to figure out if I can make this work. My cold-side system only has one fermentation chamber, which doubles as my lagering fridge (unless I want to bug a friend of mine and have him stick a vessel in his serving fridge around 42 degrees). I hate using swamp chillers because I live in a small place and don’t really have the space, but would if I had to.

TLDR: I basically want to know if its ok to have a lager sitting at ambient temperatures for a few weeks before lagering while another beer is being temp-controlled.

Anyway, I would like to try the following schedule. Please assume that I am comfortable using one yeast strain for all these styles. Jamil says if you treat them right, a clean lager strain will work across multiple styles (in this case, the yeast is Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager). Also assume that I am able to harvest nearly pure slurry off my batches, as I do a partial-cool-then decant method.

Day 1: Brew a california common (or maybe a “bavarian kolsch!”), ferment in my fridge at 60 degrees. Likely a 10-14-day primary. Remove from fridge (possibly gelatin later)

Day 15: Bottle/Keg the common/kolsch. Harvest 2-3 cups of slurry from the common, brew a Helles. 21-day primary for the Helles at 50 degrees or whatever the recommeded temp is.

Day 36: Remove Helles from fridge, harvest 2-3 cups of slurry from the Helles. Brew a Classic American Pils. 21 day primary (or longer) on CAP. While this is primary-ing, Helles would be sitting at ambient temps (likely around 60 by the time I will get to this).

Day 57: Place BOTH the CAP and Helles in the fridge, and set to 35-38 degrees, lager for 4 weeks.

Day 85: Bottle/Keg the CAP and Helles

Day 100: drink one of each even though they could bottle/keg condition for longer since I will be jonesing for a good lager by this point.

Other question, I’m typically a long-primary, don’t worry about autolysis kind of guy. Should I worry about racking either of these lagers off the yeast?

I do this routinely. After I’m done with primary fermentation, I let the fermenter rise to ambient (60deg basement) temperatures for a diacetyl rest. And then I leave it there until I have an open slot in my keg fridge (I lager in the keg). Its not unusual for it to sit several weeks before I get around to lagering it.

It may not be ideal, but I don’t seem to suffer any obvious ill effects.

I do the same. Very well could be wrong but after 3 weeks of time to ferment it’d seem the yeast is pretty well done, keeping it for a month or so in the 60’s followed by a good amount of lagering time doesn’t seem like it’d hurt anything.

Forgot to mention, I also leave it in the primary until I transfer to keg.

so you lager/cold condition while the beer is on the yeast?

No, I lager in the keg. I just meant I leave it on the yeast while its sitting at room temp prior to lagering.

Don’t let the Bavarians or the Kölners hear you call it that. :blah:

Don’t let the Bavarians or the Kölners hear you call it that. :blah: [/quote]

I also feel like Fritz Maytag (and probably Jamil) would have a coronary if I wanted to make a steam with ANYTHING but a SF Ale Yeast.

Ok, heres another question: is it ok to ‘interrupt’ a lagering of a beer, letting the temp fluctuate?

If I need to use my ferm fridge in the middle of lagering, could I take the lager out for a week and still have the same effects, or would it have any ill effects?

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