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What is the best way to lager?

I bought an upright freezer for a fermentation chamber a few months ago and decided to do a couple of lagers. I have done them in the past with success, but started wondering what is the best way to lager. I know colder is better so I try to lager at 34 so I don’t have any freezing issues.
What is the best vessel to lager in?

-A topped up glass carboy.
-a keg that is pressure sealed but the beer inside is flat.
-a keg that the beer inside is carbonated.

In the past, I always force carbonated the beer by shaking, and then left it alone for a few weeks. Obviously, I do not want to shake a keg that has been lagering for a few weeks so I plan to gradually add carbonation through top pressure. I am not worried so much about clarity as flavor so no finings will be added. I used Bohemian Lager yeast.

What ever is convenient for you. I don’t think you can rate them as being better than the other.

I would go with the keg, just because it would free up a carboy. And as long as it is sitting there, I would put it on gas to carbonate.

Carbonating while you lager is a beautiful thing.

You’ll find if you pressurize a keg of flat beer it will quickly soak up the CO2 and you won’t have pressure any more. So that option is probably the least favorable. I go ahead and carbonate while I’m lagering in my kegs. Lagering in a carboy is OK, I alwasys worry about the bung coming loose or the airlock dryin out.

Agreed!

Agreed![/quote]

So, is there any reason you couldn’t just add priming sugar and carbonate/lager naturally in the keg, rather than putting gas to it? I’ve got two lager’s just about ready for the lagering phase. If I could do both at the same time (whilst finishing my keezer) that would indeed be a beautiful thing. Or, will my lager yeast be snoozing too much for natural carbing at lagering temps?

:cheers:

Natural carbonation happens at a different temperature than lagering. Also, if you add priming sugar, your yeast are eating up that rather than cleaning up the by products from earlier fermentation.

There is a definate advantage to force carbing (set and forget) with a lager. And if you want to ensure perfect clear beer and then carb, you can always transfer to a clean keg after lagering and prior to carbing.

I usually prime my ale kegs with sugar, but with a lager, this means you have to wait a couple of weeks before you can begin lagering. I brewed my first pilsener in 1994, when I had a lot more time on my hands, and I saved some of the wort to krausen in the keg. It was very tart with acetyl aldehyde, after a couple of weeks, but made amazing, creamy, delicious pils after it lagered for a few weeks.

I just did not know if the CO2 in solution would keep unwanted flavor components in solution longer. Most of my friends that lager don’t carbonate until the beer has lagered for a few weeks. I have not brewed a lager in many years so I have not had to worry about this. I don’t see my lager buddies as much as I used to so I am missing my lager fix.

This is a good question. Out of habit I hook up the CO2 before lagering. Mainly because I am afraid of oxygen. But the presence of CO2 is probably not very healthy for any remaining yeast if that matters at lagering temps.

I would be interesed to hear some more user experiences on this topic.

CO2 doesn’t hurt the yeast, unless you crank the pressure WAY up. Yeast are perfectly happy lagering in an anaerobic enviroment.

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