oktoberfest lager temp/history

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by KS1297, Apr 22, 2014.

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  1. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    I'm making an oktoberfest for septemeber. It is done fermenting and has been transferred to the carboy. It has been in my basement at about 50F the whole time so far. I have read that before refridgeration, the german brewers would make the oktoberfest in the spring when its still cold enough to ferment at low temp, and then condition it in cold caves over the summer.

    I have a few questions: how cold were these caves or underground storage places? most oktoberfest recipes tell you to bring the beer all the way down to 35F. Was that even possible back then? My basement is staying nice and cool right now but is eventually going to warm up quite a bit and i dont have anything for temp control down there. What options do i have? Can i bottle it once it starts getting warm and then keep it in the fridge over the summer? Any info or suggestions?
     
  2. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    "Can i bottle it once it starts getting warm and then keep it in the fridge over the summer? Any info or suggestions?"

    I think that is an excellent idea, if you don't have a temp controller...or a cave :slight_smile:
     
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  3. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    is it true that lager conditions better in the carboy than in a bottle?
     
  4. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Bulk conditioning is great for oaking/adjunct addition, but probably not all that different than small bottles from a conditioning perspective...especially if you are going to put it in smaller bottles eventually anyway, IMHO.

    "Better" is a funny word (and so is "conditioning"):slight_smile: cheers
     
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    The beers were put in caves or cellars that were packed with block ice cut from lakes or rivers in the winter. I saw one in Bamberg at the brewing museum, that used to be a brewery.
     
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  6. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    ahhhh nice. i always wondered about that
     
  7. honkey

    honkey Disciple (349) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Trader

    As stated they used ice to regulate lager temperatures. I just saw an example actually of how the ice was either cut from lakes, or how companies would actually make icicles to sell to breweries. I would lager at 1°C for however long it takes for your beer to clear.
     
  8. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    That would be ideal for sure but i'm stuck with whatever the ambient temp in my basement is so unless we get a serious cold snap its not gonna happen.

    so do any brewers over there still use the ice blocks?
     
  9. honkey

    honkey Disciple (349) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Trader

    I thin
    I think a few of the smaller ones do, but if so, I think they have their own ice makers. Augustiner Brau in Austria had an ice maker that they use for wort cooling (on an open frame heat exchanger too!) and I think they blow a fan over the ice into their cold storage rooms to keep the lager tanks cold.
     
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  10. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    I don't know about the ice blocks, but I think in your situation, it would be best to bottle and lager the beer at as close to 32F as you can manage. Lagering in the bottle is, in some respects, less than ideal, because it's difficult to bottle without introducing some oxygen, and you will probably get at least a small amount of sediment in the bottle. But it seems to me preferable to storing the beer at higher temperatures, which could (though I don't have personal experience of this) result in some staling and loss of flavor.
     
  11. KS1297

    KS1297 Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2013 Wisconsin

    Will the yeast be able to carbonate in the bottle at such low temps?
     
  12. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    I think the best thing to do would be to bottle condition the beer at room temperature and then lager at near freezing once it's carbonated.
     
    FATC1TY likes this.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yes, you should bottle condition at room temperature.

    You might be interested in reading a Mr. Wizard (of BYO) response where he suggested lagering in the botte: http://byo.com/stories/item/2313-plate-chillers-lagering-mr-wizard

    Cheers!
     
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  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Mister Wizard also says... " The only thing that should be performed before bottling is clarification, and this only needs to be done partially since yeast is needed for bottle conditioning and the bottle bottom serves reasonably well to keep yeast sediment out of the beer, provided that some care is exercised when moving bottles around and when the beer is poured."

    I take issue with his claim that the bottle bottom keeps yeast (and presumably the sedimented proteins/tannins, which he does not even specifically mention) out of the beer if you're careful when moving and pouring. Motion causes suspension. Even a little suspension is more than none.

    I'm sure it's possible to make a drinkable bottle conditioned/bottle lagered lager. But I don't think it's a best practice. I know very few people doing it, and have never heard of anybody winning comps making lagers that way.
     
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  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Below is what Chad Stevens posted in another beer forum concerning lagering in the bottle. As you will read he conducted an ‘experiment’ of a split batch and he found no difference in the resulting lager beers.

    Cheers!

    >Is there a difference between; bottling and conditioning for >2 weeks, and

    >then lagering for 30 days OR lagering for 30 >days, and then bottling and

    >conditioning?


    I've done both. Even split batch: bottle some after primary, bottle some

    after secondary, bottle the rest after lager. No appreciable difference in

    the final product in your glass.

    The only major difference might be a little more yeast at the bottom of the

    beers bottled straight from primary and a little faster carbonation.



    Long story short, I now bottle all lagers straight from a thorough primary,

    let them prime, then extended lager. Particulate settles as a function of

    particulate size, weight, density of the liquid (which is a function of

    temperature) and DEPTH of the liquid. It takes much less time for a 12oz

    bottle to settle out than a corney keg. I'm satisfied with the results.


    Good luck,


    Chad Stevens

    QUAFF

    San Diego
     
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  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    No difference. Is that what you read in the words you C&P'd? Here's what I read...

    "The only major difference might be a little more yeast at the bottom of the beers bottled straight from primary and a little faster carbonation."

    And more yeast (and other sediment) in the bottle means more in the glass, even if this particular guy didn't think it was "appreciable."
     
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,611) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Chad Stevens’ stated:


    Long story short, I now bottle all lagers straight from a thorough primary,

    let them prime, then extended lager. Particulate settles as a function of

    particulate size, weight, density of the liquid (which is a function of

    temperature) and DEPTH of the liquid. It takes much less time for a 12oz

    bottle to settle out than a corney keg. I'm satisfied with the results.”


    Cheers!
     
    KS1297 likes this.
  18. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    As a homebrewer, force carbonate lagers...unless you are a masochist. :rolling_eyes: (IMHO)
     
  19. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    So far you have quoted Mr. Wizard and Chad Stevens. What's your opinion?
     
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