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Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 am
by lupulus
In the "Sanity Checks" thread, Tech commented he was lagering at 3C (vs my lagering at 0-1C) and after some back and forth and a short literature review on my end, I reported that there is not much in the literature on the optimal temperature for lagering and why.
- It seems that 2/3C is better if one wants to condition the beer including yeast metabolizing VDKs (Künze)
- It seems that -1/1C is better for particle precipitation.

Please share your experiences, hypothesis, experiments, and any literature you find on the topic in this thread.

Cheers :-)

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:23 am
by Ancient Abbey
My understanding is the Narziss cold and secondary profiles are designed to keep yeast active longer and colder versus a fast drop. Nico did a nice writeup on this: ... mentation/

As ectothermic organisms, the yeast will have a faster metabolism at 3C than 0C, and yes they will clean up and condition the beer faster. The risk to lagering at 3C is the increased potential for yeast lysis, as they will consume their reserves faster than at 0 or -1C once they flocculate. Some have even claimed that the increased metabolism can consume some of the flavor compounds and foam and mouthfeel proteins that you are trying to preserve. Like with most things, there is always a compromise.

That said, one of the temperature profiles I use is the most is 6->9->3->0C. Pitch at 6C, rise to 9C, spunden and condition at 3C, umdrucken (or not) and lager at 0C. I find it cleans up the beer faster than the Narziss secondary profile, but not by much, and then I can really put the yeast to sleep for long term lagering and slow down how quickly the yeast die off. Umdrucken or filtering is clearly the best option for long term stability.

My personal experience is that you can go too cold, too early, especially if you do it too quickly and shut down the yeast. I've had beers that tasted clean, then had slight diacetyl, then were clean again. I suspect you can actually produce a situation where the yeast are cleaning up the VDK's faster than the precursors are converting to diacetyl, as yeast conversion is enzyme regulated, whereas precursor conversion is driven by simple thermodynamics. I've wondered if this is part off the trick (accidental or not) to getting a consistent level a diaceytl in the Czech styles. The yeast strain is important too, as the Czech strains tend to throw 3-5x more diacetyl than most other lager strains.

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:04 pm
by lupulus
Thanks CT. Ref your first point, I think most of us only wish we can control lagering temp, one beer at a time, but we depend on the lagering fridge, which sometimes is also the serving fridge.
Maybe the question needs to be rephrased as "if one has 1 or two lagering/ serving fridges, at what temperature do we set them up and why"?

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:27 am
by Weizenberg
One thing taking into account is that our vessels are considerably smaller. They will cool much faster than commercial ones, especially when atmospheric conditions are used to maintain temperature (eg Pilsner Urquell or Augustiner).

One also needs to consider that precipitation is slower in colder liquids since viscosity increases. Bear that in mind.

Since you can read in German, I recommend you my favourite book on this topic ... s-bieres-0

Happy New Year!

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:49 am
by lupulus
Thanks Nico. Happy New Year to you too!

I can read, but with quite a bit of difficulty :-)
Actually, I was about to buy it in late Dec but the translation of the new edition was delayed. ... he-brewery

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:12 pm
by Weizenberg
That's not the same book at all! The one I suggested is very different. Check the index ;)

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:39 pm
by lupulus
Mea culpa, mea culpa. Doing 10 pushups and 20 abs as I type. Thanks Nico :-)

Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:42 pm
by mchrispen
I didn’t know Ric could read at all! Always learn something new!

I can say with certainty, do not crash to 0c, bubble pure 02 for 15 minutes, then fine with lime flavoured gelatin. Tastes like hot buttered Lime stuffed Corona. Or so I would imagine.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Lagering Temperature (and Time)

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:29 am
by lupulus
I finally found the reference I was looking for. Abstract below; if you have the article please share :-)
The Relative Importance of Temperature and Time in the Cold Conditioning of Beer. Michaela Miedl and Charles W. Bamforth. J. Am. Soc. Brew. Chem. 62(2):75-78, 2004.
The impact on the development of turbidity from chilling lager-style beer at constant low temperatures and alternating to low temperatures has been investigated. Irrespective of whether a beer is held isothermally or has received a change in temperature of storage, the magnitude of the haze that develops is determined by the extent of chilling that the beer encounters. Equally, the length of storing a beer at a prior, higher temperature does not influence the extent of haze development when the beer is subsequently brought to a lower temperature. These observations support the contention that in the formation of insoluble material during cold conditioning of beer, a short period at a very low temperature (e.g., –2.5°C) is more efficacious than a prolonged period at a warmer temperature (e.g., 0°C).