California Common lagering questions

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California Common lagering questions

Postby leonthebum » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:32 am

I've brewed 10 ale batches thus far and am curious to try the California Common. Having never attempted a lager, I want to make sure I fully understand the process.

- How long should I leave it in the fermenter? My ales I've always left for three weeks before bottling...

- Do I really need to rack to a secondary carboy, or can it stay in the primary the whole time.

Now that winter is approaching, I can keep the fermenter in a 55 degree environment. According to the More Beer product page, anything up to 65 is okay, so maintaining a good temp seems doable.

Anyway, I'd really appreciate any tips on making it a successful batch!

Many thanks,
David
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby turbo_ale » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:18 pm

My process is two weeks for ales, four weeks for lagers, in the fermenter.
ON TAP:
1. 1C
2. 4B
3.
4.
5.
6.
Bottled: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 16B, 18B, 18E, 19B, 20, 21A, 23, 27
Fermenting:
Next: 5C

BEER, a mixture of malted grains, water, hops and yeast, that is transformed through the course of fermentation that transcends the simplicity of those basic ingredients, fundamentally into the drink of life.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby tookalisten » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:32 am

turbo_ale wrote:My process is two weeks for ales, four weeks for lagers, in the fermenter.


Same here.

I usually try to keep my lagers fermenting around 50F (so my fermentation chamber is actually a little cooler) and then slowly warm up to about 60F during the last week or so. But, sounds like for your style, you will be fine with your plan.

Keep us updated on how it goes. I am way overdue for making a lager myself.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault

Primary: RIS, Two Hearted Ale
Kegged: Brown Ale, Citra Pale Ale, JZ's WCB
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby dmtaylor » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:11 am

Keep in primary the whole time if you prefer. I would ferment at 60 F but 55 F should also work. If you get sulfur or diacetyl then raise up near room temp near the end of fermentation. My guess is the ferment will take around 4 weeks plus or minus altogether from pitch to bottle/keg.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby pclemon » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:21 am

Keep it in the primary is fine. You want to keep it in the primary until it's finished fermenting - be it 2,3 or 4 weeks. My experience with the San Fran lager yeast at 60 degrees is that it should be pretty well wrapped up after 3 weeks.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby leonthebum » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:59 am

Thanks for all the advice everyone! It's been in the fermenter for 4.5 weeks now, at 58-60. It seems done and tastes great.

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.010

I'm planning to bottle tonight, but wondering if perhaps it's not done fermenting? Am I risking exploding bottles if I bottle now?

Many thanks!
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby turbo_ale » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:14 pm

After 4-1/2 weeks it is done, 1.010
ON TAP:
1. 1C
2. 4B
3.
4.
5.
6.
Bottled: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, 16B, 18B, 18E, 19B, 20, 21A, 23, 27
Fermenting:
Next: 5C

BEER, a mixture of malted grains, water, hops and yeast, that is transformed through the course of fermentation that transcends the simplicity of those basic ingredients, fundamentally into the drink of life.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby pclemon » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:03 pm

turbo_ale wrote:After 4-1/2 weeks it is done, 1.010


Agreed - 77% attenuation - it's done. Would also guess that it's been at 1.01 for a couple of weeks.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby leonthebum » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:26 pm

Thanks guys - that's what I'd been thinking. However, last night I brought it upstairs to prepare for today's bottling, and today noticed that it's bubbling again. When I shine a flashlight into the side of the carboy, I see little bubbles going upwards, much like you'd see in a glass of beer.

Could it be the warmer upstairs ambient temp (64 vs 57) jump-started some remaining fermentation? It tasted great 5 days ago when I took the 1.010 reading. I sprayed hands, thief, etc. with Star San spray, so it seems unlikely that a wild yeast strain got in...I certainly hope not, anyway.

Not sure what to do...perhaps keep it longer at a warmer temp for a few days? Or more?

Many thanks!
David
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby pclemon » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:42 pm

You can keep it warm for a day or two, take a gravity reading and see if it's changed. I suspect it's just CO2 coming out of solution as it warms up.
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Re: California Common lagering questions

Postby leonthebum » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:18 pm

Thanks - just checked and FG hasn't budged. It must have just been the CO2 coming out of solution...didn't know it did that! Just finished bottling it.

Thanks again,
David
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