Saturday, January 2, 2010

Temperature Control Woes

I love a full flavored and well made lager, but I hate making them myself.  Over the years I've built fermentation chambers and used temperature override controls for freezers in order to achieve lager fermenting temperatures.  All of which have been a pain in the butt (and a storage nightmare, considering we live in a small condo) and I've never quite been satisfied with any of the lagers I have brewed and I blame it on the difficulty of maintaining the proper temperature.  I can brew ales, but a great lager has yet to roll out of the holzbrew kitchen.

Below the Maibock fermenting away three days in:

The first day I stored it in my kegerator at about 41 degrees F, but the fermentation was non existent.  The second day I took the fermenter out of the kegerator and let it warm up slowly.  All of day 2 it was fermenting in the 50 - 55 degree range and a nice fermentation was underway.  Today as you can see it has warmed to about 60 degrees which is too high for a lager, I've placed it near the fireplace as that is a very drafty and cool area in our condo, but it seems to be maintaining a temp of about 60 (and it is bubbling away quite fiercely).  I think I'll let it go here for at least a few more days in order to get the majority of the fermenting done and then move it into the kegerator for a week around 42 degrees and then drop the temps for 2 months closer to 34-35 degrees for lagering.  Hopefully the lagering will help even out any off flavors from fermenting a little on the warm side.

Keep it cold,


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