Brew Dudes

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Lagering Times

Ok.  I was reading How To Brew last night just to recheck how long I should lager the Maibock and I came across the passage about suggested lagering times.

In the book, it states that the time depends on temperature:

  • 3 to 4 weeks at 45°F
  • 5 to 6 weeks at 40°F
  • 7 or 8 weeks at 35°F

After this passage, a question is posed.

If the beer will condition faster at higher temperatures, why would anyone lager at the low temperature?

The first answer that is provided has something to do with icehouses and tradition…I guess icehouse got the beer’s temp to 35 degrees.

The second answer states that colder lagering temperatures work better in getting proteins and tannins to drop out of the beer.

My question is, why does lager-style conditioning work “faster” at warmer temperatures?


Galaxy Hops


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  1. Friggin John Palmer! He doesn’t explain that weird conundrum? That guy belongs on the moon.

  2. Maybe becasue the yeast is more efficient at a warmer temp, but once it reaches a point where it is too warm, it dies. Ale yeast is the same way, it woulds better/faster at warmer temps, but too hot and it doesn’t live.

  3. Tim

    Actually, it has to do with esters and other yeast by-products. Lagers are known for their clean yeast profile. Part of the clean profile has to do with temperature. Like ale yeasts, ester profiles and yeast-related flavors increase as fermentation temperature increases. Many ale yeasts will ferment well into the 80s temperature-wise, and will ferment out very quickly at those temps, but that doesn’t mean brewers do it. Most yeast-related flavors are not appropriate for most lager styles. Lager yeasts can survive higher temperatures, and will continue to ferment into ale yeast temp ranges, but there will be considerable off flavors. The cooler you can ferment your lagers, the cleaner the profile of the beer.

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