Lager and ale question

Alcoholic beverages which are not classified as spirits.

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goinbroke2
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Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:24 am

So after living in Germany many years and then going to the uk and eventually back to Canada I figured out I love lagers but hate ales. So I do ag distilling and am debating getting back into beer making, what is the difference in the ag process between ale and lagers? Yes I know lagers are left to ferment for a long period compared to ales, I mean is there a difference when cooking? 2lbs of grain per gal for both? Same cooking temps etc?

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by bronctoad » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:14 am

GB as far as I know, the major differences between the two are the types of yeast (ale ,top fermenting, temps in the 65 to 75f.)(lager, bottom fermenting, temps 45 to 55f.) and fermenting time. ales 2-4 wks. lagers 6-12 wks or longer. there are some specialty strains of yeast designed to ferment lagers at ale temps and times but I haven't used them. as far as grain bills you can swap between ale or lager recipes straight across. its more or less a taste profile that your looking for that will change the grain bill. hope this helps abit. :thumbup:

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by Lawfish » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:22 am

Agree with bronctoad. No difference at all in the grain bills. Take an identical grain bill and make an ale using a top-fermenting yeast, or a lager, using a bottom-fermenting yeast.

I'm the opposite of you. I love the character and depth of flavor of ales, but find lagers too clean and uninteresting. Which is good, because I lack a place to hold lager temps.
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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by frunobulax » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:34 pm

When making a mash for distilling, I use a lower temperature, between 149-145, but a longer mash time, 90 minutes.
The lower temperature favors the beta amylase enzyme, which favors a more complete starch conversion but takes longer to work.
The end result is, less residual sugars and a lower Final Gravity.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:05 pm

I'm guessing what you are looking for is a light bodied light colored beer rather than something more malty or hoppy.

A lot of that is in the recipe. You want very pale Brewers malt and not much bitterness from hops.
And being a stiller, you won't be skairt to use some corn or rice to lighten the beer.

If you're lucky, SS or Jimbo will jump in here to give you some direction.

Unlike making whiskey, YouTube actually has some very good vids on beer making, any style, here's one for lagers:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBjKWFMqCxk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by brat » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:08 pm

Try brewing a kolsch. That style is very easy to brew. You can ferment it at 63 degrees and it will give you a very clean lager like brew with out going to the lagering process. I enjoy them very much.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:12 pm

Thanks all, just read a thousand pages on beer then went to the local brew shop. Brat, I've already been advised to try a kolsch, thanks for the confirmation.

Everyone else, thanks again for the quick help/replies.

By the time my fermenters are empty and clean I think I'll have a plan in place for making beer. :thumbup:
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:20 am

GB,

I'm a "continental beer" fan myself. My favorites are those rich German bocks...gotta' love the malt flavor. Keys to good European lagers are obviously, 1) the yeast, 2) fresh malt grains, and 3) good (soft) water. The mash processes are closely maintained for consistency (temperature steps) and the Deutch even use decoction steps in their big bocks to enhance the melanoidin production, which creates a toasted, malty flavor and increases the colors of the beer as well.

Although I'm a long time dedicated brewer, I am alergic to hops...but I've got to use them in beers. So, I favor those beers where the hops play a minor role, like the German lagers and traditional Belgian (Abbey-style) ales. Both are malty styles with the hops used to balance the sweetness.

Regarding the two yeasts, as noted already, the most evident difference is the temperature at which the yeast ferments best. The different strains also have different alcohol tolerances and production of congeners, especially sensitive to temperature variations. Lager yeast will often attenuate better (drier finish gravity) because they do continue to convert the sugars longer, allbeit at a slower rate. This result likely is what you like about those German lagers you've consumed.

And the lagering process (cold conditioning for an extended period) helps accentuate the delicate malt flavors without the heavy distraction of hops in the aroma and flavor perceptions. The grains become the focus for their beers, and that's where the energy is..."liquid bread".

So, as an experiment, formulate a recipe for a porter (an American dark ale) and split it in half, fermenting 1/2 with an ale yeast (Chico yeast is my recommendation) and the other half with a lager yeast (Bavarian lager is great choice). The ale will ferment fast and flocculate quickly. The lager will initially ferment fast, but it will take time to attenuate. Since the lager is a bottom fermenting yeast, its flocculation will be less noticeable, but it will happen (in time).

The results: the ale is a classic American porter and the lager is a German dunkle. Both beers are fantastic as an appertif and with meals. The alcohol content in each style will be close too. But, you'll note the differences in how the yeast affects the aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel.

Gotta' love them lagers. Right now on tap I have a keg of Paulaner Oktoberfest and a keg of my German dunkle. Prost!
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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:02 am

Thanks for that SS, yeah I can't even tell you what I actually "like" about German beer as in what flavour or whatever. Pretty much every gasthaus makes its own house beer and I've never ate a meal and then thought the beer wasn't great/excellent. I know the big breweries like Heineken were ok but the small locals were always great. My favourite was Reigel ( a small town about 10 minutes from where I worked) there was one " micro" called appropriately Reigel. Another was a monastery north of kiel which was awesome and " Zwie gross bier" meant two 2litre tankards, good workout lifting that all night! Lol!

the way things are going I'll probably start right after Christmas.
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:59 pm

brat wrote:Try brewing a kolsch. That style is very easy to brew...
Well actually a Kolsch is harder to make than you think. I've had the opportunity to sample a few in Cologne (Koln) my favorite being the Sion (pronounced "zion"), which I drank in a little cafe in the platz across from "the Dom".

It has a malt flavor with a slight "creamy" character, most likely from the addition of malted wheat. It does finish crisp due to the lager conditioning. The mouthfeel is low/medium low and the head is a "tight beaded, white, effervescent bubble". On first taste, the flavor is simple, but as you continue the taste, you'll notice the malted barley character come through. The hop aroma, slightly spicy is low, but present. I would suspect one of the noble hops as their choice, possibly even a Tettnang hop (one of my favorites).

A true Kolsch is very delicate and traditionally served in the tall, skinny crystal glass (similar to a Tom Collins cocktail glass). I have attempted to replicate the Kolsch many times and have made great blonde (lagered) ales. But they are not the same as the Kolsch beers made in Cologne. In America, they're just "blonde ales".

Of course, you have to use a "Kolsch" yeast, one that ferments at ale temperatures without producing esters and which finishes well when lagered. Selecting the right base malt (I prefer the Belgian 2-row/lager malts) and add some wheat malt for a light colored grain bill with a target OG of 1.053-1.056.

In retrospect, I have judged Kolsches at beer contests many times, and while the offerings have been satisfying, they hardly hit the standard found in Germany.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by WooTeck » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:35 am

good luck goingbroke, sounds like a good project. im in the same boat as lawfish, prefer ale over lager.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:05 am

I want to start it but until my other ferments are done I can't start, and I keep adding sugar and water to the buckets when their done...mama will have several gallons of neutral when I'm done and then I can get back to whisky and making the beer.

This is the problem with depleting stock before moving. :lol:
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by bitter » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:19 am

This is a recipe i have made. Very nice light clean beer
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum ... hp?t=26360" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Can be made as lager or ale. I make the ale the like to store egged for 3months at 33 f

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by WooTeck » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:04 am

goinbroke2 wrote:I want to start it but until my other ferments are done I can't start, and I keep adding sugar and water to the buckets when their done...mama will have several gallons of neutral when I'm done and then I can get back to whisky and making the beer.

This is the problem with depleting stock before moving. :lol:
maybe a good idea to have a/some dedicated fermenters. if you end up lagering for 1+ months its along time to have a tied fv. one of the reasons i love ales is the fast turn around from brewday to glass in around 3-6 weeks. little need for long term planing, to keep a stock of lagers id guess you have to put more thoought in to it.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:13 pm

Thanks guys, yes I have four or five fermenting pails, but am getting a hdpd garbage can 170L and once I start doing whisky in that I'll use the smaller pails for beer or neutrals.
Had a 205L barrel before but it was getting chewed up so I tossed it in the move.

What a great hobby! 8)
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by Pikey » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:25 pm

I can't say how the funny yellow stuff is made, but real ale and uk beers are made with varying proportions of malt, roasted to varying shades from pale to dark. the heavier the roast, the less the sugar output, but the more it contributes by way of flavour and colour. So I would say no, the "Grain bill" is definitely not the sameWater hhardness and hopping are also significant factors.

If you look at the various Scotch whisky types, there is a huge variation, again stemming from the way the malt is treated and the proportions of the mix.

Proper uk beers have more variation than those scotches, without even looking at the speciality ones like Guinness and Milk Stout.

However, I can't say that lagers do not have their place. If I'm totally skint, I'll drink lager, because it tastes so dreadfull I can only get through 2 or 3 in a night ! :lol:

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by WooTeck » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:05 pm

sound like your going to be set with plenty fermenting space.
Pikey wrote:I can't say how the funny yellow stuff is made, but real ale and uk beers are made with varying proportions of malt, roasted to varying shades from pale to dark. the heavier the roast, the less the sugar output, but the more it contributes by way of flavour and colour. So I would say no, the "Grain bill" is definitely not the sameWater hhardness and hopping are also significant factors.

If you look at the various Scotch whisky types, there is a huge variation, again stemming from the way the malt is treated and the proportions of the mix.

Proper uk beers have more variation than those scotches, without even looking at the speciality ones like Guinness and Milk Stout.

However, I can't say that lagers do not have their place. If I'm totally skint, I'll drink lager, because it tastes so dreadfull I can only get through 2 or 3 in a night ! :lol:
think hes talking about good strong euro lagers not the piss water you find in non beer wanker pubs.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:52 am

So, mamas got almost 5 gal of neutral now and the buckets are all cleaned so I can start...wait a minute, the "Canadian la ger" beer kits I got for Christmas both have ale yeast under the lid!?! Wtf!
I guess I will try a lager with ale yeast after all.

Won't this just make an ale? :sick:
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by still_stirrin » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:10 am

GB2,

It will indeed "top ferment". And if you let it ferment warm and fast, it'll produce the esters common with ales. But, you can cold "lager" the beer when fermentation is done. That will help clean up the flavors somewhat, although to be true to the style you'd be better off with a true lager strain.

As I mentioned previously, the German Kolsch (Cologne) is an ale strain which is cold lagered to condition.

But I want to caution you regarding the packaged yeast under the lid of your extract...you really don't know how viable those are. More likely than not the yeast has been exposed to temperature extremes and who knows how old the packages are. I would not trust it to ferment your beer...I ALWAYS get fresh yeast for brewing.
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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by Pikey » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:35 am

goinbroke2 wrote:So, mamas got almost 5 gal of neutral now and the buckets are all cleaned so I can start...wait a minute, the "Canadian la ger" beer kits I got for Christmas both have ale yeast under the lid!?! Wtf!
I guess I will try a lager with ale yeast after all.

Won't this just make an ale? :sick:
No. The stuff in the can is not "ale stuff" - it's er "Lager stuff" :lol:

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:56 pm

Well $6.00 later and I have two packs of lager yeast. Just made up the two pails and even bought corn sugar. Must be a bit over the 23L though as it came out to four percent or so initial. Didn't want to but added table sugar and got it to about six percent. Hopefully that won't change the flavour too much. Downstairs covered waiting to drop to pitching temp. Without heat it should stay around 55-60 degrees the whole time.
Gotta pick up a new ss cap for one of my kegs on Tuesday and that should be the end of the purchases. :thumbup:
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by still_stirrin » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:16 pm

goinbroke2 wrote:....as it came out to four percent or so initial....Downstairs covered waiting to drop to pitching temp. Without heat it should stay around 55-60 degrees the whole time.
When you checked the OG, did you correct for temperature? If not, the readings will show less potential alcohol than actually exists in the warm wort. You may have not needed additional sugars.
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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by goinbroke2 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:15 pm

Ah poo, overlooked that.. :oops: must be a newby :lol:

Well if it ends up a little high, oh well.
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by bitter » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:34 pm

Another thing to think about with lagers is yeast pitch rate. You need way more yeast than most people realize. Most the liquid yeast mention 1 pack for Ale and 2 pack for lager.. but its more like 2 packs per 5g of beer for an ale and 4-6 for a lager depending on the gravity.. Or cheaper method buy a pack and make nice starters ahead of time using stir plate.

If you want a nice clean crisp summer beer here is one I have made and turns out nice as an ale with US05 and ferment on the lower end of the temp rage for a nice clean beer, then after clear and carbinated keep as close to freezing as you can for 30-60 days then open a bottle. In this case you make a clean ale then lager it. Very nice beer and those who don't like craft beer even really like it. The traditional lager is really nice also but takes more time...

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum ... hp?t=26360" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by bronctoad » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:47 pm

GB if your worried about throwing a off flavor try using rice syrup solids instead of corn sugar its more pricey but will just boost the alcy without changing the base flavor. to a point :|
I'm doing a couple of lagers myself due to the outside temps getting in... the garage. they are my favorite grain bill recipes that I have made ales with before, I'm hoping they still taste good as a lager :eh: good luck either way.
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Re: Lager and ale questi

Post by goinbroke2 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:06 am

Pitched yeast last night and 12 hrs or so later......very minimal activity. I know I'm used to a 75 degree rolling boil when fermenting for whisky, but this is somewhat disconcerting. I'll check on it this afternoon after church and hopefully by then it's taken off. I was thinking of keeping it around 70 the first week then racking and then lowering it to 55-60, maybe I should have. If it hasn't done anything by tonight I,ll warm it up to 70.

Should I use my keg as a secondary or no? Just thinking it would be easier to do that and then add co2 to the keg when done fermenting instead of racking it a second time. Anybody else do that or does it leave too much sediment in the bottom of the keg?
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Lager and ale questi

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:33 am

goinbroke2 wrote:Pitched yeast last night and 12 hrs or so later......very minimal activity. I know I'm used to a 75 degree rolling boil when fermenting for whisky, but this is somewhat disconcerting. I'll check on it this afternoon after church and hopefully by then it's taken off. I was thinking of keeping it around 70 the first week then racking and then lowering it to 55-60, maybe I should have. If it hasn't done anything by tonight I,ll warm it up to 70.

Should I use my keg as a secondary or no? Just thinking it would be easier to do that and then add co2 to the keg when done fermenting instead of racking it a second time. Anybody else do that or does it leave too much sediment in the bottom of the keg?
Leave it alone.

I have an ale ( dog fish 90) that I brewed yesterday and pitched about 4:30. About 17 hours. It's still not visibly bubbling yet. It's at 64 degrees. Am I going to fuss with it? Hell no. I have had ferments take close to 48 hours to start showing signs active fermentation, depending on pitch rate.

The only thing you have to ask yourself is are you holding the temp that the yeast like. I don't know what yeast you got, but I never ferment over 70 with even my ale yeast. Don't want painful esters in them. And you are using a lager yeast? That usually is supposed to be around 50 degrees or so, for primary fermentation. You keep that sucker at 70, 75, and you are not going to get the clean crisp taste you set out to get.

Also, get ready to hurry up and be patient. Lagering can take months, with primary a solid month. Then comes the actual lagering at lower temps to clean it up.

And don't secondary. It's a myth that it is necessary. Leave it in the primary, the yeast will clean it up.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by Jimbo » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:07 am

Hey GB. Lagers are a bit trickier to make, but its all in the fermentation and conditioning part. Takes longer as well, see below. Cooking is about the same, just with a different recipe.

Youll need a lagering chest. Pick up an old chest freezer and put one of the $20 temp controllers from flea bay on it.

Primary ferment is at 48-55F depending on the yeast and what youre after. The wort must be at or slightly below target temp. Which is tough to hit with a wort chiller, so usually means a night in the cooler before pitching. 3 weeks at target.

Then you need a diacetyl rest. This pushes the yeast to consume sulpher compounds that are commonly produced with lager yeasts. After 3 weeks primary set the temp to 65F for 3 days.

Finally, its time for lagering. SLOWLY lower the temp to 40F. 2 degrees per day, you dont want to shock the yeast but ease them into this next mode. Some weeks here will clean up your beer nice and make it ready for the glass.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by Jimbo » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:15 am

PS: this type of temp controller will turn a chest freezer into a lagering chest in 10 seconds with no need to cut wires and dick around with screw terminals. Very convenient.

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Re: Lager and ale question

Post by DFitz » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:00 am

I use a similar temp controller. STC1000+ has been programmed to accept several differ fermentation profiles. My lager profile automatically goes through the fermentation duration, then ramps up automatically for diacetyl rest, then ramps down to lagering temps. without any assistance. The ramp is about 1 degree per hour, 24 hours to diacetyl then 48 hours to lager. Pretty nifty for $20.

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