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I've already made some batches of all-grain ales, and now I want to try my first lager, the only problem is that I have 2 fermentation buckets but only 1 fits on my refrigerator. So my question is: is it possible to make a lager only with primary fermenter?

Here's my Vienna Lager recipe:

Ingredients:

------------

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      

1,25 kg       Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (5,9 EBC)           Grain        25,00 %       

1,25 kg       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3,9 EBC)             Grain        25,00 %       

1,00 kg       Vienna Malt (6,9 EBC)                     Grain        20,00 %       

0,75 kg       Munich Malt (17,7 EBC)                    Grain        15,00 %       

0,45 kg       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (19,7 EBC)     Grain        9,00 %        

0,30 kg       Wheat Malt, Bel (3,9 EBC)                 Grain        6,00 %        

30,00 gm      Cascade [5,50 %]  (60 min)                Hops         21,5 IBU      

5,00 gm       Fuggles [4,50 %]  (60 min)                Hops         2,9 IBU       

15,00 gm      Fuggles [4,50 %]  (10 min)                Hops         3,2 IBU       
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can, and I do, ferment and lager in the same vessel. No racking necessary. My lagers come out crisp and tasty. Control the temperature as you would for fermentation then lagering, but do not bother transferring between vessels.

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I would have said that the beer should be off the yeast during an extended lager period. But If Dean says he gets good results without doing so... I'd say go for it too. I'll try it this way on my next lager too. –  brewchez Aug 3 '10 at 17:32
    
Thanks for the answer! I'm going to try my first lager in a few weeks! –  loop0 Aug 3 '10 at 18:34

The answer is yes and no at the same time. You need to have full control of the temperature over both the fermentation and the lagering period. Since you have to rack to secondary when fermentation is almost done to start the lagering, you obviously can't do any work with one fermenter. However, owning a second fermenter, I believe there is no harm if you rack to your secondary, clean-sanitize your primary again, and directly rack to primary again and place it in your fridge, thus using your secondary just to clean the primary. If you are really careful over that period in order to have minimum contact with air, I don't think you'll have any problems.

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