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I put my lager in the primary fermenter roughly 30 days ago. The original gravity was around 1.060 and 5 days ago when I took a reading it was at about 1.013. Today it's at 1.012 - so it doesn't seem to be moving much.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to get down farther? I do not have a good lagering vessel (it is fermenting in plastic), so I was planning on priming and bottling it after primary fermentation and then lagering it in the bottle.

I think it's probably ready to go (tastes great), but I'm worried that one of two things will happen - either it's not done and it will overcarbonate, or enough of the yeast have died that it won't carbonate at all.

Advice?

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1 Answer 1

To combat over-carbonating I would just bring the temperature up a bit (if you can) and let the gravity readings stabilize.

As for bottle lagering, I just brewed a Vienna lager this past spring that was left in the fermenter for about 4 weeks. After that I bottled it (without re-pitching any yeast), gave it about 2 weeks to carbonate at around 55 degrees, then packed half of the bottles onto the lower shelf of my fridge.

The beer definitely cleared up and tasted better the longer I kept it in the fridge (I ran out at about the 2 month mark).

To make sure this wasn't just the aging process, I tasted these bottle-lagered beers against the ones that were just left in my 55 degree basement and there was a huge difference in clarity, as well as a slight difference in taste.

Lagering these basement bottles in my fridge for about a month did end up clearing them up a bit, but from what I recall they never got quite as clear as the half-batch that was immediately put in the fridge, although they did end up tasting just as good.

This is my only experience with bottle-lagering, but it seemed to work out ok. I did a beer swap with a few of my co-workers and they were amazed with how clear the beer was and how clean it tasted, and no, I'm not their boss ;-)

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I would accept your answer but I posted prior to registering and I'm not sure how to claim my question. Anyhow, I went ahead and bottled it - we'll see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing the results of your experiment, it's good to know that bottle lagering does really work! –  Paul Oct 1 '10 at 22:34

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