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Biere De Garde recipes seem to generally recommend a period of 4 to 6 weeks of cold storage, essentially lagering. My brewing experience consists solely of fermenting ales, so this is somewhat foreign to me.

There is one mention in "Farmhouse Ales" (p. 46) of "...garding on the lees," but every other mention of garding does not mention the lees or yeast, so I'm a little unclear on whether or not it's a good idea to do that.

Should I rack to secondary and chill that, or should I just put the whole primary fermentor into the refrigerator for the time recommended?

Edit: To clarify: I'm actually trying to find out whether or not to store the beer on the primary yeast cake during the initial cold storage period (pre carbonation). Will the yeast autolyse at refrigerator temperatures (32-38F)? If so, are autolysis flavors appropriate for a BDG?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

In 'Brewing Classic Styles', Jamil recommends carbonating then aging for a minimum of 6 months. So if you're bottle conditioning, I'd bottle it and then set the bottles in a cool, dark place until you're ready to drink.

If you're kegging, I'd force carbonate the beer and then set that keg aside somewhere cool with a steady temperature.

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any reason to force carbonate instead of just aging at ambient pressure? – Brandon Apr 21 '11 at 4:27
I'd assume its a cheap safeguard against oxidation. Biere de Garde doesn't have any intense flavors to cover up flaws, so you want to be careful at all points with it. – Graham Apr 21 '11 at 12:14

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