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I am planning to do a lager this winter, since I don't have a good way of controlling temperature, I was wondering if it is possible to bottle it with priming sugar, and then lager it? Or should I just move it to secondary to lager, then bottle?

What would be the benefits of doing it either way?

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Here's a quote from homebrewing.org...

There are two important processes at work when a beer is in long-term cold-storage:

Precipitation: Take a certain amount of liquid, warm it up, and you can obviously dissolve more solids into that same volume. Take that same warm liquid, and cool it down, and the amount of dissolved solids that it can contain will decrease. Those solids will precipitate, or re-solidify and fall to the bottom of your storage container. (The simplest version of this process is what we all know as cold-crashing.)

Aging: All the chemical reactions going on in your beer — good or bad — take place much more slowly in the cold. As it happens, though, most of the processes you dont want are slowed down more. An extended period of cold storage builds up the benefits that you do want, with less of the effects that you dont. (With some important exceptions: see the discussion of Diacetyl Rest, in the next chapter.)

The aging process will happen no matter the storage container. You will still have some proteins, hops, etc that fall out and form a small sediment layer in your bottles. It's a personal preference for how big of a deal that is.

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Lagering is done un-carbonated. The beer is left to clear in a cold (close to 0C) room for a few months.

So, no, you can't lager a carbonated beer in bottles.

BUT: you can bottle condition, and afterwards leave the beers for a few months in a cold area to allow the particles to settle out (what happens in the lagering process). The difference is that, after "real" lagering a clear beer is bottled and there will be very little to no sediment in the bottle. Your bottle conditioned beer will have sediment in the bottle.

The cold conditions help speed up the clarification process.

Considering that lagers tend to be "delicate" beers, you do not want to age them too long in a warm area.

  • Are bocks delicate? I think not. – chabeck Oct 25 '15 at 16:54
  • @chabeck, I said "tend to be". – Atron Seige Oct 27 '15 at 5:43
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Thanks Staros, for the link...But I think www.homebrewing.org answered it pretty well.

Lagering - Chapter 3: Advanced Tips

Bottling A Lagered Beer

If you're planning on bottling your lager, then you should really consider putting it into bottles before you go into the secondary fermentation stage. There are two important considerations:

Agitation: The secondary fermentation process is meant to get your beer crystal clear, by forcing the remaining solids to fall to the bottom of the storage vessel. Moving around a carboy, and siphoning beer — after your clarification should be complete — only risks stirring up sediments.

Warming: Unless you're bottling your beer in a meat locker, the transfer process will also warm your beer a bit. Combined with the agitation, you're creating the perfect conditions for it to re-absorb some of the solids that you've just worked so hard to eliminate. So, as a rule, while it's always easier to do the primary fermentation in a single large bucket or carboy, if you want to eventually have bottled lager, you're better off doing the bottling at the end of your diacetyl rest. That way, you can just pull out the bottles when you're ready to drink them, and you'll be pouring the clearest beer possible.

  • Im leaving this up for the next day if anyone else wants to chime in. – jsolarski Oct 10 '15 at 0:52
  • I disagree. That's very imprecise, maybe risks contamination, exposes more beer to oxygen earlier in the fermentation process, makes priming sugar addition more difficult (if you bottle without priming sugar at first), possibly wastes caps, and likely risks unwanted early carbonation. If agitation is a concern, agitating a primary is objectively going to have more of an impact than agitating a secondary. It's not going to ruin your beer, but the only reason I can see to do it that way is having no choice. – Bolwerk Oct 11 '15 at 14:41
  • I dont think they imply bottling with out priming it first. Bottling a beer, usually implies adding the priming sugar. also if you read the last sentance, it implies that the beer is carbonated(when you're ready to drink them) – jsolarski Oct 12 '15 at 22:00
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Lager and lagering are two seperate things. One is a beer type, and the other is a process. Of course you can lager in bottles! Lagering just means extended cold-conditioning. All lagers and some ales go through this process before sale and/or consumption.

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