Lagering without racking to a secondary fermenter

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
scotahlers's picture
Lagering without racking to a secondary fermenter

Hey Guys,

I would like to lager a Märzen in my primary fermenter without transferring to a secondary fermenter.  Have you any experience with this?

I've read and listened to everything you guys and other reputable homebrewers/podcasters have to say about excluding secondary fermentation in a seperate vessel; can this logic also be applied to lagering?

Once the beer is at lagering temps I will be leaving it there for about 2-3 months.  I'm in the Navy and have to go to sea for two months so I figured why not do a lager this time.  



P.S.  I absolutely love the show!!!

dmtaylor's picture
Normally I would say you are

Normally I would say you are right, it's okay to leave a beer for a while in primary.  However, also, in my experience, I've found there is some risk of yeast autolysis (meaty, rubber, or burnt match) flavors after about 8-9 weeks in primary, or that's about when it begins, sometimes.  You might be alright after 3 months... but might not.

Dave "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

scotahlers's picture
I think this time I'll play

I think this time I'll play it safe and transfer to a secondary.  Thanks for the input. 

I strongly disagree with the

I strongly disagree with the advice to move to a secondary to lager. I regularly lager dunkels, marzens, and pilsners in their primary fermentor. I find that they benefit from the cold storage much more quickly when they are left intact with their yeast cake.

Most recently, I lagered a biere de garde, a baltic porter, and two munich dunkels for two months (all using Wyeast 2124). That's 11 weeks in the primary. Each beer smelled and tasted clean and neutral as designed.

Keeping the the beer in contact with the yeast cake, I've been able to turn small pilsners around in 3 weeks with a one week lager period. I truly believe off-flavors from yeast death is overstated in the homebrewing community.


scotahlers's picture
That is more in line with

That is more in line with what I've been reading/listening in my research on primary/secondary fermentation. 


I cannot offer any lager advise, sorry. Thank you to you AND your family for your collective service to our country. Safe travels and good luck with your lager experiment.

scotahlers's picture
No worries.  Thanks for the

No worries.  Thanks for the kind words!