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Old 07-18-2010, 01:54 AM   #1
BobW44
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Default Czech Pilsener fermenting now; looking ahead

Hi, I'm brewing my first lager, actually a Czech Pilsener. I used a healthy sized starter and brewing started within a few hours and was really bubblin' when I checked the next day. At 50°F and a WhiteLabs WLP802, how long can I expect in primary? As I intend to do a diacetyl rest, is it good process to transfer to secondary at the same time? Is 24-36 hours at 60°F an ok temp for a d.rest? After the rest, do I return to 50° (and for how long) or do I commence the daily ramp to lagering temp? I'm kegging this batch so should I use a corny keg as my secondary vessel? I'm also curious, at what point of all this, does fermentation cease?

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Old 07-18-2010, 03:36 AM   #2
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Leave it in the primary for the D-rest (60°F is fine), which should be about 2 days when you see fermentation starting to die down, then cool back down slowly to at least 50°F, then transfer. Then slowly lower to lagering temp. The reason I recommend slowly cooling back down to at least 50°F before transfer is because the colder the beer, the more CO2 will be preserved upon transfer. More CO2 is good to have during lagering.

Your primary fermentation time will depend on your OG. I can say that every lager I've done (OG 1.050, give or take) was transfered to secondary at the 2 week mark (including D-rest, etc.)

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Old 07-18-2010, 03:48 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. Aside from primary, when will most of the remaining yeast drop out? I'd like a yeast free lager and as I have several corny kegs, would lagering in corny#1 and a subsequent transfer to corny#2 be the way to go? Also, would carbonating early be a bad or good thing to do?

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Old 07-18-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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The yeast will continue to settle during lagering. It's ideal to lager and serve in different kegs. I'm lazy so I lager and serve from the same keg. The only negative result is a couple glasses of cloudy, yeasty lager when the keg is first tapped. But after about 2 glasses, it clears up fine.

Carbonating early isn't bad, but it's also unnecessary. It's good to have some CO2 in the beer (i.e., in solution) during lagering, but it's not necessarily better to have it fully carbed either.

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Old 07-18-2010, 09:49 PM   #5
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Great, you've been a great help. I'm looking forward to the next steps. What sort of bubble rate would give me an indication that fermentation is complete enough to go to d.rest? Or, should I rely on a specific gravity reading? Also, after lagering at 34° or so, should I go back to 50° to age a few weeks? I'd like to use gelatin (as that's what I have). For the ales I've brewed in the past, after secondary, I cold crashed for 24 hours or so, then added gelatin and then back in the fridge for a few days and then to corny/carbonation.

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Old 07-18-2010, 10:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BobW44 View Post
Great, you've been a great help. I'm looking forward to the next steps. What sort of bubble rate would give me an indication that fermentation is complete enough to go to d.rest? Or, should I rely on a specific gravity reading? Also, after lagering at 34° or so, should I go back to 50° to age a few weeks? I'd like to use gelatin (as that's what I have). For the ales I've brewed in the past, after secondary, I cold crashed for 24 hours or so, then added gelatin and then back in the fridge for a few days and then to corny/carbonation.
A good time to do the diacetyl rest is when the beer is about 75% of the way to FG. Bubble counting isn't reliable, but you can guestimate how close it is to finishing and check the SG.

No reason to go up to 50 to age, since the point of the lagering is to age the beer near freezing temps. It should be extremely clear after all that lagering. If you feel you need gelatin, then you could certainly try it.
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