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Old 08-16-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default First lager and first O-fest

Put together my first Oktoberfest and will be brewing it on Sunday. Got my starter going for WLP830 and to be on the safe side I'll be stepping it up on Friday. OG is planned for 1.055.

Being my first lager, any tips/tricks to make sure this beer turns out good? I plan on chilling it down to roughly 65-70 after the boil, pitching yeast and then putting in my chest freezer to ferment it at 50*. I've been told various ways to ferment. Some have said 50* for a few weeks, rack off the cake and then cool to low 40's for another 5ish weeks. Then I've heard just leave it at 50*, rack off the cake after a few weeks, and keep it at 50* until its done.

Any recommendations?

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Old 08-16-2012, 03:56 PM   #2
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First, I don't recommend warm pitching. I am confident in my sanitization techniques so I cool my wort to mid-60's and put it in the lagering fridge to get it down to fermentation temp and pitch later that evening or the next morning. Ideally you want to pitch a few degrees cooler than fermentation temp as the Germans do, but that takes an even larger starter if you go that route. Or you can just pitch at fermentation temp and you'll be fine. Yeast health is paramount for a lager, yeast nutrients in the starter and wort is a must IMO, lagers like more O2 than an ale so plenty of O2 as well. My experience with WLP830 is that its pretty sluggish at the low end of the temp spectrum so I hold it around 52'ish. Do not rack off the yeast cake after two weeks as that will greatly increase your chance of diacetyl issues. You can do a diacetyl rest in a few ways, traditionally its done in the low 40's for a few weeks post active fermentation before lowering to lager temps, but most folks raise it up to ale temps for a few days and then crash it to 32 to lager.

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Old 08-16-2012, 04:44 PM   #3
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I agree. Chill the wort to 45 or so, and add the chilled (fridge temp) yeast starter to that after decanting. Let it rise to about 50 degrees and stay there for fermentation.

I wouldn't pitch warm and then chill. The yeast are reproducing then, and fermentation would start before you get to 50 degrees, as it takes a long time for 5 gallons of wort to chill down to 50 degrees especially if fermentation starts.

I'd do a diacetyl rest when fermentation slows, but not finishes. That's usually about day 10 or so. When the beer is about 75% finished, bring the temperature up to 65 degrees for 48 hours. Then after the diacetyl rest, the beer can be racked and then lagered.

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Old 08-16-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input.

I've read that for a lager its better to oxygenate on the high side. I'm currently doing ales of the same gravity for around 30 seconds. What would be a good amount of time (roughly) to oxygenate this beer?

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Old 08-16-2012, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riored4v View Post
Thanks for the input.

I've read that for a lager its better to oxygenate on the high side. I'm currently doing ales of the same gravity for around 30 seconds. What would be a good amount of time (roughly) to oxygenate this beer?
That would be about the same for lager wort as for ales.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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So I want to step my starter up today. Is it best to decant off the old wort or just mix the new wort right in?

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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If you're stepping up, you want to crash the yeast out and decant off the spent beer, then add your new wort.

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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Ok, that was the plan, but its the first time i've actually had to do this. Thanks again.

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Old 08-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #9
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Just pulled this out of the fridge last night for the d-rest. Took a sample and it was at about 1.019 and the final gravity should be in the 1.014 range. The sample tasted great so i'm excited to see how this turns out. I checked this morning and its at 65* exactly so i'll leave it there another 2 days and then start the lagering process.

Would it be best to lager in a carboy, or should i just rack it in to a keg and let it sit (without being carbonated).

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