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Old 06-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
rinhaak
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Default First Time Lager Q's

I'm brewing my first lager tonight. I've got some questions on various temperatures.

I'm brewing a 5 gallon Schwarzbier with Saflager 34/70 (wanted the easiest yeast to use for my first lager).

I had read that I should pitch the yeast at 45°, then raise to 53°. But then I found this article:

http://www.herveybayhomebrew.com/art12.pdf

which suggests pitching at 64°, then lowering the temp to 53° for fermentation. That certainly seems logical (to prevent stuck fermentation), but it is also counter to everything else I've read.

This article also claimed I should do a diacetyl rest at 60° on the last day of fermentation. This true?

And what's a good lager temp for this yeast? I was going to do around 40°, but again, this article suggested 35°.

Thanks for the suggestions! Here's the recipe:


3.5 lbs Briess Munich
3 lbs German 2row Pils
1 lb Weyermann Carafa II
1 lb German Dark Munich
1 lb Weyermann CaraFoam
1/4 lb Rice Hulls

Single infusion mash at 150°

90 minute boil
1.25 oz Hallertau (60 min)
.75 oz Hallerau (30 min)
1 oz Hallertau (1 min)

Saflager 34/70

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:04 PM   #2
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I've only got a few lagers under my belt, but here's what I can tell you based on my limited experience:

If you're pitching the correct amount of yeast (have you checked with mrmalty or yeastcalc?), I've found that fermentation tends to take off just fine if you set the fermenter at the yeast's desired temperature. Sure, starting it off a bit higher and dropping it over a day or two to that temperature will give it a leg up, but it's probably not necessary. If you're underpitching though, then pitching a little high then dropping low will help a lot.

Diacetyl rests typically are done for the last 2 days or so - but they can be hard to judge, especially the first couple times you ferment a lager. What you're looking for is the point when you hit 75% of the way to your expected FG. And then you want to taste your sample. If you notice signs of diacetyl (a really buttery taste, it also can show up as almost an oily or greasy mouthfeel), then you'll want to do a D-rest. If you don't pick up signs of diacetyl, then no need for the D-rest and you can just leave the beer undisturbed and let it finish up where it is. Your recipe includes a good amount of Pils malt - even with the 90 minute boil, I wouldn't be too surprised to see signs of diacetyl.

As far as lagering temp, that's kind of up to you... If I'm not mistaken, the colder you lager it, the shorter you need to lager it. So if you can get it down to 34, you might be able to shave a couple weeks off the lagering time over lagering at 40.

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Old 06-08-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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Make sure you are pitching the correct amount of yeast, then pitch cold (44F). Let it rise over 48hrs to about 48-50F, and hold it there untill it appears to be almost done. A short diacetyl rest at 60F when you are close to terminal gravity won't hurt, but is not necessary if you follow the steps above. You should see activity within 12-24hrs if you pitched the right amount of healthy yeast.

Pitching warm and cooling it down is a bad idea IMO. The first 24-36hrs is when all of the yeast growth and off-flavors (esters, etc.) develop. It will work but will not produce the best lager.

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Old 06-09-2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g-star
Make sure you are pitching the correct amount of yeast, then pitch cold (44F). Let it rise over 48hrs to about 48-50F, and hold it there untill it appears to be almost done. A short diacetyl rest at 60F when you are close to terminal gravity won't hurt, but is not necessary if you follow the steps above. You should see activity within 12-24hrs if you pitched the right amount of healthy yeast.

Pitching warm and cooling it down is a bad idea IMO. The first 24-36hrs is when all of the yeast growth and off-flavors (esters, etc.) develop. It will work but will not produce the best lager.
Yup. Don't pitch warm. Pitch cold. You must be precise on your lagers. Lager at 34-40 for 1 week per 8 gravity points of OG. Eg 6 weeks for 1.048... That said its usually fine after a month for a standard gravity beer.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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