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Old 01-19-2006, 01:16 PM   #1
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I decided to take a swing at my first lager. I picked up a Brewer's Best Oktoberfest, but instead of using the dry ale yeast with the kit, I pitched WL820 Oktoberfest/Marzen (52~58F).

I didn't make a starter (see my other thread, where I am ordering a kit) and just pitched the one tube. Predictably, I had a slow start. I held it at 65 until it started bubbling....about 48hrs later. I then moved it to a different spot where it lowered to ~54F in about a day. It has sat in that spot bubbling away ever since. It is now 9-days in and bubbling at a rate of about 1 bubble every 7-seconds.

My question is this: When do I transfer to secondary? Having never done a lager and knowing the slow start, do I wait until bubbling slows to less than a minute? Rack after 14-days? Check gravity and rack at <50%OG? I don't want to rack early, but I also don't want to leave it on the trub too long.

Also, since this yeast is a little wamer than most lagers, and content in the mid-50's, do I need to do a Diacetyl rest? When?

-Todd

PS, sorry for all of the questions lately.

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Old 01-19-2006, 01:36 PM   #2
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Sounds like you're doing just fine. A typical lager ferment can take two weeks or longer, possibly much longer with the lack of a starter. There is little risk of autolysis by leaving it in the primary too long as the yeast is preserved through refrigeration. I've left my lagers in primary for a month (long story) with no ill effects.

Knowing when to rack is a guessing game and I prefer not to waste beer or risk infection by frequently measuring SG. I would go by activity in the bubbler, and by physical appearance ie. lack of krausen. If both are good, I'd rack.

Whether you need to do a diacetyl rest or not is up to you and who you want to believe. It can't hurt, so why not.

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Old 01-19-2006, 02:02 PM   #3
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Hey HomerT, I started my first lager at about the same time with a Festa Octoberfest Marzen and used Wyeast 2124. It sounds like we are having the exact same results, an conditions. I'm a couple days ahead of you and i'm still getting one bubble every 10sec.
Good luck lager buddy! We'll be best friends!

PS I'm planning to do a diacetyl rest at room temp for a day before sticking it in the fridge.
PPS Never apologize for asking questions. Unless you're a cop...

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Old 01-19-2006, 02:25 PM   #4
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I experienced the same with all the lagers I did so far. It always took more then 2 weeks (or longer) for them to complete. Even the last one, where I was able to pitch the recommended 2 cups of yeast slurry.

The problem might be that the yeast settles on the bottom and gets burried by even more yeast. The burried yeast can't really help with the fermentation since it isn't getting anything to ferment. I'm not sure how commercial breweries do it when they can do the primary fermentation for a lager in 7 days. They must be stirring up the yeast once in a while.

Kai

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Old 01-19-2006, 02:43 PM   #5
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most large scale breweries like AB have horizontal fermentation tanks. that way the little buggars don't stack up on top of each other so much as they do in vertical fermenters.

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Old 01-19-2006, 02:46 PM   #6
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So, maybe I'll just lay my carboy on it's side to speed things up!

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Old 01-19-2006, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeRoux's Broux
most large scale breweries like AB have horizontal fermentation tanks. that way the little buggars don't stack up on top of each other so much as they do in vertical fermenters.
Makes sense, but when I look at German brewery pictures, I see the usual conical fermentation tanks used for the primary fermentation. I know that there is a lot of circulation during the fermentation. This may actually keep enough yeast suspended to get the job done in 7 days.

Would a stir mechanism (similar to a magnetic stir plate) help. Not enough to actually create a vortex but to keep the yeast from settling completely. Not that I plan to go that route. But it is just a thought.

Kai
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Old 01-19-2006, 03:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyco
So, maybe I'll just lay my carboy on it's side to speed things up!
many use korny kegs to ferment/lager their lagers, so the can lay them on their side. just becomes a space issue, unless you have a whooper of a chest freezer (like Beermaker!).

i've seen it both ways too Kai, but have read that the horizontal tanks work best for lager brews. probably like us, an available space issue?
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Old 01-19-2006, 07:15 PM   #9
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Well, do to the higher temps for the WL820 (52~58), mine has just been going in the basement floor, need the walkout door. It holds an even 54F there. I chose this as my first, because I don't have a lagering fridge.

-Todd

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Old 01-19-2006, 08:22 PM   #10
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HomerT,
I just did my first lager in a couple years last weekend (Munnich Helles) with a WL830 yeast. I am having similar results--quiet start at room temperature (although within 24 hours), transferered to my basement (55 degrees) after 24 hours, remained sluggish through about 48 hours and now I am getting a steady fermentation with bubbles every 10 seconds or so. I plan to give it the full two weeks and assessing, but unless it is still really active I plan to rack after two weeks and let it sit a month in the secondary at 55 or until my keg is empty and then give it some time at 32 in the fridge.

I have never done a diacetyl rest before on this type of beer but am considering it. Looking forward to drinking this some time in march...

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