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Old 05-21-2008, 11:55 PM   #1
RangerG
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Default Lager Temp Question

Brewed first lager. After pitching a big starter (WL800 Pilsner) I put it in the fridge at 60*. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion but by the end of the second day there was blowoff and good fermentation for three weeks, then I racked to secondary. It did smell like rotten eggs at first but that's already gone.

The question is - what is that temp range on the White Labs yeast that I bought mean; 50-55*? Is the 50* the lowest temp or the lowest temp until most fermentation has stopped?

Based on articles I read in Zymergy I thought that by the time I go to the Lagering container I was supposed to be slowly lowering the temp to the mid to higher 30's?

Right now in secondary (total time in ferment 24 days) it's at about 48* to 50* and doing great - plenty of visible activity under the dry-hop canopy.

Should I keep the secondary temp constant until visible activity subsides, then rack to lagering container and start dropping the temp?

Should I bump the temp during secondary like the articles that I have read in Zymergy?

I am not in a hurry and was planning on two or three weeks in secondary followed by 4 to 6 weeks in the lagering container.

Thanks for any imputs. Because if the advice I've copped from this site I am making some real good brews these days.

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Old 05-22-2008, 12:02 AM   #2
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The guideline for the yeast is the desirable fermentation temperature. So if it says "50-58 degrees", for example, that is where it should be fermented, primary and secondary. Remember, you shouldn't rack to secondary until fermentation is finished, so you'll be lengthening your fermentation phase by racking it off the yeast cake before it's done. Don't do anything with it until it's finished- that's rule number one. It sounds like you didn't do a diacetyl rest yet, but that should also be done before racking the first time.

So, at this point, keep it in the fermentation range until done. Check to make sure by taking SG readings. Then, go ahead and raise it to 65 for the diacetyl rest. I'd leave it at the diacetyl rest temperature until there is absolutely no hint of diacetyl at all, via taste test. Fermenting too warm and then racking too early might have stressed the yeast enough to produce quite a few off-flavors, so let it clean that up.

After that is done, you can rack to secondary. I say secondary, because since it's not finished fermenting, it's still technically in primary. Then, you can reduce the temperature 5 degrees per day until you are at 34 degrees. Then you can start counting the time as lagering. I like to lager for 6-12 weeks, depending on what I'm making. I think you'll want to lager at the long-ish time period, since you fermented too warm. That should help smooth it out some.

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Old 05-22-2008, 12:43 AM   #3
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Tanks a bunch der Yooper,

the fermentation temp was actually closer to about 57* (I got one a doze temp thingy's that goes 4* lower than what ya set it at until the temp rises back up) and after the blowoff I started to lower it to close to 50* so I think I'll be OK there. By activity I mean I can see some bubbles, and enough to be blowing a twig or two around - I'm gonna have to read up on the diacetyl rest thing, damn, I knew I forgot something!

I was a little bit surprised to see a little tiny krausen around the edge of the carboy even at three weeks, so yeah, I guess I'm likely still in primary aint I? Doohhh! It was kinda weird but I got exactly the same gravity reading at three weeks that I had at two - I gotta learn to compensate for temp on that thing, so I just went for it, I wanted to see those hops in there.

So, I just nudged back from 48 to 50, wait till all activity ceases, diacytl rest it, then plan on a nice long lagering.

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Old 05-22-2008, 12:46 AM   #4
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Sounds good, then! You may not need a diacetyl rest- you can taste for diacetyl if your palate is pretty good. It won't harm the lager to do one anyway, though. I'd hate for you to skip it and then after it's lagered, taste the buttery notes of diacetyl.

Your plan sounds good to me!

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