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Old 05-23-2007, 06:27 PM   #1
The Pol
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Default Lagering... how to?

Okay, I am brewing my first lager this weekend... a Helles. I have been trying to read up on the process for the ferment and here is what I have, opinions and ideas welcome!

#1 Cool the wort to 55F (WLP833 ferment temp) as well as the starter to avoid shocking the yeast.

#2 Ferment at 50-55F for 1-2 weeks

#3 Rack beer to secondary and allow it to warm to approx 60F for 2 days for a diacetyl rest

#4 Cool beer to approx 40F for 3-4 weeks (or longer)

#5 Keg and carbonate.

What a pain, but, it will be worth it!

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Old 05-23-2007, 06:45 PM   #2
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This reply is not necessarily for the OP but Kaiser has written an article on the wiki about this. It's extremely informative and well worth the read.

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Old 05-23-2007, 06:46 PM   #3
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THANKS

Pol

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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Here is my thought, since there are SO many different ideas about homebrew lagering.

#1 produce a starter 24-30 hours prior to pitching, at 68F....
#2 cool wort to 68F after brewing
#3 pitch starter at high krausen
#4 immediately move carboy to ferment fridge set at 50F
#5 ferment here for 1-2 weeks
#6 raise temp of ferment fridge to 65F to finish ferment and to clean up any sulfer and diacetyl
#7 crash beer to 35F for 4 weeks to lager

My thinking is this... I will get a more active starter at a warmer temp, I will get a boost to my ferment at a warmer temp, the 5.5 gallons of beer in a 50F fridge will take some time to cool. Doing the diacetyl rest will clean up any byproducts of the warm starter and the potentially warmer initial ferment.

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:36 PM   #5
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I am doing a lager for the first time this weekend. I was thinking along the same lines. 68 degree starter, and pitch at same. Once pitched, cool down to 50. By the time it gets to 50 degrees, the yeast should be eating sugar at full speed!!!

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:41 PM   #6
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Yeah, I guess we will both have to see how it works out. I cannot imagine that 5.5 gallons of 68F liquid will cool to 50F too quickly for the yeasties, especially after pitching a starter. And, any diacetyl will be cleaned up with the diacetyl rest later... God Speed!

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Old 05-23-2007, 07:56 PM   #7
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That sounds ok, but I like to pitch 50 degree yeast starter (spent wort decanted off) into 52 degree wort. The slightly warmer wort gets the yeast going, and there is no chance of off flavors. The diacetyl rest will get rid of any diacetyl (and some lager yeasts don't even need one) but if you get fruity esters, they seem to be there to stay. I think some people advocating pitching warm like that and bringing the temp down, but I'm a believer in pitching at fermenting temps. I wouldn't pitch an ale yeast at, say 80 degrees, and then bring it down to 68 degrees; so I wouldn't do it to a lager yeast either.

The key is a big starter, whichever you choose!

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Old 05-23-2007, 08:03 PM   #8
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THIS is my problem... I have 24-48 hours to make a starter (being a pilot sucks)... so, if I make my starter and cool it, it wont START like I want it to, meaning little propogation. The other issue is getting my wort to 50F... so, what is a guy to do?
I only have Friday-Sunday to make a starter and brew a beer... I COULD brew the beer and then chill it in my fridge ovenight, then pitch my starter which would give my starter more time to actually propogate yeast.....?

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Old 05-23-2007, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol
Yeah, I guess we will both have to see how it works out. I cannot imagine that 5.5 gallons of 68F liquid will cool to 50F too quickly for the yeasties, especially after pitching a starter. And, any diacetyl will be cleaned up with the diacetyl rest later... God Speed!

id like to disagree with you on that, i did a Pilsner Urquell clone in april i cooled the wort down to around 75-80F pitched the yeast placed my glass carboy into an Igloo Icecube loaded with ICE cubes, 2 frozen 2 liters and some water in the bottom and my fermentation took around 4 days to start. A couple problems i ran into. I Never aclamated the yeast to the cold, You are supposed to drop the temp a few degrees every day or something, i took it from 75 to below 50 in around a day. and i didnt pitch a big enough starter. i should have went with a 2 qt starter instead of a 1qt.
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol
THIS is my problem... I have 24-48 hours to make a starter (being a pilot sucks)... so, if I make my starter and cool it, it wont START like I want it to, meaning little propogation. The other issue is getting my wort to 50F... so, what is a guy to do?
I only have Friday-Sunday to make a starter and brew a beer... I COULD brew the beer and then chill it in my fridge ovenight, then pitch my starter which would give my starter more time to actually propogate yeast.....?
Well, you need a big starter regardless. You could make the starter this weekend, let it ferment out, and then refrigerate it until it's time to brew. Then you can make sure to decant your spent wort which can lead to off flavors and still have a nice sized starter. Just decant, and put a little fresh wort in the day before you want to brew. Then you could actually pitch your starter at high krausen at the right temperature, and have a large enough starter, too. Just a thought! A nice lager starter should really big large and if you make it at room temperature (which is fine, to grow the yeast), you want to decant that spent wort. I would NOT let it sit overnight without pitching the yeast, though.
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