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Old 06-04-2008, 02:00 PM   #1
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Default Lagering Temp Confusion

I've got my first lager in my "lagering fridge" and it's bubbling away at about 50 degrees. It's been in there for about a week now. It's a dopplebock clone of Maretti Doppio Malto. I got the recipe from the Szamatulski "Clone Brews" book (page 123 if anyone has the book).

From all the advice I've gotten and what Ive read on this site, I thought I was supposed to leave my primary around 50 for a few weeks, do a diacytal (sp?) rest for a couple of days around 65, rack it to the secondary and then slowly bring it down to, say, 35-40 for another couple of weeks.

The recipe is saying "47-52 for 14 days and then 57-62 for the remainder".

What gives??? Is the recipe just screwy?? Is it possible that it is intentionally saying to ferment at the higher temp in order to acheive a specific taste??

I'm not too concerned about it either way, I'm going to go with the advice I got from folks on this site anyway... just curious what folks thought.

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Old 06-04-2008, 02:22 PM   #2
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Sounds like the recipe instructions are messed up. Raising to the higher temp in the instructions accounts for a diacytl rest for a few days and then maybe bottling to carb for a few weeks at the higher temp. Then you could lager in the bottle for a few weeks.

I think your plan is pretty close to what I did on mine a few weeks ago.
I primaried at 50F for about 9 days (gravity was at 1.009),
I raised temp to 60f for diacytl rest for 2 days.
Lowered temp 3F per day for about a week to get to 35f.
Transfered to carboy for secondary. (gravity was 1.006 my recipe target was 1.007)
Will secondary for 2 to 4 weeks.

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Old 06-04-2008, 02:29 PM   #3
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First off, don't listen to the "ferment at XXº for X days" instructions. You need to instead play this one as it comes. A diacetyl rest is something that I always do with my lagers, always. It doesn't take a lot of effort, it just takes paying close attention. Here's what you do: watch the carboy like a hawk. Some lagers finish quickly, others finish in 2 weeks. My most recent lager, a munich helles fermented with WLP868, took about 11 days. But you don't want to wait until it's finished to the point where the yeast has flocculated. This is where the close attention comes into play. So let's say the yeast is roiling around in there. If your fermentation temps are constant, then you should see a pretty stable level of activity both from the airlock and by looking at how the yeast are making the particulate move around. As soon as you see the very first signs of it starting to slow down (Jamil Z describes this process as involving a little bit of clairvoyance, as in, you need to take it off just BEFORE it starts to slow down, but that's craziness), you need to take it out of the fridge and let it warm to room temp. Let it stay there until fermentation is done and the yeast has really started to flocculate---a couple days at least. This is your d-rest, and will help avoid buttery off-flavors. After this, slowly take it down to 36-40ºf, hold for a couple days, then transfer to another carboy. Lager at 36-40f for as long as you can wait, at least 6 weeks, more is better.

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Old 06-04-2008, 02:47 PM   #4
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Nice... Thanks for the help!!

I'll start watching it like a hawk and we'll see how it turns out!

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Old 06-04-2008, 03:01 PM   #5
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I've made the mistake in the past of tasting my hydrometer sample say 7-10 day into fermentation and trying to detect the diacetyl. The mistake comes in when the sample is 55F and the taste is somewhat masked by the cold and green flavor of the beer. Then you tap the keg 2 months later only to find a butter bomb. However, in my last two lagers, I've pitched big cell counts at ferment temp; 50-55F and have not had any diacetyl problems at all. This is a good thing because I was out of town when my ferment ceased so I kinda missed the peak time for the rest.

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Old 06-04-2008, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
First off, don't listen to the "ferment at XXº for X days" instructions. You need to instead play this one as it comes. A diacetyl rest is something that I always do with my lagers, always. It doesn't take a lot of effort, it just takes paying close attention. Here's what you do: watch the carboy like a hawk. Some lagers finish quickly, others finish in 2 weeks. My most recent lager, a munich helles fermented with WLP868, took about 11 days. But you don't want to wait until it's finished to the point where the yeast has flocculated. This is where the close attention comes into play. So let's say the yeast is roiling around in there. If your fermentation temps are constant, then you should see a pretty stable level of activity both from the airlock and by looking at how the yeast are making the particulate move around. As soon as you see the very first signs of it starting to slow down (Jamil Z describes this process as involving a little bit of clairvoyance, as in, you need to take it off just BEFORE it starts to slow down, but that's craziness), you need to take it out of the fridge and let it warm to room temp. Let it stay there until fermentation is done and the yeast has really started to flocculate---a couple days at least. This is your d-rest, and will help avoid buttery off-flavors. After this, slowly take it down to 36-40ºf, hold for a couple days, then transfer to another carboy. Lager at 36-40f for as long as you can wait, at least 6 weeks, more is better.
That is the best description of lager brewing ever! nice job.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #7
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Evan, +1 on the description of how to D'rest & Lager. I agree that by doing the D'rest every time it is easier and safer because there is no opening the carboy to sample. I do every batch as a closed fermentation and so I have been doing the same thing. I do pitch plenty of yeast and so it most likely has no diacetyl anyway but better safe than sorry. Good Job Evan.

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Old 06-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
First off, don't listen to the "ferment at XXº for X days" instructions. You need to instead play this one as it comes. A diacetyl rest is something that I always do with my lagers, always. It doesn't take a lot of effort, it just takes paying close attention. Here's what you do: watch the carboy like a hawk. Some lagers finish quickly, others finish in 2 weeks. My most recent lager, a munich helles fermented with WLP868, took about 11 days. But you don't want to wait until it's finished to the point where the yeast has flocculated. This is where the close attention comes into play. So let's say the yeast is roiling around in there. If your fermentation temps are constant, then you should see a pretty stable level of activity both from the airlock and by looking at how the yeast are making the particulate move around. As soon as you see the very first signs of it starting to slow down (Jamil Z describes this process as involving a little bit of clairvoyance, as in, you need to take it off just BEFORE it starts to slow down, but that's craziness), you need to take it out of the fridge and let it warm to room temp. Let it stay there until fermentation is done and the yeast has really started to flocculate---a couple days at least. This is your d-rest, and will help avoid buttery off-flavors. After this, slowly take it down to 36-40ºf, hold for a couple days, then transfer to another carboy. Lager at 36-40f for as long as you can wait, at least 6 weeks, more is better.
Yes, very nice explanation. However, "room temp." is different for many people. My "room temp." is about 75F to 77F. I had to learn the hard way not to ferment at "room temp.". Can anyone say Bananas?
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:52 PM   #9
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Yes, very nice explanation. However, "room temp." is different for many people. My "room temp." is about 75F to 77F. I had to learn the hard way not to ferment at "room temp.". Can anyone say Bananas?
The exact d-rest temps are not very important as long as they're above 60f or so. Esters, including the banana esters you described, are mostly created during the earlier stages of fermentation. By the time you're doing a d-rest, ester production is minimal to non-existent, so bringing the beer up to as high as 75f is probably not going to hurt anything. I recently did my d-rest for the helles around 70-72f, and there are no esters detectable. Hell, even with ales I typically allow my temps to go higher late in the fermentation because there's virtually no concern over esters and it helps finish the beer out cleanly and catch all the fermentables.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Good post Evan!. The only thing I can add is that, to look at the window for diacetyl rest more precisely, Noonan states to do it at 6 points above terminal gravity. This is what I follow, but once you do it once or twice, you start to see what kind of air-lock bubbling and krausen falling you should have when it's at this point... then you can stop checking gravity for every diacetyl rest. I'm sure if it's done at 7 points above, or 5 points above, it's not the end of the world.

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