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Old 10-25-2010, 10:47 PM   #1
dwtalley
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Default By Order of SWMBO I am facing my first lager

Ok, here is the deal. SWMBO and I were on a recent vacation in the Northeast and she found a Dopplebock that she really loved. I did to for that matter. So, I am facing my first lager attempt.

I have always racked to kegs and let my beers cool and condition so they were cleaner without filtering.

Question 1 is can I rack to keg after fg is met and lager that way? Under CO2 or not?

Question 2 is since I am not going to put all this work and time into a 5 gallon batch I was thinking about a 10 gallon and splitting it. 5 gallon for a regular dopplebock and the other 5 for an attempt at an iesbock. Anyone else do this or give me any kind of direction?

Any help is truly appreciated. Really missing that beer. lol

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Old 10-25-2010, 11:03 PM   #2
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I don't see why you couldn't lager in the keg. Maybe put like 2 psi to keep it from oxidizing, then carb it after your lagering period? Seems about right.

Good style choice, by the way. A big, dark, malty lager is a heck of a lot easier to do than a straw-colored, 4%, low-body lager. Say what you will about macros, it's a damned hard style to brew correctly!

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Old 10-26-2010, 12:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dwtalley View Post
Ok, here is the deal. SWMBO and I were on a recent vacation in the Northeast and she found a Dopplebock that she really loved. I did to for that matter. So, I am facing my first lager attempt.

I have always racked to kegs and let my beers cool and condition so they were cleaner without filtering.

Question 1 is can I rack to keg after fg is met and lager that way? Under CO2 or not?

Question 2 is since I am not going to put all this work and time into a 5 gallon batch I was thinking about a 10 gallon and splitting it. 5 gallon for a regular dopplebock and the other 5 for an attempt at an iesbock. Anyone else do this or give me any kind of direction?

Any help is truly appreciated. Really missing that beer. lol
1) Yes, infact when I brew my Marzen this is exactly how I do it, I just let it lager in the keg at cooler temperatures. Even though that the lagering is done technically at the fermentation stage.

2) I also split the batch into 2 different kegs, and I do an initial psi of 10 and periodically check to make sure it still has pressure and the lid is sealed, maybe every 2-3 weeks, until serving.

There are several good threads here about lagering, just search for "first lager" and read the posts. Talks about temps, and when to raise them and cold crashing and all that good stuff.

Good luck!
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:57 AM   #4
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My dopplebock tips:

Don't use a ton of caramel malt or melanoiden, 5% max.

100% dark munich (german dark munich not domestic) with triple decoction and a long boil is traditional. If you don't want to decoct, munich is a little enzymatically weak for infusion so use 25% or so of pilsner malt and add a touch of caramunich and melanoiden.

It is hard to get a good clean ferment with full attenuation on a dopplebock. Repitch from a lower gravity lager and make sure your temp control is rock solid. I like white labs 833 at 50 F (pitched a few degrees cooler). This is the Ayinger strain. Ayinger makes a pretty good dopplebock (kidding, it's the best). Once the krausen starts to fall, increase to about 65 F 2 degrees a day. At this point you should have full attenuation (as evidenced by a forced ferment test - see below) and no diacetyl precurser (see below). Now, IMO, you can get it cold and lager it for a while. If you want to reduce the temp slowly and try to keep the yeast active in lagering (like the traditional practice), knock yourself out.

Kai Troester, who knows a thing or two about German beers, has advocating doing a limited (say a couple months) lagering on a dopplebock and then doing more of a cellar or basement temp conditioning for a couple of months to more quickly develop the dark fruit flavors typical of dopplebock.

For lagers, especially your first few, I recommend a forced ferment test (really, you should do this for every beer). Take a cup or two of wort and put it in a soda bottle and put a bunch (relative to the volume) of yeast in it and put it in a warm place. The point is to establish a limit of fermentability of your wort. You should expect the real fermentation to get close (but not all the way) to that limit. If you do this and the FG seems high, you will know if it is a mash issue or a fermentation issue.

To test for diacetyl precursor, take a sample and heat it in a saucepan (hot, but not boiling) for a few minutes. If you have substantial diacetyl precursor, this will rapidly accelerate conversion to diacetyl and you will be able to smell it. If you smell butter or butterscotch, keep the beer warm and on the yeast and repeat the test in a few days.

Good luck.

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Old 10-26-2010, 02:27 AM   #5
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Man, that sounds like a ton of work. Where do you get the new yeast from? Do you make a slightly larger starter and split it. Some times I read these posts and feel I'll never be anything but an amateur.

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Old 10-26-2010, 02:41 AM   #6
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Man, that sounds like a ton of work. Where do you get the new yeast from? Do you make a slightly larger starter and split it. Some times I read these posts and feel I'll never be anything but an amateur.
For the first lager I brew, it is usually about a 2 liter starter with two white labs vials. I then repitch from that into successive lagers. A doppelbock would definitely be a repitch both because the starter required would be massive and yeast perform better in successive generations.

Let's say I start out with a munich helles. I do my starter using the mrmalty.com calculator. Since my flask is 2L I probably need two vials/packs. I could step up but personally I would rather just buy the extra vial. Then I make my helles.

When the helles is done, there is enough yeast, by a factor of 3 or so, to pitch the doppelbock. I would time the doppelbock so I brewed it on the day I was racking the helles so the repitched slurry was as fresh as possible.

I guess the temperature control is work if you aren't doing it electronically. It's really about pitching a bunch of really viable/vital yeast. If you want, 3-4 packs of Fermentis 34-70 properly rehydrated would be about right (depending on the gravity of the dopplebock), that would make things much easier and 34/70 is fine for a dopplebock. Without a starter you would be looking at something like 8-10 white labs vials or smackpacks for the ideal pitching rate.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:21 AM   #7
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I have a 5 liter flask (along with my two liter) and I pressure can my starter wort, so I usually go 4 quarts for an average lager (with one smack pack). I have never made anything this big, however. Do you wash the yeast or not worry about the trub and hops from the original batch?

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Old 10-26-2010, 04:08 PM   #8
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Lagers are great fun to brew. One thing to consider is temp control is much more critical. Other than that, no big deal.

Hey Sherpa FE, are you a Shorts driver?

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Old 10-26-2010, 09:55 PM   #9
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Lagers are great fun to brew. One thing to consider is temp control is much more critical. Other than that, no big deal.

Hey Sherpa FE, are you a Shorts driver?
Not a pilot, just a lowly flight engineer, I take care of the pre-flight, weight and balance, passengers, and basically everything that doesn't include flying.

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Old 10-27-2010, 12:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joety View Post
I have a 5 liter flask (along with my two liter) and I pressure can my starter wort, so I usually go 4 quarts for an average lager (with one smack pack). I have never made anything this big, however. Do you wash the yeast or not worry about the trub and hops from the original batch?
I don't get hops or hot trub in the fermenter.

I do rinse the yeast (what homebrewers call washing but I like to reserve that term for actual acid yeast washing).
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