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Old 01-25-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
TayWhyte
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Default First lager fermentation question-

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I've done almost a hundred Ale fermentations but finally brewed my first lager 4 weeks ago. A dopplebock with the OG of 1.087.

Here are the particulars:
Pitched a 1.6L starter of Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager yeast at 50 deg F.
It's been at a constant temp of 49-50F
After 4 weeks the Gravity is only down to 1.041(14.6 Brix)

Here's my question:
Is this too high after this length of time? Should it be closer to terminal gravity (I'm shooting for 1.020- 1.021) or am I OK?
I was planning a 6 week primary and I decided to check the gravity.... I was hoping that it would have been closer. I'm just not experienced with lager fermentations so I don't really know what to look for

Thanks for any advice.



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Old 01-25-2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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That is a very big beer. My own target would have been to pitch around 750 billion cells. Yes, after that period of time you should be at FG--it's unlikely to move any further at this point. I fear you underpitched dramatically.

As to a rectification strategy...you might try warming it up to high 50s and re-suspending your yeast. Failing that, you will have to repitch. I'd suggest leaving it in the mid-to-high 50s and tossing in two or three packets of S-23 rehydrated. It's a yeast that works well and ferments clean at that temperature.

Good luck! As an aside, for your next lager fermentation pitch 1.5 million cells per ml per degree Plato and you won't get stuck. Some will view that as overpitching, but it's hard for me to see the downside.



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Old 01-25-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
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The typical lager fermentation schedule would be to ferment at the 50F until the beer reaches ahout 75% of final gravity.

If you started at 1.087 and expected a FG of 1.020, then 75% would be 1.036. You are sitting at 1.041, so you are pretty close, you probably just underpitched your yeast a bit. Maybe get the temp up to about 54-55 and give it a few more days or it isn't going to really hurt to go ahead with the rest of the schedule:

1) 48 hour diacetyl rest at about 70F should take out those last few points.

2) Lower temp 5 degrees a day from 70-65-55-45-40-35 and lager 6-8 weeks at around 35-40F, or as gradually as you can if you don't have an exact temp controller.

That should turn out splendid!

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Old 01-25-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. That was a tremendous help.

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Old 01-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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How long are you intending on lagering this beast for? Please say at least 3-4 months.

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Old 01-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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My schedule is a 6 week fermentation, D-rest, and a 4 month lager. I wanted to try it on the 1st of June

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Old 01-25-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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You gave the SG reading in brix- did you check it with a hydrometer? There reason I ask is that a refractometer reading is wrong when alcohol is in the mix. I'd make sure to check with a hydrometer if you used a refractometer.

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Old 01-25-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osagedr View Post
That is a very big beer. My own target would have been to pitch around 750 billion cells. Yes, after that period of time you should be at FG--it's unlikely to move any further at this point. I fear you underpitched dramatically.
According to Mr. Malty calculator for a lager at 1.087 I would need to start 3!? packs of liquid yeast in a 2.4L starter on my stir plate. Really? Three packs of yeast? and then into 2 1/2 L of starter? Wow... looks like I need to get a bigger erlenmeyer flask!
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:37 PM   #9
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I checked it with my refractometer but I put it in the Beersmith tool with the "fermenting wort" setting and it calculated to 1.041. Same as I do with my ales.

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Old 01-25-2012, 07:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TayWhyte View Post
According to Mr. Malty calculator for a lager at 1.087 I would need to start 3!? packs of liquid yeast in a 2.4L starter on my stir plate. Really? Three packs of yeast? and then into 2 1/2 L of starter? Wow... looks like I need to get a bigger erlenmeyer flask!
Your options to pitch enough yeast into a lager that big are to step up your starter, or repitch from slurry, or to use dry yeast, or a crapload of liquid yeast, which can get very expensive.

Repitch from slurry is a great option IMO provided you have the ability to plan ahead and take good care of your yeast.


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