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Old 01-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
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Default First Lager questions

I started my first lager after several years of Ales, Porters and Stouts. Everything seems to be goin fine.

It's currently fermenting at 52 degrees. My first question is what temp do I need to bring it up to for a D rest and for how long? I have heard 24, 48 and 72 hours which is correct?

My second question is after the D rest do I need to rack it to a secondary or can I let it sit on the yeast during lagering?

Lastly should I lager it back at 52 degrees or can I just put it in a keg without CO2 and let it sit in my fridge at 34 degrees for the lagering period?

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Old 01-14-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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I did diacetyl rest for 2 days at room temperature. After the D rest, I racked it to a keg and dropped the temp 5 degrees a day until it hits 34. then lager it for 4-6 weeks. It's my first lager too. We will see....

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Old 01-14-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
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The short answer is that you only need to do a diacetyl rest until the diacetyl taste is completely gone. Of course, there is a much longer answer to go along with that! Interestingly, brewer's yeast contains enzymes for both the production and for reducing diacetyl. Some yeast strains produce very little, while other strains are notorious diacetyl producers. If you pitch enough yeast and pitch it cold, sometimes there isn't much in the way of discernable diacetyl.

In some beer styles, it's not a flaw at all but part of the character of the beer. In lagers, it's considered a flaw, so you want to reduce it. That's why a diacetyl rest may or may not be needed, and 24 hours may clean it up if you do have some. Often, just raising the temperature 10 degrees for 24 hours is enough to have the enzymes go to work and get rid of it. Sometimes that's not quite long enough, so it's "safer" to keep the temperature up for 48 hours. That's why there is different advice. If you underpitch a lager and keep it at 70 degrees until fermentation starts and then lower the temperature to fermentation temperature (which is often in the instructions by the yeast manufacturer), you may have a diacetyl butter bomb. If you pitch a large starter at 50 degrees and use a yeast that is noted to produce less diacetyl, then you may not have much to begin with.

Since lagers are "clean" tasting, any yeast notes are going to show up in the finished beer. You really want to get the lager off of the yeast cake ASAP after fermentation and the diacetyl rest are over. Then, you can begin lagering. You can lager in the keg if you'd like. You can even hook it up to the gas if you want to- carbonation doesn't affect lagering. (but then you might be tempted to drink it too early!)

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Old 01-14-2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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I'm always tempted to start drinking it too early. I like to sample the character changes over time.

Thanks for all the input. I was just a little uncertain so that's why I asked. I pretty much was going the route noted by you guys but wanted to double check on the D rest.

I definately had no clue about getting it off the yeast cake but was going to do it. I will probably lager in my keg and see how that turns out.

I did think the yeast instructions were weird as it said to pitch at 70 degrees but It just seemed wrong so I did the starter at 70 and pitched that into my fermenter at 60 instead.

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Old 01-17-2010, 07:32 PM   #5
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Rooster,

Thanks for asking this question and thanks to Yooper for your answers. I'm just fermenting my first lager and was wondering about the lagering stage.

One question I have about the fermentation temp, I don't have a fridge/freezer (yet) so I'm using the outside air entering into my celler. My fermenting temp is between 55 deg F and 59 deg F. Is this temp too high for fermentation? Is there another step I'll have to do to?

Thanks,

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Old 01-17-2010, 07:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Killercal View Post
Rooster,

Thanks for asking this question and thanks to Yooper for your answers. I'm just fermenting my first lager and was wondering about the lagering stage.

One question I have about the fermentation temp, I don't have a fridge/freezer (yet) so I'm using the outside air entering into my celler. My fermenting temp is between 55 deg F and 59 deg F. Is this temp too high for fermentation? Is there another step I'll have to do to?

Thanks,
If you look at the yeast manufacturer's website, they'll tell you optimum fermentation temperature for your yeast strain. But 55-59 does sounds a bit warm. You may have some fruity esters that wouldn't be there if you fermented at 48 degrees. I assume you're talking beer temperature, not room temperature, of course.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:16 PM   #7
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yes, that is beer temp. Man, I really need to get a spare fridge/freezer.

Thanks Yooper.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:19 PM   #8
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yes, that is beer temp. Man, I really need to get a spare fridge/freezer.

Thanks Yooper.
Or, do it the easy way, at least for winter- and build a Yooper Lagerator:


It's simply an Igloo cooler with wheels. I've removed the original lid (and I still use it, it pops right back on) and made a new lid out of foam. I put water in the cooler, and then add a frozen water bottle or two and float a thermometer in there to see the temperature. I can keep temps at just about any place I want. In the winter, I add an aquarium heater to keep temps in the high 60s if I need to, or I can add the frozen water bottles to get to lagering temperatures. It works pretty well, and costs under $30.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:58 AM   #9
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So correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't it ok to ferment at 52 degrees which is where mine is. Then raise the temp for the D rest to room temperature for about 48 hours. Then lower the temp again and lager it in the 30's?

I'm just gonna keg mine after the D rest and lager it in my beer fridge which is at 34 degrees.

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Old 01-18-2010, 02:18 AM   #10
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So correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't it ok to ferment at 52 degrees which is where mine is. Then raise the temp for the D rest to room temperature for about 48 hours. Then lower the temp again and lager it in the 30's?

I'm just gonna keg mine after the D rest and lager it in my beer fridge which is at 34 degrees.
That sounds fine.
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