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Old 11-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
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Default First Lager Questions

I recently finished building my fermentation chambers and decided to brew my first lager. I brewed a 5 gallon PM German Helles and used Wyeast Bohemian Lager yeast. Wyeast recommended a primary fermentation temperature range of 8 to 12 degrees Celcius. I set the temp. controller to 11 degrees and had no problems with the chamber maintaining the temp. I have been reading a lot about diacetyl rests for lagers and many suggest that once 2/3 of the way through primary fermentation, the rest should be completed. I checked my gravity for the first time since I brewed last Friday night (6 days ago) and missed my window of opportunity. My brewing calculator had me at an OG of 1.054 with an FG of 1.013. My OG wasn't far off at 1.052. My gravity reading is currently 1.009, so the attenuation exceeded my expectations, so I assume I am very near the end of primary fermentation. I tasted the sample that I pulled and detected no signs of diacetyl, whatsoever.

I will not have time to tend to this beer until Sunday (3 days from now). Would it hurt to elevate the temp about 10 degrees or so for a few days and do a diacetyl rest anyway before racking to a secondary and starting the lagering process? Or, should I let it ride out the next few days at the primary fermentation temp. before racking? I'm new to lagers, so please be kind.

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Old 11-08-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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Yes, raise the temperature, leave it on the yeast for a week, then rack it to secondary and cool it (I crash, but some people go slow). 1.009 is pretty low for that strain but it should be fine. Sounds like things are going well.

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Old 11-08-2012, 09:23 PM   #3
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Yes, raise the temperature, leave it on the yeast for a week, then rack it to secondary and cool it (I crash, but some people go slow). 1.009 is pretty low for that strain but it should be fine. Sounds like things are going well.
^^^ I second that!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:53 PM   #4
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IMHO, if you pitched the correct amount of yeast to begin with and you detect no off-flavors, there is no reason to do a diacetyl rest. Let it sit on the cake for another week to finish cleaning up and bottle or keg. There is also no reason to transfer to a secondary and risk oxidation. Sounds like you brewed a good beer.

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:29 PM   #5
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Thanks guys....very helpful information. I want this beer to be crisp, clear, and very clean. My dad is the typical American Light Lager drinker (cheap lager drinker at that), who has never once tried one of my ales. He refers to everything that I currently brew as a "dark beer", despite the fact that I brew IPA's, pale ales, wheat beers, etc., etc. in addition to my ambers, porters, and stouts. Hell, I even had a Kolshe on tap and he wouldn't try it. I'm trying to brew a solid lager that will suit his (and my other light lager drinking friend), but still is of great quality and character for me to enjoy as a session beer. Hence my pursuit of brewing lagers.

Based on the feedback given, here's my plan. I'll up the temp and let her go for another week, then transfer to a secondary. I was going to do the gradual step down approach, by dropping it from the elevated diacetyl resting temp. a couple of degrees per day. I'm not exactly sure how low my lager chamber can go, but I'm gonna find out. I'm going to drop it slowly and see how low it can handle. Once It can't go any lower, I'll pop the fermenter in my keezer or basement fridge to get down the rest of the way into the upper 30's. At this point I was going to leave it alone for a month, then keg it and get it into the keezer for force carbing. Does this sound like a good plan? Any additional insight and guidance is very much appreciated. I have read that many guys use gelatin at the end of the lagering phase to clear it up more, so any insight into this process would be great as well. Thanks!

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Old 11-08-2012, 11:15 PM   #6
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Good luck!

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Old 11-08-2012, 11:15 PM   #7
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However I would read up more on secondary fermenting and diacetyl rests on this and the AHA forum......

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:14 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I'm racking to a secondary tomorrow and then starting the gradual step down in temp. Once I reach the bottom levels of what my chamber will handle, I'll move it over to the keezer to get it down further to lagering temps. Then I'll wait it out before kegging/carbing. Sound like a plan?

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Old 11-15-2012, 01:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppopotomus View Post
Thanks guys. I'm racking to a secondary tomorrow and then starting the gradual step down in temp. Once I reach the bottom levels of what my chamber will handle, I'll move it over to the keezer to get it down further to lagering temps. Then I'll wait it out before kegging/carbing. Sound like a plan?
When I finish with the D-rest, I usually rack right to a keg for lagering. I don't secondary. Not that you shouldn't rack to a secondary. Just saying. You got the right idea though....Good luck.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:13 AM   #10
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The only reason to do a diacetyl rest is if you are in a hurry. If you use the traditional German fermentation/lagering program there is no need for a diacetyl rest and, as an added benefit, you will get better head and head retention. Just make sure plenty of yeast make it into the lagering vessel with the beer.

The cost? You have to wait a bit longer for the beer to be ready to drink.

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