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Old 01-15-2014, 05:57 PM   #1
TAK
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Default First Lager Questions

I'm in the early days of fermenting my first lager. I plan on erring on the safer side and raising the temp for a diacetyl rest, and for the added benefit of letting the yeast finish attenuating really well.

Per JP, he says if you're not taking a gravity reading to tell when you're a few points away from FG, then just raise it when active fermentation shows signs of significantly slowing. I know what that looks like for an ale, but this is my first lager, and man, activity is way less notable. What does a lager look like, what do you look for, to tell that active lager fermentation is on the final stretch?

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Old 01-15-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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I do lager's exclusively. I measure the final gravity at 14 days. I taste the beer from the Hydrometer glass, only once did I have the dreaded DMS. In November I brewed my first batch on my newly built single tier HERMS system. After the boil I ran the wort thru my plate chiller and the false bottom in the boil kettle turned inside out and flow all but stopped. It took too long to get the wort cooled down to pitch the yeast. When I tested to final gravity and tasted the beer, it was buttery cream corn. I let it ride at the 50 degree temp another couple of weeks. When I racked the beer off into a clean keg, I took another sample to taste. The beer was all cleaned up.

So, taste a sample, if it tastes good skip the rest. If you boil for 90 minutes and cool the wort quickly you should not have anything to worry about.

Lager yeast are slow and work well at the lower temps, when they are done doing there job, put your bottles or keg in the fridge and cool it down to 34 or 35 degrees for 7 to 9 weeks. You should a crystal clear reward for your patience.

My 2 cents, hope it helps.

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Old 01-15-2014, 07:06 PM   #3
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I found all my lagers with the exception of one batch will go from around 1.052 to 1.018 in 5 days @ 50F. The one exception was about 12 hours behind. I started out using the hydrometer but can now tell by seeing swirling around in the fermentor and how much kreusen is on top.

I always let it warm to mid 60's for a d-rest for 2-3 days before kegging and lagering. no problems.

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poptotwoboys View Post
I do lager's exclusively. I measure the final gravity at 14 days. I taste the beer from the Hydrometer glass, only once did I have the dreaded DMS. In November I brewed my first batch on my newly built single tier HERMS system. After the boil I ran the wort thru my plate chiller and the false bottom in the boil kettle turned inside out and flow all but stopped. It took too long to get the wort cooled down to pitch the yeast. When I tested to final gravity and tasted the beer, it was buttery cream corn. I let it ride at the 50 degree temp another couple of weeks. When I racked the beer off into a clean keg, I took another sample to taste. The beer was all cleaned up.

So, taste a sample, if it tastes good skip the rest. If you boil for 90 minutes and cool the wort quickly you should not have anything to worry about.

Lager yeast are slow and work well at the lower temps, when they are done doing there job, put your bottles or keg in the fridge and cool it down to 34 or 35 degrees for 7 to 9 weeks. You should a crystal clear reward for your patience.

My 2 cents, hope it helps.
Thanks. I get this, and I really do appreciate the feedback. It seems that people fall into one of two groups on lagers, one group says taste for diacetyl and rest if detected, and the other says raise it at the end as part of the SOP. I'm not sure what camp I fall into yet, but in my first attempt(s), I feel like I'll err on the side of raising the temp. So, assuming that I plan on raising the temp, what do you look for in a lager that's showing it's almost done?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 02fx4dude View Post
I found all my lagers with the exception of one batch will go from around 1.052 to 1.018 in 5 days @ 50F. The one exception was about 12 hours behind. I started out using the hydrometer but can now tell by seeing swirling around in the fermentor and how much kreusen is on top.

I always let it warm to mid 60's for a d-rest for 2-3 days before kegging and lagering. no problems.
I'm not get anything like the "swirling around in the fermenter" that I do in my ales. The bits of coagulation or whatever churn like crazy in my ales, but they're mostly just sitting at the bottom of the carboy in this ale, with only a few bits slowly migrating around. I'm getting a krausen, but it's very thin. So, should I raise the temp when that small krausen looks like it's falling?
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:42 AM   #5
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I go by krausen appearance. When it starts collapsing, its time to raise the temp. It's better to raise when its collapsing, but not gone completely, as you'll get a cleaner flavor faster.

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TAK View Post
What does a lager look like, what do you look for, to tell that active lager fermentation is on the final stretch?
It looks like an ale fermentation, but smaller. You'll see a healthy rise and fall of krausen. For me, I am typically at 75% attenuation 5-7 days after pitching the yeast.
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