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Old 07-31-2011, 02:04 PM   #1
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Default First lager, a week in questions

Its been a week since I pitched the yeast for my Oktoberfest and airlock activity has slowed to a crawl. I decided to take a hydrometer measurement and taste test.

OG: 1.068
Gravity 1 week in: 1.024

When I tasted it it tasted very very sweet but did not detect any butteryness. I pitched the yeast at wort temps ~53F.

I plan on waiting a month in the primary and then rack to the secondary for 2 months.

Will the gravity continue to go down and why is the beer super sweet? Should I be concerned with a diacetyl rest?

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Old 07-31-2011, 02:10 PM   #2
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You can do a diacetyl rest as a matter of course. It won't harm the beer to do one, even if it's not strictly needed. Diacetyl in low amounts doesn't taste buttery, but instead has an oily or slick mouthfeel or a bit of oiliness on the tongue or teeth. If you have diacetyl and don't do a rest, it'll get far worse and make the beer nearly undrinkable. I suggest doing one, just to ensure the best lager.

It sounds like it's slowing down, but that FG is too high so hopefully it'll finish up without any problems. A diacetyl rest at about 1.020 can also help the yeast fully attenuate and drop the final gravity points.

My lagers are usually in primary about 10-14 days before a diacetyl rest and then racking to a carboy. I lager one week for every 8-10 points of OG (that tip comes from Greg Noonon), so for a 1.065 lager I'd lager 8 weeks or so.

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Old 07-31-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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At 1.024 go ahead and do your d-rest; the warmer temp will help fermentation finish off. Not everyone does a d-rest but I always do after having a couple d-bombs as a rookie brewer.

Lager it as long as you can stand to wait! I was at Weihenstephan brewery (it's the oldest in the world) last year and was surprised to learn their lagers ferment for only 5-6 days (ales were three days) and lager for 3-4 weeks. Having said that, I have noticed my own lagers improve with extended cold aging. For brewers like Yooper, who indubitably has a considerable stock of beer, waiting is easy. For people who only do lagers occasionally, it's a lot harder!

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Old 07-31-2011, 05:30 PM   #4
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I have a slight problem with doing the d-rest. Problem is with the keezer I have. I have only one and theres another lager going strong right now as I started it a few days after the Oktoberfest. So as a solution I have thought about bringing it inside where the temp is around 78F and wrapping it in towels to keep the cold insulated until it got to 65F and then transfer to secondary for lagering. At that time the other lager should be done and be ready. Is it ok to keep lager at primary fermentation temps until I can have both at lagering temps?

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Old 07-31-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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The problem with keeping your lager at ferm temps is that you will miss the window for your d-rest. You want your beer to be actively fermenting for your d-rest, the last six or eight points of gravity. If you wait for your second lager to finish fermenting before doing a d-rest for the first it might be too late.

Having said that, lots of brewers don't do a d-rest. You could wait until lager #2 gets down to around 1.020 then let the temp in your ferm chamber rise to 65. Option 2 is to take your first lager out now, put it into a rubbermaid cooler, or some other container, and do an ice bath (similar to what you proposed above, but never letting the beer temp get up to 78). Give it a couple of days at 65 or 70 for a d-rest, then put it back into your ferm chamber with lager #2. Then when lager #2 hits 1.020 or so, raise temps to 65 or whatever. You'll get your d-rest for #2 and won't hurt #1.

So, you can risk it with no d-rest (which many brewers would do anyway as part of their normal process) or take the trouble of doing a d-rest with an ice bath or something similar. Personally I'd do the d-rest if you feel like your lager is having trouble getting down to FG. Make sure you give it at least a few days at the higher temp and don't rack until you have hit FG. Leave both of your lagers in carboys or kegs for two months at 33 degrees to lager, then enjoy!

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:09 PM   #6
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Have you ever had a ferment to just start to take off again? The Oktoberfest started to produce more air bubbles than before. Is that possible?

I think I will take another gravity measurement tommorow and see where I am at and then do the rest. Thoughts?

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl_Grey View Post
Have you ever had a ferment to just start to take off again? The Oktoberfest started to produce more air bubbles than before. Is that possible?

I think I will take another gravity measurement tommorow and see where I am at and then do the rest. Thoughts?
I made a saison that seemed to start and stop and start and stop.

Has your temperature changed? Sometimes a temp increase results in more bubbling.
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