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Old 12-20-2012, 01:09 AM   #1
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Default First lager: What can expect?

The question is will I need a blow-off tube, or just an airlock bubbler? I mean I know that lager is bottom fermenting, does that mean little to no krausen? I know this isn't a critical thing to know beforehand, I'm just curious.

In case it matters, here is the plan:
*A Baltic Porter, OG 1.089
*Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager with a 3 liter starter
*proper amount of yeast nutrient blend and a full minute of pure O2
*Pitch at 51*, ferment at 53*
*I'll wait till the day after I brew it to pitch so I can rack to another carboy leaving the trub behind.

Steve

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Old 12-20-2012, 01:17 AM   #2
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I think you'll be fine- depending on the amount of headspace you have. I never get a ton of visible activity with lagers, although I get some. I use an "ale pail" for 5 gallon batches, and have never had one blow off yet!

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Old 12-20-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Just airlock, Lager is a very slow ferment, nothing like an ale, or worse yet a wheat, they can be explosive!

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Old 12-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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I think you are badly underpitching, but you are fermenting somewhat warm which will help offset that. My guess is that you end up with a FG in the 1.030s. If your starter size is limited by the size of your flask, do two steps. Then chill, decant and pitch--no point putting 3 litres of blech into your porter. Pitching rates are incredibly important for lagers, and much more so when you are working with high-gravity lagers. I love 2124, but if you want max attenuation you have to give it a fighting chance.

Blowoff or not depends on your vessel size. They are easy to do, so why risk it? I don't think you will need one, but you never know.

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Old 12-20-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bufitfn View Post
Just airlock, Lager is a very slow ferment, nothing like an ale, or worse yet a wheat, they can be explosive!
I've got an Oktoberfest going at 48 right now with WY 2000...couple of inches of thick krausen and a very steady airlock bubble. Certainly not like an ale, but far from "very slow"!
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osagedr View Post
I think you are badly underpitching, but you are fermenting somewhat warm which will help offset that. My guess is that you end up with a FG in the 1.030s. If your starter size is limited by the size of your flask, do two steps. Then chill, decant and pitch--no point putting 3 litres of blech into your porter. Pitching rates are incredibly important for lagers, and much more so when you are working with high-gravity lagers. I love 2124, but if you want max attenuation you have to give it a fighting chance.

Blowoff or not depends on your vessel size. They are easy to do, so why risk it? I don't think you will need one, but you never know.
I was kind of surprised by your comment that I was badly underpitching. I am using the starter calculator in Beersmith which says I need 662 billion cells. I am making two 1.5 liter starters from two smack packs, which according to Beersmith will result in 628 billion cells. I thought that was pretty close. And yes, the primary reason I am doing it this way is I only have one stir plate and two, 2 liter flasks. I could decant the one in the fridge now and add some new starter wort to it when the one on the stir plate is done tomorrow. I am brewing Sunday, pitching Monday.

Also, I agree with the too warm statement. What do you think about pitching at 45*, fermenting at 48*?

Steve
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yso191 View Post
I was kind of surprised by your comment that I was badly underpitching. I am using the starter calculator in Beersmith which says I need 662 billion cells. I am making two 1.5 liter starters from two smack packs, which according to Beersmith will result in 628 billion cells. I thought that was pretty close. And yes, the primary reason I am doing it this way is I only have one stir plate and two, 2 liter flasks. I could decant the one in the fridge now and add some new starter wort to it when the one on the stir plate is done tomorrow. I am brewing Sunday, pitching Monday.

Also, I agree with the too warm statement. What do you think about pitching at 45*, fermenting at 48*?

Steve
I don't think you are badly underpitching given the process you are describing, but that information was not in your original post. You should be okay for cells.

2124 can really handle the cold, so pitching at 45 and fermenting at 48 would be a great process for most lagers. Given the beer style, you can go a bit warmer than that with no downside IMO. I'd consider a d-rest about 3/4 of the way to expected FG that will help fermentation finish off strong.

Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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you are setting yourself up for one delicious lager. you shouldn't need a blowoff.

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Old 12-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #9
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I have my first non-California Lager going right now, and there are pretty much no visible signs of fermentation happening (this is day 6). The only sign I've gotten is the strong sulfury smell. Good to know that this is common. When it comes to the diacetyl rest, I have been thinking about transferring to the secondary and then allowing the temperature to rise, so that the last bit of fermentation will push out any oxygen in the headspace, or perhaps even adding a tiny amount of corn sugar (I unfortunately only have a 6 gallon BB for a secondary, so there will be a fair amount of surface area exposed to the air). What is the consensus on this?

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Old 12-20-2012, 07:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dbsmith View Post
I have my first non-California Lager going right now, and there are pretty much no visible signs of fermentation happening (this is day 6). The only sign I've gotten is the strong sulfury smell. Good to know that this is common. When it comes to the diacetyl rest, I have been thinking about transferring to the secondary and then allowing the temperature to rise, so that the last bit of fermentation will push out any oxygen in the headspace, or perhaps even adding a tiny amount of corn sugar (I unfortunately only have a 6 gallon BB for a secondary, so there will be a fair amount of surface area exposed to the air). What is the consensus on this?
did you use a starter? what are your fermentation temps?
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