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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Lager dilemma
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
TrogdorTheBrewinator
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Default Lager dilemma

So last Friday I got a chest freezer from a friend and decided to try out my first lager the very next day. So I got all pitched on Saturday (18g Safale-S23, OG 1050) , set the temp to 50 and the fermentation started in less than 24 hrs. Things are looking good so far. My dilemma is this, however... Right now I can still see clear airlock activity as well as a thin layer of krausen, so the fermentation is still going. The trouble is - I will be out of town starting next Wednesday morning and will be out for 2 weeks. Do you guys think it might finish fermenting by Tuesday night - that will be overall 10 days since pitching. If it does then there's no dilemma - I'll just rack it into secondary and start lagering it. But what if it doesn't ? I know that the whole "get the beer off of the yeast cake" has been more or less discredited for ales and I usually leave mine from 2-4 weeks (unless dryhopping and transferring to secondary for that). But for lagers this could be a problem right ? If I were just to leave it in the primary by the time I get back it will be more than 4 weeks since it was pitched. Or should I transfer it on Tuesday regardless and then switch temp to lagering temp on Wednesday morning just before I leave (I figure by the 10th day it should be awfully close to finishing a 1050 lager, no ? )
What are your personal experiences with lagers of this gravity in terms of leaving them in primary too long , or racking them in less than 2 weeks ?

And please, no flaming... I know very darn well that I should have planned this after I get back but couldn't resist watching that freezer sit around and do nothing - just had to do it and see how well it goes and worry about other issues later.

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Old 05-11-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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I am certain you will be just fine. I have done the same thing with S23 both at home and in a commercial setting. No worries. In fact, you could start ramping the temp down at that point if you wanted to.

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Old 05-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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I'd check it on Sunday and see if it needs a diacetyl rest. Even if it doesn't, you could raise the temp up to ~60F until Tuesday to help it finish more quickly. Then you can rack to secondary(or don't rack) and just cold crash it to your lagering temp.

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Old 05-11-2012, 03:01 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys !

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Old 05-12-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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I primary for 4 weeks MINIMUM with my lagers. You'll be just fine. Patience is a virtue when it comes to lagers, if you rush it you'll just get mediocre results. You'll be far better off to let it sit till you get back than to pull it off the yeast cake early. Lager yeast is notorious for throwing off sulphur, it really needs lots of time to clean up after itself, even after fermentation appears to be done, the yeast is still in there working.

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