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.