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Old 08-10-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Lager Fermentation Steps/Schedule

i've seen on here many different pieces of the steps to fermenting a lager, but i wanted to try and find/make a schedule for me for making my first lager.. here is what i have read in a bunch of threads and put together here.. please for all of you with lager experience, just take a look and see if i'm on the right page, and critique if necessary.. thanks!

make large starter - i'm planning on making it at room temperature and crashing/decanting off the liquid for each of 2-3 steps.. i have to buy a new flask i believe so hopefully i can get my hands on a 3000L or 4000L in time.. i currently only have a 2000L and figured that won't be nearly enough since i use that for some ales..

brew the beer - not many steps seem to be different for the actual "brewday" portion from an ale, but let me know if i'm way off base here

wort into carboy - i use BBs exclusively, so i figured to cool with my plate chiller then fill my BB.. i can put an airlock on but no yeast yet and stick it in my fridge at a temperature in range for what the yeast recomments.. at this step i would also put the starter in the same fridge to get the temps down as well

pitch yeast - probably the next day? should have had enough time to get down at least close enough to the right temp.. i can decant the rest of the wort off the starter, pitch and aerate then plug it back up

primary fermentation - check the gravity and keep in primary until the fermentation is about 75% complete.. if this is accurate how would i decide this? (totally random numbers here just for ease of math) if i started at 1.100 and it was supposed to go down to 1.000, would i rack to secondary for D-rest at 1.025? and do i have to take into account the attenuation of the individual yeast strain?

Secondary/D-rest - sit in basement room temp (probably around 65 degrees) for 2 days for a D-rest.. then put back into fridge at the lower lagering temperature for a month?

keg - keg, force carb at correct psi for about 2 weeks.. enjoy


besides taking readings during primary, are there any other times that you would need to take a gravity reading since i would be lagering for a month?

thanks for your help!

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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I always do the D-rest in the primary, then bring back to fermentation temp and then put in secondary, then lager. You want the yeast to do the clean up of the diacetyl. You lose a lot of yeast when you rack to the secondary.

I also usually chill the wort down to fermentation temps in the mid 50s with my immersion chiller, but I also have only done lagers in January when the tap water is very cold. I had a hard time getting an ale down to 75 in the summer. Letting it sit in the fridge to cool is perfectly fine.

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:54 PM   #3
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ah yes.. i think i remember reading about d-rest in the primary, must have mixed it up when i was trying to get all the steps down..

i figured as long as i keep it sanitary it is easy to plug it up and stick in the fridge overnight.. many people seem to do that for ales in their "no chill methods" with fine results

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krenshaw View Post

primary fermentation - check the gravity and keep in primary until the fermentation is about 75% complete.. if this is accurate how would i decide this? (totally random numbers here just for ease of math) if i started at 1.100 and it was supposed to go down to 1.000, would i rack to secondary for D-rest at 1.025? and do i have to take into account the attenuation of the individual yeast strain?
it can be hard to determine but I check the gravity when I notice the airlock start to slow down - the main thing is that you want to do the d-rest before active fermentation stops so that the yeast are still busy and will clean up any diacetyl

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Secondary/D-rest - sit in basement room temp (probably around 65 degrees) for 2 days for a D-rest.. then put back into fridge at the lower lagering temperature for a month?

keg - keg, force carb at correct psi for about 2 weeks.. enjoy
after the d-rest you can start to lower the temp to lagering temps, some suggest slowly 2-5° per day others say just cold crash it.

at that point you can rack to keg and then start lagering in your keezer - you want to get the beer off the yeast cake when you lager. i kept mine on the gas while it was lagering
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
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at that point you can rack to keg and then start lagering in your keezer - you want to get the beer off the yeast cake when you lager. i kept mine on the gas while it was lagering
i didn't think about that.. i always do the "slow method" of force carbing my ales mostly because i've noticed the extra week or two also has helped the taste instead of just drinking it right away.. may just be in my head but the last couple pints always seem to be the best..

i guess then it would only be an "additional" 2 weeks of lagering if i count 2 of the 4 weeks for carbonating as well
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #6
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As for readings, in addition to the primary, I always take one before bottling, just to see if lagering takes it down any further. It doesn't. For that matter, once you've cold crashed it, there may not be enough yeast left to carbonate. If you're kegging, you don't need to worry about any of this.

For that matter, you never need to worry about any of this process. You will end up with good beer.

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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As far as the chilling/starting part, I'd recommend making the starter about a week in advance, and chilling about 3 days before brewing. The reason is that you want to decant the spent wort, and lager yeast can take 2-3 days to fall out in the fridge.

Chilling the wort is fine, and then I like to pitch the yeast just slightly cooler than the wort. For example, I'd have the yeast at 46 degrees (or so) and the wort at 48 degrees, and allow it to warm to 50 degrees.

I usually do the diacetyl rest around 1.020, depending on the OG. Then, after the diacetyl rest (48 hours), I taste for diacetyl. If there is ANY hint of oiliness, I keep at diacetyl rest temps. If there is no diacetyl, I rack and then begin lagering.

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:10 PM   #8
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thanks yooper.. i was hoping you'd comment on it.. i remember reading some stuff from you in some other threads regarding this..

just bought the yeast locally today, will be getting the rest of the ingredients for a nice big brew day in the mail.. i do need to find a bigger flask.. the largest i have is 2L.. anybody recommend an alternative to a 3L-5L size due to price/availability?

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DOWN THE HATCH BREWING
Stainless Hop Spider | Wooden Brew Rig | Dual Hinge Keezer Build

Primaries.. oxy :-(
Keg 1: Apfelwein | Keg 2: BlackEyePA version2 | Keg 3: Summer Saison
Bottles: lots full and even more empty

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Old 09-04-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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future note.. if you are fermenting in a keezer and just open the lid for the first time after a couple days, don't take a big wiff, sure builds up a lot of CO2 in there :-)

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DOWN THE HATCH BREWING
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Primaries.. oxy :-(
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krenshaw View Post
i do need to find a bigger flask.. the largest i have is 2L.. anybody recommend an alternative to a 3L-5L size due to price/availability?
I use a 5L water plastic jug. You could use a gallon milk jug or growler etc. Drill a small hole in lid, get a gummi and jam an airlock in it. In a pinch and you don't have an extra gummi (or stopper you can drill a hole in) you can wrap teflon tape thickly around the bottom of the airlock and jam into a hole the size of your airlock tube end.
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