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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Lager Fermentation taking a long time
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Lager Fermentation taking a long time

So I'm fermenting a lager and it seems to be taking a long time. I'm wondering if I should take it down to the lagering phase now or just let it keep going.

The OG was 1.049 using mostly pilsner malt mashed at 152 and this is a 5 gallon batch. Yeast is WLP 830 and I pitched according to mr malty calculator

I chilled to 45 degrees and let ramp up to 48 degress after 2 days. It sat at 48-49 for 10 days at the gravity went to 1.020. I kicked it up to 56 degrees and it is now at 1.011. 1.011 seems like it is done to me (has been a total of 3 weeks now) but it still bubbles 1-2 per minute and I can see small bubbles of co2 rise in the fermenter (i am using a better bottles with standard 3 piece airlock).

I don't want to leave it on the yeast too long to prevent autolysis, but I also want this thing to fully ferment.

Is it done or should I just keep this guy going. 3 weeks seems like too long to me!

Nate

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Old 04-02-2011, 08:34 PM   #2
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Autolysis is really nothing to worry about...I've left beer 6 months in primary. It could be anything, if you've done 2 consequetive readings over three days and it's the same. Do a d-rest and lager it.

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Old 04-02-2011, 09:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gnatp2 View Post
I chilled to 45 degrees and let ramp up to 48 degress after 2 days. It sat at 48-49 for 10 days at the gravity went to 1.020. I kicked it up to 56 degrees and it is now at 1.011. 1.011 seems like it is done to me (has been a total of 3 weeks now) but it still bubbles 1-2 per minute and I can see small bubbles of co2 rise in the fermenter (i am using a better bottles with standard 3 piece airlock).

I don't want to leave it on the yeast too long to prevent autolysis, but I also want this thing to fully ferment.
Excellent fermentation schedule. Should produce a very crisp, clean lager. When you raise the temperature, CO2 starts coming out of solution, leading to airlock bubbling. That's most likely what you are seeing. I'd leave it at 56º for another day or two to finishing cleaning up any diacetyl (which is most likely nonexistent because of the cool pitch & ferment, but why take chances) then rack it.

I've got one in the fridge now that followed almost exactly the same schedule. Pitched at 45º, let it rise to 50º, fermented about 12 days until I was within 5-6 gravity points of target FG, then pulled it out of the fermentation fridge to rise slowly to the low 60s where it finished out over three days. In my case I put the whole thing back in the fermentation fridge to slowly drop back to 50º then moved to my outside fridge for maturation/lagering at 36º. I'm going to leave it on the yeast for another week or two before racking to a keg and carbing. Four or five weeks, especially at cool to cold temperatures, is nothing. The fear of autolysis comes from commercial conicals, where heat and pressure can cause yeast death a lot faster than in the wide, shallow yeast layer in a homebrewer's bucket or carboy.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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I'd go ahead and do the diacetyl rest now, and if it's not quite at FG now it will be after the diacetyl rest. After the diacetyl rest, you can rack and begin lagering.

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Old 04-02-2011, 10:12 PM   #5
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I'd go ahead and do the diacetyl rest now, and if it's not quite at FG now it will be after the diacetyl rest. After the diacetyl rest, you can rack and begin lagering.
I kinda thought that by bringing it up to 56 degrees, I'd already be accomplishing the diacetyl rest, no?
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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I kinda thought that by bringing it up to 56 degrees, I'd already be accomplishing the diacetyl rest, no?
I would say its safe to go to lagering now. Your 5 F temp rise is sufficient, and at 3 weeks with that OG your beer is done (esp. with your nice fermentation schedule).

You could crash cool it down to 40 F for a couple of days to help drop out some more yeast and then rack it to a keg to lager (assuming your kegging). After all you'll want that lager nice and clear!
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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I kinda thought that by bringing it up to 56 degrees, I'd already be accomplishing the diacetyl rest, no?
In my opinion- maybe, maybe not. I'd still bring it up to 60 +/- just to ensure it's a thoroughl diacetyl rest. You can taste for diacetyl, but it's not easy to taste for. In large amounts, it's buttery but in small amounts it's more of a "slick" or oily mouthfeel or on the back of the tongue. If it's present now, it'll get worse, not better, with lagering.
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