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Old 11-16-2012, 12:02 AM   #1
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Default Lager quickly reached 1.02

I'm fermenting my first lager. After only 4 days in the primary, I noticed that the airlock activity had become very slow. My research on when to perform a diacetyl rest led me to believe it would take somewhere around 10-14 days to finish 75% of fermentation. To be safe, I took a gravity reading, and I am very close to 1.02. Starting gravity was about 1.052, so this should be very close to 75% complete. So I will begin the diacetyl rest now.

A few questions:
1) Is it odd to reach 1.02 in only 4 days?
2) After performing the 2 or 3 day diacetyl rest at warmer temperature, should I immediately rack to secondary? That would put me at the 1 week primary fermentation mark. Or would it be better to just leave it in primary another week at the warmer temperature so that it has 2 weeks to sit in all the yeast?

Some info on the beer:
Style: Oktoberfest
Starting Gravity: 1.052
Yeast: WLP 830 (German Lager)
Fermentation temperature: Temp controller set to 52F. I measured the temperature of the sample, and the beer was 55F.
Yeast Starter: About 3 liters

Thanks!

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Old 11-16-2012, 12:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gregoreckbrews View Post
I'm fermenting my first lager. After only 4 days in the primary, I noticed that the airlock activity had become very slow. My research on when to perform a diacetyl rest led me to believe it would take somewhere around 10-14 days to finish 75% of fermentation. To be safe, I took a gravity reading, and I am very close to 1.02. Starting gravity was about 1.052, so this should be very close to 75% complete. So I will begin the diacetyl rest now.

A few questions:
1) Is it odd to reach 1.02 in only 4 days?
2) After performing the 2 or 3 day diacetyl rest at warmer temperature, should I immediately rack to secondary? That would put me at the 1 week primary fermentation mark. Or would it be better to just leave it in primary another week at the warmer temperature so that it has 2 weeks to sit in all the yeast?

Some info on the beer:
Style: Oktoberfest
Starting Gravity: 1.052
Yeast: WLP 830 (German Lager)
Fermentation temperature: Temp controller set to 52F. I measured the temperature of the sample, and the beer was 55F.
Yeast Starter: About 3 liters

Thanks!
1. No. Normally it is about the same as ales.
2. After the diacetyl rest, and the FG is reached and not changing, then it's fine to rack and lager. Do a taste taste and make sure there isn't any hint at all of diacetyl. In lower amounts, diacetyl is "slick" or an oily mouthfeel on the teeth or tongue. Since a 3 liter starter is very small for a 1.052 lager, I'd make sure to do a thorough diacetyl rest.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
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Sounds about right for what I have been experiencing lately. My fermentation schedule for most lagers is seven days at 50 and then seven days at 60. I then keg and lager at 34 for a month.

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Old 11-16-2012, 12:54 AM   #4
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Cool. Thanks a lot for the quick replies. I will make sure it is completely finished before racking to secondary.

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Old 11-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregoreckbrews View Post
I'm fermenting my first lager. After only 4 days in the primary, I noticed that the airlock activity had become very slow. My research on when to perform a diacetyl rest led me to believe it would take somewhere around 10-14 days to finish 75% of fermentation. To be safe, I took a gravity reading, and I am very close to 1.02. Starting gravity was about 1.052, so this should be very close to 75% complete. So I will begin the diacetyl rest now.

A few questions:
1) Is it odd to reach 1.02 in only 4 days?
2) After performing the 2 or 3 day diacetyl rest at warmer temperature, should I immediately rack to secondary? That would put me at the 1 week primary fermentation mark. Or would it be better to just leave it in primary another week at the warmer temperature so that it has 2 weeks to sit in all the yeast?

Yes I would consider 1.020 in four days to be pretty darn quick. Since (as noted by Yooper) you really didn't pitch that much yeast and you weren't fermenting THAT warm, I'm curious about your pitching temperature. What was the temperature of your wort when you pitched? If it was quite on the warm side that would explain your relatively quick fermentation.

With respect to your second question, I would leave it at 60 (or higher) for a couple of weeks, then rack, crash and lager.

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Sounds about right for what I have been experiencing lately. My fermentation schedule for most lagers is seven days at 50 and then seven days at 60. I then keg and lager at 34 for a month.
Your hydrometer is a much better tool for setting your fermentation schedule than your calendar.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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So true. I always go by gravity readings. The fermentation schedule has just worked out that way recently for all my lagers. Once I achieve 70% of my expected attenuation I ramp the temp to ensure a good finish.

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Old 11-28-2012, 03:24 PM   #7
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I'm currently fermenting a Lager at 53 degrees. For my d-rest do I just want to bring the temp up to 60? I thought the d-rest temp was in the mid to high 60's.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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I have a Czech Pilsner going right now, it reached 1.021ish in about 4 days, at which point I started to raise the temp to 60 over about 24 hours for the diacetyl rest.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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when I've done a d-rest I leave it at room temperature. I also only start counting the d-rest time once the beer has reached that temperature. It can take a long time for 5gal of beer to warm up.

I would not d-rest for a couple of weeks. Once you are at FG and not moving rack and then send to lager fridge. I've lowered the temperature 2C per day until reaching lager temperature. Lager as long as you want, but longer is better.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:48 PM   #10
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That is a good point, osagedr. My pitching temperature was definitely warmer than my fermentation temperature. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I added a late ice bath combined with an immersion chiller so that I could get the temperature lower than the ales I brew. Also, since I brew on the stovetop, I do partial mash and add about 1.5 gallons of cold water to the fermenter with the 3.5 gallons of wort. If I cooled the wort to between 70-75F, it was probably around 60-65F when I pitched.

I ended up leaving it at about 65F (my current downstairs room temperature) for 6 days. The gravity reading was the expected FG, so I racked to secondary. I now have it set to 38F in the chest freezer. Plan to leave it there for about 2 months.

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