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-   -   Lager Troubles(esters) (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/lager-troubles-esters-313544/)

pat07421 03-16-2012 01:15 PM

Lager Troubles(esters)
1 Attachment(s)

Hi. This is my first post. Sorry, it will be long, but I want to be detailed.

So I had been brewing for about a year when I decided to try my hand at lagering. Went with a keezer design, got a 75$ used chest freezer, built it to utilize 5 taps, digital temp control, got kegging equipment etc. I've always been a fan of the Munich Helles so I brewed one of those using a kit from my LHBS, with wyeast 2308(munich).

The owner there recommended starting out at 65 degrees F to allow the yeast to get started, then bring it down to the recommended range for the yeast, which is 48-56 degrees F. Fine, so set the carboy in the keezer, set the temp, and the freezer died 6 hrs later. Couldn't get a solution figured out in time, so I just let that batch ferment at room temps to see how it should NOT taste. It was awful of course, very estery and sulphury. First ever dumped batch.

I saved up and got a brand new freezer and ripped off someones design from this site for my new keezer:
Attachment 52754
So I tried the same kit, same yeast, same strategy(minus the failed freezer of course, also added d-rest), and 3 months later still had terrible beer. It was a little bit better, but still very estery(banana variety) and a little sulphury. Didn't seem to bother my dad, so I let him drink this batch.

I went online and tried to figure out the issue. For attempt three I got a different kit, which was brewer's best's Helles, Used the same type of yeast, but tried a different strategy. I did a 2L yeast starter at 55 degrees for 24 hrs, brewed the wort, but let it cool in the keezer until was also 55 degrees before I pitched. Slowly cooled it down to 45 degrees assuming it would ferment a few degrees warmer than the air in the keezer to get me to the recommended range of 48-56.

When the beer reached a gravity reading of .020 I did a D-rest at 65 degrees for two days, FG .008, cold crash, keg, lager at 35 for a month, and tasted it. It was about 90% better, but still estery, still a bit sulphury. Its drinkable now, but I'd like to get it to taste how its supposed to.

I'm assuming its a fermentation issue so I didnt list any of the brewing info. The only thing I can think to do is start at a colder temperature, but I see people say all over the internet that they pitch at 65 or room temp and let it sit in their garage or basement with a fan to ferment with no issues. It doesn't seem like a taste that will go away by giving it more time. I'd like to get some opinions before I spend any more time or money on lagering. Thanks for reading and helping.

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