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Old 07-01-2010, 05:56 PM   #1
ECbeerman
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Default Lagering temps

Hello,

I'm brewing my first batch ever, and decided on a Xingu clone. I have a deep freeze set up with a temp controller. After I pitched my yeast, and before placing in the freezer I could see activity in the wort. Now that its been in for appx 48 hours, I don't see much activity at all...Is this normal? I've got the carboy set up with a blow off, but I have a simple air-lock I could switch to as well. Any suggestions would be welcome!

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #2
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Welcome to HBT. We need more info... how long after your yeast and at what temperature was it before you put it in the freezer? What temp is the freezer set to?

But in general, temps for lagers are like this: 50°F for fermentation, 33-34°F for lagering. If you had fermentation start at room temp and then put it in a 50°F freezer, it might stall fermentation for a small amount of time, but should get started again. If you took it from room temp to 33°F, it will pretty much stop fermentation all together. In any case, starting this at room temp. will likely require a diacetyl rest.

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:14 PM   #3
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After pitching it was at 70-72 degrees for an hour or so, then I placed it in the freezer which was at 52 degrees. I used the Wyeast Munich Lager pack, and had activated it a couple of hours before pitching. See the picture below for a view of the batch appx 10 minutes before I placed it in the freezer. Its hard to see, but there was a good cascade going on inside too.

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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what was the OG of the wort?

sounds like you did not make a starter out of the Munich Lager, correct?

also, you're gonna have to upload a pic to picasa or photobucket, then link it from there to post pics.

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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how much yeast did you add? lagers need significantly more yeast than ales because of the low temps.

typically you cool the wort to 50F then pitch the yeast. that way they don't go into thermal shock like yours did. the yeast are just sleepy but will wake up and get to work soon enough. like menschmaschine said because you pitched warm you may think about doing a diacetyl rest. toward the end of fermentation raise the temp of the beer by about 10F. then when fermentation is over drop the temps to just above freezing for 1 week per 10 points of OG. for instance if the OG was 1.050 then you would lager at 36F for 5 weeks.

its because of these complicated temperature requirements that i don't recommend lagers for beginning brewers. ales are much easier. just set the temp once (typically 68F) then walk away for 3 weeks.

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Old 07-01-2010, 06:29 PM   #6
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I just used the packet as the recipe called for, no starter. The OG was 1.063, as the recipe said it should be. I will remember to pitch at a cooler temp next time. I started this batch because I love the original, but didn't realize the additional things required of a lager until after I had purchased and ground my grains.

I hadn't checked on it this morning yet, but before submitting this reply I checked and there is activity again, just slow. I'm assuming that, due to the cooler temp, there won't be a rapid active phase?

Thanks for the tips!!

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:28 AM   #7
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Lagers are more work but definitely worth it. Pitch cooler and make a starter. Even with a proper pitch of yeast you will not see an "explosive" fermentation but it will form a nice thick krausen and your airlock will bubble happily away.

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:20 PM   #8
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http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

lagers need a lot of yeast. i think you're slow fermentation is the result of under-pitching. i just made an oktoberfest, and i made 4L of starter out of two smack packs.
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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1/3 of the beer I brew is lager. I brew all-grain 3 times a week.

The best method to determine where you are in a fermentation cycle is to check the gravity of the beer. This will give an accurate indication of your fermentation status. I recommend a lager gets 2X as much yeast pitched as an ale.

If your gravity reading indicates fermentation is not complete and there are no signs of fermentation, I recommend ramping up the temperature 2 degrees F per day until one of the following occurs:

1. you see signs of fermentation
2. you reach 65 degrees F

3-4 weeks for fermentation for a lager is a norm. 3 weeks if it doesn't get stuck. 4 weeks if it sticks and you ramp up the temperature slowly.

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Old 07-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECbeerman View Post
I just used the packet as the recipe called for, no starter.
well there's your problem. one packet of yeast is not going to be enough for a lager fermentation. next time go here and calculate how much yeast you need.
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