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Old 10-20-2011, 05:11 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by maltoftheearth View Post
The chart is great but one thing is says to me is that lagering at a temperature in the low 50s, which is the comfort level for most lager yeasts, is not too significantly different from lagering in the mid-40s. My experience has been that when I go lower than 50F I have seriously delayed fermentations that always worry me (but should not.)
To be clear, the "lagering" period is the cold storage period (closer to 32F the better), not the fermentation period.

It can be nerve-wracking to wait for lager fermentations to start, but if you create good conditions for your yeast and pitch enough of them, they always figure out what to do. I also think AG fermentations go a lot better for lagers than extract fermentations.

I now regularly pitch at 43-44, then let the wort warm up to 45-46 for fermentation. It might take 36-48 hours to see much activity, but it always comes. I now regularly use two packs of dry lager yeast rehydrated, or repitch 1 to 1.5 cups of slurry depending on the gravity of the beer I'm starting.

Right now I have a Bohemian pilsener going into which I pitched two packs of S-23 rehydrated. The yeast are working hard at 45 degrees. After pitching Saturday night I saw activity Monday; OG was 1.052 and today I measured it at 1.036 which tells me things are moving along nice and slowly. Likely take it out of the chamber for d-rest this weekend sometime.

Can't wait for my S-189 to arrive from American Brewmaster!
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #22
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What's your experience with S-23? I've heard horror stories.

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Old 10-20-2011, 06:20 PM   #23
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I've only used S-23 one time previous to this. It was in another Bohemian lager, and I went warm on the fermentation (56 ambient, so high-50s ferm temp) based on internet warnings regarding its fruitiness (especially from Denny; I figure anyone who has a yeast strain named after them should be taken seriously!). The lager turned out very well IMO; not fruity at all.

This time I decided to go cold on the ferm to find out for myself whether the fruitiness is as bad as others have said. We'll see what happens. It's not a yeast I plan to use a lot in the future; but there are probably a few lager styles it's perfect for. It's the only dry lager strain my LHBS carries (but they usually have a very good supply of Wyeast products).

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Old 10-21-2011, 02:38 PM   #24
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Since this has been an outstandingly successful lager fermentation, would there be any problem taking the beer up to 62 at this point for the D-rest?

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:13 PM   #25
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If you have reached FG, it may be too late for a d-rest. You also may not need one. You won't hurt anything by raising the temp to 62 unless you are still early enough in the fermentation process to affect the flavour profile, which I don't think is true in your case.

You want to do your d-rest when you are about 3/4 of the way to FG. For most of my lagers that's around 1.020 or a hair under (i.e. 1.050 - 1.010 = 40 gravity points, so d-rest at 1.020). For bigger lagers it could be considerably higher (i.e. suppose your doppelbock OG was 1.088 and you expected FG of 1.024; 3/4 of 64 gravity points would mean starting your d-rest at 1.040, although to be honest in that case I probably would do it in the low or mid 1.030s). I plan to do a doppelbock right away so I will have to give that more thought!

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:23 PM   #26
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There's still a krausen on it (at least there was last night). When I get home I'll grab a hydro sample and see how close to finishing out it is. If it's around 20 I'll crank it up.

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Old 10-22-2011, 04:01 PM   #27
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Well, the reading is 1.039 - which is weird because I was targeting that for my OG. I did under-sparge, and maybe I got higher efficiency than I was planning. Wish I had done a hydro reading up front. Krausen is still pretty high, yeast is pretty thick in suspension and there are still a lot of bubbles from the blow-off tube.

It positively reeks of fruit, so I took a temperature reading for sanity - 46F. Shouldn't be getting esters at that temp.

So... lagers piss me off.

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Old 10-23-2011, 04:09 AM   #28
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Hang in there!

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Old 10-23-2011, 12:49 PM   #29
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You're right. I've just had such a high rate of total/partial failure with lagers I'm a tad jumpy. I'll check gravity in a couple days, and I'll withhold judgment on flavor until the yeast have dropped out.

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Old 10-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #30
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I'm with you bernerbrau, lagers piss me off as well lol. I will keep at them though, one day I'll get one to turn out awesome.

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