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Old 01-06-2011, 03:13 AM   #1
zacster
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Default Need advice on lager primary time

I've had my lager in my cold pantry for 12 days now. The temps ranged from 46 to 54 over that time and are under the control of the weather as I have no refrigeration. The OG was 1.044 and the current gravity reading is 1.015 which is down from a few days ago so it is still fermenting. The current temp in the room is 46, the low end of the lager fermentation scale.

I just brought it into a slightly warmer room, maybe up to 60, thinking that'll finish off the fermentation, but I'm also thinking maybe I should just keep it cold and let it takes its time. I have no way to control temperatures without making the house colder than it already is by opening the kitchen door to the pantry. (My wife is astounded that the pantry is that cold!)

I'm planning on lagering either outside in the cold, or keeping it inside in the same cold pantry and putting it in a garbage can of water and swapping ice bottles in and out. That should be about 3-4 weeks.

Should I bring it inside for a few days, or keep it cold and let it finish up cold? Does it really need a diacetyl rest if I can't taste any? Is 3-4 weeks enough?

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Old 01-06-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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I'd bring it in for an attenuation rest as much as a diacetyl rest just to be sure it's finished before lagering. Those temp swings could get the yeast to drop before it's done. You don't need too but I think it makes for a more healthy fermentation.

You should primary in a tub of water. The extra thermal ballast would give you more consistent temp.

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Old 01-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #3
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Def warm it up. A warm ferment from 1.015 to 1.012 isn't going to contribute any off flavors, in fact it'll clean up any diacetyl you have left over. Also, it gets things moving along. Get it into the mid 60s, and after 48-72 hours your primary fermentation will be complete. Rack the beer to lager/secondary and start bring the temp down to as close as 32° as you can. 4 weeks there with that OG will be enough. Then keep it cold, put it on CO2 and in about a week it'll be ready to serve and enjoy.

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks. I'll bring it in tonight. I actually went to warm it up a bit last night by opening the door to the marginally heated bathroom, but my wife saw it open and closed it.

As for putting it on CO2, I don't have equipment for that. 3 weeks in the bottle... It'll be ready for spring.

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Old 01-06-2011, 11:28 PM   #5
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I always finish off my lagers at room temp for a couple days whether they 'need' it or nor. That way I am always sure that there is no diacetyl and that the fermentation is done. Mind you, this is after 10+ days in primary and my FG is at/near where I expext it to be.

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Old 01-07-2011, 01:11 AM   #6
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I've brought it inside. It's Thursday night and I'll put it in the secondary on Saturday night or Sunday morning and put it outside in a water bath. There should be some snow over the next day or two and I can use that too. I have to position this so I can move it in and out of the house as necessary, not always easy with 5 gallons of beer in 10 gallons of water.

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Old 01-07-2011, 08:53 PM   #7
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It was a whopping 54F this morning and I could see that the fermentation is active again. It should go up some more during the day as my house isn't THAT cold, it should be around 65 during the day where the beer is.

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