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Momo 03-02-2010 06:16 PM

Noob Question
 
So I am quite new to brewing. I am attempting to brew a pilsner, 5 gallon batch, approximately extract and grain. The recipe indicated to follow the pitching directions on the yeast packet and then ferment for two weeks at 50F. The yeast packet (Wyeast pilsner if memory serves) indicated to pitch the yeast wait until the air lock starts bubbling, then follow the recipe directions. So once it started bubbling and healthy fermentation started to take place, I moved it to the garage where it is about 50F. The fermentation immediately stopped, but I let it hang out for the two weeks. So I brought it inside last night with plans to rack to a secondary tonight. This morning it was bubbling away like it was in its first 12 hours. What gives? I thought that type of yeast was supposed to be in a cooler environment. Should I have let it finish bubbling then move to 50F for two weeks?

Suthrncomfrt1884 03-02-2010 06:39 PM

1st question...did you make a starter. Lagers require a LOT more yeast than one wyeast packet. 3-4 packets or a large starter is what should have been used.

Also, your wort should have been cooled down to about 50 degrees before you pitched the yeast. This will get your yeast used to those cold temps and then they'd do fine. Lagers also take a lot longer to get going and fully ferment. 1 month in primary is almost always necessary.

Second, do you have a way to keep that beer at 34-36 degrees to officially "lager" it?

Momo 03-02-2010 06:49 PM

Hmmm. No the recipe only called for one packet, though it did say yeast and starter on it. I cooled it to about 60F as indicated on the packet, nothing really happened until it warmed to about 68F at which point I moved it to a cooler area. I can’t officially lager it, the recipe called for 6-8 weeks in a secondary at 50F, which is why I chose this recipe in the first place.

goose1873 03-02-2010 07:03 PM

You might want to consider making a kolsch or another lager-like ale. They are much less temperamental and take much less time to condition (and condition in warmer temperatures). I only say kolsch b/c it drinks like a lager/pilsner but is actually an German Ale.

As far as this beer, what was the OG? what is the gravity now? I would leave it in the 60F range for a week and make sure the gravity doesn't drop. If he reading is 1.02+ it needs more time...either way give it 2+ more weeks before even thinking about bottling. Expect it to take a month+ of conditioning at cold temp (30-40) before its very drinkable.

This is why I love ales. Primary for 3 weeks and bottle/keg for 2 more...and because they condition at warmer temps, they condition much faster...

Good luck and enjoy :)

Suthrncomfrt1884 03-03-2010 02:43 AM

Ales are nice, but there's nothin' better on a summer day than a nice pilsner or a light bock. I just brewed a dopplebock that looks to be an award winner.

OP, do you have access to a spare fridge? Even if it won't fit your fermenter in, there are ways to cool down your beer. Leaving it at 60F will probably get the job done, but you'll be left with some off flavors because of high fermentation temps. My suggestion is find the coldest place in the house and leave it there for a month. The yeast is obviously working, so just let it do it's thing.

Any time you change temps on a lager, it takes awhile for it to regain momentum again. For instance...my dopplebock I have going: I had it sitting in my garage (climate controlled) at 52F. Over the last few days we've had fairly nice weather and the temps in the garage climbed to 55F. Just the 3 degree up and down in 24 hours caused my fermentation to slow a bit. This is based on airlock activity which I probably shouldn't be using as an example.

Pappers_ 03-03-2010 02:58 AM

Hi Momo. Is this your first brew? If so, I would suggest that you start off with an easier recipe/style. This way, you can learn the basics and then move on to lagering - as indicated above, lager yeast behaves differently than ale yeast, requires more attention, the ability to make a starter, etc.

I always suggest that first time brewers start with a basic pale ale, using extract and steeping grains (not a partial mash). Learn the basics, make a good beer, and build from there.

goose1873 03-03-2010 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pappers (Post 1920234)
Hi Momo. Is this your first brew? If so, I would suggest that you start off with an easier recipe/style. This way, you can learn the basics and then move on to lagering - as indicated above, lager yeast behaves differently than ale yeast, requires more attention, the ability to make a starter, etc.

I always suggest that first time brewers start with a basic pale ale, using extract and steeping grains (not a partial mash). Learn the basics, make a good beer, and build from there.

I couldn't have said it better...:mug:

Catch-22 03-03-2010 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Momo (Post 1918955)
So I am quite new to brewing. I am attempting to brew a pilsner, 5 gallon batch, approximately extract and grain. The recipe indicated to follow the pitching directions on the yeast packet and then ferment for two weeks at 50F. The yeast packet (Wyeast pilsner if memory serves) indicated to pitch the yeast wait until the air lock starts bubbling, then follow the recipe directions. So once it started bubbling and healthy fermentation started to take place, I moved it to the garage where it is about 50F. The fermentation immediately stopped, but I let it hang out for the two weeks. So I brought it inside last night with plans to rack to a secondary tonight. This morning it was bubbling away like it was in its first 12 hours. What gives? I thought that type of yeast was supposed to be in a cooler environment. Should I have let it finish bubbling then move to 50F for two weeks?

All yeast will be more active at warmer temperatures so that could be why it started up again. I could also have been the CO2 coming out of solution at the warmer temp.

Does your garage maintain a steady 50F or does it fluctuate? Yeast get stressed with a continuous temperature change and they could have just dropped out on you.

I personally will not pitch less than 2000ml starter or about four liquid packages on a lager. Usually two on a ale depending on the style.

Saccharomyces 03-03-2010 04:30 PM

Gravity reading will tell but I'm guessing that the airlock activity was just due to CO2 coming out of solution as it warmed up.

I don't condition my lagers at 38, because I don't want to tie up my ferm cabinet for 6-8 weeks for one batch. I do primary at 50, short D-rest at 57, and then step down to 42*F for a week or two before kegging. My kegerator sits at 42*F so it serves as my lagering fridge.

Momo 03-03-2010 05:00 PM

Suthrncomfrt1884 - I don’t have a fridge but I do have an old coal room that stays pretty cool, 50 -55F. So I guess I should gather that just because it is not bubbling away like crazy and looking like fresh poured Guinness doesn’t mean it is not working the way it is supposed to.


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