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Old 03-24-2011, 02:48 AM   #1
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Default Slow Pils Start

So, I decided to try my first Pils the other day. Pretty simple recipe:

-9 lbs Pilsner malt
-3 oz Saaz (split into 4 additions)
-2 oz Hallertaurer (4 additions)
-WLP800 with starter made 3 days in advance

I did decoctions to step temps up (132F 30 min, 150F 60 min, 170F) and fly sparged. Boil was 90 minutes. Pitched at 52F.

SG 1.045

It's been sitting in the fermentation chamber @ 52F for 6 days now and the gravity has only dropped to 1.040 and it still tastes very sweet. I couldn't tell you if there was any vigorous fermentation because it is locked away in the fridge and I tried not to disturb it.

Having never made a lager before, should I be alarmed at the lack of fermentation so far? I was actually checking it to see if it was ready for a diacytel rest but it is obviously not there yet. Any ideas, suggestions, encouragement? Maybe I just need to stick to ales...

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Old 03-24-2011, 04:53 AM   #2
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Don't be alarmed at the slow start. The same thing happened to me when I made my first Pils. I used Wyeast 2007 Pilsen Lager yeast. What I didn't know, and failed to check, was the expiration date on my yeast. The date of the yeast I pitched had long passed so I went to my LHSP and inquired about what I should do. The gentleman at the store advised me to let it sit at fermentation temperature. It took two to three weeks before I noticed fermentation activity, but the yeast eventually kicked into gear. Just give it more time.

Don't get discouraged about your first lager. If you can make ales, and you have a temperature-controlled environment, and you have your technique down, you can surely make lagers. Keep at it. It will be worth the patience.

Good luck.

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:30 PM   #3
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UPDATE:

It's down to 1.032 and has lost most of the intense sweetness. Obviously still not where it needs to be, but it's on the way. At what SG should I pull it out for a diacetyl rest? Is it even needed? I don't taste any buttery flavors, but it obviously hasn't fermented that much.

Thanks for your help!

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #4
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A diacteyl rest is needed if you pitched warm (above you ferrmentation temperature and then cooled down to your fermentation temperature). Here, it sounds like the yeast were dormant then became active, and whey they became active you were at fermentation temperature. Therefore, I would recommend not doing a diacetyl rest.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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i used to have slow lager yeast starts... make sure you pitch big for a fast start and that both your yeast and wort are at the same temp. (as noted already)... definitely go for the diacteyl rest, will help clean up any unwantables.

what size starter did you make? i am thinking for a fast start you would want about 4 liters or something like 300mm yeastees!

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Old 03-29-2011, 06:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optimatored View Post
i used to have slow lager yeast starts... make sure you pitch big for a fast start and that both your yeast and wort are at the same temp. (as noted already)... definitely go for the diacteyl rest, will help clean up any unwantables.

what size starter did you make? i am thinking for a fast start you would want about 4 liters or something like 300mm yeastees!
Thanks for the info. I did pitch at ferm temp and the starter was at ferm temp too. However, it looks like I didn't make a big enough starter (2L). That is usually big enough for the ales I have brewed, next time I will double it up. I also need to get a stir plate because I have been relying on the old "shake it up as often as you get around to it" method.

At what gravity/% attenuation do I go for the D-rest? If I understand correctly I want the yeast in suspension still, correct?
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