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-   -   First all grain lager advise (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/first-all-grain-lager-advise-363174/)

NickT1 10-24-2012 05:54 AM

First all grain lager advise
Hi brewers. After many extract brews tried my hand at all grain. The lager grain bill I used was 65% pilsner malt and 35% carapils. It's been fermenting for 3 weeks in a refrigerator and temperature control has been spot on.

The beer tastes clean, crisp, well hopped but is VERY thin and lacks a malty body ( hope my attempt at describing the flavor makes sense)

I made loads of mistakes;

Tried crushing the grain myself without a mill. After the mash was complete noticed loads of unopened husks in the grain bill.
Pre boil gravity 1.043

I realized I had no gas and had to boil the wort on my electric stove. Only managed a very mild rolling boil at best.

OG came out at 1.028 😬

Then realized when reading the packet of dry yeast that I needed two and only had one. Made a starter and pitched.

Gravity reading is now sitting at 1.004

As you can imagine it will be a very low alcohol beer.

I'm guessing fermentation is done and a two or three day rest is in order before lagering.

How long should I lager for and how the hell am I gonna get carbonation going when it's time to bottle. Any advise ?

tally350z 10-24-2012 06:11 AM

Lots of questions there. Your readings are off. If your preboil gravity was 1.043, there is no way it can lower to 1.028. Also you don't need to make a starter with dry yeast, only liquid yeast.

You need to drop the temp about 5 degrees every day or so until you get down to 35*, then it needs to sit. I would say for about 6-8 weeks. I am doing a lager for the first time and this is what I have read.

NickT1 10-24-2012 07:19 AM

I forgot to add that I needed to add 0.5 gallons of water into the fermenter to get me to a 5 gallon batch as my boil pot is not big enough to hold 5 gallons. Could the watering down have caused the OG ?

tally350z 10-24-2012 07:51 AM

adding only a half gallon would not have dropped your gravity from your post boil reading to 1.028, since you say your pre-boil gravity was 1.043. There must have been a misread of the gravity somewhere.

kenlock 10-24-2012 08:18 AM

Your pre-boil gravity would be in keeping for a 4.5ish abv beer, though I suggest better milling.
35% Carapils is a very, very high amount. Next time try 95% Pils and 5% Carapils.
You can make a starter with any type of yeast (liquid or dry) as the purpose is ensure a desired count of healthy yeast.
A strong boil helps ward off DMS.
Raising your temperature(from 8-12C, your fermentation range) for a D-rest is usual for a lager(18-20C). 2-3 days is good, and lagering for 6 - 8 weeks is good (2-3C). (too tired to change to Fahrenheit)
There will be plenty of yeast left in the beer to enable carbonation in the bottle with the sugars (whatever you are using) to enable carbonation.

Congratulations on your entry to All Grain brewing. There is no turning back.


NickT1 10-24-2012 08:41 AM

Thanks for the response will follow advise. Btw I also use metric system here in South Africa and follow forum with 3 conversion charts in front of me, hilarious to see ! I quoted gallons to accommodate the majority of the members. Happy brewing.

Btw could the high level of carapils account for the very thin mouthfeel ?

kenlock 10-24-2012 09:42 AM

Carapils is used for head retention, and mouthfeel. So, yes this will likely be a cause of the very thin mouthfeel, as well as the likely contribution to the non-conversion of the uncracked grain.

Normally I would convert all measurements to US for this site, however it got the best of me tonight and I figured that South Africa used metric.

patrick524 10-24-2012 10:28 AM

Just my thoughts:
Boil 90 minutes because you used a bunch of pilsner malt-pilsner malt leads to a much higher amount of DMS
You can skip the D-rest if you leave the beer (on the yeast) at your fermentation temperatures for 3-4 weeks, sometimes this is easier than raising the temps back and forth, so you don't necessarily have to do one if you let the yeast reabsorb the diacetyl.
Check out the Jamil show on the brewing network before you brew any beer, he goes over every style of beer and has tons of good advice (gets sidetracked though). They have all their shows on podcasts on itunes

Welcome to AG-there really is no going back as was stated earlier.

Jdslep 10-24-2012 11:20 AM


Originally Posted by kenlock
Carapils is used for head retention, and mouthfeel. So, yes this will likely be a cause of the very thin mouthfeel

I thought carapils was supposed to give a beer more body/heavier mouthfeel. So how did it thin out his lager?

NickT1 10-24-2012 01:32 PM

Thanks Patrick. Took your advise and had a listen to a pod cast of the Jamil show on the brewing network about brewing Pilsners . It was very informative and helpful.

I plan to brew another pilsner very soon. Would like to nail down the style as I think it could be a lovely base for other styles.

All mistakes aside the beer tastes better than a lot of my extract brews at such an early stage. I know some claim that you can produce the same quality and flavour with extract brews but after only one batch of all grain I beg to differ. All grain brewing is an art that allows you to tweek and adapt your beer in ways extract brewing cannot.

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