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Old 01-25-2010, 03:43 AM   #1
kcpup
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Default First Lager Question

I've been brewing about 7 months - about 15 batches under my belt, nearly all partial mash.

I bought a Austin Homebrew kit - Texas Bock. This is my first lager. I brewed it, did a gallon yeast starter using White Labs 830, German Lager. (I know best would have been a bock yeast, but this was my first brew on the yeast...later pitched a the AHS Noche Buena kit on top of the yeast cake.) I have been trying to get more "mileage" out of two batches to one vial of yeast. Thus far no problems with off taste batches...beer has always tasted good.

I got some cidery smells from the fermentation, which didn't surprise me based on people's description of lager smells during fermentation. After 12 days in primary at 53-55 degrees F, I racked to secondary and placed in my basement fridge at 39 or lower...

Cidery smells subsided a lot, and I was encouraged. The secondary has spent 3.5 weeks in my fridge. Tonight I brought it up to the kitchen for bottling (based on the AHS brewing instructions). I just took my "final" hydrometer reading - it was lower than target ending gravity for the recipe. The cidery smells are still there, although more muted. But still there.

My question is this - do I bottle, or put it back in the fridge for more lagering? I've read enough on this forum to know not to throw it out.

I'd appreciate your perspectives.

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Old 01-25-2010, 05:13 AM   #2
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Is it a sulphury smell, like from dimethyl sulfide (DMS)? I have been giving my lagers a long time to finish out. Like 2-3 weeks primary and 6-8 weeks secondary.

Paul B

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:22 PM   #3
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Did you decant the starter beer before pitching? How much lower than the expected FG are we talking? If it's only a point or two... no big deal.

WP830 is a perfectly suitable yeast for that beer. 54°F is a little higher than I like to ferment that yeast, but it shouldn't have produced anything too unusual at that temp. 12 days primary should be fine for a 1.045 lager. Some brewers transfer to lagering before fermentation is even complete, to let the yeast slowly consume the remaining sugars during lagering.

Did you actually taste it? I've had lagers smell strange at the end of primary, only to taste them and the smell is not the taste at all.

Since you got such good attenuation, this means there was a good amount of fermentable sugars in the wort and a little less unfermentable sugars. Therefore, you could get away with ~5 days for every 8 points of OG. So, 4 to 5 weeks lagering on a 1.045 beer with a relatively lower dextrin content would be about right.

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Old 01-25-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=menschmaschine;1835129]Did you decant the starter beer before pitching?

No.

How much lower than the expected FG are we talking? If it's only a point or two... no big deal.

It was about 5 points lower. I shake the heck out of the carboy after adding top off water, etc, but do not have a mix-stir or similar. My final gravities tend to be spot on or extremely close so I've chalked up lower initials to not fully incorporated wort, etc. Perhaps I've been too cavalier about my initial gravity readings.

Did you actually taste it? I've had lagers smell strange at the end of primary, only to taste them and the smell is not the taste at all.

Yes, I tasted it last night. Other than funky smell, the taste is smooth, light,and not funky.

Since you got such good attenuation, this means there was a good amount of fermentable sugars in the wort and a little less unfermentable sugars. Therefore, you could get away with ~5 days for every 8 points of OG. So, 4 to 5 weeks lagering on a 1.045 beer with a relatively lower dextrin content would be about right.

OK, I'll pop it back in the fridge for a few more weeks and taste again.

Thanks for the advice!

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