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Old 01-05-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Default First Lager - Quick Double Check with the Pros

Hey everyone,

I'm planning to undertake my first lager this week and wanted to run the process and recipe by the experienced lager pros on the board. The wiki and other posts were extremely helpful. Hopefully I'm on the right track, but figured it's better to ask now than realize in 4 months that I messed something up!

I'm planning to essentially use Jamil's Bohemian Pilsner recipe, modified for my small batch, countertop setup. Any comments, critiques or suggestions would be MUCH appreciated!

Recipe
Batch Size - 2.75 Gal
Efficiency - 60%
Boil Time - 90 mins

6 lbs Pilsner
7 oz Cara-Pils

0.8 oz Saaz @ 60 mins
0.95 oz Saaz @ 30 mins
0.5 oz Saaz @ 10 mins
0.5 oz Saaz @ 0 mins

1 pkg Munich Lager Yeast (Wyeast 2308) with a 1L starter
- Should result in ~240B cells with 200B needed per BeerSmith

Est OG - 1.052
Est FG - 1.011
Bitterness - 38.4 IBUs
Est Color - 3.8 SRM

Mash Profile
60 minute mash @ 151* F

Fermentation
1) Chill starter & wort down to 50* F and pitch
2) Ferment at 52* F for roughly 10 - 14 days until gravity reaches ~ 1.020
3) Increase temperature up to 62* F for diacetyl rest for 5 days (until FG reached)
4) Rack to secondary for lagering
5) Decrease temps 3* F per day until at 40*F where it will lager for ~ 3 months

As I said, this is my first attempt at a lagger, so I'm open to any suggestions or tips if I've mixed anything up!

Thanks!

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:32 AM   #2
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Using a stir plate for the starter? Otherwise it looks good to me, but I'm still a novice with lagers. Smoked Helles in bottles, and a Maibock currently lagering.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:47 AM   #3
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Looks great to me. The only thing I'd suggest is watching your fermentation temperature. If you want to ferment at 52, then your fermentation chamber should be at around 45 (since fermentation will generate its own heat). Also, that's toward the warm end of a lager fermentation, so I'd be skeptical that it would need the full 10-14 days to reach 2/3 of the F.G. I'd start checking S.G. after day 5, or ferment a little bit cooler. I set my fermentation chamber for 40 for my lagers (to ferment them at 45), and even still, I usually do my d-rest before a week.

Good luck, can't wait to hear how it turns out!

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat
I'd be skeptical that it would need the full 10-14 days to reach 2/3 of the F.G.
I just started using S-23 for my lagers and the last two took 10-11 days to reach 2/3 FG at 50 degrees. I agree with kombat that you should start checking after 5-7 days until you know how your yeast works.

If you're following a Jamil recipe, he recommends chilling your wort to 44 degrees before pitching and then letting the temp slowly rise to fermentation levels. According to him, this eliminates the need for a d-rest. I personally have not tried that yet.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:22 AM   #5
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What are you mashing in? You will have a fairly small mass so watch your mash temps closely. Everything looks good to me. How are you controlling fermentation temps?

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:37 AM   #6
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Great, thank you all for the replies!

chitowngator - yep, I'll be using a stir plate for the starter. Should help me get the cell count up I guess.

kombat - thanks that's really helpful. Sounds like it might make sense to drop the fermentation temp a few degrees? Either way, will be sure to keep a close eye on it!

aryoung1980 - thanks for the tip. As long as my starter is large enough, there shouldn't be any issue pitching a bit cooler should there?

helibrewer - I'm mashing in a 5 gallon cooler and have the ability to recirculate with pid control (similar setup to jkarp's countertop brutus), so hopefully maintaining the mash temp won't be too difficult. On the cold side, I've got a mini fridge with a temperature controller on it that I can get down to the high 30s. Think that should work ok?

Once again, thank you all for the tips! Really appreciate your feedback

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Old 01-07-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Patience, apparently.

Did my first lager from an extract kit on Saturday. Chilled wort to 50F had the yeast starter at 50F (a big one, two stage, ~7L, decanted excess liquid and pitched slurry) and it's now 36 hours and no obvious activity in airlock. I understand that's not a sure-fire indicator but for having only brewed ales so far and seeing vigorous airlock activity within 12 hours it's a bit disconcerting.

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