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Old 09-06-2008, 06:10 AM   #1
rollinred
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Default First lager/lagers

Well I have been out of brewing for 6 moths because I could not stand to fill another bottle in my life. So 6 months ago I bought two kegs and brewed a nut brown ale kit from northen brewer. At that time I bought two cornies to start the kegging operation. But had not fridge or anything.

Then I got married and the baby came. And guess what I got 1 month after the wedding for my B-day. A Chest freezer!!! I already posted pics and stuff in the kegging forum so it has been introduced as a new baby on homebrewtalk. I also put that nut brown ale in there that had aged for 6 months and OMG was that the most amazing beer I have ever tasted.

Anyway I am back to brewing now that I have a setup that doesnt require the crappy bottling. So I went to austing home brew and ordred two lager kits just to celebrate the new keezer. I generally like ales better but I just could not resist the fact that I can now feasibly lager on my own without actually doing it. So I bought two plane jane lagers, a classic american lager and a mexican lager kit. Both of these extract. Tonight I brewed up the american lager and everything went very well. Starting gravity is 1.038 and I expect it to end around 1.005 or so. Sounds like a decent session beer. Of course both of these kits are based off of very light LME and corn sugar. But again I am not expecting phenominal beer. I am just trying out the process of lagering to see if I even want to produce beers in this way. After all they take a lot more attention and care.

I only have two questions about lagering, 1) how important is a the diacetyl rest? I plan on doing it because it is only a couple of extra days of waiting, but I just would like to know peoples experience from doing it vs no doing it.
2) Is a secondary required for lagering. I dont have any secondary fermentors, nor do I really want to use one, but if it is that highly recommended I will have one in the next few weeks.

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Old 09-06-2008, 12:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollinred View Post
1) how important is a the diacetyl rest? I plan on doing it because it is only a couple of extra days of waiting, but I just would like to know peoples experience from doing it vs no doing it.
It's important if you have diacetyl and it's not important if you don't. If you're not sure, better safe than sorry. I do them every time just to ensure fermentation is complete and clean up the beer regardless if I have diacetyl or not.

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2) Is a secondary required for lagering. I dont have any secondary fermentors, nor do I really want to use one, but if it is that highly recommended I will have one in the next few weeks.
If you're kegging, you can lager in the keg. (Lagering is secondary.)
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:29 AM   #3
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Ok another quick question. When pitching a lager yeast it is obviously at the temperature that you put the wort in the fermentor. But where do you take it from there. Do you immediatly drop it down to lager temperature or do you keep it at
like 70 then slowly lower it to 50?

Both of the lagers I have started are sitting at about 65 degrees and havnt started to ferment yet.

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Old 09-07-2008, 02:08 AM   #4
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Ideally, it's best to pitch lagers cold, like 45dF, then let them warm up to ~50dF. The colder pitching, the better. If you pitch over around 60dF, you risk getting phenols and esters in the beer that mostly stay in through to the finished product and are flavors not to style in most lagers. So, the best way is to cool the wort to, like, 45dF, pitch the yeast and set your temp control to 50dF. However, if you can even get the wort to around 55dF or less for pitching, you'll still probably be alright.

Your lagers at 65dF are probably going to be alright, but you really need to get them down to the low 50s as soon as possible, regardless of signs of fermentation. Just do a good diacetyl rest near the end of primary fermentation to help clean it up.

You shouldn't drop it to lager temps until after primary fermentation and diacetyl rest (and then, slowly at around 5dF per day). Then rack to secondary and lager for the specified time. I think it's debatable to drop the temp before or after racking and probably doesn't matter all that much. Depending on the timing, I usually at least get the beer back down to primary temps before racking, then slowly drop to lagering temps.

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Old 09-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #5
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Well I think I may have done it wrong. I pitched the yeast at room temperature and then put it in the cooler at 50-55 degrees. Two days and still not seeing any fermentation.

So I may raise the temp up to get it started but I am not sure. I may just wait it out to see what happens.

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Old 09-07-2008, 08:11 PM   #6
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I would seriously just let it in the low 50s. As long as the yeast wasn't dead, it will start eventually. Depending on how much yeast you pitched and it's viability, it could take several days to get going. If you raise the temp now, you'll get even more diacetyl, esters, etc. than if you just let it go. If it doesn't start after 4 days, then you might need to re-pitch.

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