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Old 04-21-2008, 06:23 PM   #1
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Default Lager question!?

Im going to attempt my first Lager this week and need some tips. I went ahead and did something simple, throwing away the batch sparging I just got into for Ales and went with an Austin Homebrew kit after seeing many other members highly recommend them. I figured I should keep it as simple as possible for my first try.

Anyways I was reading the directions they sent with it and had a touch of confusion. It has me pitching the yeast and let sit for 12-36 hours until the fermentation begins. Im assuming it means at normal Ale temps? Like 65-70 degrees?

Ok And then it has me slowly cooling the temp down to 50-55'F, 1 degree per hour! There is no way I can be up for 20 hours straight and dail it down on the hour. How much slack is there on this?

And I really thought Lagering meant bringing the wort down into the 30's as I have seen some members accidently freezing them!?

Ok after 10 days of this I am then to raise the temp from 50-55 to 60-70 and let it sit for 2 days at this temp. (to improve flavor it says) Then bottle / keg as normal.

This is not really what I had in mind, so if you guys can clarify the process better for me I would appreciate it!

OH and one more thing! I have never used a vail of liquid yeast. I had them ship it with ice pack, the ice pack was completely melted and at room temp when I opened it. Is the yeast ok, and how long will this type last? I can't brew until the weekend! I stuck it in the fridge here at work and im refreezing the pack for the drive home!

Thanks guys!



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Old 04-21-2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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Drop by 10 degrees a day. Get up in the morning and move the dial down 5 degrees, then when you go to bed do the same until I get to your fermentation temperature. They just don't want you to 'shock' the yeast. 8-10 degrees a day is no big deal.

Frankly, I have decided that all my fermentation will take place at two temperatures because I only have one fridge: 65 and 40 F.

65 is my ambient basement temperature year round and 40 is what I have the freezer set to. I don't particularly worry about the exact temps too much. If the 65 seems to high for a particular batch I will use the swamp cooler method to lower the temp 5-8 degrees.

Your yeast should be fine. If you are very concerned then create a starter Wednesday or Thursday night for a sat or sun brew session.



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Old 04-21-2008, 06:56 PM   #3
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I would definitely recommend reading up on lager brewing. Chapter 10 of How to Brew is a great start (link). The wiki is another great resource.

When you turn the temp down on your fridge, it will take the beer hours to catch up. I too would do it in 5 degree increments.

There is a best buy date on the yeast. It should have survived the shipping just fine. However, when using yeast you should use a starter (search the forum or wiki for an explanation).

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Old 04-21-2008, 06:56 PM   #4
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I pitch all my beers at fermentation temps- 65 degrees for ales, 50 degrees for lagers. Some people do pitch their lagers a bit warmer, though, to ensure fermentation starting. In this case, I think the kit instructions are to help people get fermentation going, so you can follow those the best you can. I would lower the fermentation temperature 5 degrees per day (10 degrees over two days) as to not shock the yeast. When fermentation is finished, you can raise to room temperature for the diacetyl rest. I rack after the diacetyl rest, and that's when I start the lagering process- I lower the temperature 5 degrees per day until I"m at 34 degrees, then lager the beer for 6-12 weeks.

Your yeast should be fine- but make sure you do a starter first to ensure it's ok and to make sure you have enough yeast to get fermentation going.

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Old 04-21-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses! I will read the how to brew guide. I know I had before but forgotten it. I guess I should just trust the Austin Homebrew directions but I thought it was suppose to be colder! They didn't mention a starter either, but I guess they are trying to keep things simple!

Thanks!

EDIT::

Ok I read through the article, I cannot believe how many steps are left out of the Austin homebrews supplies directions. According to the how to brew I pretty much would of failed if I tried their methods! No starter, no diacytel rest, no secondary fermentation at cold temps. like I mentioned no starter and no extra pitching. Now I gotta try and sort all this out.



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