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Old 02-04-2013, 03:15 AM   #1
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Default First lager

OK, I love to drink them so I'm going to take a shot at brewing one! After all what could possibly go wrong!

I have decided on a recipe from Papazian's, Joy of Home Brewing. Canuck Canuck Canadian Lager. It is an extract brew with a targeted SG of 1.040-1.044. I have bought a wyeast American Lager 2035 Smack Pack for the yeast.

I have a few Questions about this brew. Frist, I pulled the pack out of the fridge several hours ago, smacked the pack about 3 hours ago, and still see no swelling. The manufacture date on the pack is Oct. 2 2012, it is at room temp, 68*. I was going to pitch this into a 1L starter wort. Should I wait untill it swells? and if it doesn't, do I get a diffrent one, or pitch into the wort and see if it starts to "work"?

Second, I am in a daze as to the amount of info on here concerning starters. Is this 1L starter enough yeast for a 5 gallon, 1.040 beer? or should I step it a time or two? Is this even a decent yeast for a first time brewer to use on a light lager? I am hoping to pitch the entire starter, beer and all, into my wort after the brew tomarrow afternoon, is that being too optamistic?

Third, my basement stays at a very constant 52-54 degrees. I plan on fermenting this brew there for the first week or two, racking when the activity slows to nearly nill. Can I then leave it to "lager" at the same temp., or does it need to be cooler? Is 1-2 week primary reasonable? How long should it "lager" in the secondary? I am hoping to bottle and serve this at a 4th of July party I have every year, so I still have almost 5 months, I don't need to rush it.

Fourth, will this need an addition of yeast at bottling? If so what yeast should I use? Will I be able to wash and reuse this yeast after lagering?

Fifth, Has any one ever brewed this recipe? How did it turn out? It seems increadably simple.

Sorry for the novel. I'm sure that this has been covered a million times, and I really appreciate the help and patients!

Thanks,
Dave

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:37 AM   #2
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Just chucked some of your details into MrMalty's yeast viability/pitching rate calculator and it's telling me that the yeast you're using's sell by date, therefore viability, means you need a helluvalot more yeast than you're mentioning. 32.5 vials/packs needed without a starter, 11 vials or packs needed if using a starter and your starter needs to be 5.15 litres.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:44 AM   #3
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That can't be even close. I would need to spend 90 bucks on yeast!

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:52 AM   #4
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First not all yeast packets swell so go ahead and pitch. according to beersmith2 you need a 4l starter. A couple weeks of primary is reasonable but then lager at 45 for 3-4 weeks and then over the next month lower it to 35. you shouldn't need additional yeast at bottling should be plenty left over to carb the beer. I've never brewed that particular beer but I do lager quit a bit.

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkwooder View Post
That can't be even close. I would need to spend 90 bucks on yeast!

The sell by date on your pack/vial of yeast is October 2nd 2012, right?
If that's correct, MrMalty.com calculator states the pack has a 10% viability. It's 4 months past the sell by date and viability is going down gradually from the time the pack is shipped out from the manufacturer, which is a year before the sell by date.

If you get a nice fresh pack, like still nearly a year to go before the sell by date, then you'll be in a much better position.

I'd probably just get some US-05 or Nottingham and ferment it cool, like upper 50s, as one pack would probably be fine for the kind of gravity wort you're talking about.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogri View Post
Just chucked some of your details into MrMalty's yeast viability/pitching rate calculator and it's telling me that the yeast you're using's sell by date, therefore viability, means you need a helluvalot more yeast than you're mentioning. 32.5 vials/packs needed without a starter, 11 vials or packs needed if using a starter and your starter needs to be 5.15 litres.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
I have always made a starter with just 1-2 packs, place it on a stir plate and just let the yeast do it thing for a couple of days then pitch. never had any problem. When I first started I didn't know anything about starters and would just pitch the yeast pack, it just took longer for signs of fermentation.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
First not all yeast packets swell so go ahead and pitch. according to beersmith2 you need a 4l starter. A couple weeks of primary is reasonable but then lager at 45 for 3-4 weeks and then over the next month lower it to 35. you shouldn't need additional yeast at bottling should be plenty left over to carb the beer. I've never brewed that particular beer but I do lager quit a bit.
4-5l of starter seems nuts to me. Thats 20-25% of my total volume! That will make a huge differance in the final product! Do all lagers need this much starter? Why does Wyeast recomend 1 smack pack for this 5 gallon batch? and why do home brewers still use it?

I must not be understanding something!
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogri View Post
The sell by date on your pack/vial of yeast is October 2nd 2012, right?
If that's correct, MrMalty.com calculator states the pack has a 10% viability. It's 4 months past the sell by date and viability is going down gradually from the time the pack is shipped out from the manufacturer, which is a year before the sell by date.

If you get a nice fresh pack, like still nearly a year to go before the sell by date, then you'll be in a much better position.

I'd probably just get some US-05 or Nottingham and ferment it cool, like upper 50s, as one pack would probably be fine for the kind of gravity wort you're talking about.
The date of manufacture is otc.2, not the expire date.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
I have always made a starter with just 1-2 packs, place it on a stir plate and just let the yeast do it thing for a couple of days then pitch. never had any problem. When I first started I didn't know anything about starters and would just pitch the yeast pack, it just took longer for signs of fermentation.
Certainly don't doubt the veracity of your statement. I haven't even attempted a true lager yet. Was merely going by what the mrmalty.com pitching calculator was showing, from the OPs, yeast, sell by date/viability.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:05 AM   #10
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If you plan to do a diacetyl (sp) rest raise the temp to 65 after about 80% complete for about a week or so...if you let it ferment completely you wont be able to do a D-rest.

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