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Old 12-07-2008, 01:48 PM   #1
kahunaman
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Default First Lager - Question

OK I'm a couple weeks into my primary fermentation on my first Lager. Everything seems to have calmed down and I'm going to start taking hygrometer readings.

I read a few books recently on all of this, and seem to recall taking the beer up into the 60's in temp for a day or two after the first ferment, then bringing it back down again (presumably to let the yeast clean up after itself at the higher temperature.)

My questions:
1. Is this true/effective? If so, what temp?
2. How long do you leave it at the higher temp?
3. after you do this, do you then rack it into another container and go right to cold lagering in the fridge... or do a secondary back in the 50's and then lager is your third round? etc.

Just being very cautious with this as it's my first lager.

Any other pointers on this would be great.
Thanks!
-Tom

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Old 12-07-2008, 02:05 PM   #2
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You are describing a diacetyl rest. Many although not all lager yeasts produce detectable levels of diacetyl. A short rest in the low 60sF towards the end of primary fermentation allows the yeast to metabolize those products to keep them out of the completed beer. Even if you don't need a dicetyl rest doing one won't cause any harm and your beer will be covered if it did need one. Leave the beer in the primary fermenter during this stage. You want the yeast present since they are going to do the work here. Leave it at the appropriate diacetyl rest temperature for 2-3 days then rack into secondary going back to primary ferment temp. I do a straight secondary ferment for 10-14 days at this point and then begin lowering the temperature to begin lagering. Some brewers skip the secondary and go directly to the lagering phase.

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Old 12-07-2008, 02:09 PM   #3
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1. Yes. If it's being done. If you pitch cold, though, and use a yeast that doesn't produce much diacetyl, a diacetyl rest isn't always needed. Some do it just as a matter of practice, but I don't. I taste for diacetyl near the end of primary. Diacetyl tastes "slick" or oily in small quantities, and like butterscotch or butter in larger quantities. If there is ANY hint of diacetyl, you do the diacetyl rest.

2. About 10 degrees above fermentation temperature is good. Usually 24-48 hours. You want to do the diacetyl rest when approx 75% of the primary ferment is finished. So, if you're hoping to get to, say, 1.015, and it's at 1.020, that would be a good time to do it.

3. Yes- after the diacetyl rest you rack the beer. Then, start lowering the temperature 5 degrees per day until you're at lagering temperatures.

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Old 12-07-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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Excellent answers. Thanks a ton.
My basement (where I do my ales) keeps my beers at about 64. It this acceptable to come up to for the rest?

At that point I'll rack it off, then start to bring the temp down slowly again in the secondary. From what I am reading here, I just keep going down on the secondary slowly, and then let it hit lagering temp and do it up.

Cool. My garage has been great for this so far (buffalo NY) - beer has been sitting at 48-50 the whole time.
Thank you again.

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Old 12-07-2008, 03:53 PM   #5
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buffalo, huh? You can lagers in July in your garage can't you?

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontman View Post
buffalo, huh? You can lagers in July in your garage can't you?
Right.
I forgot how much warmer it is in Philly. hahahah.
How's your lager going?
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