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Old 01-20-2011, 02:22 AM   #1
trevorc13
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Default First lager sat on yeast

I made my first lager at the beginning of January and racked off the yeast before dropping it to lagering temp. When I racked I left about 1/4 to 1/2 of the yeast at the bottom (obviously poorly done). Today I was listening to an archive of Basic Brewing Radio about Vienna Lager. They mentioned to make sure the beer is off the yeast when lagering because of off flavors due to autolysis. So after two weeks I racked off the rest of the yeast again. What sort of off flavors, if any, would I have caused?

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Old 01-20-2011, 04:57 AM   #2
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Leaving your beer on the yeast, whether lager or ale, for 19 days (or 30 days, or 45 days, or longer...to a point) will not cause off-flavors, but in fact will actually REDUCE off-flavors by the yeast reabsorbing byproducts of fermentation, which they can only do once fermentation is complete (i.e., sugars consumed; Co2 & ethanol + byproducts expelled).

Not sure what you mean by a poor job - 1/4 to 1/2 yeast left in the primary after racking, or 1/4 to 1/2 scooped up and racked to secondary? Anyway, you have racked to yet another vessel at this point, so what's done is done. In doing so you took a chance at introducing contaminants and/or oxygen to your beer, so the question is whether it was worth the potential exposure to remove the remaining yeast (those that were not held in suspension), which is something I hope someone more experienced can answer for you.

Overall, I'd say this is definitely a RDWHAHB situation. Let us know how it turns out.

Cheers

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Old 01-20-2011, 05:06 AM   #3
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+1 Your contact with the yeast cake was not excessive. Now if it was there 6 months or something, that might be a different story (maybe!). I'm lagering a Baltic Porter. I let it sit on the yeast cake until about 2 weeks into lagering. Like BeerB said above, since it's a big beer I thought it might help the yeast clean up.

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Old 01-20-2011, 05:08 AM   #4
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There's lots of discussion about this, I believe the general consensus is that autolyis takes several months if not longer, of sitting on the same yeast before it takes effect. Check out this: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/sec...-weigh-176837/

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:23 PM   #5
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I usually don't care about my beer sitting on yeast, but most of everything I've read and heard says that before lagering, get it off the yeast cake. I've only done ales in the past, which I hear is not as big of a deal to sit on the yeast because any off flavors would be masked by the esters and other flavors associated with warm temps. It was an old podcast, from about 2006 I think, but I've heard this from other sites as well. Anyways, I'm sure it will turn out fine, just wanted to get some thought on it. Thanks.

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Old 01-20-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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As long as you pitched healthy yeast (via starter or dry yeast that is rehydrated), the beer can stay on the yeast cake for a LONG time without any bad things happening.

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Old 01-20-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorc13 View Post
I usually don't care about my beer sitting on yeast, but most of everything I've read and heard says that before lagering, get it off the yeast cake. I've only done ales in the past, which I hear is not as big of a deal to sit on the yeast because any off flavors would be masked by the esters and other flavors associated with warm temps. It was an old podcast, from about 2006 I think, but I've heard this from other sites as well. Anyways, I'm sure it will turn out fine, just wanted to get some thought on it. Thanks.
I agree with getting the beer off of the yeast cake ASAP after the diacetyl rest on lagers. I don't think you necessarily risk autolysis (cold temperatures help guard against that, plus it takes a long time) but you do risk some yeasty flavors that shouldn't be in a lager.

However, once it's racked, you will always have some yeast settling out during lagering. That's ok, and not a problem. You do want to minimize it, but since more yeast will drop out during lagering, some yeast is ok. It would take a pretty big quantity of yeast to actually change the flavor of 5 gallons of beer!
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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Some folks have been lagering in primary lately, for months, I still move my lagers to a secondary myself. But those who have been doing it have had no issues. If you got some in, I wouldn't worry about it. Heck I left a beer in primary for 5.5 months and it was fine.

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