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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Lagering questions
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:08 PM   #1
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Default Lagering questions

I'm going to do my first lager in the next two weeks, and I had some questions...

Here's the recipe:

9.25 lb. German Pilsner Malt
0.25 lb. Crystal Malt 10°L

0.50 oz. Northern Brewer bittering @ 60 mins.
1.00 oz. German Hallertau bittering @ 60 mins.
0.25 oz. German Hallertau flavoring @ 10 mins.

Wyeast 2042 Danish lager yeast

-----------

When I pitch my starter slurry into the wort, I plan to have the slurry at 45°F and the wort at 50°F, so...

1. How do you cool the wort down to that temp? Should I cool it with my IC, then put it in the primary and put it in my chest freezer and drop the Ranco down to 50°F, then wait and pitch once it's down to proper temp?

2. How do you know whether or not you need a diacetyl rest? I've read Palmer's chapter on lagering, but I saw nothing telling me when to do it or not do it, only how and if "fementation or pitching conditions require it."

Thanks!

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Old 01-28-2009, 06:11 PM   #2
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The only time you should need a diacetyl rest is if you pitch warm (70°).

I have not done a true lager but I would imagine your idea will work. Get it down with the IC and pop it in the freezer. It will take a while, though.

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Old 01-28-2009, 06:14 PM   #3
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Some lager yeast strains produce more diacetyl than others. Some people just do a diacetyl rest at the end of primary as a matter of course. I usually taste for diacetyl, and do one if needed. If you're unsure, you can just plan on doing one. It won't hurt a thing if you do one, even if it's not strictly needed.

I have cold tap water, so I use my chiller to get to 50 degrees. You want to chill the wort pretty quickly, so you may have to do a water bath with ice in the bathtub or something in addition to the chiller to get to pitching temps pretty quickly.

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Old 01-28-2009, 07:04 PM   #4
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I have two parts to my IC setup, the IC, and another section of copper I immerse into an ice bath that runs to my IC. I didn't think I would be able to get the wort down to 50, but I bet I can with that setup.

Are the buttery/butterscotch flavors really pronounced with diacetyl? Is it that obvious? Are there any other indicators?

I guess I'll work in a diacetyl rest, since this is my first lager, I'm sure with experience I'll be able to make that call properly in the future. Thanks!

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Old 01-28-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigNastyBrew View Post
The only time you should need a diacetyl rest is if you pitch warm (70°).

I have not done a true lager but I would imagine your idea will work. Get it down with the IC and pop it in the freezer. It will take a while, though.
Actually ALL fermentations can benefit from a diacetyl rest...This is a good thread that discusses it...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/prev...ht=hold+butter

In fact last week I posted some info I had just discovered about doing different diacetyl rests for ales and lagers...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/1080693-post43.html
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:03 PM   #6
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Just beware that lager yeasts will take a while before fermentation is noticable. Sometimes it has taken me 4 or 5 days. This is especially true if you are pitching at 50 degrees. You might want to consider pitching at 70 degrees then lowering it to 50 degrees after 12-24 hours...

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Old 01-28-2009, 08:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eskimo Spy View Post
Are the buttery/butterscotch flavors really pronounced with diacetyl? Is it that obvious? Are there any other indicators?
It is sometimes described as a slick feel on the tongue. If you do not taste any, let others taste it too as some people have hard time tasting diacetyl.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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Okay, I have an American ale in the chest freezer at 65°F, where it's been for 2 weeks at that temp. So, am I reading the article right, this is a good step for ales as a diacetyl rest?

I had planned on leaving all my future ales at fermentation temps for two to three weeks, then moving to secondary if the beer calls for it. It sounds like this has the unexpected benefit of minimizing diacetyls!

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Old 01-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael.berta View Post
Just beware that lager yeasts will take a while before fermentation is noticable. Sometimes it has taken me 4 or 5 days. This is especially true if you are pitching at 50 degrees. You might want to consider pitching at 70 degrees then lowering it to 50 degrees after 12-24 hours...
From what I've read, this is not ideal because, and I quote from Palmer's book, "How to Brew," "...it can take a couple of days for the wort to get down to the proper fermentation temperature, and many fermentation by-products are produced in the first days of fermentation."

And the warmer the wort, the more active the fermentation, and the more by-products for the yeast to have to clean up later, which will be less efficient because of the colder temps.

I'm going to try to get the wort temp down to 50°F, then pitch the 45°F starter slurry into the wort, and put the primary into the chest freezer set at around 48°F, watch for primary fermentation to wind down, give it a diacetyl rest at 55°F for 48 hours, then lager it at 35°F for 8 weeks.

Does this sound like a good plan to everyone?
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eskimo Spy View Post
I'm going to try to get the wort temp down to 50°F, then pitch the 45°F starter slurry into the wort, and put the primary into the chest freezer set at around 48°F, watch for primary fermentation to wind down, give it a diacetyl rest at 55°F for 48 hours, then lager it at 35°F for 8 weeks.

Does this sound like a good plan to everyone?
Absolutely. If you are pitching the proper amount of yeast, this it the way to go. In my experience, pitching at 48-50 with the proper amount of yeast, I have seen krausen and airlock activity within 24 hours (but if it takes longer that is OK).
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