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Old 08-06-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
Derek2k3
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Default Lagering questions

Hey all,

Thanks for the help on my first batch, it is currently clearing in my secondary, final gravity was hit after about 5 days. Tastes good, letting it sit for another week and I'll bottle. If I had more time I'd probably just bottle it now, but everyone tells me the longer I wait the better. So, thanks again.

Onto batch #2, gotta get that pipeline full!

I purchase an Oktoberfest kit from The Home Brewery, thinking it was a bastardized one (Ale instead of lager). However, when I got the kit in the mail I realized it was a lager kit. My main concern is keeping it cool...so, I bought a beer fridge

Unfortunately, the instructions contain NO temp info. Not for pitching temp, fermenting temp, conditioning temp and so on. With this being my second ever batch, I'd like to have some more info than was provided.

In order...
EDIT: Found the WIKI, has a ton of good info
1. What is the best pitching temp? I'll double check, but I believe the yeast packet said 55-59, although it could handle up to 75 (Seems like a crazy broad range to me, but again, newbie) The Wiki recommends a starter, but my kit came with dry lager yeast. Any thoughts/tips?
2. What temp should I ferment at? Because I now have a fridge/temp control, I have a lot more options. Wiki says as soon as you see fermentation activity, move pail to someplace between 48F-52F for 3ish weeks
2.1 Are there any steps between fermenting/bottling you guys recommend? I've read a bit about "cold crashing", raising/lowering the temp and so on. Interested in your expertise The Wiki stated that the beer should be racked to a secondary after 3ish weeks at 48F-52F, and the secondary should be kept at 32F-38F for another 3ish weeks.
3. What temp should I keep my bottles at? Again, per the Wiki, if I'm going to lager it in my secondary for the 3ish weeks, then I really just have to condition the bottles at room temp, as lagering has been done already. This isn't really clear to me, keep it at 32ish degrees for a month, then let it come back to room temp in the bottles? Also, the Wiki noted that I would need to add some yeast (1/4 packet) when I bottled because the yeast used in fermenting would be used up.

My hope is that I can brew early this week, let it ferment until September (About 3 weeks, ish) then keep it in bottles for at least a month.

Even though I wasn't planning on trying my hand at a lager this soon, I'm excited to get a brew going. It's been a week since my first, and I'll I've wanted to do was get back to it!

Thanks for any help you guys can offer!

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Old 08-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Derek2k3, #1 There are 2 trains of thought on pitching temp. Pitch the yeast at fermenting temp and pitch the yeast and little warmer then fermenting temp and let it start then bring it down to ferment temp. Ideally you want to ferment between 48-52. Lagers require huge yeast starters. Easily twice as large as a ale starter. So definately make one even with dry yeast. IMO yeast size is the biggest difference between a good lager and a bad one. #2 After your initiall ferment 2 or 3 weeks youll want to do a diacetyl rest. Which is bring ing up your temp to 60-65 degrees for 36-48 hrs to get that yeast to clean up any residual funk left over. After that done rack off the yeast to a secondary and start lagering. Depending on temp anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Its just clarifying at this point. Good Luck. Lagers are the hardest thing to homebrew IMO. Still trying to perfect the process. Cheers!! SW

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Old 08-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #3
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"After your initiall ferment 2 or 3 weeks youll want to do a diacetyl rest. Which is bring ing up your temp to 60-65 degrees for 36-48 hrs to get that yeast to clean up any residual funk left over."

Diacetyl rest should be done at the end of fermentation. About 2/3 of they way thru. so more like on day 5 or 6 not 2-3 weeks out. It would be long since done fermenting by then.

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Old 08-06-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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Imperial. Well maybe that's why I have problems cleaning them up all the way. I had been told differently but that makes perfect sense. Thanks. SW

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:06 AM   #5
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Derek2k3, #1 There are 2 trains of thought on pitching temp. Pitch the yeast at fermenting temp and pitch the yeast and little warmer then fermenting temp and let it start then bring it down to ferment temp. Ideally you want to ferment between 48-52. Lagers require huge yeast starters. Easily twice as large as a ale starter. So definately make one even with dry yeast. IMO yeast size is the biggest difference between a good lager and a bad one. #2 After your initiall ferment 2 or 3 weeks youll want to do a diacetyl rest. Which is bring ing up your temp to 60-65 degrees for 36-48 hrs to get that yeast to clean up any residual funk left over. After that done rack off the yeast to a secondary and start lagering. Depending on temp anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Its just clarifying at this point. Good Luck. Lagers are the hardest thing to homebrew IMO. Still trying to perfect the process. Cheers!! SW
Thanks! I'll activate the yeast before I pitch it. I'll get the wort down to approx 60 degrees, pitch, and let it cool down to approx 50. About a week into fermentation, I'll bring the temp up to 65ish for 2 full days, then move it back to approx 50 for another week or so. At that point I'll rack it to my secondary and drop the temp to approx 35 for lagering.

Thanks so much!

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"After your initiall ferment 2 or 3 weeks youll want to do a diacetyl rest. Which is bring ing up your temp to 60-65 degrees for 36-48 hrs to get that yeast to clean up any residual funk left over."

Diacetyl rest should be done at the end of fermentation. About 2/3 of they way thru. so more like on day 5 or 6 not 2-3 weeks out. It would be long since done fermenting by then.
Noted! I'll be sure to do that, thanks!
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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Thanks! I'll activate the yeast before I pitch it. I'll get the wort down to approx 60 degrees, pitch, and let it cool down to approx 50. About a week into fermentation, I'll bring the temp up to 65ish for 2 full days, then move it back to approx 50 for another week or so. At that point I'll rack it to my secondary and drop the temp to approx 35 for lagering.

Thanks so much!
I probably wouldn't move it up/down/up/down like that. What I'd do is chill and pitch (make sure you pitch enough, you may need two packages) at 48-50 degrees and then raise it to 60-65 at the tail end of fermentation. At that point, I'd go ahead and rack and then lower the temperature to lagering temps. I don't see any reason to go from 65 to 50 after the diacetyl rest.
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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I probably wouldn't move it up/down/up/down like that. What I'd do is chill and pitch (make sure you pitch enough, you may need two packages) at 48-50 degrees and then raise it to 60-65 at the tail end of fermentation. At that point, I'd go ahead and rack and then lower the temperature to lagering temps. I don't see any reason to go from 65 to 50 after the diacetyl rest.
Yooper. So you only keep it in primary for a week or week and a half. I was told 14-21 days. I'm still trying to figure out a good lager schedule. Thanks. SW
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:52 PM   #8
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I probably wouldn't move it up/down/up/down like that. What I'd do is chill and pitch (make sure you pitch enough, you may need two packages) at 48-50 degrees and then raise it to 60-65 at the tail end of fermentation. At that point, I'd go ahead and rack and then lower the temperature to lagering temps. I don't see any reason to go from 65 to 50 after the diacetyl rest.
Ah, that makes a lot more sense.

So, I'll get my wort to the 48-50 range, pitch and let ferment about a week (depending on how it responds), then when fermentation appears to be winding down raise it to 60-65 range for a couple days, followed by racking to my secondary and lagering at the 32-38 range.

Thanks. This helps alot, I really didn't mean to do a lager this soon in my "career", but it'll be a great learning experience and hopefully a good brew

Regarding the second packet of yeast, my kit only came with one (Saf-Lager 23 Lager Yeast) 11.5g packet. I take it I should just order and have an extra on hand, will it hurt to pitch two? EDIT: Per "mrmalty" calculator, I'd need 1.6 11.5g packets. So, I'll get another one.I'm starting to see why so many people build their own kits rather than buying them.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:10 PM   #9
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Yooper. So you only keep it in primary for a week or week and a half. I was told 14-21 days. I'm still trying to figure out a good lager schedule. Thanks. SW
A diacetyl rest seems to be most effective when the beer is about 75% finished, or about 1.020 or so. You want the yeast to be active, and they'll go back and clean up the diacetyl. In a properly pitched lager, this almost always happens by day 7-10.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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Regarding the second packet of yeast, my kit only came with one (Saf-Lager 23 Lager Yeast) 11.5g packet. I take it I should just order and have an extra on hand, will it hurt to pitch two? EDIT: Per "mrmalty" calculator, I'd need 1.6 11.5g packets. So, I'll get another one.I'm starting to see why so many people build their own kits rather than buying them.
No problem pitching 2 packs. Take a look at the date on your yeast pack. Make sure to enter it in Mr Malty.

You probably need more than 1.6packs
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