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Old 07-31-2012, 01:50 PM   #1
Kurt57
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Default Lagering Trial I

Hello All,
I am trying a German lager. First attempt. The steps on the internet are somewhat confusing when it comes to initial temperatures. So, here's what I did. Please jump in and let me know if you see anything glaringly wrong.

1. Milled grain
2. Mashed.
3. Sparged
4. Boiled with hops for 60 min
5. Chilled down to 80 deg. F
6. Pitched German Lager Yeast (50 to 55 deg. F fermenting temp)
7. Racked into glass carboy
8. Immediately placed in fridge set at 52 deg. F
Within a few hours I saw active fermentation. However, after about 24 hours, no sign. The airlock is showing no CO2 escape activity. Is this normal?

Presently on day two of being in the fridge at 52 deg F. Have I done something wrong? Thanks in advance for the help.suggestions/advice.

There is a fairly large amount of yeast on the bottom of the fermentor. About the same amount as in an ale brew.

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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1-4. Correct.
5. Ouch! That's too hot to pitch even an ale yeast. But it's too late to fix it now. Next time, chill the wort (even for ales) to the correct fermentation temperature and add the proper amount of yeast Consult mrmalty.com's pitching calculator for the proper amount of yeast to pitch.

It's hard to say what's going on in there, but lager yeast is bottom fermenting and sometimes you don't see big krausens or much airlock activity. If you're really worried, you could take an SG reading to see if it's dropping.

Lagers typically require a lot more yeast than ales (without a starter, 4-6 packages would be the norm) but if fermentation started it shouldn't stop.

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:59 PM   #3
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For lagers you need A LOT of yeast!!! They work slowly at the lower temps and need a higher cell count to reduce lag times/ If you pitched one packet without a starter, you did not pitch enough yeast.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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This is fine, check you r gravity rather then your airlock, But its fine. Yeast could have been shocked a bit, but on the other hand you still have a 10 or so days left before it will be done.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:18 PM   #5
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Oh, Sorry. I added water and brought the final volume up to 5 gallons so my pitching temp was 67 deg F. Should I begin to lower the temp down to the 33/36 deg F? Thank you all for the input. Appreciate it.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:18 PM   #6
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I made the same mistake with my first lager this past weekend. Chilled to 85 F (as low as I could get with my IC) and then stuck in the freezer. I then experienced a brain fart and after about an hour I came to check on the temp. The temp controller said it was at 51, so I pitched my two packets of yeast. Just prior to pitching, though, I grabbed a sample to measure my OG. When I took the temp so I could correct, it said it was at 80 F. What I was measuring was the air temp in the freezer, not the liquid temp, which would obvisously take a lot longer to get cooled down. D'oh! There wasn't much I could do about it at that point so I just figured the yeast would work on the oxygen and that the wort would be down to the proper temp by the time the yeast went to work on the sugars. I think I'll RDWHAHB this one when I get home from work.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt57 View Post
Oh, Sorry. I added water and brought the final volume up to 5 gallons so my pitching temp was 67 deg F. Should I begin to lower the temp down to the 33/36 deg F? Thank you all for the input. Appreciate it.
No!!! You want to maintain ideal fermentation temperature for the yeast until you know fermentation is done. 2 days, it's definitely not done!

Give it some time - as others have pointed out, lagers are definitely not as active and not as quick to work as ales are. If you're concerned, double-check your temperature and adjust if necessary. Consider gently rousing your yeast (just give the fermenter a couple gentle swirls). Check the gravity over the next couple days to confirm that it's moving downward and, if it isn't, pitch more lager yeast.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt57 View Post
Oh, Sorry. I added water and brought the final volume up to 5 gallons so my pitching temp was 67 deg F. Should I begin to lower the temp down to the 33/36 deg F? Thank you all for the input. Appreciate it.
As was mentioned, keep it at optimal fermentation temperatures until the beer is nearly done. The yeast will go to sleep below about 46 degrees.

After it's done fermenting, or nearly done, raise the temperature to 65 degrees for a diacetyl rest. You'll definitely need one, since you pitched warm (although 67 degrees is better than 80 degrees, it's still about 20 degrees too warm).

After the diacetyl rest, check the SG to ensure the beer is finished. Check it again in two days. THEN you can rack the beer into a new vessel and begin the lagering at 33/34 degrees.

I hope this helps!
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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You probably DIDN'T see active fermentation within a few hours. Lager yeasts work slowly in the first place, and even more slowly since you underpitched. The gas you saw within a few hours was probably off-gassing from the fermentation.

My last lager took about 4-5 days before any airlock activity, and there was active fermentation for about 14 full days before I reached 75% FG and did my D-Rest. Remember that a SLOWWWWW fermentation is a CLEANNNNN fermentation, which is exactly what you are aiming for in a lager. Don't try to speed it up....you'll adversely affect the quality of your lager!

Patience is a virtue here. It is going to be a good 15-21 days before active fermentation is complete, then 48 hours of D-Rest at room temp, THEN ramp down to 34-36F and lager for 6-8 weeks!!

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Old 07-31-2012, 03:50 PM   #10
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Thank you so much!

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