The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Is My Lager Ready for Lagering?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 06-28-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
dantheman39
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 12
Default Is My Lager Ready for Lagering?

I am brewing a Honey Lager that started off problematically for me. I made a few mistakes, being my first lager, but it seems like everything has progressed fairly well since the start despite those mistakes.

Quote:
- I underpitched (by about 60-70% according to some) by using a single Wyeast Smack-Pack witout a starter per the recipe.

- I also started fermentation for two days at 65 degrees per the recipe (also a mistake), and after 48 hours, which happened to coincide with the first few bubbles from the airlock, I moved the carboy to a 54 degree freezer for primary fermentation.

- Once in the freezer at a steady 54, fermentation picked up, it built about 1.5" of Krausen which has since fallen, and steady air bubbles for about a week. Also a slight sulfury odor from the gas coming off of it.
Recipe is an Extract Honey Lager with Steeped specialty grains, OG was supposed to be 1.044, it ended up at 1.056. FG was supposed to be 1.011, I assume that doesn't change but could be assuming incorrectly.

It's been in the cooler for 11 days at this point. which is 13 days since pitching yeast. I checked the gravity two days ago and found it was at 1.020, 9 points away from FG, tasted the sample, and detected a very slight (and I mean barely detetctable) hint of that slick buttery taste known as Diacetyl. The sample was also rather carbonated, which I haven't read about or experienced before. I raised the temperature at this point up to 65 for a D-Rest since I was approaching FG, where it's sat for the last two days, and gravity today is 1.011 and any detectable carbonation in the solution is gone, as is about 99.9% of the diacetyl taste. However, I am still seeing a small air bubble in the airlock about every 15-20 seconds. There is also a very small amount of yeast floating on the top of the wort.

The question is... is it ready to be racked to secondary and Lagered? Do the air bubbles mean it's still fermenting or is it just CO2 coming out of solution from the temperature being raised?

Unfortunately due to the slow start to this fermentation, the schedule is not lining up with what I thought it would and I am leaving town for a week tomorrow afternoon. I don't think I want to leave my lager at 65 degrees for a week more, so should I wait until the last possible minute before I have to leave and rack to secondary and lower the temperature to Lagering range, or should I leave in primary and lower the temperature back down to 54 until I get back? Wouldn't that ruin the D-Rest?

Thanks for any advice!
__________________
dantheman39 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-28-2013, 09:10 PM   #2
jhay_x7
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 77
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

Default

It sounds like you did a great job of recovering this first lager attempt! You hit your target and if the diacetyl flavor is no longer present, I would go ahead and lager the beer tomorrow morning.

Next time, wait until your gravity reading is about 2-5 gravity points from your FG until you enter the diacetyl rest.

__________________
http://www.brewingwild.com
jhay_x7 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-28-2013, 09:18 PM   #3
FatsSchindee
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 262
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

If you still taste some, I'd bring it back down to 54 for the week, then lager it cold once you get back. That shouldn't negate your D rest, as most diacetyl is produced during the initial fermentation phase (especially if you started it warm, and then brought it down to your primary ferm temp (which you said you did). But I agree not to leave it at 64 - it'll still clean up the diacetyl at 54, just not as actively/quickly as at the higher temp. But let taste be your guide - if you don't taste any, rack it to your secondary and lager away!

(Note: this is all theoretical advice, based off the reading and podcasts I've been studying in getting ready to brew my first lager as well - I've yet to brew one myself at this point! Take that for what it's worth...)

__________________

"All right, brain. You don't like me and I don't like you, but let's just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer."
- Homer Simpson

FatsSchindee is offline
justkev52 Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-28-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
dantheman39
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 12
Default

Thanks Guys,

My understanding was to do the D-Rest when you hit about 80% of fermentaion, which I should have achieved at 1.020. I was also hoping to speed things up a little also and finish out that last 20%, knowing I was up against a deadline.

Since the diacetyl taste is basically gone (I still think I might taste it just barely but nobody else notices it) I'm leaning towards waiting until tomorrow afternoon, which would give it about 20 more hours at 65 degrees, and racking and dropping the temperature.

My only concern is the air bubbles that I am still seeing (about 4-5 bubbles per minute) despite being at FG. I know airlock activity isn't necessarily a direct indication of what fermentation is doing... but if it's not still fermenting, where are these bubbles coming from? I don't want to Lager, bottle prime, and then end up with bottle bombs because the yeast wasn't finished. Is my FG supposed to be lower than what the recipe calls for since my OG was higher?

__________________
dantheman39 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-28-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
justkev52
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: West Valley City, Utah
Posts: 265
Liked 31 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 587

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman39 View Post
Thanks Guys,

My understanding was to do the D-Rest when you hit about 80% of fermentaion, which I should have achieved at 1.020. I was also hoping to speed things up a little also and finish out that last 20%, knowing I was up against a deadline.

Since the diacetyl taste is basically gone (I still think I might taste it just barely but nobody else notices it) I'm leaning towards waiting until tomorrow afternoon, which would give it about 20 more hours at 65 degrees, and racking and dropping the temperature.

My only concern is the air bubbles that I am still seeing (about 4-5 bubbles per minute) despite being at FG. I know airlock activity isn't necessarily a direct indication of what fermentation is doing... but if it's not still fermenting, where are these bubbles coming from? I don't want to Lager, bottle prime, and then end up with bottle bombs because the yeast wasn't finished. Is my FG supposed to be lower than what the recipe calls for since my OG was higher?
Sounds done to me. I'd probably wait myself but should be ok either way.
I've only made 4 lagers but they all turned out fantastic.
Cheers!
__________________
justkev52 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-29-2013, 12:31 AM   #6
dantheman39
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 12
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by justkev52 View Post
Sounds done to me. I'd probably wait myself but should be ok either way.
I've only made 4 lagers but they all turned out fantastic.
Cheers!
Awesome, thanks. This is my first Lager so I'm hoping to not screw it up too bad haha.

I'll wait until tomorrow afternoon and then go ahead and rack & lager before heading to the airport. Appreciate it!
__________________
dantheman39 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-29-2013, 01:20 AM   #7
freisste
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 2,289
Liked 282 Times on 235 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman39
Is my FG supposed to be lower than what the recipe calls for since my OG was higher?
No. Yeast will eat a certain percentage of the sugar available (attenuation). Adding more sugar creates a higher OG and will likely yield a higher FG. That assumes your extra sugar is 100% fermentable. If all you did was extract more sugar from grain, it would keep the same ratio of fermentable to non-fermentable sugar, all but guaranteeing a higher FG.

If this was extract, you simply took a sample from a dense point in the wort (its difficult to mix perfectly). *IF* it was extract, your OG should be whatever the recipe suggested and the fact that you hit the expected FG is really good. Many people don't get below 1.020 with extract.

I say it is good to bottle.
__________________
freisste is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-29-2013, 04:23 AM   #8
Cyclman
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
Cyclman's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 3,795
Liked 334 Times on 296 Posts
Likes Given: 114

Default

It will not hurt to have an extended D-rest, but if FG is the same over 2+ days, it is done.

D-rest in the future when 2/3 of ferm is done.

__________________

Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime! Bill Owen quote

Join the Beacon Point (Aurora, CO) Brewclub on Facebook- casual, fun brewing, drinking, socializing, visiting the great breweries / brewpubs in CO!

Cyclman is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-29-2013, 03:27 PM   #9
dantheman39
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 12
Default

Thanks everyone. Checked it again this morning and gravity is still at 1.011, and the bubbles from the airlock have slowed to one every 45 seconds or so.

I'll be racking it this afternoon and lowering the temperature to lager. Really appreciate all of the input... this place is great!

__________________
dantheman39 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
non-lagering a lager morganamps Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 06-14-2013 05:47 PM
Lager without lagering? timrox1212 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 04-18-2013 07:56 PM
Am I ready to try a lager.... venquessa Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 02-15-2012 07:55 AM
pilsen ready but not ready for lagering? maltbarleyhops Fermentation & Yeast 6 07-20-2011 03:41 AM
Getting ready for my first Lager Help! mjkopp Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 07-07-2011 03:49 AM