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Old 03-03-2009, 08:02 AM   #1
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Default newb making lager...am i doing anything fundamentally wrong?

So i made a batch of lager pilsner (can of liquid malt, some powdered malt and 2 packets of hops). Now i have a question about fermentation...I put everything in a bucket fermenter with an airlock, wrapped it in tin foil to prevent light from getting in, duct taped the foil so it doesnt get blown away by the wind and put it on the balcony. The temperature outside fluctuates from 28F at night to 55F during the day. Is this a bad range for fermentation? Right now its 35F outside and the airlock is bubbling rather vigorously. What is the freezing point of raw beer anyhow?

Will i be okay with these temperatures or am i doing something fundamentally wrong?

I also dumped the hops straight into the pot when i was boiling the whole mess and now it is all in fermenter, hops and all. Should i have removed the hops somehow from the mixture before fermenting?

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Old 03-03-2009, 08:10 AM   #2
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So i made a batch of lager pilsner (can of liquid malt, some powdered malt and 2 packets of hops). Now i have a question about fermentation...I put everything in a bucket fermenter with an airlock, wrapped it in tin foil to prevent light from getting in, duct taped the foil so it doesnt get blown away by the wind and put it on the balcony. The temperature outside fluctuates from 28F at night to 55F during the day. Is this a bad range for fermentation? Right now its 35F outside and the airlock is bubbling rather vigorously. What is the freezing point of raw beer anyhow?

Will i be okay with these temperatures or am i doing something fundamentally wrong?

I also dumped the hops straight into the pot when i was boiling the whole mess and now it is all in fermenter, hops and all. Should i have removed the hops somehow from the mixture before fermenting?
Temperature fluctuation is going to stress the yeast. Especially that big of one. Once there is ethanol in beer (which it sounds there is), the freezing temp is below 32F, so you should be fine there.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:42 AM   #3
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You can use a steeping bag for your hops next time if you want- and you'll just pull out the bag and all the hops with it.
If you want to control the temp ranges that your yeast are going through- consider putting the bucked into a cooler filled with ice water, and rotate frozen water bottles every day to keep temps more consistent. It does not Need to be covered (Who has a cooler that can fit a fermentation bucket!)

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Old 03-03-2009, 04:00 PM   #4
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What are the taste consequences when it comes to yeast that has been stressed a bit?

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Old 03-03-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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What are the taste consequences when it comes to yeast that has been stressed a bit?
various off flavors. I find it usually has a "hot" flavor which is higher chain alcohols. Esters would also be possible, which is undesirable in a lager.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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Let it ride and let us know how it turns out. I bet it'll turn out fine. The yeast produce heat as they ferment, so it will keep itself significantly warmer than the ambient temp during the nights.

The key to avoiding yeast stress is to pitch plenty of healthy yeast and aerate well. I pitch a 2L starter and aerate with an O2 stone as standard practice. If you do that the yeast will be chillin' and it takes a LOT to get them stressed out. I've heard stories of fermentations that got into the upper 80's and still turned out great when proper pitching rates and aeration were used.

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Old 03-09-2009, 04:05 AM   #7
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wel i let it ferment for a week and bubbling slowed down. So i transferred it into secondary today, so no more hops and other gunk in there.

However now after 2 hours in secondary its fermenting and bubbling like crazy again. Is that normal? I tried a little and it tasted good, only slightly sweet. Unfortunately i broke the hydrometer trying to sterilize it so i could not take the reading.

This is what it looked like in primary,.....does this look fine?

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Old 03-09-2009, 12:17 PM   #8
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That looks like actively fermenting wort. It's too late now, but next time wait about two weeks in primary for a lager. Lagers tend to take longer, due to the lower fermentation temperatures. It should be ok, you'll just have more sediment in the secondary.

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Old 03-09-2009, 04:36 PM   #9
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ahhh ok. recipe called for 7 days in primary, so i followed it....thats good to know for the future. Right now the fermentation seems to be still goign strong in the secondary. The beer developed a 3 inch "head" and looks like a giant glass of beer with bubbles coming up. Pretty cool.

How long should i keep it in the secondary before bottling? the recipe calls for 3 weeks, but i dont trust it any more.

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Old 03-09-2009, 04:51 PM   #10
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ahhh ok. recipe called for 7 days in primary, so i followed it....thats good to know for the future. Right now the fermentation seems to be still goign strong in the secondary. The beer developed a 3 inch "head" and looks like a giant glass of beer with bubbles coming up. Pretty cool.

How long should i keep it in the secondary before bottling? the recipe calls for 3 weeks, but i dont trust it any more.
Don't bottle until fermentation is complete, the best way to tell that is with a hydrometer. You may want to do a tertiary since it is still fermenting pretty good (if possible) however I've never done a fermentation with such high temp swings in the ambeient temperature. Otherwise, with a lager I'd wait a couple weeks after fermentation is complete.
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