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Old 12-24-2012, 01:16 AM   #1
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Default Oh oh...got a lager beer kit for Christmas

My sweetie got me the Wurzberger Maibock extract kit and White Labs WPL830 vial for Christmas. Sounds pretty good, but it's a lager and so far I've only brewed ales.

The instructions seem pretty straight forward but I don't have any place at 36-45F for the lagering/conditioning. My unfinished basement is currently about 56F near the floor.

What now about the temperature?

Also, SG is 1.065 expected FG is 1.013. Must I do a starter for a 5gal batch?

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:46 AM   #2
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It's her fault that you now need to have a lagering chamber.

Rick

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:55 AM   #3
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Yes, you must do a starter. A HUGE starter.

Then ferment as close to 50 degrees as you can. I use a cooler with a water bath for my fermenter, and add frozen water bottles as needed to keep it at 50 degrees.

After that, you don't really need to lager until bottling. You can bottle the beer, let it carb up, and then lager it in the bottle wherever you can. Fridge temps are ideal, but you may find a cold spot somewhere else if you look.

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Old 12-24-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f250 View Post
it's her fault that you now need to have a lagering chamber.

rick
Hmmm...?
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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Yes, you must do a starter. A HUGE starter.
Any thoughts about why White Labs says the vial by itself is good for five gallons (under 1.070), but a pitch calculator says as high as ~7 liters for starter?

Seems like a rather huge disparity in suggested practice. What happens if you use just the vial or a smaller starter? Under-attenuation or just a really long ferment time or?
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post
Any thoughts about why White Labs says the vial by itself is good for five gallons (under 1.070), but a pitch calculator says as high as ~7 liters for starter?

Seems like a rather huge disparity in suggested practice. What happens if you use just the vial or a smaller starter? Under-attenuation or just a really long ferment time or?
Whoaru,

No offense, but make a starter. It's really not that difficult. Go to the LHBS, buy a pound of DME for $4, find a mason jar or Flask around the house, make up a 1.040 solution with water that fills the mason jar half full, and pitch the yeast. Cover the jar with foam or something to prevent microbes (critical). Let the yeast go to work. Takes fifteen minutes and costs five bucks. This isn't the best way to go about it, but the easiest for someone who has no interest/equipment in starters.

As a microbiologist, I'll try to explain this. There's different rates of pitching. Wyeast, at least, suggests one million yeast cells per mL per degree Plato. (1.060 is 15 P, Plato is a measure of sugar levels) When you pitch at this rate in ales, the cells need to replicate many times, which creates more esters, meaning more yeast flavors. If it's a Belgian beer, that could be good, if it's a cream ale, that's probably bad. Along with other factors, the less yeast cells you pitch, the more off-flavors you'll get. Mr. Malty is calculating that formula to 6 or 12 million per mL per Plato, which means you're going to get a faster ferment, less off-flavors, less chances of under-attenuation, etc, etc. There's the differential.

In lagers, you are fermenting cool, and looking for a very crisp, clean beer, so you need to pitch much more cells. I think WL/Wyeast only suggests like 2 or 3 million per mL per Plato, while Mr.Malty suggests like 12 or 18 million per mL per Plato. I was listening to an interview of White Labs people this summer so those company numbers may be slightly off.


The walkaway is the yeast companies are trying to offer a good product but selling a liter of yeast is impracticable. At least in most ales, you can get away with just pitching the vial and have a solid beer. You want to make a decent lager or a great ale, you gotta do a starter. You can really control how your beer tastes by your pitching rate, most pro brewers will acknowledge it's one of the most important factors in brewing, perhaps even more then your malt bill or hop schedule.

Good video if you are interested.


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Old 12-24-2012, 01:08 PM   #7
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Default f250 +1

Yup her fault.....gotta go out and get more equipment. Heres what you need, an 19.5 cu ft freezer less fridge or chest freezer, one of those temp controls from northern brewer, and If you don't have a Stainless conical ....you'll need one (Or at least tell HER that)

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:18 PM   #8
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not trying to encourage or anything but....

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/johnson-controls-a419-digital-temp-controller.html

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=203547584&R=203547584# specifications

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:20 PM   #9
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That would certainly help! A freezer with temp control would be nice, but also....
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/the-vortex-stir-plate.html

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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You could also use a neutral ale yeast like 1056, wlp001 or US-05 and ferment at ale temps.

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