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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > the perfect lager
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:00 PM   #1
tockeyhockey
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Default the perfect lager

my next brew will be my first lager -- a budvar clone.

i have a few questions about lagering however. when pitching lager yeast, do i need to cool the wort to the temperature where i will be fermenting, somewhere in the 40-50 F range?

also, would a budvar clone benefit from brewing with distilled water to mimic the ultra-soft water in prague? i'm assuming i'd have to add some yeast nutrients, but otherwise the distilled water would be the best in this scenario.

should i take my lager through a wide range of temperatures to make sure that all of the yeast is fermented out? in other words, should i step it down five degrees at a time to the final lagering temperature and then step it back up five degrees at a time to the resting temperature? what's the best model for this process?

any links to lagering advice or step by step lagering instructions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-11-2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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I don't know if this will brew the "perfect lager" but I just picked everyone's brain in http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=11897 and the steps we came up with looked something like this.

1) pitch yeast at room temps, wait for signs of fermentation, move to beer fridge/freezer. (I like it this way because I got MASSIVE fermentation in about 6 hours)
2) Primary fermentation for about 2 weeks at 45-52 degrees.
3) Check SG, if gravity is below 1.018, raise temp to room temperature to allow for diacetyl rest. Leave at room temp for around 48 hours.
4) Rack to secondary and move back into beer fridge. Lower temps gradually to around 38-42 degrees for lagering.
5) Leave beer in secondary for a couple months at lager temps
6) Bring beer to room temp, prime and bottle the beer.
7) Leave beer at room temps for a few weeks to allow for carbonation.
8) Chill, and drink the sh!t out of the beer.

If anyone has any revisions or corrections to this list, please feel free. I'm no expert here. (But the Doppelbock and the Helles both smell wonderful!)

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Old 08-12-2006, 01:59 PM   #3
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My 2 cents.

1.. pitch a good starter (if using liquid yeast) into a well aerated wort at fermenting tempertures. Make sure your yeast is very close to your wort tempertures to prevent yeast shock. In any case it is best to pitch at fermenting tempertures so that the formation of esters that could end up in the finished beer are kept to a minimum

2.. If you are doing extract, then distilled water is fine. If you are doing all grain, then mineral additions to distilled water is in order.

3.. If you are doing a diacetyl rest, do it when you are 3/4 the way to terminal gravity. Raise the temp to about 60f for a few days to clean everything up, then you can rack to secondary and then drop the temps down by 5 degrees a day to your lagering temperture.

4.. Lager for at least a month if lagering at about 40f and for a couple of months at about 34f. As close to freezing as possible for a longer peroid of time will develop a smoother lager than one lagered at a higher temperture for a shorter time frame.

Have fun, lagering is time consumming, but the finished product, if properly done will, be the best you have ever made. The key to good beer making is patience.

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Old 08-12-2006, 02:58 PM   #4
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What yeast are you using and what recipe? It's quite difficult to give good subjective advice without this info.

Mash Ph is your worry if doing an all grain pilsner, and low attenuation could be a problem with extract, and with your yeast pitching method/rate. Distilled water will mean there are no minerals in your water to acidify the mash. This can be overcome by careful additions of salts or acids. With extract it's less of a problem although you may benefit from a yeast nutrient.

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Old 08-15-2006, 08:47 PM   #5
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thanks for the feedback -- these are great guidelines.

i think i've changed my mind and i'm going to order northern brewer's octoberfest extract kit. that should be done lagering by mid novermber, and be the perfect beer to serve at thanksgiving dinner!

i'm planning on using the wyeast smack pack for the first time. as i understand it, these things are pretty well fool-proof. i'm going to start my fermentation at room temperature, then drop it down once a krausen starts to form. then into the lagering device it goes!

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Old 08-15-2006, 11:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tockeyhockey
thanks for the feedback -- these are great guidelines.

i think i've changed my mind and i'm going to order northern brewer's octoberfest extract kit. that should be done lagering by mid novermber, and be the perfect beer to serve at thanksgiving dinner!

i'm planning on using the wyeast smack pack for the first time. as i understand it, these things are pretty well fool-proof. i'm going to start my fermentation at room temperature, then drop it down once a krausen starts to form. then into the lagering device it goes!
I said this in another thread today, but I 'll say it again. An Oktoberfest won't be done lagering by November. They are traditionally brewed in March for the Oktoberfest celebration, so if you lager for the proper amount of time, it will be ready by next March, assuming a brew day os coming soon. That's not to say you couldn't drink it earlier, but it wouldn't be nearly as good as if you had waited.
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ablrbrau
I said this in another thread today, but I 'll say it again. An Oktoberfest won't be done lagering by November. They are traditionally brewed in March for the Oktoberfest celebration, so if you lager for the proper amount of time, it will be ready by next March, assuming a brew day os coming soon. That's not to say you couldn't drink it earlier, but it wouldn't be nearly as good as if you had waited.
d'oh. i guess i'll need to plan ahead for next year.

perhaps i'll go back to my first idea of a budvar clone. can i have that done before the holidays?
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