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Old 09-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #1
brewsmity
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Default Second brew this weekend

OK. I’m ready to brew batch # 2. I’m putting batch # 1 into bottles Friday night and will brew # 2 on Sunday or Monday. I have a spare fridge, so I’m going to give lagering an Oktoberfest a try. I got a kit from Beer–Wine.com:

2 Cans Amber LME
½ lb Crystal Malt
½ lb Munich Malt
½ lb Pale Malt
¼ lb Chocolate Malt
2.5 oz Hallertau Hops
WLP830 German Lager Yeast
Target SG: 1.044-1.050, Target FG: 1.014, 5 Gal batch

I’m a noob, so I wanted to run my plan by the group for feedback.

I’ve read about the importance of a starter, so I’m going to pitch one tonight; 1.5 L water + ~1 1/4 cups DME (EDIT, thanks), boil for 10 min, cool, pitch, sit in growler with loose aluminum foil cover for 3 days. The night before brew day I’ll stick the starter in the fridge to crash it. On brew day I’ll take it out and decant the liquid (which seems to be a fancy word for pouring most of the liquid off the top) and have the slury ready to pitch.

I'm pretty well set on the brewing instructions. My biggest question is on when to pitch the yeast. I’ve read various threads about when to pitch; 1) pitch at 65-70 let ferment for a couple of days then stick in fridge, 2) pitch at 65-70 and right into fridge, 3) get temp down to 50 and then pitch and right into fridge. My current plan is to pitch the starter at the 60-65 degree (room temp) mark at toss it into a 45-50 degree fridge for primary fermentation (~2-3 weeks, but we’ll see what the hyrdo tells me). I think this will give me some active fermentation at the higher temp, but I’m hoping it will cool down to lagering temps within 3-8 hours. Thoughts? Should I give it overnight to allow active fermentation to get going?

Once primary fermentation is close to done, I will transfer to the secondary for 4 weeks at ~40 degrees. I’m not sure about diacetyl rest at this point.
I’m hoping that by the time it’s ready I’ll have kegging capability in place. So after ~6 weeks of total fermentation, I will transfer to a keg, force carb and store in the fridge and let it mellow out. My goal is to have a good drinkable Oktoberfest ready for Thanksgiving or sooner.

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Old 09-03-2009, 08:54 PM   #2
wh4tig0t
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someone check my math here, but I think 6 Cups of DME is a bit much, maybe more like 6oz

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Old 09-03-2009, 08:56 PM   #3
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6cups DME to 1.5L sounds like ALOT for the starter
1.5L should be 150grams of DME

I prefer to make my starter about 24 hours before I plan to pitch, and pitch the whole thing. If you do decant it, make sure it is at the same temp you are pitching to so there isn't any thermal shock to the yeast.

I have not lagered before, so I will let someone else chime in on that.

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Old 09-03-2009, 09:04 PM   #4
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Thanks. I must not have been thinking straight when I typed the DME # in. 6 cups would be a lot. I edited the post...

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Old 09-04-2009, 01:18 AM   #5
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I think the only thing I can add is that I was always under the impression that oktoberfests take a while to age. As in brew it in march and its ready in september sort of thing however, Ive never brewed one myself and four months maybe be just as good. Maybe someone else with further know how can chime in. As far as when to pitch for lagering I always pitch at the 65-70 degree range and then let it ferment at that temperature. Or also described in your scenario 1. It works well for me. Good Luck!

Cheers!

I would also think that it would be best to let it ferment at the 65-70 degree range. If my logic is correct then cooling it off before fermentation would result in a sluggish start or long lag time as it were. Also, from personal experience I have always done it the way your number one defines it and have never received any adverse effects from it. Hope this helps

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Old 09-04-2009, 01:55 AM   #6
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I brewed my Oktoberfest in April and just cracked the keg this week and it was perfect. As far as the yeast goes make your starter and pitch the whole thing. I have never decanted. Pitch it. Good Luck!

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Old 09-04-2009, 12:46 PM   #7
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I'm no expert in fermenting lagers, but I think 65F is way too warm for lager yeast to be fermented.

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