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.