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Old 03-10-2010, 02:00 AM   #1
Dec 2009
Malden, MA
Posts: 32

I finally have the fridge space that I need to try a lager, and am eager to give it a go! I'm going to do a bock of some sort, and have been reading a lot about the process but I'm still a little confused about something. I tried searching, but to no avail. I can't seem to get a straight answer about the fermentation/temp. schedule. It seems like I ferment at anywhere from 55-65 for anywhere from a week to three or four before I move into the "lager" stage? Then at that point I drop the temp to 33 or 34 and leave it for another 3 weeks or a month? Does that sound right? Am I supposed to fully ferment it at my normal ale temps and then put it in the fridge? I thought the lager yeast liked it colder?

Also, many places I have read insist on using a starter. I've never done that before, and had fine results with attenuation. Do I really need to learn two new things at once??

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Old 03-10-2010, 02:30 AM   #2
liquiditynerd's Avatar
Sep 2008
Posts: 683
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you've read the basics, but there are a couple of things that I am sure some other folks will touch on , oh say in 1,2... read the next post. you say fridge space, have you a regulator? you should drop the temp 5F a day from ferm temp (and yes you should ferm at yeast perferred temp) which will not be ale temp if you use a lager yeast. the other note you should search is diacytel rest, it's a short period but it stops the butterscotch from forming.

As far as starters go--that's a whole other topic. I haven't used dry yeast in a long time, starters are like jumpin a green light and texting at the finish line.
....just add water.....

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Old 03-10-2010, 02:30 AM   #3
Ale's What Cures You!
Yooper's Avatar
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 69,885
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If you're going to make a lager, you need to make a starter or else pitch the appropriate amount of yeast by simply purchasing more yeast packs. I'd guess that for most lagers, 3-4 yeast packages would be enough for liquid yeast.

Most lager yeast optimimum fermentation temperatures are 48-55 degrees. You'll want to keep the fermenting lager in that area for the entire primary, probably about 10-14 days. Then, if you're doing a diacetyl rest, you'll want to raise the temperature approximately 10 degrees when the beer is 75% of the way to FG. After the diacetyl rest, you should be at FG and can rack the beer off of the yeast cake and then begin the lagering.

I like to lower the temperature 5 degrees per day after racking, until the beer is at 34 degrees. I then keep it at 34 degrees for approximately 6-10 weeks. A good rule of thumb is to lager for one week for every 8-10 OG points. So, for a 1.060 lager, you'll want to lager for 6-8 weeks.

A couple of critical things with lagers- pitching the proper amount of yeast, and keeping it at the proper fermentation temperatures. Ales are much more forgiving if you can't do both of those things.
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Old 03-10-2010, 03:05 PM   #4
DMace's Avatar
Jan 2010
Irwin, Pa
Posts: 79

I'm in the exact same boat as Jay. I'm about to make my first lager, and I've never made a yeast starter before. I have the WLP830 German Lager Yeast, a liquid culture. Do I follow the same steps as in the pic that Deathbrewer posted? Or maybe I'll just have to take YopperBrew's advice and buy another three viles.


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Old 03-10-2010, 03:28 PM   #5
DMace's Avatar
Jan 2010
Irwin, Pa
Posts: 79

Hey Jay, I just found this thread that helped me out. I figured I'd post a link to maybe help you out. Maybe one of us will turn out with a smooth delicious lager. OWWWW!


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Old 03-10-2010, 03:37 PM   #6
Feb 2010
Boston, MA
Posts: 58

The picture instructions are very good except I dont put an airlock over the end just a piece of aluminum foil. I use aluminum foil because it allows oxygen to get in which the yeast use to multiply. (When there is no oxygen they make alcohol). And a yeast starter is really not that complicated so I would definetly use one over buying another 3 viles and wasting that money. Just make sure that you sanitize thoroughly before making your starter and you should be fine.

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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azscoob's Avatar
Jun 2009
Lake in the Hills, IL
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Yoop, thats some good info, I will be doing my first lager this sunday, I have 2000ml starter on the stirplate doing its thing, I think that will be underpitching still, but its as big as I can go right now unless I pull some off and make another 2000ml starter. not sure if I need to go that far though. its a 1.057 recipe, the big plan is to just play it by ear and see how I do. any other advice? still sketchy on decoction mash process since I use a cooler MLT and batch sparge.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:10 PM   #8
May 2009
Baltimore, Maryland
Posts: 484
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Yeast Pitching Rate Calculator

Useful link for determining the size of your starter. Check the appropriate fields for aeration method as well as LAGER not ale for beer type.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:56 AM   #9
Dec 2008
San Angelo, Texas
Posts: 380
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I would be interested in how your beer turns out using the WLP830 German Lager. I tried three different brews with that and couldn't drink any of them. Too much cloraseptic taste. I bottled the last batch and will try it again in 6 months or so. I have used the AL 840 and GB 833 and had great tasting beer many times.

It's probably my fault but I could not figure out what the problem was.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:22 AM   #10
Nov 2007
Posts: 11
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YooperBrew: "You'll want to keep the fermenting lager in that area for the entire primary, probably about 10-14 days"

Hello, I am new with lager. I was fermenting at 50 degrees for 13 days (saflagerS23)
then I changed to secondary, but gravity was too high (1036 from OG1055). Is it normal?
Is it not too long keeping the beer two weeks with the yeast bottom? No risk of autolysis?

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