I have 10 gallons of Oktoberfest that is fermenting at 52 degrees. I cold crashed a two gallon starter and pitched that after the wort was at 52 degrees. That was a week ago. I will be out of town all next week. So after three weeks can I just start lowering the temp to where I am going to lager it? Do I really need to rack it? I was planning on tasting some to see if I need to do a D-rest.
you may be too late to do an effective D rest if you wait that long. You really need to raise the temp while it's still a bit active. I would check and see if your lager yeast is known to produce detectable diacetyl.
After that, you don't need to rack unless you need more lagering time. I just got a blue ribbon on a pilsner that never saw a secondary.