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Old 06-30-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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Default First lager - process clarification

So I did some reading up on lagers, and I had a few questions, but I just wanted to go through the overall process to make sure that I wasn't messing up. I am planning on brewing this on Wednesday. An Authentic Oktoberfest lager:

10 gallon batch

Starter:
1 vial of WLP820 (LHBS only had 1 vial left)
1 Gallon starter @ 1.045 OG
Re-pitched to 2nd starter:
1.5 gallons @ 1.5 gallons

Recipe & Brewing:

7 lbs Vienna Malt
7.5 lbs Munich Malt
1 lbs Dark Munich Malt
10.25 lbs Pilsner 2 row

1.5 oz Hallertauer @ 60 min
2 oz Tettnang @ 45 min

Est OG: 1.066

Fermentation:
Pitching and fermenting at 55 degrees (WLP said: 52-58F).

Then I read that when it is 10-15 points away from FG bring it up to about 60 degrees for a Diacetyl rest, for 24 hours.

What is a point? is it .001 so like if I had a FG of 1.015, that would be at like 1.025 - 1.30?

Then after that move it to a secondary, and then lager for 12 days per 2 degrees Plato of OG. Which in my case would be: 192 days (16.04 Plato x 12 days). Or just over 6 months! Is that normal?! I got the number of days to lager from the book "New Brewing Lager Beer".

Then keg as normal.

Did I forget anything? Or did I get something confused. Thanks for all the help in advanced


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Old 07-01-2012, 01:07 AM   #2
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Here's what I do and it works for me. I ferment my lagers at 50 degrees. When the fermentation is almost done (usually after 7-10 days) I let the temperature climb to 60 degrees and hold for 3-4 days. Then I crash cool the fermenter to as close to freezing as I can (say 34 degrees), and let it sit for 2-3 days. Rack to a keg. I lager a week for each one hundredth of difference between the OG and the FG. So, If the beer had on OG of 1.050 and the FG was 1.010, I would lager for 4 weeks @ 35-36 degrees. At the end of the lagering process, I usually force transfer the beer to another keg to make sure the beer is off of any yeast cake that may have settled during the lager process. Traditionally a Oktoberfest was lagered for 6 months, but it isn't necessary. I try to stay true to the spirit and try to lager mine for that long, but to be honest....I don't think it makes a difference.


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Old 07-01-2012, 02:19 PM   #3
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Do you do a decoction mash? From what I've read that is pretty much religion in Germany. But because of the quality of grain and milling, some beers don't decoct
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:14 PM   #4
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There really is no need to step up from a one gallon starter. There will be enough yeast from it for a fast and strong fermentation. Often I'll use less. I do strings of lagers with one strain of yeast. The first batch is usually 12P or lower gravity with a 2L starter and then I'll use that slurry for two or three batches. The first 'starter' batch does have a lower pitch rate but I've never had any problems.

My lagers will ferment at 48-55F for 5-7 days (it's yeast strain and pitch rate dependent.) Then I'll raise the temp to 60F or just move them to room temp if I need the temp controlled fermentation space. After 2 days to a week I'll either rack to secondary, a keg or just lager it in the primary. It depends on what space I have and how much time I have to spend.

I decoct most of my German lagers (and cereal mash most of my American lagers.) I think it does make better beer. You have to decide if you think it's worth the effort or not. I don't think it's difficult to do and I have my double decotions down to about a two hour mash time.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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I don't think it will be to hard, I have found it a lot easier to control the temp when I do it stove top, as I do BIAB.

Have you ever done a triple decoction? If so is it really worth it for the 3 opposed to the 2?
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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I've done quite a few triple decoctions. I just don't like leaving the mash at protein rest that long. I pretty much just use double decoctions anymore.

My last marzen was striked at 130 for 10 minutes, infused to 145 for 30, decocted to 158 for 30 and then decocted to mash out.
http://hopville.com/recipe/1296704/o...pes/summerfest
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfowlks View Post
Do you do a decoction mash? From what I've read that is pretty much religion in Germany. But because of the quality of grain and milling, some beers don't decoct
For most of my lagers I just do a single decoction. 35 minute rest at 122 and then do a decoction and raise the grain to my mashing temperature for 45-60 minutes. Is it needed? I dunno. Just breaks up the brewing rut from just doing a single infusion I guess.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, after your input and some additional research, I think I will try a double decoction mash for my first Oktoberfest attempt, as it will be easy to do via stove top, then move it outside for the boil after its all done.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:48 PM   #9
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So after 10 days it was at 1.012, is it to late to ramp up to ~ 60 degrees for the diacetyl rest?
I didn't notice any butter flavors in the beer when I tried the refractometer sample.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:53 PM   #10
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It could be too late but warming it up now can't hurt it any.


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