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Old 12-09-2012, 03:55 AM   #1
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Default Who says lager fermentation is boring?

Working on my first lager. Boiled up an Oktoberfest yesterday, used a double decoction mash, which went OK, but is another post. Since this was my first lager, I did some reading. A saw a few people mention they like to start their lager fermentation at warmer temps to give it a good start. Then cool it down after ~12 hours or so. Seemed like a good plan.

I built up a starter of WLP830 - 1 liter on Wed night, 2 liter on Thursday night. Brewed on Friday - OG = 1.053, dead on. Pitched the starter into the empty carboy and ran the wort into the carboy from my CFC. Stuck my blowoff tube on - just a habit, always use it. Shook it for a minute or two. Set my Harvest Gold fridge to 60* and stuck the carboy in. No activity at bedtime (~4 hours in). No surprise there.

Checked it at 7:30 in the morning and it had already blown off. I cranked the chamber down to 50* and still tonight it's fermenting like crazy. Constant bubbles from the hose. Granted, not a lot of headroom in there, but hardly the slow, boring fermentation I had expected. You guys must be doing something wrong!



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Old 12-09-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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I'm not a fan of the pitching high and cooling later, but no surprise that you got a lot of yeast growth and a quick start.


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Old 12-09-2012, 10:08 PM   #3
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As fast as this took off, don't think I'll start warm next time.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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Glad I saw this! I'd love to try my hand at making a lager-style beer soon. That's definitely a good thing to be aware of!
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:15 PM   #5
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What was your CFC output temperature?

Reading up prior to my first lager, myself.

From what I've read, starting warm will require a diacetyl rest later to clean up the off-flavors produced by warm yeast growth. Yes?
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:03 AM   #6
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If you pitch enough yeast (like you did) starting warm is absolutely not useful. There are a few reasons why it's simply ill-advised. Big reason is that you're seeing so much activity in the first day when it's warm that, well, your beer isn't really a lager. And remember yeast do NOT like to be chilled down.... It's like telling them to go to sleep. Obviously you don't want that happening in the middle of a fermentation.

People really need to get it out of their heads that seeing bubbles with 4 or 6 or 8 hours is somehow an important goal. That should not be a target. The target is Good Beer and the process is pitch lots of yeast at the right temp and lots of aeration. Yeast will start up when they're good n ready.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsbeer View Post
You guys must be doing something wrong!

I'll tell you what you are doing wrong. Your blowoff bucket is above the level of your wort, and could cause a siphon back into your ferm once fermentation stops.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annasdadhockey

I'll tell you what you are doing wrong. Your blowoff bucket is above the level of your wort, and could cause a siphon back into your ferm once fermentation stops.
Tru dat! Mmmm...I love me some StarSan beer...
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annasdadhockey View Post
I'll tell you what you are doing wrong. Your blowoff bucket is above the level of your wort, and could cause a siphon back into your ferm once fermentation stops.
Have not had this happen yet, there's a lot of tube in there. But, point taken. I moved the bucket lower.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedYellow View Post
If you pitch enough yeast (like you did) starting warm is absolutely not useful. There are a few reasons why it's simply ill-advised. Big reason is that you're seeing so much activity in the first day when it's warm that, well, your beer isn't really a lager. And remember yeast do NOT like to be chilled down.... It's like telling them to go to sleep. Obviously you don't want that happening in the middle of a fermentation.
I'm not concerned about the first 12 hours being at 60*. I'm now 36 hours into 50* fermentation and it's still going crazy in there. This is by far the most agressive fermentation I've ever had. As I stated, I wouldn't start at 60* again. People have many "firsts" in brewing that are learning experiences. Five homebrewers in the room = 5 opinions on what is "best".

There is quite a bit of variation in lager experiences posted at this site, hard to tell what's real and what is simply making up for bad process. We sometimes need to learn for ourselves.


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