Beginner lager fermentation

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

HomeBrewMasterRace

Enthusiastic Homebrewer
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
So-Cal
Hi All,

Hoping this is more of a simple question; but I generally brew with ale yeast not lager yeast. This year for my Oktoberfest instead of using a kolsch yeast I used a German lager yeast.

I chose WLP830, made a 1.5L Starter and let it go. It fermented quite well in the starter and i put it in the fridge the day of the brew so i could pitch once the temp hit lager pitching temps.

So i cooled down to 58°, poured out the top of my starter and mixed the yeast slurry and pitched all that into the beer.

It's been 24 hrs, and has been sitting at 49/50° and i haven't seen a change in my SG (1.057) - i use a tilt hydrometer to measure.

I popped the lid off and there appears to be what looks like yeast rafts, but as I'm more used to more aggressively fermenting ale yeast, this is out of my knowledge so wanted to make sure it was working and on track correctly.

Thanks in advance!
 

Attachments

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,375
Reaction score
2,758
Location
Taft
If your starter was room temp until the day of your brew you may have poured out some yeast particles. It takes a couple days to decant properly.

Lagers do take a bit to get going . Did you aerate the wort really good? That tilt is a good tool to use for fermenting lagers. Keep an eye on it and when your about 75% fermented start bumping your temp a few degrees per day. Once it's mid - high 60's let it rest for 3 days .
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,777
Reaction score
1,559
Location
Hobart
That looks like the start of fermentation, so you should be OK. You have underpitched so it might be a sluggish ferment, but should get there in the end. For 5 gallons of 1.057 wort, you should be pitching closer to a 2.5L starter (give or take, depending how old the yeast was and assuming use of a stirplate). Couple that with losing some yeast as per Jag75, and you've probably pitched less than half what is ideal (but still better than many first time lager brewers).
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,611
Reaction score
5,400
Location
Solway
Lager yeast and ale yeast both like it warm. They propagate best with the temperature just over 100F. However, at that temp most of them will produce unwanted esters and fusel alcohols so we use a warm wort for starter and cool wort for the main fermentation. For lager yeasts we want the fermentation to be cooler to get very clean fermentation (no esters if possible) so we add the yeast to much cooler wort and keep it cool for the fermentation which then slows their propagation and fermentation. The fact that you are seeing a slow start is not unusual and really is desired.
 
OP
HomeBrewMasterRace

HomeBrewMasterRace

Enthusiastic Homebrewer
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
So-Cal
Thanks for the info, I'm more than happy to give it another day or two. I did aerate the beer. Would it be a good idea to purchase and add another packet of yeast? I can add that and then shake the fermenter to try to aerate a bit more and mix everything.

Thanks for the help! I did do a warm starter at 75ish°
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,611
Reaction score
5,400
Location
Solway
Thanks for the info, I'm more than happy to give it another day or two. I did aerate the beer. Would it be a good idea to purchase and add another packet of yeast? I can add that and then shake the fermenter to try to aerate a bit more and mix everything.

Thanks for the help! I did do a warm starter at 75ish°
Since you aerated the wort before pitching you have created the conditions for more propagation. By the time you can purchase more yeast, there will be plenty in the fermenter to do the job. Once fermentation has started you do not want to do any more aeration as it will lead to oxidation of your beer.

At 75ish, I'd say you did a relatively cool starter. Yeast like it warmer and will propagate faster then.
 
OP
HomeBrewMasterRace

HomeBrewMasterRace

Enthusiastic Homebrewer
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
120
Reaction score
30
Location
So-Cal
Totally makes sense, it still hasn't dropped in gravity at all, but there's a thick Krausen on top so i know the little yeasties must be happy now!

Thanks so much to everyone for the info. Next time I'll do a 2L starter for sure and just pitch the whole thing. I'll also see if i can ferment it a bit warmer than my room temperature
 

Toxxyc

New and loving it
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
562
Reaction score
480
Location
Pretoria, South Africa
Keep in mind lagers you typically pitch twice the amount of yeast as well (because the cold doesn't allow them to propagate properly), so if you didn't do that it might take longer and throw flavours as well. Prepare for that. Those flavours often take a long time to age out, if at all.
 

Beermeister32

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 20, 2013
Messages
759
Reaction score
1,052
Location
Southern California
Your Oktoberfest looks fine. Lager fermentations take longer and are more restrained. What you are showing is perfectly normal.

Here’s my current Oktoberfest. This was brewed in December 2020. I like to age Oktoberfests out a minimum of 6 months. This one was great after 2 months, but mind boggling at 7 months! Long term keg aging really clears it up to, this batch is crystal clear.

Once you start making lagers, you’ll really get hooked!
369EBD65-9892-49CA-952E-19881FD3C401.jpeg
 
Top