Quantcast

First Lager - Have Question

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
So I'm finally set up to do lagers and just in time for a Maerzen!:ban: I'll be brewing on Saturday, doing a double decoction, and really hoping for a nice Oktoberfest bier. My question is to Kaiser and the other experienced german-style brewers. I've been doing a lot of research on lager fermentation and have mixed feelings about how I want to go about it. I'd really like to do the traditional fermentation with a slow decrease in temperature after about a week of primary fermentation to lagering/maturation temps. I'm worried that I'll do something wrong and it won't attenuate completely though. The other option is to use the more homebrew-friendly accelerated maturation/diacetyl-rest schedule. I'm afraid this safer option won't result in quite as good a final product though. I have a ranco digital temperature controller so controlling temperature/ramping temperature/etc. wont be a problem. Please ease my fears one way or the other. :mug:
 

menschmaschine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
49
Location
Delaware
I wouldn't lower the fermentation temperature during primary at all. I would start at ~50°F (or a little lower and let it warm up to 50°F) and do a diacetyl rest whether you think it needs it or not. That should result in the cleanest, most well-attenuated beer.

Then after diacetyl rest, lower the temp slowly back down to ~50°F while it's still in the primary vessel. That way you preserve some of the CO2 in solution when racking. Then rack, then slowly reduce temp. to lagering temps.

As for cold-crashing to lagering temps, there are mixed opinions about this, but the safer bet (particularly according to Briggs, et al.) seems to be to lower it slowly rather than crashing it.
 
OP
KingBrianI

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
Yeah, it was a bit scary thinking about racking to secondary when the beer is only 50-60% attenuated then cooling it down to lagering temperature slowly for it to finish fermenting. Apparently that's the way the big german breweries do it though, and they seem to make it work. The accelerated maturation ferment seems a bit more fool-proof though, so I'll go with that. Seems like most people get good results with it.

Another question I have deals with the decoction. I'll be attempting the enhanced double decoction as described in the wiki, and was wondering what saccharification rest temperature is recommended for a maerzen? Here is my recipe:


OG 1.059
IBU 23

90 min boil

5 lbs. vienna
3 lbs. munich
2.5 lbs. pils

23 IBUs worth of Hallertauer at 60

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager with a BIG starter
 
OP
KingBrianI

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
I've watched those videos several times actually. You're absolutely right about them being very informative. I've actually done a single decoction before but this will be my first double. I just don't have enough of a grasp yet on how it will affect the fermentability and how fermentable a maerzen should be. I feel like it should be dry but malty, which is sometimes hard to balance. Right now I'm thinking about doing the sacc rest at 152 for an hour. Please let me know if it should be different.
 

menschmaschine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
49
Location
Delaware
Yeah, it was a bit scary thinking about racking to secondary when the beer is only 50-60% attenuated then cooling it down to lagering temperature slowly for it to finish fermenting.
Noonan describes it that way, but I think it's unnecessary for the homebrewer. I also think that it's common to add krausen beer to the secondary for that scenario.
Another question I have deals with the decoction. I'll be attempting the enhanced double decoction as described in the wiki, and was wondering what saccharification rest temperature is recommended for a maerzen?
You'll get some saccharification at the 133°F protein rest. Unless your brewhouse struggles a little with attenuation (like mine), you might go a couple degrees higher (than 152°F)... maybe 154°F.
 

SpanishCastleAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
4,339
Reaction score
42
Location
Central Florida
Yeah, it was a bit scary thinking about racking to secondary when the beer is only 50-60% attenuated then cooling it down to lagering temperature slowly for it to finish fermenting. Apparently that's the way the big german breweries do it though, and they seem to make it work.
I think the German breweries do it that way in order to naturally carbonate the beer. They need all that remaining fermentation to take place in the secondary in order to carb the beer. Kaiser mentions this somewhere on his site...I think it's the Fermenting Lagers page.

FWIW, I did an infusion+single decoction on a Vienna and rested at 95 F - 122 F - 150 F and it attenuated about right...just one point lower FG than I expected (OG=1.054; FG=1.015). In Daniel's Designing Great Beers he mentions that the sacc rest was usually 149-150 F for Vienna/Oktoberfest/Marzen (with acid/protein rests like I did above).

My 'problem' with this is that I spend a lot of time at the protein rest temp while I'm resting/boiling the decoction. That Vienna isn't quite done yet so I dunno how the clarity/head retention/etc. were affected.

EDIT: Swap around the Munich and Vienna amounts and you're recipe is almost just like the Marzen I'll be brewing soon.:mug:
 
OP
KingBrianI

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
OK, another question. I fermented at 48 degrees F until fermentation seemed to be winding down, then I ramped it up to 58 over the next few days. It had been at 58 for about a day last night so I pulled a gravity sample, it was 1.016. It tasted awesome, by the way, even with all the yeast suspended. My question is do I leave it at 58 until the gravity levels out? Or do I go ahead and start chilling down to lagering temperature tonight (when it has been at 58 degrees for 48 hrs)? Also, should I rack to secondary before ramping the temp down to lagering temperature? Thanks for the help!
 

menschmaschine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
49
Location
Delaware
OK, another question. I fermented at 48 degrees F until fermentation seemed to be winding down, then I ramped it up to 58 over the next few days. It had been at 58 for about a day last night so I pulled a gravity sample, it was 1.016. It tasted awesome, by the way, even with all the yeast suspended. My question is do I leave it at 58 until the gravity levels out? Or do I go ahead and start chilling down to lagering temperature tonight (when it has been at 58 degrees for 48 hrs)? Also, should I rack to secondary before ramping the temp down to lagering temperature? Thanks for the help!
I would keep it at the D-rest temp until it's "finished". At this point, I then slowly reduce the temp back down to primary temps (50-ish), then rack to secondary and slowly reduce to lagering temps. I find that cooling it down a little before racking slightly reduces the amount of yeast sediment in secondary, which is good. Racking at a slightly cooler temperature also preserves more of the CO2 in solution when racking, which is also good for lagering.
 
OP
KingBrianI

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
Sounds good. The sample tasted really good but I wouldn't mind it dropping a couple more points. Hopefully the yeast still have a little something left. It's funny, because I want this beer to be good, but not too good, because that double decoction really extended the brew day and I'd be sad if I felt like I needed to use it for more often!
 

Mutilated1

Beer Drenched Executioner
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
2,147
Reaction score
26
Location
Hoover, Alabama USA
Yeah, it was a bit scary thinking about racking to secondary when the beer is only 50-60% attenuated then cooling it down to lagering temperature slowly for it to finish fermenting. Apparently that's the way the big german breweries do it though, and they seem to make it work. The accelerated maturation ferment seems a bit more fool-proof though, so I'll go with that. Seems like most people get good results with it.

Another question I have deals with the decoction. I'll be attempting the enhanced double decoction as described in the wiki, and was wondering what saccharification rest temperature is recommended for a maerzen? Here is my recipe:


OG 1.059
IBU 23

90 min boil

5 lbs. vienna
3 lbs. munich
2.5 lbs. pils

23 IBUs worth of Hallertauer at 60

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager with a BIG starter
That will be a great recipe - I've made practically the same thing a few times. I'm sure it will be delicious.
 

menschmaschine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
49
Location
Delaware
Sounds good. The sample tasted really good but I wouldn't mind it dropping a couple more points. Hopefully the yeast still have a little something left. It's funny, because I want this beer to be good, but not too good, because that double decoction really extended the brew day and I'd be sad if I felt like I needed to use it for more often!
Oh, there's no turning back now.:)

You might lose a point or so during lagering as the yeast slowly metabolize residual sugars, but decoction mashes typically produce a more dextrinous wort, so I wouldn't expect a real high attentuation. If you don't get much lower in FG, I would lager that thing for ~8 weeks.
 
OP
KingBrianI

KingBrianI

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
147
Location
Wake Forest, NC
Alright, I'm sold! Just tasted this one, to see how it is doing after over 6 weeks of lagering. OMG! You know how when you have a really good german lager, how everything is so clean and smooth, and there's that light sweet maltiness that balances perfectly with the bitterness? That's exactly what I had here. FG was 1.014, so it did drop a few more points while lagering and the result is perfect. I'm definitely going to have to always have a lager going now, as big a pain as it is! I only wish I had more than 5 gallons of this one! I'll probably keg in a couple weeks, then hopefully I'll be able to abstain from drinking it until sept/oct.

 
Top