First Lager - How long do I ferment?

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B33rL0v3r

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I'm doing an Oktoberfest thats been fermenting for about a week now in my new fermentation chamber. OG was 1.059. How long do I leave it in primary? right now its at a perfect 50F and still bubbling the airlock. I used Wyeast Octoberfest Lager Blend 2633. Should I transfer into secondary eventually? Should I just be taking gravity readings? Or do lagers need more time after fermentation before bottling?
 

BigB

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Lagers take longer to ferment than ales do. Ideally, you would do a diacetyl rest when fermentation is approximately 75% complete. A diacetyl rest is nothing more than allowing the fermenting beer to warm up to room temperature for 3-4 days...it gives the yeast a chance to consume the diacetyl that was created during fermentation. At any rate, a general rule of thumb is to let a lager ferment for 10 days, then diacetyl rest for 3-4 days. I personally transfer to secondary at this point but others don't transfer at all. Then cool to lager temps (32-40 degrees F) and leave it for 4-6 weeks. Then you would bottle or keg as normal... as you can see, lagering takes a lot more time than ales. As far as gravity readings... absolutely that is the best way to brew any beer, but it really depends on how exact you want to be. I personally don't even bother until I transfer to secondary.
 

dgez

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i let my lagers stay in primary for one month at 50. then at least 1 month in 2ndary at 37
 

nootay

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are there any issues with leaving it in the primary during the entire fermentation/lagering? once fermentation is completed, should i just transfer to keg and lager in keg?
 

jonmohno

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I transfered mine after a week and a 2 day diacytal rest. Secondary Lagered for about 3 weeks @45 deg,used s-23 dry yeast bohemian style kinda, tried one at 3 wks bottled,couldnt be happier. Im shure they will be really good once refrigerated for a month in another week. Because it was fantastic only chilled for a little bit.
 

BigB

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are there any issues with leaving it in the primary during the entire fermentation/lagering? once fermentation is completed, should i just transfer to keg and lager in keg?

Some do leave it in primary during the lagering stage. Personally I like the idea of lagering in a secondary because leaving it on the yeast cake during the entire lagering period is a long time... Maybe I am just paranoid, but I worry that I might get off flavors from the trub or possibly autolysis. (I know its a long shot, but I have the equipment, so why risk it?). Yes, you certainly can lager in a keg... I've done it with excellent results.... Heck I kind of do that with most ales and lagers alike because I have a pretty good pipeline going and I usually have a few kegs on reserve for several weeks to months at a time. I like to purge the keg with CO2, then transfer to the keg. Then I seal the keg, hit it with gas, and purge again. Then I hit it with about 20 psi just to make sure every thing is sealed. I at this point I disconnect it from the gas and move it to the side of the lagering cabinet.
 
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