First Lager question

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Rudeboy

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OK so I’m about to embark on lagering. I’m going to get a Bock ready for springtime. After a lot of research here is a nice recipe I got from All About Beer:



Pilsener/Two-row 1 lb

Munich Malt 11.5 lbs

Crystal Malt (90-120L) 1.25 lbs

Chocolate Malt 4 oz

About 1 oz of a noble hop

Looks nice, but everyone was hazy on times and temps. So here is the plan with BeerSmith filling in the blanks.

Mash 60 minutes at 154 F.
Bock’s should be malty not dry but this is a lager so I went with a middle ground for Mash temp. Correct? Should I bother with a protein rest first?

Boil 90 minutes.

Cool to 50 F and pitch larger starter.
I’ve got a Munich Lager Wyeast smack pack. Do I let it get to room temp and smack? Do I smack and keep it at pitching temp? Do I pitch into the starter at main pitching temp or room temp?

Ferment at 50 F for about 21 days.

Raise to 65 F for 2 or 3 days.

Reduce temp by 5 F every day down to 40 F and lager there for 2 to 3 months.

Keg and enjoy.

Does that sound right?

One more question. If I can’t wait for the next lagering schedule and want to make a Pil around February if I interrupt the Bock’s lagering after a month or so and raise the temperature to 50 F to ferment the Pil will it screw up the Bock?

Thanks
Rudeboy
 

menschmaschine

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I'd do a protein rest, then decoct up to saccharification temp. The maltiness from a decoction helps make bocks malty. Decoct the bock!:) Definitely do a big starter. I've never used Wyeast so I don't know the smacking procedure... whatever their website says should be good. It's best to ferment your starter at primary fermentation temps. That way the yeast get used to it. And go as low as you can go in the range of fermentation temps for that yeast. I'm not sure if you need to lager that long. I would think 6-8 weeks lagering would be long enough, but I'm no bock expert and you've done your research, so maybe you're right. 40 F isn't a bad lagering temp, but I'd go a little lower... maybe 36-38 F.
 

Beerrific

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Personally, I would not do a protein rest. I have heard too many people (including myself) complain of loss of body when doing a protein rest. Today's well modified malts do not need this rest. I would only reccomend the protein rest if using large amounts of unmalted grain and none of your bill is unmalted.

By decocting up to the saccharification temp you run the risk of missing it low especially if it is your first decoction (again, this happened to me). If it were me, I would do a single infusion at 154-155 and pull a decoction to reach your mash out tmeperature. This way you gain the benefits of the decoction (Maillard reaction's, etc.) but do not run the risk of under (or over) shooting the saccharification temp. If you miss the mash out temp, it is not a huge deal and can be corrected by adding boiling/cold water without effecting the mash characteristics of the beer.

Let the smack pack warm to room temperature, then smack, then pitch that into an appropriate starter. See Mr Malty for that. If you are pitching the correct amount of yeast, I would drop the wort to 46F then pitch and allow it to warm itself to 50F for the fermentation. Doing this, you should not need a diacetyl rest, but go by taste on this. If you are not pitching enough yeast, pitch at room temp, wait for the fermentation to start and then drop the temp.

You may not need to do the ferementation for 21 days but that won't hurt. You can lager as long or short at whatever temperature you want, so upping it for the primary fermentation of the second lager should be fine.

Some of this is my opinion, some is what I have read elsewhere. Some good links:
http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter19-1.html
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Fermenting_Lagers
 

menschmaschine

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Beerrific said:
If it were me, I would do a single infusion at 154-155 and pull a decoction to reach your mash out tmeperature. This way you gain the benefits of the decoction (Maillard reaction's, etc.) but do not run the risk of under (or over) shooting the saccharification temp.
I've always understood that when decocting to mashout, you'd use a very thin decoction (as little grain as possible). As opposed to decocting up to saccharification temp when you want it relatively thick. I figured you'd get more maltiness out of the thick decoction rather than the thin.
 

Beerrific

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menschmaschine said:
I've always understood that when decocting to mashout, you'd use a very thin decoction (as little grain as possible). As opposed to decocting up to saccharification temp when you want it relatively thick. I figured you'd get more maltiness out of the thick decoction rather than the thin.
Good point. I have heard this to but never given a reason as to why. You could also add 4oz of melanoidin malt and skip the decoction (this is what I would probably do), focus on the lager part first.
 

menschmaschine

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Beerrific said:
You could also add 4oz of melanoidin malt and skip the decoction (this is what I would probably do), focus on the lager part first.
That's an even better idea. I've decocted once (an Alt). I did the appropriate calculations and pretty much hit my target temp dead on. But I have a direct heat MLT, so fine tuning it is no big deal. I'll probably do it again because my LHBS doesn't carry melanoidin, but it did make the brew day longer and was a bit of a hassle.
 

INeedANewHobby

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A method I like for my lagers is to let the wort sit in the boil kettle after the boil for a little while longer, even chill it if you like....then rack it to the fermenter and pitch the yeast there. This will make for a clearer beer and less need for a secondary stage. This was recommended in the book "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer.
 

AdIn

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Beerrific said:
Good point. I have heard this to but never given a reason as to why.
Doing decoction of a thick part will release more starches and if you do it to reach mash out temperature you won't have enough enzymes to work on it hence ending with starch in you final wort. That;s why for mash out yuo better go with thin decoction.
 
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Rudeboy

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OK, scheduling a Sunday brew day. Still have a few questions.
When should I smack the lager yeast packs?
What temperature should I have the starter at to start?

Thanks

Rudeboy
 

JimC

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Rudeboy said:
OK, scheduling a Sunday brew day. Still have a few questions.
When should I smack the lager yeast packs?
What temperature should I have the starter at to start?

Thanks

Rudeboy
A few days ago... your starter should already be ready for a sunday brew. If you smack it now and get the starter going late tonight you might be ok, if the smack pack is fresh.
 

TexLaw

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JimC said:
A few days ago... your starter should already be ready for a sunday brew. If you smack it now and get the starter going late tonight you might be ok, if the smack pack is fresh.
Agreed. You're running way behind if you haven't already smacked the pack. For something like a bock, you want to step up that starter probably a couple times. However, that yeast is fairly easy going, so you will probably be fine if it is fresh.

And, you decoct a thick portion of your mash on early decoctions because you don't want to denature any more enzymes than you have to (even though you do a mini rest with the pulled portion). You decoct a thin portion of your mash to get to mashout, though, since one of your goals is to denature those enzymes.

Finally, if you have to bring your temp up to 50F or so for that Pilsner to ferment, you won't screw up your bock. However, you won't be "lagering" it for that time, so it may take a little longer to come around. If you can wait six weeks from the time you started lagering, you probably won't know much difference.


TL
 
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Rudeboy

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OK thanks. I actually have two Wyeast Bavarian Smack packs. One's Nov. the others July (I know, I know) I'll smack them tonight and get the starter going PDQ.

I'm not going to do a decoction mash this time. Only so many new things my tiny brain can stand at one time.

Does 60 minute mash at 154 F seem right? I've seen alot of Vienna recipes, etc that say 90 minute mash but that's usually with Decoction. Does it need 90 minutes or is it just with those extra steps it takes up the 90 minutes?

Also I just guessed at the 90 minute boil because a lot of lager recipes I've seen say that, but is that a Pil thing or a every lager thing?

Thanks
Rudeboy
 

TexLaw

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If you aren't going to do a decoction, then you may want to mash higher than 154F or see if your LHBS has some Belgian aromatic malt (which is a pretty good substitute for melanoidin malt in a pinch). Sixty minutes should be plenty for a single infusion.

Ninety minute boils are good for any lager, as those malts tend to produce more DMS that needs to be boiled off.


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Kaiser

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There are decoction schedules that allow you to keep the saccrification rest short even if you are using a double decoction. If this is your first decoction beer, don't worry about this yet and go with the mash-out decoction.
Also, you have lots of Munich in the receipe. This could cause conversion problems in multi-decoction mashes due to the denaturing of the enzymes. It happened to me a few times and I now have learned to be more careful when decocting and using large amounts of dark Munich.

TexLaw said:
If you aren't going to do a decoction, then you may want to mash higher than 154F or see if your LHBS has some Belgian aromatic malt (which is a pretty good substitute for melanoidin malt in a pinch). Sixty minutes should be plenty for a single infusion.
Keep the 154 *F for the first run of the recipe. Your starting extract will be 16+ *P (1.064+ SG) and 75 % attenuation, which you should get with 154 *F will get the FG to 4.0 P* (1.016 SG). You don't want to be much higher than that. Because of the large amount of Munich, which has less beta amylase to start with, I would even be inclined to drop the mash temp to 152 *F, but you could give this a try once you know the attenuation you get from 154 *F for this grist

Ninety minute boils are good for any lager, as those malts tend to produce more DMS that needs to be boiled off.
60 min should be sufficient, especially if you use an immersion chiller. Munich malt is highly kilned and doesn't have as much SMM (DMS precursor) as Pilsner malt. Because of that you shouldn't have to worry about DMS.
I wrote a Wiki article about lagering. You shold check it out. It basically states that, if you hit your FG during primary fermentation, there is not much use for cooling the beer gently to lagering since the yeast is done. I'd say ferment at 50 *F for 4 weeks and then rack off the yeast to another vessel. Since only little yeast is left, the intermittend raise to 50*F for your Pils should not have much affect on the Bock.
Kai
 
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Rudeboy

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Thanks everybody loads of help.
Thanks Kaiser. I had previously read your great Wiki article but the refresher is always welcome. I will stick mostly to "Your First Lager Fermentation". My only question is I don't see a Diacytal (sp?) Rest at the end of Primary fermentation although you pitch fairly warm. Do you think it will be neccesary or not? Or should I wait to taste it?

Thanks

Rudeboy
 

Kaiser

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Rudeboy said:
Thanks everybody loads of help.
Thanks Kaiser. I had previously read your great Wiki article but the refresher is always welcome. I will stick mostly to "Your First Lager Fermentation". My only question is I don't see a Diacytal (sp?) Rest at the end of Primary fermentation although you pitch fairly warm. Do you think it will be neccesary or not? Or should I wait to taste it?
The "diacetyl rest" can be implied by keeping it longer at fermentation temperatiures. The goal is to keep the yeast active or even accelerate its activity to clean-up diacetyl and other young-beer flavors. If you leave the yeast some time, it will clean-up diactetyl even at primary fermentaton temps. As a matter of fact, Gordon Biersh brewing company holds the "diacetyl rest" at 4 *C (40 *F) and they can do that b/c they have very good control over their fermentations and make sure that the yeast is still viable enough at these temps.

For the homebrewer it is just safer to extend primary fermentation or raise the fermentation temp towards the end. In most this actually servers more as a final push towards the FG than to remove diacetyl.

Kai
 

balto charlie

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Hey How did this go...I guess it is still lagering:)
I will be doing my first this weekend as well. My 'ole coal room in the basement is sitting at 48-52F/9-11C. I plan to do 2 batches w/ one yeast culture. I was hoping to ferment in primary for 7-10 days, diacetyl rest, transfer to secondary and re-use part of the yeast cake for the second batch. Seems most of you guys primary for 4 weeks!!! Do you think my plan is bad. Will I stop my fermentation. I think I got my technique from Jamil's book. I think:cross:
Any thoughts appreciated.
BTW: Kaiser excellent video on decoction, if time permits I will give it a go.
 
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