First Lager Question

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brew703

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I brewed a Bohemian Pils over the weekend. My plan is to ferment at 50 degrees for 14 days or until fermentation is complete. I then plan to raise the temp to 65 and hold for three days for the diacetyl rest.

I've read a lot of posts about the lager phase however I am unsure of the following:
- do I need to rack to secondary before dropping temps? I've read that it is not recommended to leave in primary for an extended period of time (30+ days).
- Is it best to lager first or bottle then lager?

I do not want to add yeast before bottling. I want to make sure I have no issues with carbonation. Want to make sure I get this right the first time.

I did use W34/70 yeast.

Thanks in advance.
 

Juno_Malone

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From what I know from doing a few lagers, anyone can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong:

1. If you are lagering for less than three months or so, I don't think there's any need to rack to secondary prior to lagering. In fact, leaving it in primary will make sure that when you rack to your bottling bucket, you pick up a bit of yeast from the bottom ensuring that there's enough to carb (although this really is a non-issue even if you were to rack to 2ndary prior to lagering).

2. I think the general consensus is to lager in bulk (carboy), bottle, give a couple weeks (at room temp) to carb, and then store cold.

3. See #1 - if you lager in the original primary carboy, you'll end up grabbing some yeast from the bottom when you transfer to bottling bucket, and carbing should not be an issue. If you rack to 2ndary before lagering, some people prefer to add some yeast prior to bottling for fear that there's just not enough in the beer at that point to carb, but I don't buy in to that.
 

McGarnigle

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Bottle lagering may be convenient due to reasons of space (easy to fit bottles in the refrigerator), but you'll end up with more yeast in the bottom of the bottles.
 

ibrewmyown

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I never bottled I kegged from day one so the bottlers out there will know more about that question. Also IMO there's no good thing that can come from letting beer sit on dead yeast. I know some people will argue you can let it sit in a primary for months but why run the risk? I get it off the primary when it finishes but to each their own.

I've brewed hundreds of gallons of lager and the most helpful advise I can give anyone that asks me how to lager is do not set your primary by a time frame (2 weeks, 10 days, etc.). The reason being is that you want to do a diacetyl rest when you are about 2 - 5 gravity points from your target finished gravity level and while the fermentation is still active. So check it at a week and see what you got. If its close check it is a couple days, etc. The problem with using say a two week time frame is that if its already fermented down to your target (or below), There likely will not be enough fermentation action going on to eat up the diacetyl leaving that flavor behind in what should be a nice clean tasting lager. Especially a clean Pils.

Good Luck!
 

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