First lager.

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Redpappy

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I’m looking into doing my first lager. I got silly,bought a fridge to turn into my kegerator, and now that leaves my keezer(5QFT) empty. But i'm getting a little confused on steps, from the videos I have seen.
I do EBIAB. 5 gal batches,(10 Gal boil Kettle). I can do step mashes if need be( seen some that say do step, some say don't).

so my real question is:

do I do step mash(s) If so, what temps and length of time? Explanations for reason not necessary.
Do I do a 90 min boil or should I stick to a 60 min boil?(have seen where people recommend 90, and some go with 60) But I would rather go with what the great people of HBT say.
so far, the one thing that has been consistent is that I should pitch at about 50 F, and use double the amount of yeast that I would for an Ale, i.e. at least 2 packs (and if liquid a 2l starter)

Once in fermentor i leave at 50 for (if i am remember correctly for 10 days) then bump up to 55 for 3 days. then transfer to secondary ( I'm guessing my serving keg will be good enough) drop to 33F for 2-3 weeks. then carb for 2 weeks( set and forget method). Does longer at 33F server a better purpose?

I have been reading that to get a good lager is harder than an ale, Hince my questions. I am looking into brewing a recipe from Brewing Clasic Styles. Of course they go over the receipt, but that is it.

When I get around to doing my lager, it will be a experiment for me, so Time will not interfere with anything. But would like to try to produce a nice brew.

edit: when i Place my fermentor in my keezer, should I place my ink bird probe on the fermentor or in a glass of water?
 

Alphadawg

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I trust these guys

 

GoeHaarden

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Lagers aren't much harder than an ale - just a few tweaks...

What I do, and about 70% of my brews are lagers...

1. Make a huge starter! I make a gallon starter a week early and cold crash, then decant so I'm not putting all that volume in.

2. I do BIAB, and I don't step mash. I've read that it's really unnecessary with today's modern malts. I've never had an issue. I'll do a decoction for funzies every once in a while, but it's not necessary. I've actually done a lot of 45 minutes mash without any detectable differences.

3. 60 minutes, 75 minutes, or 90 minute boil. Never had an issue with any of them and TBH I'm not sure I can tell much of a difference.

4. I ferment on the colder side of the listed temp range, and I pitch anytime at 65F or lower. I usually decant my starter before I started brewing and leave it on the counter so it's about room temp when it comes to pitching.

5. At about 75% of completion I raise the temp to 62-63F. I have a tilt now so it's easy to decide when to do this now, but before I'd just do it on day 5-7. I'll leave it there for close to a week.

6. I add my gelatin and cold crash in the fermentor for 3 days to a week. If you can't mitigate O2 ingress with cold crashing in fermentor then transferring to keg and crashing in there is fine too and I'll do that sometimes as well. Put it on CO2 while crashing and enjoy...I don't usually wait very long, and I just treat them like an ale and will enjoy them as soon as they're carb'd. You can kind of taste them change, and for me it seems like they are the best when they have been packaged 1 month...

Again, this is just what I do and I've had great success. I've picked up diacetyl once when I was being lazy and tried to skimp on yeast. There are a lot of die hard beliefs around here, but I feel like if you stick to the basics you can have good success and then just change things that you feel are important...

Edit: Put your probe on your fermentor. My fermentor has a thermowell in the center so that's what I use.
 
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cactusgarrett

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  • Step mash if you want. Not necessary, but some claim to get better complexity from step mashes. For my german lagers, I default to the Hochkurz schedule (144F 40min, 160F 40min, mashout if you want).

  • 90 min boil isn't necessary. It's typically used to bring the OG up if you used too much sparge water. Some will claim a 90 min boil is necessary when using a large amount of pilsner malt to reduce DMS precursor product. I've never had any issues with DMS in my lagers with pils malt, and they're all boiled for 60 min.

  • Pitch lower than your intended ferment temp, I prefer 2-4F lower. Use an online calculator for pitch rate. Yes, you need more for a lager, and MUCH more for a big lager.

  • Bump it higher than only 5F. When you have about 25% of your fermentation left, bump it at least 10F-15F. What you're doing is a diacetyl rest - it's insurance to prevent the yeast going dormant and not cleaning up after itself. The temp bump provides momentum for the yeast to finish healthy.

  • Don't use a secondary. They're not needed and only provide another avenue for oxidation and contamination. Your plan to go right into the keg is good. You can lager in the keg at the same time as you carbonate, actually. General rule of thumb - longer lagering is better.

  • You'll want your keezer to react to the temp of the beer, not the ambient air. Therefore, putting the probe on the fermenter (tape it with some insulation) will be best. Keep in mind, though, that if you're shooting for, say 50F, the keezer will drop WAY below that until your beer hits 50F. So if you have anything else in the keezer, it could freeze. Putting the probe in a glass of water will basically keep the ambient air in the keezer at your ferment temp, but your fermenter will take longer to respond/match. It could very well also not ever come down to that temp, since fermenting beer is usually 5F+ warmer inside than the ambient air.
 

Beer Viking

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I’m looking into doing my first lager. I got silly,bought a fridge to turn into my kegerator, and now that leaves my keezer(5QFT) empty. But i'm getting a little confused on steps, from the videos I have seen.
I do EBIAB. 5 gal batches,(10 Gal boil Kettle). I can do step mashes if need be( seen some that say do step, some say don't).

so my real question is:

do I do step mash(s) If so, what temps and length of time? Explanations for reason not necessary.
Do I do a 90 min boil or should I stick to a 60 min boil?(have seen where people recommend 90, and some go with 60) But I would rather go with what the great people of HBT say.
so far, the one thing that has been consistent is that I should pitch at about 50 F, and use double the amount of yeast that I would for an Ale, i.e. at least 2 packs (and if liquid a 2l starter)

Once in fermentor i leave at 50 for (if i am remember correctly for 10 days) then bump up to 55 for 3 days. then transfer to secondary ( I'm guessing my serving keg will be good enough) drop to 33F for 2-3 weeks. then carb for 2 weeks( set and forget method). Does longer at 33F server a better purpose?

I have been reading that to get a good lager is harder than an ale, Hince my questions. I am looking into brewing a recipe from Brewing Clasic Styles. Of course they go over the receipt, but that is it.

When I get around to doing my lager, it will be a experiment for me, so Time will not interfere with anything. But would like to try to produce a nice brew.

edit: when i Place my fermentor in my keezer, should I place my ink bird probe on the fermentor or in a glass of water?
If you are doing a lager I imagine that you will be useing mostly plisner malt in the grain bill. With grain bills that are primarily pilsner malt you should do a 90 min boil time to prevent DMS. What strain of yeast are you using? The strains of yeast that like to be fermented at 50 degrees often take 21 days or so for primary fermentation. There are tons of great recepies on the forum in the recipe section that have all of the specifications of that spefific recipie already laid out for you. I know I don't have all of the answers for you but I hope this helps!
 

cactusgarrett

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With grain bills that are primarily pilsner malt you should do a 90 min boil time to prevent DMS
This isn't a given, and shouldn't be a rule of thumb new lager brewers just automatically pick up. I suspect it's a rule of thumb carried over from older days when malt quality wasn't as good as it is today. I've done countless beers with pilsner being at least 75% of the grist, never have boiled longer than 60 min, and never had any DMS.
 

DannyBoy270

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I just do single infusion mashes, boil for 60mins (longer is supposedly to dispell precursors for DMS, but I've never had an issue), and then I use this accelerated fermentation schedule and have had good results.
20210507_150932.png

Oh and I put my probe in a glass jar filled with water bc I don't have a thermowell. Other than that, I just hit my beer with gelatin 2 days into cold crashing, transfer carb up & enjoy 🍻
 
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Redpappy

Redpappy

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I just do single infusion mashes, boil for 60mins (longer is supposedly to dispell precursors for DMS, but I've never had an issue), and then I use this accelerated fermentation schedule and have had good results.
View attachment 728516
Oh and I put my probe in a glass jar filled with water bc I don't have a thermowell. Other than that, I just hit my beer with gelatin 2 days into cold crashing, transfer carb up & enjoy 🍻
how much of a difference does the gelatin make?
Do you adjust your fermentor for the probe being in the glass... since fermentation causes the temp to rise, do you set fermentor chamber at 45, or leave it at 50?

I am thinking of using dry yeast for first batch (5.5Gal) My thoughts are 2 packs, rehydrated, and to add some yeast nutrients( not sure on if I add during boil or when I put in fermentor), would my thinking be correct.
 

DannyBoy270

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how much of a difference does the gelatin make?
Do you adjust your fermentor for the probe being in the glass... since fermentation causes the temp to rise, do you set fermentor chamber at 45, or leave it at 50?

I am thinking of using dry yeast for first batch (5.5Gal) My thoughts are 2 packs, rehydrated, and to add some yeast nutrients( not sure on if I add during boil or when I put in fermentor), would my thinking be correct.
IMO gelatin more or less replaces the need to lager for weeks; its my preferred fining agent by far. I add 1tsp to 10oz of water heat in short bursts in the microwave, then add it at 40F for about 3days.
As far as adjusting temp for the probe being in the water, I probably should but I honestly don't 😅🤷‍♂️
I like dry yeast, personally think it's easier; but also in my experience I've had shorter lag times just pitching it in vs rehydrating. I know they say not too, but that's whats worked out better for me. Not sure what you're making, but 34/70 is a good hearty dry yeast. Just make sure you're at or below fermentation temp before you pitch.
And I add yeast nutrient 10mins before end of the boil; 1/2tsp for 5gal
 

DannyBoy270

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Oh and 2 packs is probably a good idea. Cheap peace of mind if nothing else lol
 

DannyBoy270

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I only use abt 100mLs of water and it works great.



Just curious, why?
I forget the specifics on how/why, but more or less results in added diaceytl in your lager. And if its a big enough temp swing you risk stressing the yeast.
 

Gusso

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This isn't a given, and shouldn't be a rule of thumb new lager brewers just automatically pick up. I suspect it's a rule of thumb carried over from older days when malt quality wasn't as good as it is today. I've done countless beers with pilsner being at least 75% of the grist, never have boiled longer than 60 min, and never had any DMS.

I've actually started boiling all of my brews for 30 minutes - lagers included. No dms that I can detect. This was suggested to me by a few brewers I trust when I restarted brewing a year ago. Ain't going back! Also, I only brew lagers under pressure (no controlled temp). Just started this a few months ago but it has been working well. Under pressure, one pack of 34/70 is plenty enough.
 

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When adding gelatin to the keg, I now use the Dr Hans "technique"...

 

jerrylotto

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IMO gelatin more or less replaces the need to lager for weeks;
That is only true if clarity is your exclusive goal of lagering. I find that the flavor of my lagers cleans up nicely over a month of lagering. It is easily tested just by tasting it once each week :cool:

To the OP - step mashing is a process where you start at a lower temperature and increase the mash temperature in steps. What I like to do with my lagers is decoction mashing which involves a step mash in which the temp is raised by removing about 1/3 of the grist, heating to 153F for 15 min and then boiling for 15 min. You step the mash temperature by adding the boiled third back to the overall mash (thus raising the temperature to the next step). I target 15 -30 min steps of 10F starting at 135F and ending at 155F in a double decoction. Some brewers do triple decoctions. The reason for decoction used to be getting the most fermentables from a mash, but with highly modified malts available these days, the real reason is flavor. The malt profile of decocted lager is different and I like it better.
 
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GoeHaarden

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I forget the specifics on how/why, but more or less results in added diaceytl in your lager. And if its a big enough temp swing you risk stressing the yeast.
Interesting. But you're doing a D-rest anyway right?

I was always under the impression that during the lag phase the yeast are replicating and expanding it's army. That's why I usually pitch right after I've transferred into the fermentor from chilling to 65-68F after boil. A little warmer to help them grow, same reason I do my starters at room temp. But I do immediately set the temp to farm temps which takes a few hours...
 

GoeHaarden

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I agree with Beer Viking on this. 90 minutes is best practices to avoid DMS. I did a 60 min boil on Pils malt once and it became a DMS bomb. I always do 90 minute Pilsner boils now.
Hmm. I've never had an issue and I couldn't tell you the last time I boiled longer than 60.

Not sure it is "best practice" for everyone
 

Beermeister32

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I used to think like you. Then I ended up with DMS on a 60 minute Pils boil. Now I’m a believer in 90 min Pils boils.

It’s a lot of work making a batch, to have it wasted by DMS. Think of it as insurance against getting some Pils malt that needs it.
 

DannyBoy270

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Interesting. But you're doing a D-rest anyway right?

I was always under the impression that during the lag phase the yeast are replicating and expanding it's army. That's why I usually pitch right after I've transferred into the fermentor from chilling to 65-68F after boil. A little warmer to help them grow, same reason I do my starters at room temp. But I do immediately set the temp to farm temps which takes a few hours...
My 1 instance where it was an issue I got in a hurry and only chilled to about 80F before pitching, assuming it would be at ferm temp within a few hours anyway. In that batch I think also waited too long to do my d-rest and didn't have enough active cells to clean up the diaceytl entirely, but I'm guessing you're probably right though in that as long as your D-rest is long enough it shouldn't matter. Regardless, i wait til I'm down to ferm temp to pitch anymore for good measure lol

Did find this from Chris White in an old BYO article on the how/why anyway...

"During both the lag and exponential phase, yeast build amino acids, proteins, and other cell components. One of the amino acids produced by yeast is valine. An intermediate compound in valine production is called acetolactate. Not all of the acetolactate produced eventually becomes valine; some will leak out of the cell and into the beer. This acetolactate is then chemically converted to diacetyl in the beer. The chemical reaction is an oxidation, and high fermentation temperatures favor this reaction. The higher the temperature, the more acetolactate is converted into diacetyl."

He did also mention that amounts produced varied from one strain to another too tho 🤷‍♂️
 

cactusgarrett

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How timely.

Not only did Cade boil for "only" 60min, but he did it with the lid on.
Spoiler: no noticeable difference and no detection of DMS precursors. Boiling for 90min isn't a rule of thumb that needs to be followed.
 

GoeHaarden

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Here’s a good discussion of DMS reduction in beers with Dr. Charlie Bamforth.
Not arguing with you, but I also didn't watch the video...

Nothing is really going to change my process until I have an issue. I'll take my years of experiencing no DMS with lager brews over any book or talk. I'm sure there is DMS in all of our brews, but is it a perceptable level? If I can't taste it then I don't really care. To me 90mins is unnecessary, but to each their own...
 
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