First Pilsner attempt - help??

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abrewer12345

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i put question marks because i'm not sure i need help, just want to bounce some things off of some more experience brewers! so we brewed a pilsner last saturday 5/2 and everything went perfect; hit our numbers and everything. pitched our yeast at about 58 and its in our fridge sitting at about 50 degrees right now. started at 1.046, knocked off 6 points in 12 hours to 1.040 and its been there since. 2 days later and not a movement at all. we typically brew ales and have dabbled in kviek a bit lately so i think i'm fermentation spoiled. my bigger question is this - i built a starter the friday morning before and it ran at room temp (lets call it 68) for about 30-36 hours before pitching to promote yeast growth. did i mess this up by not having the starter at lager temps? any help is appreciated. all recipe info below:

9lb weyermann pilsner malt
8oz acidulated
8oz carafoam

hops at 60 minutes and 10 minutes in boil, mashed at 149 for 60 minutes.

yeast : Omega Pilsner I

thanks in advance!
 

VTX1300

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Your starter temps are fine. I usually do them around 72 even for Lager strains. You want the yeast at a temp to promote yeast growth. The question is, did you make a big enough starter? Lagers require a much higher pitch rater than an Ale. For a Lager I usually make a 5L starter vs a 1.5L for an Ale. ( 6 gal batch) Give it some time. With my limited Lager experience they ferment at a much slower rate than an Ale.
 

McKnuckle

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You should be budgeting 14 days in the primary fermenter for a lager, so why check gravity so soon and so often? Lagers do take longer to ferment than ales; it's how they end up tasting smooth and clean. The essence of lager yeast is that it has adapted to working in cooler temps, where it ferments slowly and produces low esters. It needs adequate population to do that, but your beer had a modest 1.046 OG and you used a starter. I can't see anything amiss there. Just stop playing with it.
 
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abrewer12345

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You should be budgeting 14 days in the primary fermenter for a lager, so why check gravity so soon and so often? Lagers do take longer to ferment than ales; it's how they end up tasting smooth and clean. The essence of lager yeast is that it has adapted to working in cooler temps, where it ferments slowly and produces low esters. It needs adequate population to do that, but your beer had a modest 1.046 OG and you used a starter. I can't see anything amiss there. Just stop playing with it.
thank you so much- don't worry haven't touched it! we have a tilt. i'll close brewfather and check back in 2 days. thanks!!
 

Jag75

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thank you so much- don't worry haven't touched it! we have a tilt. i'll close brewfather and check back in 2 days. thanks!!

Ahhh ,just used my tilt for the first time last month for a Mexican Lager. It was soooo nice being able to tell when fermentation was approx 75% done so I could start increasing the temp. Definitely a wise investment imo.
 

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How big of a starter? A 1.046 5 gallon batch of lager would need at minimum 325 billion cells. Looking at Omega site, the optimal range for their Pilsner yeast is 48-56F, so you can always bump up the temp a few degrees as 50F is on the cool side. I do a lot of lagers, usually chill wort to 52F, pitch and then let free rise to 54F, then after 4-5 days raise to 56F...then when close to final gravity, bump up to 62F for diacetyl rest.
 
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abrewer12345

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How big of a starter? A 1.046 5 gallon batch of lager would need at minimum 325 billion cells. Looking at Omega site, the optimal range for their Pilsner yeast is 48-56F, so you can always bump up the temp a few degrees as 50F is on the cool side. I do a lot of lagers, usually chill wort to 52F, pitch and then let free rise to 54F, then after 4-5 days raise to 56F...then when close to final gravity, bump up to 62F for diacetyl rest.
nothing crazy, just a can of propper (with a bottle of water) and the pouch for 36 hours or so. seem too small?
 
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abrewer12345

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Seems like a lot of acidulated malt. I only put 2 oz in my German Pils. I am using RO water.
good to know- i used my water calculator to get my target pH. going to see how this turns out and might dial it back a bit. thanks!
 

IslandLizard

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nothing crazy, just a can of propper (with a bottle of water) and the pouch for 36 hours or so. seem too small?
36 hours on a stir plate? At room temps. That should be enough. Unless the yeast was not very viable, but she wouldn't stall after 6 points attenuation, the problem would come later.

Have you checked the actual temp of the beer? If it dropped to 1.045 it would be too cold.
 

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Obligatory question given the situation:
- How is the current Specific Gravity being measured - hydrometer, or refractometer?
- If the latter, was the appropriate compensation calculator used for fermenting wort?

Cheers!
 

Cavpilot2000

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Seems like a lot of acidulated malt. I only put 2 oz in my German Pils. I am using RO water.
Not really if you are using other than RO or DI water. I use a blend of tap and DI and in very pale beers like Pils, I often use 8 oz (which usually equates to about 4% with my volumes).
 
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abrewer12345

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Obligatory question given the situation:
- How is the current Specific Gravity being measured - hydrometer, or refractometer?
- If the latter, was the appropriate compensation calculator used for fermenting wort?

Cheers!
we’re following our tilt!
 
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abrewer12345

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36 hours on a stir plate? At room temps. That should be enough. Unless the yeast was not very viable, but she wouldn't stall after 6 points attenuation, the problem would come later.

Have you checked the actual temp of the beer? If it dropped to 1.045 it would be too cold.
yes on a stirplate. so i wanted to toy with temp just a bit- we have it in a fridge that only goes up to 50 so the beer has been around there, maybe slightly cooler- according to my Tilt. but anyway its cool in nj right now so i pulled it out of the fridge and left it in the garage overnigjt and it got up to 55- gravity is now 1.034. so its moving a bit better at that temp. but ill have to keep it in the fridge during the day to keep the temp cool. lagers are a labor of love i suppose! will this effect the beer a bunch bouncing between 52-55 degrees during early ferm?
 

madscientist451

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Once its about 1/2 done ,(which in your case would be 1.029 -1.030?), You could just leave it out of the fridge if your garage stays cool during the day.
I've done the "fast lager method" many times and it works great.
The method below calls for a "ramp up" schedule, but I just take the carboy out of the freezer and let it free rise in my chilly basement, then bring it upstairs where its warmer.


If you want to experiment you could always try the fermenting your future lagers at ale temperatures, but if you have a fridge to ferment in, why not use it at the beginning.
There are plenty of internet posts and discussion here on HBT about fermenting lagers warm.
Note: Since you have a nice lager yeast cake going, you may want to brew another batch of pilsner or something similar and pitch it right on to that after you rack off the first batch.
Lager yeasts are pretty hardy and you can save it for future brews without much trouble.
 
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abrewer12345

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Once its about 1/2 done ,(which in your case would be 1.029 -1.030?), You could just leave it out of the fridge if your garage stays cool during the day.
I've done the "fast lager method" many times and it works great.
The method below calls for a "ramp up" schedule, but I just take the carboy out of the freezer and let it free rise in my chilly basement, then bring it upstairs where its warmer.


If you want to experiment you could always try the fermenting your lager at ale temperatures, but if you have a fridge to ferment in, why not use it at the begining.
Note: Since you have a nice lager yeast cake going, you may want to brew another batch of pilsner or something similar and pitch it right on to that after you rack off the first batch.
Lager yeasts are pretty hardy and you can save it for future brews without much trouble.
my plan was to keep it in the fridge but the highest temp is goes up to is 50 and that brings the temp of the beer to between 48-50 which i know is fine. learning to be patient with a beer like this

also good to know about harvesting yeast- im a fan of saving money hahah
 

IslandLizard

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yes on a stirplate. so i wanted to toy with temp just a bit- we have it in a fridge that only goes up to 50 so the beer has been around there, maybe slightly cooler- according to my Tilt. but anyway its cool in nj right now so i pulled it out of the fridge and left it in the garage overnigjt and it got up to 55- gravity is now 1.034. so its moving a bit better at that temp. but ill have to keep it in the fridge during the day to keep the temp cool. lagers are a labor of love i suppose! will this effect the beer a bunch bouncing between 52-55 degrees during early ferm?
The biggest problem with temp changes during fermentation is that when it cools below her working temp range yeast may start to go dormant, and floccing out. A 2-6°F drop can be enough to trigger that, depending on the strain, and temp it's being held at. Yo-yo-ing between 80 and 86F is not a problem for ale yeasts, but yo-yo-ing between 60 and 66F can cause her to go dormant.

I don't have any research proof of this, but IMO, to restore/resume working behavior from dormancy she really would benefit from some oxygen, which is not available at that point. That may be one of the reasons why stalled fermentations are so difficult to restart, and simple rousing the yeast doesn't suffice to bring her back into action.
The way to use the refrigerator for fermenting beer is not to use it's settings but to use a controller that monitors the beer temperature and turns the refrigerator on to maintain that temp. Here's an example of a controller.
That ^
So try to keep your ferm temps stable, especially when fermenting in the lower, critical range of the yeast used.
 
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abrewer12345

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The biggest problem with temp changes during fermentation is that when it cools below her working temp range yeast may start to go dormant, and floccing out. A 2-6°F drop can be enough to trigger that, depending on the strain, and temp it's being held at. Yo-yo-ing between 80 and 86F is not a problem for ale yeasts, but yo-yo-ing between 60 and 66F can cause her to go dormant.

I don't have any research proof of this, but IMO, to restore/resume working behavior from dormancy she really would benefit from some oxygen, which is not available at that point. That may be one of the reasons why stalled fermentations are so difficult to restart, and simple rousing the yeast doesn't suffice to bring her back into action.

That ^
So try to keep your ferm temps stable, especially when fermenting in the lower, critical range of the yeast used.
copy that- ill keep her in the fridge for now and let it all pan out at that 50 degree mark. thanks!
 

jdauria

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nothing crazy, just a can of propper (with a bottle of water) and the pouch for 36 hours or so. seem too small?

So that would be a 1 liter 1.040 gravity starter, not knowing how old the pack of Omega was or what their cell counts are (their site say 500 billion for certain strains, 150 billion for others), you should have been ok, maybe a little low if the package was moe than 2 months old. I use Imperial Yeast which is 200 billion cells and for a 1.049 German pils with a 2 month old pack of yeast, I did a 2 liter starter with 2 cans of propper plus water to get to the right pitch rate.
 
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abrewer12345

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just wanted to say thanks for all the help here- 6 days in and the beer is down to 1.020 so we're moving right along. probably pull it out next tuesday for a diacetyl rest and extremely modest dry hop before ramping the temp down 5 degrees per day for a week before kegging and lagering. cheers all!
 

IslandLizard

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last question- finings or no finings? would love some opinions
You could add some gelatin to your keg. Use 1/2 tsp of bloomed/dissolved "Knox." It can help speeding up clarification during lagering.

If you do closed transfers into 100% liquid pre-purged kegs, you can "inject" the keg with the gelatin solution through the liquid post before transferring the beer into it.
 

NewJersey

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You could add some gelatin to your keg. Use 1/2 tsp of bloomed/dissolved "Knox." It can help speeding up clarification during lagering.

If you do closed transfers into 100% liquid pre-purged kegs, you can "inject" the keg with the gelatin solution through the liquid post before transferring the beer into it.
How?
I have a keg full of star san and my Spike + full of spruce tip pilsner. I was gonna open the fermenter to add gelatin and close then purge a few times.
I'd much rather 100% never open it and add gelatin to keg
 

NewJersey

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Without removing lid:
Syringe on gas post. Rinse with another injection of boiled and cooled water.

With removing lid:
Stream in CO2 through the gas post while adding the gelatin solution. Close lid, purge a few times.
Care to post pics or video of how to do it without removing lid?
Otherwise I'll do it in primary right before or during cold crash and just purge the F out of the fermenter headspace a bunch of times
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I just snap on a bare gas QD and stick a big fat loaded syringe right in the MFL end.
It's wicked easy, dead simple, and if there's a bit of pressure in the head space, self-purging :)

Cheers!
 

Jag75

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Seriously post a video.
I have no idea wtf y'all are talking about.

I cant believe I couldnt find one on YouTube. Just picture your keg gas post line going towards the regulator. Instead of connecting to the regulator the hose is connected to a plastic syringe that has whatever you want to add to the keg . Could be gelatin , tinctures ect..... you shoot it through the line from the loaded syringe into the gas post and it falls into the beer . Day trippr posted a pic of his set up but I cant find it .
 

IslandLizard

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Otherwise I'll do it in primary right before or during cold crash and just purge the F out of the fermenter headspace a bunch of times
Sure, you could do that instead.
Don't lift the lid! Pour (use funnel) or squirt (syringe) through the airlock hole (or through the stem of a 3-piece airlock).
 
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