how long should I lager my beer?

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mcleanmj

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Tomorrow I am brewing my first lager, homebrew store was out of all liquid lager yeasts, so I went with a safale dry lager dry yeast packet and I put it in a 4 pint (1 cup dme) starter for about 16 hours at room temp them moved to the fridge.

Tomorrow going to brew a Vienna lager (1.053 planned OG) 5 gallon batch. I was thinking I would ferment it 1 day at room temp then move it to my cold garage (52 degrees F) where I would leave it for 10-14 days in an ale pail, then rack it to a carboy. Once I have it in the carboy I am wondering how long I can lager it for? I was thinking the longer the better, why not 2 months in the carboy before bottling? Maybe even 3-4?

Is there a point where there is no more benefit to lagering the beer? Is longer better, or what is a good amount of time?

Thanks for the help folks! :mug:
 

Jdaught

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I wouldn't recommend letting it ferment at room temp for the first day. During this time u will get the most off flavors and diacetyl precursors that u don't want in a lager. Start the ferment with the wort in the low 50's. U will still get diacetyl which is why when there is about a third of attenuation left to go u need to bring the temp into the mid to upper 60's for a day or two, d-rest. This lets the yeast clean up the diacetyl. Then lower the temp a few degrees per day to about 40. Transfer to secondary and continue lowering temp a few degrees per day to your lagering temp. Usually lager for about a week for every .008 of OG. This is what I usually do based on info from a couple different texts, "New Brewing Lager Beer" and "Yeast". It's worked pretty well for me. Good luck and hope this helps. Cheers!
 
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mcleanmj

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The guy at the homebrew store told me to let it ferment at room temp for a day, I thought it was weird. So 2/3 of the way into fermentation you bring it up closer to room temp for the diacetyl rest? Maybe 9 days into primary? Then bring it back down and rack to secondary? If I follow correct. Thanks a lot much appreciated!
 

Jdaught

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Yes. That's how I would recommend doing it. Just check your OG and figure the expected FG and about 2/3 of the way through do the d-rest. U just want to make sure they are still active to do the cleanup. If they have already finished then they will just take longer to clean it up during the rest.
 

McCuckerson

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Pitch a lot of yeast cold (45f) let it rise to 55f, ferment for 4 weeks, keg/bottle and enjoy. If you pitch plenty of yeast and temps are regulated you do not need to lager.

Now if you are talking about clearifying, that's a different story.... good luck
 

Dave37

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I have a similar question. Hope the OP doesn't mind the slight thread jack. I plan on brewing jamils traditional bock soon and was reading in the book that if you get your yeast and wort down to around 44F, rack the wort off the cold break before pitching or aerating, and slowly warm to 50F over the first 36-48 hours after pitching yeast you can avoid the need for a diacetyl rest completely. I was planning on attempting this method for my first time at a lager and was wondering if anyone has had success or... miserable failure with this style of fermentation and lagering. He also states that very generally that for an 8% ish lager around 6 months of lagering or more is needed at near freezing temperatures to get the flavor where you want it to be. My recipe numbers for little barnabus (JZs traditional bock) is going to come in at ~7.0 with an OG of 1.071 if I can hit my numbers like I hope to. I read earlier that a week is recommended for every .008 grav points. Is this for every .08 above 1.000 or every .008 between my OG and expected FG? (1.018) if this was clarified before my post I apologize I must've missed it. Thanks and I hope i was able to stay somewhat on topic and my questions can help with some of the OPs

Thanks

Dave
 

Jdaught

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Above 1.000

I tried the keep it cold and avoid the d-rest method on my last batch of pilsner. Turned out to be a horrible butter bomb that I dumped into my garden. I never let it get above 55 and lowered it as stated. Don't know if I messed up somewhere or what but it didn't work for me. Might try it again after some research but for now I'm sticking with the d-rest.
 

eastoak

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I have a similar question. Hope the OP doesn't mind the slight thread jack. I plan on brewing jamils traditional bock soon and was reading in the book that if you get your yeast and wort down to around 44F, rack the wort off the cold break before pitching or aerating, and slowly warm to 50F over the first 36-48 hours after pitching yeast you can avoid the need for a diacetyl rest completely. I was planning on attempting this method for my first time at a lager and was wondering if anyone has had success or... miserable failure with this style of fermentation and lagering. He also states that very generally that for an 8% ish lager around 6 months of lagering or more is needed at near freezing temperatures to get the flavor where you want it to be. My recipe numbers for little barnabus (JZs traditional bock) is going to come in at ~7.0 with an OG of 1.071 if I can hit my numbers like I hope to. I read earlier that a week is recommended for every .008 grav points. Is this for every .08 above 1.000 or every .008 between my OG and expected FG? (1.018) if this was clarified before my post I apologize I must've missed it. Thanks and I hope i was able to stay somewhat on topic and my questions can help with some of the OPs

Thanks

Dave
what book is this in? it seems to be saying that diacetyl comes from fermenting on the break material which is not true at all. maybe i'm misunderstanding.
 

Dave37

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eastoak said:
what book is this in? it seems to be saying that diacetyl comes from fermenting on the break material which is not true at all. maybe i'm misunderstanding.
It's in brewing classic styles. By Palmer and jamil he doesn't say that diacetyl is caused by the break he says it can come from higher fermentation temps and changes in them. He basically says that diacetyl can be minimized greatly by keeping the ferm temps low. I attached a pic of the page. Let me know what you think. If my wording confused you I apologize. I wanted to try and keep the length of my post somewhat short and concise.

image-2803539862.jpg
 

Jdaught

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The book I reference is "New Brewing Lager Beer". Tried keeping things cold enough to keep acetolactate production to a minimum and in turn keep diacetyl down. It didn't work. Don't know what I did wrong but it was horrible. I agree pitching on the trub has nothing to do with diacetyl levels. My understanding was that higher than optimum temps in the first 24-36 hours after pitch promotes acetolactate production which is turned into diacetyl, then lowering the temp doesn't let the yeast reabsorb the diacetyl. The batch I dumped was pitched at 50 and probly rose to 55 and then lowered to about 48 til about a third of attenuation remained. Lowered temp to 40 over a couple days then racked to lagering vessel and dropped to 34 over a few more days. Lagered for 6 weeks and carbed for 2 weeks. Dumped batch shortly after. Not real sure where I went wrong.
 

Dave37

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Sorry a out the blurry pic it looks much better on my iPad here is the next page where he talks about the lagering times. It doesn't say diacetyl is caused from the break I just believe it is just one of the steps involved in the process for a better beer?

image-3342246158.jpg
 

Dave37

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Jdaught said:
The book I reference is "New Brewing Lager Beer". Tried keeping things cold enough to keep acetolactate production to a minimum and in turn keep diacetyl down. It didn't work. Don't know what I did wrong but it was horrible. I agree pitching on the trub has nothing to do with diacetyl levels. My understanding was that higher than optimum temps in the first 24-36 hours after pitch promotes acetolactate production which is turned into diacetyl, then lowering the temp doesn't let the yeast reabsorb the diacetyl. The batch I dumped was pitched at 50 and probly rose to 55 and then lowered to about 48 til about a third of attenuation remained. Lowered temp to 40 over a couple days then racked to lagering vessel and dropped to 34 over a few more days. Lagered for 6 weeks and carbed for 2 weeks. Dumped batch shortly after. Not real sure where I went wrong.
Could you clarify about lagering times as far as the question I had in my first post? The one week per .008 for OG to 1.000 or one week for difference between OG and expected FG. in my case 1.071-1.018
 

Dave37

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Jdaught said:
Above 1.000

I tried the keep it cold and avoid the d-rest method on my last batch of pilsner. Turned out to be a horrible butter bomb that I dumped into my garden. I never let it get above 55 and lowered it as stated. Don't know if I messed up somewhere or what but it didn't work for me. Might try it again after some research but for now I'm sticking with the d-rest.
Sorry missed this post completely. Thanks that woul equal to about a 9 week layering period for my hopefully good tasting bock.
 

Jdaught

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1 week for every .008 of OG above 1.000

So your 71/8
8.875
So 9 weeks of lagering according to that.
 

eastoak

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It's in brewing classic styles. By Palmer and jamil he doesn't say that diacetyl is caused by the break he says it can come from higher fermentation temps and changes in them. He basically says that diacetyl can be minimized greatly by keeping the ferm temps low. I attached a pic of the page. Let me know what you think. If my wording confused you I apologize. I wanted to try and keep the length of my post somewhat short and concise.
i checked out that section of the book and i do see what you were trying to convey on your post.
 

shadows69

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Bottom line always do a diacetyl rest. I do it every time I make a lager, if nothing else think of it as a safety protection.
 

eastoak

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Bottom line always do a diacetyl rest. I do it every time I make a lager, if nothing else think of it as a safety protection.
diacetyl is very detectable so if you don't have it you don't need to do anything to remove it. just pointing this out for someone who is new to lagers that may read this and think it's something they have to do.
 

Yooper

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diacetyl is very detectable so if you don't have it you don't need to do anything to remove it. just pointing this out for someone who is new to lagers that may read this and think it's something they have to do.
Actually, that's the thing. In low amounts, most people miss diacetyl. It's a "slick" mouthfeel or an oiliness on the teeth or tongue, but without flavor. If you actually taste diacetyl, that means it's loaded.

And it gets worse with time, not better. So a slight oiliness on the tongue after primary may be a huge butter bomb after lagering, when it's too late to fix it.

And some people are genetically unable to taste diacetyl even in large amounts. So tasting for diacetyl isn't really effective, unless you are an expert at tasting it in very small amounts.

Doing a diacetyl rest as a matter of course, whether strictly necessary or not, won't harm the beer a bit and may help. Even for ales, it's recommended.
 

McCuckerson

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Jdaught said:
Above 1.000

I tried the keep it cold and avoid the d-rest method on my last batch of pilsner. Turned out to be a horrible butter bomb that I dumped into my garden. I never let it get above 55 and lowered it as stated. Don't know if I messed up somewhere or what but it didn't work for me. Might try it again after some research but for now I'm sticking with the d-rest.
You could have pitched a starter at high krausen and would have cleaned it up over a week or so at ale temp
 
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