Lager Fermentation-Odd outcome, feedback please

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APBrewer

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So basics-
First try at a lager.10 gallon batch all grain California Common brewed 1/14/2012. OG-1.064

Split into two 6 gallon Carboys. Two vials each of WLP810 SF Lager (I know, use a starter but poor planning on this go around, so...).

1 carboy fermented in a cabinet with no temp control. However every time I checked it the air temp was in the high 50's. Fermented down to 1.014 and transferred to another carboy for diacetyl rest on 2/2. Took gravity reading yesterday (2/5) and gravity now at 1.010 with nice smell and flavor. Going into a keg tonight. HOORAY!

1 carboy fermented in a chest freezer with temp switch set to 54. Yesterday (2/5) we got set to transfer it to diacetyl. Prior to that we took a gravity reading and found it only made it to 1.028 AND it had carbonated itself. BOO! Not holding out a lot of hope that we will get any more out of this one but we transferred it to a new carboy slurried the (very small) yeast cake and poured it in. Additionally we made a starter out of a portion of the slurry and will pitch it when we get it to high krausen.

My question: WTF with carboy 2?
 

samc

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54F is on the cold side for that yeast, might just need more time.
 

Yooper

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54F is on the cold side for that yeast, might just need more time.
Right. A California common isn't a lager- it's a hybrid beer. It's a lager yeast fermented at ale temperatures that makes it distinctive. I've used WLP810 many times, and it's rather finicky about temperature and definitely needs a starter if you use it, especially below 62 degrees or so. I get diacetyl from it too, when it's fermented cool. No worries.

Instead of racking, the thing to do would have been to simply allow it to raise up about 10 degrees so that it would finish up and the diacetyl rest would be done at that time. You always do the diacetyl rest before racking- always.

The reason it seemed to have "carbonated itself" is simply because it wasn't done fermenting and is still producing and holding onto co2.
 
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APBrewer

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Thanks for the replies. OK then we will move it a warmer environment for awhile then and hope we did not screw the pooch with the transfer to a second carboy.
 
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