Lager Problem

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rbubb814

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Last week i brewed my first lager, i cooled the wort down to 75 degrees and pitched one packet of dry lager yeast, i put it right into a 55 degree fridge. the next day when i checked it there was no action in the airlock and the fridge had gone back down to 42, i guess the control in unreliable. i checked it again 2 days later and still no action. i went back yesterday to finally dump the batch because it had been a week, and it was bubbling. i thought i had killed the yeast. i really don't know how long i should wait for the fermentation.
 

azscoob

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Lagers need a lot more yeast than ales, I read that you should pitch 2 or more dry lager packets, the slow takeoff is probably from using only one packet and the temp dropping to 42 degrees likely slowed them down further. once primary fermentation is complete you should do a d-rest prior to lagering to help clean up any off flavors from stressed yeast. my first lager was pitched with a starter that was way bigger than I thought I needed and it took off in 10 hours. It is still fermenting away at 50 degrees 2 weeks later.
 
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rbubb814

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thank you for the quick response. i guess i will let it go until the bubbling slows down and then take a gravity reading.
 

azscoob

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after fermentation stops, bring the temp up 10 or 15 degrees and let it rest for a day or two to do a diacetyl rest. I have gathered from others that the rest can be at room temp but I cannot say from experience.
 

LagerLover24

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It sounds like you just underpitched your yeast. Go to mrmalty.com and click on the yeast pitching rate calculator. It has worked great for me.
 

suprchunk

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I have always pitched way more than I need. I start making the starter a couple days in advance and end up with at least a 2L starter. There is debate as to whether you should keep your starter at the same temps as your beer you are going to pitch it in. But I keep my lager starters as cool as the beer I am pitching into. What side of the fence you want to go to is your choice. But make sure you get enough yeast in there. I haven't tried dry yeast for a lager yet, but will soon, as all my yeast ranching/harvesting/storing supplies are back in the states. And it makes it hard for me to keep buying copious amounts of liquid yeast over here.

And as stated above, bring it up for the diacetyl rest. I don't know if it was my ferm temps or not the first time I made a lager, but the fermentation smelled heavily of sulphur. Made me scared to try the finished product, but it tasted exactly how I thought it would - just like the Pilsner Urquell I was cloning.
 

tomije87

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I'm getting ready to brew my first lager this weekend. I'm making the starter today, but I was curious if a blowoff tube is necessary for lagers? I didn't think they fermented that vigorously because of the low temps, but I wasn't sure.

Has anyone required a blowoff tube for a lager?
 

suprchunk

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Haven't had to use one yet. Your headspace may necessitate the use of one. But generally the lower temps seem to keep the violence at bay.
 

azscoob

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My lager never put off much over 2-2.5" of krausen during its fermenting, took off fast enough with a starter, the krausen was more like shaving cream in its consistency, quite different than the ale fermentation I am used to. It also took 3 weeks for active fermentation to finish off and hit terminal gravity at 50° temps
 

jgourd

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I now cool my lagers to 55F or so prior to pitching a nice 2000mL starter cooled to the same temperature started with a single vial of yeast. I then reduce the temp. to 50F for primary fermentation right after pitching. It takes a day, but fermentation does occur and diacetyl is minimized this way. I still do a diacetyl rest at 60F when 75% of primary fermentation is done (checked with my hydrometer and by a simple calculation based on the yeast strain's average attenuation). I don't do blowoff tubes for lagers, but I primary ferment in 6.5 gal. buckets, so unless it's a rather high gravity brew, I don't need blowoff tubes.
 
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