Pilsner, lager or not to lager?

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LoveWeizen

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I am wondering if I have to go thru a tru lager procedure when fermenting a Pilsner. I would like to use a german lager yeast like WLP830 and have no problem bringing the ferm temps down to 50-55F.

What do you say? Would a normal 2-2-2 or 3-3-3 suffice?

Thanks a bunch.
 

PseudoChef

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There is a difference between fermentation using a lager yeast, and actual lagering. For fermentation using a lager yeast, you are in the 48-53 (ish) range until the fermentable sugars have all been consumed and fermentation has stopped.

Lagering is the process that takes place after this, in which the temperature is lowered to near freezing (32-34) for anywhere from a month to longer.

If you want a true lager, you will want the extended cold storage of the beer.
 

Yooper

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There is a difference between fermentation using a lager yeast, and actual lagering. For fermentation using a lager yeast, you are in the 48-53 (ish) range until the fermentable sugars have all been consumed and fermentation has stopped.

Lagering is the process that takes place after this, in which the temperature is lowered to near freezing (32-34) for anywhere from a month to longer.

If you want a true lager, you will want the extended cold storage of the beer.
Yes, and so the timeline really isn't at all the same. You will want to do primary until at least 75% finished, and then do a diacteyl rest (if doing). After the diacetyl rest, you'd want to rack to secondary and begin lagering. Depending on the OG of the beer, I'd plan on about 8 weeks for the lagering. Then, I'd bottle and plan on about 4 weeks for carbonation. If I would type it out it would like more like: 10d/diacetyl rest/8/4, I guess.
 

Yooper

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Say I were to bottle it after fermentation has completed. What would be the drawbacks? Off flavors I assume?
You mean instead of a diacteyl rest, and a secondary? Or bottle after the diacetyl rest? (If you have diacetyl in the beer, you'll definitely want to do a diacetyl rest.)

It shouldn't have off-flavors. It just won't have the clean crispness of a lager, and maybe not the clarity. It shouldn't taste bad, though- just not like a lager.
 
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LoveWeizen

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hmmm. I am flying to Germany in June and wanted to bring my girlfriend's dad a couple bottles of Pilsner (his favorite) and see what he thinks. Looks like I won't have enough time to do that as I am leaving June 2nd.
 

WBC

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If you are really planning to spend the time brewing a lager listen to Yooper and you will be good. Otherwise it would be best to brew ales which are more forgiving and easy to brew.
 

HOOTER

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Just make a light ale using Nottingham and ferment in the low 60's. This will make a nice clean brew in less time and SWMBO's dad won't even notice the difference. ;)
 
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LoveWeizen

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Alright, well I already ordered the Pilsner kit so I guess I'll just make that some other time. What light ale or other beers can you guys recommend that I can make for the guy. He loves his beer and is PICKY about them. I was really hoping to impress him with something I MADE.
 

steelerguy

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I have read about lagering at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time also. Of course you will probably be sacrificing a little of clean taste of the lager, but if you can get 4-6 weeks at 40-45 it will probably turn out all right. Of course, I have just read about this...just brewed my first lager, so it would be interesting to know if any of the experienced lager brewers have tried this.
 

pjj2ba

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You can brew a perfectly fine pilsner (w/ the alger yeast) without the lagering step - it just takes a lot longer. The lagering step is important for clearing the beer and smoothing out the flavors. This happens more quickly at cold temperatures. My lager routine is to keg when fermentation is complete and then naturally carb for 2-3 weeks and then age. Until this year some of my lagers would spend 2-3 months in the basement before going into the kegerator for lagering. Now I've got a proper lagering chamber.

There is no reason why you can't simply go ahead and bottle up the beer once fermentation is complete. That being said, I'd then try to keep a good supply of them in the fridge (after allowing for carbonation) so they can spend some time in the cold.

You could brew in time for your trip. 2 weeks at 50-55 F, diacetyl rest if necessary (might help to finish ferm. if not complete enough too), cool back to 50-55 F and bottle. 2-3 weeks to carb, and then you could have 2-3 weeks in the fridge prior to our trip. this might be pushing it a little, but it is doable.
 

william_shakes_beer

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You could do 2 batches: 1 with the lager yeast and the process outlined above, and another with an ale yeast , see how much difference you notice in taste. I've been wondering the same thing. "How much difference in taste does it really make"?
 

maltbarleyhops

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Alright, well I already ordered the Pilsner kit so I guess I'll just make that some other time. What light ale or other beers can you guys recommend that I can make for the guy. He loves his beer and is PICKY about them. I was really hoping to impress him with something I MADE.
"Picky"

Then doing a Pilsner and trying to ramp up by not lagering would have been a mistake, eh?
 

maltbarleyhops

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why rush a Pils? almost an oxymoron. the first time i brewed a lager was almost like my first brew day. couldnt wait - how to hurry this up - cant wait for that clean crisp taste.

now, when i put my fav Pilzen into lagering, i just let it be. the time and cold do great things. if this is your first lager, it will be well worth it the first one you pour off.

relax and dont rush, if you need homebrew quick, brew a quick brew, Lagers are not quick brews.
 

nianticcardplayer

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I just moved my first lager (AHS Stella Clone) to it's secondary...I knew it would be cold enough for me to try only mistake is I didn't get an accurate O.G reading.....when I checked the hydrometer liquid was super cloudy...and was in the 1.046-1.048 range yesterday when moving to secondary 1.014 there was a lot of sediment in the bottom of the primary.....(pics in my thread first lager).....I will hold 50-52 temps for a couple weeks and then to the 40's we head......if I it finishes in the 1.010 range it will be great in my mind AHS directions say F.G should be 1.008...
 

decaf111

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Yes, and so the timeline really isn't at all the same. You will want to do primary until at least 75% finished, and then do a diacteyl rest (if doing). After the diacetyl rest, you'd want to rack to secondary and begin lagering. Depending on the OG of the beer, I'd plan on about 8 weeks for the lagering. Then, I'd bottle and plan on about 4 weeks for carbonation. If I would type it out it would like more like: 10d/diacetyl rest/8/4, I guess.
Also doing my first lager and am wondering if lowering the temperature after fermentation incrementally on a daily basis is necessary. I don't have the ability to do that right now so planning on doing [email protected]/diacetyl [email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]?. And as for carbing - does this need to be at a lower temp or can it be room temp? Thanks for all the great info.
 

progmac

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Also doing my first lager and am wondering if lowering the temperature after fermentation incrementally on a daily basis is necessary. I don't have the ability to do that right now so planning on doing [email protected]/diacetyl [email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]?. And as for carbing - does this need to be at a lower temp or can it be room temp? Thanks for all the great info.
I have read that the gradually reduced lagering temps came from commercial brewing wherein the beer was not done fermenting when put into the secondary. With homebrewing lagers, we tend to ferment completely and then lager. Since fermentation is over and we're essentially brightening, I don't see any advantage of slowly bringing down the temp.
 
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