Author Topic: Rookie Lagering Questions  (Read 7797 times)

Offline SOGOAK

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Rookie Lagering Questions
« on: December 16, 2008, 01:27:40 PM »
Alrightie- Got my lager going a couple questions after I give ingredients/steps so far.

Recipe from Memory:

1882 Honey Amber Lager

Partial Mash (steep)
2lbs Pale 2row
2lbs Pale 6row
1lbs Crystal 30L
.5lbs Carapilz
.5lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt
3lbs Briess Amber DME
EKG 1z 5.0aa 60min
EKG 1z 5.0aa 30min
Mt. Hood 1.3z 5.1aa 15min

OG is 1.062 ish ish -I was pleased here, I want it kinda big.
Yeast is Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager on a not quite 2Quart starter (spilage of the starter wort.)

Here is what has transpired:
After cooling to 85-90, I poured in bucket. Topped up so that with starter I had 5 gal. Took my OG reading. Put the cheap Vodka in the airlock and snapped the lid on.

The temps below are in ambient air temp terms.

I let it sit overnight at 56-58 basement temp and next morning fermentation had begun.

So I put the bucket in the old walkout and left it.

Last night I found the thermo was just under 30 degrees. (It's BRUTAL here in Illinoize)

So I pulled it into the 58 degree basement while I installed the 1" solid foam insulation in the "Lagering Shed" I also put a 25watt bulb in my trouble lamp. I also put foam under and behind the bucket so it isn't getting contact cooling.

This morning I was at or just above 40.


Questions:

-Would I have crashed the yeast yesterday? I was getting bubbles still
-Wyeast says 46-58 degrees. Am I way too low?

At lunch I put down a piece of flashing and switched to 60watts.  I'm hoping to raise the temp some.  Should I pull the beer back into the 58 degree basement when I get home?

-Wyeast says to do a 24 hour Diacetyl rest at 58 degrees. How long do you think this will take to ferment out? This is my first bucket batch and I want to avoid opening that sucker much.

If this works, I'm thinking of a Double Bock too. If my scheme works I can put several fermenters in there.
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Offline drowningman

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 11:15:15 PM »
Hey Sogoak- thought I'd cruise the questions and found yours here.  Note there are several technical solutions posted all over the Internet by home guys with nearly a PhD in brewing.  As a non-chemist brewer, lemme see if I can help:

First, specific lagering procedures are as diverse as the lagers on the liquor store shelf.  As you've demonstrated, the yeast manufacturer should always be your first resource for temp ranges, but there is some leeway.  Though you want to maintain consistent or gradual temp changes with any brew, this is rarely possible in the average HBr's home- so don't sweat your situation.

It doesn't sound like you've harmed the yeast, but a good rule of thumb I follow is hold your lager at room temp for one to two days before lagering.  This ensures the yeast get a good start as even lager yeast propagate more quickly at higher temps.  After this initial period, anything goes without a fridge to cool the brew, but given your situation I might move the wort into the basement for a week and then into the walkout for a week or until fermenting stops.  It's always helpful to take gravity readings, but if you're not at that point, pay attention to the airlock activity and make your best guess.  At this point do the diacetyl rest for 24 hrs.  Then transfer into a secondary and lager in the walk out.  Depending how soon you'd like to consume the beer, you could give it a month or until spring breaks the winter cold.

Lagers always taste better with time.  I have a couple that are 10 months and eight months respectively and they get better every day.  Good luck and post any other questions.   Dman

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 06:47:43 AM »
Here is what has transpired:
After cooling to 85-90, I poured in bucket. Topped up so that with starter I had 5 gal. Took my OG reading. Put the cheap Vodka in the airlock and snapped the lid on.
Thats really high for any yeast, especially lagers. I always try to keep it under 80 and keep the yeast pitching temp within 10 deg of the wort. Less shock to the yeast that way.
Quote
Questions:
-Would I have crashed the yeast yesterday? I was getting bubbles still
Yes, you crashed the yeast. It is doubt full that you hurt anything, most likely the yeast started falling out of suspension. The wort will gas-off because there is Co2 still in suspension, even with no yeast activity.
Quote
-Wyeast says 46-58 degrees. Am I way too low?
Yes, Try to stay at or above the bottom number. This is the ideal range the yeast works with. Too low and it will start falling out of suspension again.
Quote
At lunch I put down a piece of flashing and switched to 60watts.  I'm hoping to raise the temp some.  Should I pull the beer back into the 58 degree basement when I get home?
If you can get away with it, I would leave it where you have it and raise the temp.
Quote
-Wyeast says to do a 24 hour Diacetyl rest at 58 degrees. How long do you think this will take to ferment out?
Lagers take longer than Ales to finish out. It could take 2-3 weeks, especially at the lower end of the temp scale. The Diacetyl rest should be done when the beer is 90% finished. That way there is still yeast in suspension. At that point is when I would take it to the 58deg basement. Take Hydrometer readings to find out where you are and only move it when it is ready.

Most importantly don't rush it. Lagers like plenty of time.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2008, 07:46:11 PM »
Update,

My first point wasn't correct.  The wort was about 80 degrees before top up water.  So it should have been about 70 or just under for the pitch.  It did get a solid overnight start in the normal Ale production area at 56-58 degrees.

The lager shed has been a steady 50 degrees for at least 36 hours or longer.  I think lower range is 46.  I am going to let it ride in there for now.

Still getting bubbles.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 07:53:17 PM by SOGOAK »
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Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 12:18:12 PM »
Questions Questions Questions...

Alright so assuming my brew is done fermenting and doesn't taste like Diacetyl, the next step is to keep it around 30 degrees for a few months?

That might be tough as I don't have a fridge and I went to lengths to get my lagering shed to stay around 50.

If anyone else is flying au natural, would you put it in a drafty detached garage then?

We haven't been much orver freezing for awhile and I understand that a 1 or 2 day ambient spike into the 40's (Where midwestern idiots put on shorts!) shouldn't raise the actual brew temp too much.

Other than the element of chance, anything wrong with this idea?

What If i further buffered the fermentor with a dozen or so paver bricks that would likely stay cold longer than the ambient temp-just thinking of materials on hand.
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Offline Rep

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 03:17:45 PM »
Questions Questions Questions...

Alright so assuming my brew is done fermenting and doesn't taste like Diacetyl, the next step is to keep it around 30 degrees for a few months?

That might be tough as I don't have a fridge and I went to lengths to get my lagering shed to stay around 50.

If anyone else is flying au natural, would you put it in a drafty detached garage then?

We haven't been much orver freezing for awhile and I understand that a 1 or 2 day ambient spike into the 40's (Where midwestern idiots put on shorts!) shouldn't raise the actual brew temp too much.

Other than the element of chance, anything wrong with this idea?

What If i further buffered the fermentor with a dozen or so paver bricks that would likely stay cold longer than the ambient temp-just thinking of materials on hand.

I live in Wisconsin and brewed a Kolsch and an Alt last year and fermented in my garage.

The following should help with the ambient temps.  I do hope though, that you live far enough north to benefit from the cold.

Take a 50 gallon plastic drum and cut the bottom 1/3 off.  Set it in your garage and place the carboy in the cut drum.

Add cold water.  Now, take a submersible pump, the kind you would use for an outdoor water fountain and place it in the tank.  Turn it on and the pump will begin to circulate the water and prevent it from freezing.

Now take your aquarium heater and place that in your fermentation tank and begin to regulate the water to the temp you need.

Don't forget to cover the whole contraption so light cannot effect your beer, and heat will not be wasted. 

BTW - Find out if you are supposed to lager for two months, or, if one will do.

Let us know how it turns out.

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 09:58:01 PM »
Good news-I think.  I popped the top and got an FG of 1.018 which is what beersmith figured.

I was surprised at the ammount of carb.  That 2206 makes for a dryer beer than I expected too.  If it is going to be like the sample, I thnk it'll be good.

Amazingly enough, it's a light colored beer.

It's bubbling at 68 on DR now.  I figured follow the wyeast rec.  Although, no Diacetyl that I could tell.  Then I'll crash it somewhere cold.
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Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2009, 01:35:49 PM »
Wise ones- How long should I let my lager cold condition?  I was thinking a month after the diacetyl rest.  That would be about 2 months total since boil. 

Or should I let I ride longer?

Then, does the bottle conditioning have to be really cold?  I would think those would be about 56 right now since the are at about european drinking temp-which I like.

I'd like to do another lager yet this year maybe a Bock or Marzen.
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Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2009, 07:05:44 AM »
The Longer you let it go the better it will be. Three months is what I go by after transfer into lagering vessel(or bottles), but it is drinkable at 2. So it sounds like you are at the end of the first month.

56 is a little warm, Ideally you would want to be under the temp of the yeast.

I have to agree, some beers are better at warmer temps, however I like my lagers close to ICE Temps.

Patience, Patience, Patience

I know it's hard. But it will be worth it.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2009, 07:43:46 AM »
Preston, I'm keeping the lager at 32-34 ambient.  I keep forgetting to get another one of those fermometer stick on thermometers for this bucket I using. 

I figure with the alcohol and yeastie activity the liquid is still a few degrees warmer than ambient.

So when I hydrometered it and then sampled, I was already getting some carb is that normal?  I'm pretty optimistic about this batch and think when complete, I'll be able to say I learned a lot about playing with temp. 

The beer was definately a lot lighter body than my ales.  Not in a bad way, but you know how even mouth feel differs.  It was like a fairly dry german lager.  Since it is on 2206 -that could be the reason.

Sounds like either way, It needs to rest for another month before bottle.
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Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2009, 08:17:50 AM »
Quote
Preston, I'm keeping the lager at 32-34 ambient.
Sounds great!
Quote
I figure with the alcohol and yeastie activity the liquid is still a few degrees warmer than ambient.
At that temp there should not be any yeast activity, but you are correct it will be at or near the ambient.
Quote
So when I hydrometered it and then sampled, I was already getting some carb is that normal?
Normally there will be some residual Co2 gassing off even after yeast has finished, But at lagering temps the gassing off will be much slower. Most people wont notice the residual Co2.
Quote
The beer was definitely a lot lighter body than my ales.  Not in a bad way, but you know how even mouth feel differs.  It was like a fairly dry German lager.  Since it is on 2206 -that could be the reason.
Sounds like either way, It needs to rest for another month before bottle.
Lagers are one of the more difficult styles to master, because there is less to hide problems behind. But the result is worth the effort and time. IMO

It sounds like you are going to bottle. Because of the extended Lagering phase, it will take a little longer to carbonate, usually about 3-4 weeks but I have had to wait up to 6 for one batch.

If you have room, Make another batch now! You will understand why after you taste your first. It will be gone before you know it ;D... Unfortunately, I only have room for one lagering vessel at a time in my beer fridge, so I have to stagger brews.

Cheers

Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: Rookie Lagering Questions
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2009, 11:16:36 AM »
THX Preston.  Those of us under a foot of snow lager in our basements! ;D

Seriously though, I do want to try 1-2 more styles while I can.  Right now the problem is that my cold fermentation area -where I was holding 50 degrees is now my lagering area.  I need to do some more research on other spots that I lager this batch while I can also have the warmer temps to allow the yeasties to work.

For me it is all part of the fun utilizing the building to do it the ancient way.  No I don't fancy myself a monk  ;) but hopefully eine deutche braumeister.

Next brew will be my first AG and it will be an APA.  I am out of pale at the house and sick of paying for commercial.
Good Recipe, Good Ingredients, Good Procedure, Good Sanitation = Good Brew.