Lager schedule

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Foster82, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    So last weekend I brew my second batch of lager (7 days ago). After 5 days at 53F fermentation slowed, and the yeast began to drop. At that time I raised the temp to 62F for a diacetyl rest. This morning I took a sample, and I can't taste any diacetyl (although I am not entirely sure I would know it if I was tasting it). Additionally attenuation is at a nice 80% (1.057 to 1.011). The yeast used for this batch was W-34/70, pitched at 64F and reached 53F after 24 hours in the ferment chamber.

    So now how do I proceed? Currently I am dropping the temp back down to 53F, but should I hold it there for another week and give the yeast some more time to clean up, or just drop down to 40F (this is as cold and I can go) and start to lager? My gut tells me to give it another week at fermentation temps, but most things I read say to move onto the lager stage after a Diacetyl rest.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Do a forced diacetyl test (references all over the Web). Take two samples, hold one at room temperature and hold the other at 170 degrees (oven works nicely if it will set that low) for a half-hour. Sample both (after the warm one has cooled, of course). If there's no diacetyl in both, great. if there's diacetyl in the cool one you already have a problem and need to re-do the rest. If there's no diacetyl in the cool one but there is in the warm one, your wort has the diacetyl precursor in it - redo the rest.
     
  3. Tom McLean

    Tom McLean New Member

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    I have been convinced that secondary condition and lagering are worthwhile by bottling after I though that the fermentation was finished, and then going through 4 to 6 weeks at 40-45 F, followed by at least 3 weeks at near freezing temperatures. I would sample one of the bottled beers after each week of this program. My conclusion from this experiment is that:

    Nearly all beers need to be fermented for 5 to 7 days in primary fermentation for the wort to come down to about 70 % of the expected attenuation. That is the point where there are bear spots in the foam.

    Add three weeks in a secondary fermentation or racked and in a secondary fermentor. Two weeks to finish fermentation or until the bubbler slows to one bubble in about 5 minutes, plus at least an additional week for the yeast to clean up fusel alcohols, diacetyl, and other undesirable products of the brewing process. I do this at the same temperature as the primary fermentation. others will increase the temp by 5 deg for 2 to 7 days.

    Four weeks at 40 to 45 F. This allows the flavors to clean up and some of the haze products to drop out. I do not think anyone understands just what happens chemically during this step. It just helps.

    Two or more weeks at near freezing temperatures. This takes out the last of the chill haze proteins and gives the beer a lager cleanness.

    I have been through this process three times. Each of these steps make a cleaner tasting beer. I have used them on a simple 1.050 bitter, and it went from a funcky British draft ale to a Munich Alt.

    I have never made a beer that I did not enjoy drinking. However, pitching enough yeast, the right yeast at the right controlled temperature, and a planned conditioning/ lagering program make exceptional tasting and long lasting beers, every bit as good as you can buy anywhere.

    Like everything else; you get out, what you put into it.

    But, the brewing process is fascinating.
     

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