I thought I'd offer up some encouragement to less experienced brewers who are mystified by the "lager" brewing process. For all the hype and legend surrounding lager beers at the homebrew level, it just isn't as difficult as a lot of folks make it out to be. I will add a caveat that it's easier for small faults to jump out during tasting when a beer has few elements to cover up any off flavors in the profile but reasonable care and attention paid to details of mashing and sanitation can yield a very, very good traditional lager-style beer in short order. I brewed a 10 gallon batch to be split into two fermenters to use as yeast incubators for big batches of lager I need to do later in the month. I timed it so that the "starter" beer would be available for a party 3 weeks from brew day. I used my typical starter batch recipe: 2-row, a pound of Wheat malt, enough Acidulated malt to achieve proper PH, Mittelfruh hops at 60 and 15 for IBUs of less than 20 in a 1.045 beer. Mashing was 148 for 45 minutes and 158 for 15 before mash-out. Yeast was Fermentis, one re-hydrated packet in each carboy, one S-23 and one 34/70. I don't remember my boil time on this one but I wasn't concerned with doing a 90 based on the malt. I did a sparge that was quicker than my usual and preferred slow-sparge and efficiency suffered a little as a result. I cooled to low 60s for pitch. I'd been counting on relatively cool weather because I knew I'd have to let the carboys sit in the garage with no temp control. As it turned out, the first night and next day stayed in the low 60's or lower so I didn't worry too much when the temp jumped quite a bit a couple of days into the process. Bottom line is that temps were up and down much more than is preferred and stipulated for lager yeasts to behave themselves but all that really mattered was yeast production with a side benefit of a couple of passable kegs for a party. At one week, krausen was gone and yeast dropping. I took a gravity just to confirm that it didn't stall for some reason. All was well at 1.008. At 2 weeks I kegged the beer and put the yeast slurry in jars to hold a few days before I could start another batch to build the yeast once more stage. A day or so after kegging, I added Bio Fine to each keg and let it sit for another week or so. On day 19, I cleared a pint of sediment and poured a nice clear glass of clean, malty lager. Any brewer would be quite proud to serve this beer to guests. It didn't require any angst or drama, no obsessing over minutia, no months of storage at freezing temperatures. I will say that the 2-row I use is particularly good for this, being a Czech malt that's very rich and Pilsner-like with a crackery, grainy finish. And, yes, these lager yeast strains tend to be very forgiving when it comes to temperature range. Still, I'll happily put it up against any number of "craft" lagers that I've had on tap and in cans locally and in various parts of the country. Moral of the story: Brew on, lager lovers! Brew on!!! Don't let them tell you that you have to have exact temperature control or a stir plate before you can venture into lager-style beers. Use a nice malt and a simple recipe. Don't obsess over yeast count with a low-gravity beer fermented at the high end of the range. Keep everything squeaky clean. Keg 'em if you got 'em. Enjoy!!