Author Topic: I am new to lager  (Read 14409 times)

wildknight

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2011, 02:19:46 PM »
I brewed my first lager on Saturday.  I made a starter on Friday evening (WLP833)...just under a gallon.  By the time I was done my batch on Saturday there was still no activity in my starter.  Fearing it was dead I went to my brew shop and bought a vial of White Labs WLP800.  I had to go ahead and just pitch that vial, knowing that I was probably under-pitching.  I cooled the wort down to about 62 degrees F.  Pitched the yeast which was probably about 70 degrees F.  I am slowly letting it come up to 70 degrees F until I see activity and then was going to ramp it back down in temp.  

My question is:  Does it take a long time for fermentation to start in lager yeasts?  My ales don't take more than 8-12 hours to start rolling.  I typically make my ale starters 1-2 days before and they are rolling in a few hours.  Should I be seeing any activity?  Is there anything I can do to save my lager?

Lagers are a difficult beast.  IMO, they take more work, more resources and definitely more time than ales.  I imagine that is (partly) why the craft explosion is centered around ales.  I highly recommend scrolling through the pages of the Jamil Show on the Brewing Network and listen to the podcasts on the lagers: light lagers, pilsners, dark lagers and bocks.  Jamil and Plise are great lager brewers and they go into great detail on their methods for making great lagers. 

Here is the link: http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/The-Jamil-Show

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2011, 04:31:02 PM »
I need to listen to the Jamil show podcasts on lagers, thanks for reminding me.

Having done many lagers in the last several years, and trying to do 8 this year, I think they are more work, but not much more than for some big beers.  The brewdays can be longer if you do a decoction, or a multistep mash, 90 min boil, and it does take longer to get them down to pitching temps.  A pond pump and an ice bath are what I use for the last 30-40 degrees of chilling.

Why do I do lagers, I like them.  Nothing better than a good Pils in the Summer.  To paraphase a German saying "Pilsner is what God drinks on a Sunday afternoon in the Summer". 

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Offline hairyhood

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2012, 06:55:33 PM »
Me again.....so, it has now been 5 weeks and I am still getting bubbles coming out of my blow-off tube.  Is this normal to still be getting activity after all of this time?  I am ready to get it in a keg and move back to ales.  I have not done a gravity reading to see if it is done.  I obviously don't want to throw it in a keg if it is still fermenting.  Any ideas on why this thing is still active?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #63 on: January 18, 2012, 06:57:52 PM »
It might just be gas coming out of solution.  Take gravity readings.
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Offline hairyhood

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #64 on: January 18, 2012, 07:00:55 PM »
I have timed the bubbles for the last 4 days.  They are consistent at about 53 seconds. 

I will do some gravity readings.

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #65 on: January 18, 2012, 07:04:40 PM »
I have timed the bubbles for the last 4 days.  They are consistent at about 53 seconds. 

I will do some gravity readings.

Bubbles only tell you CO2 is being released.  They don't tell you why.
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Offline hairyhood

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #66 on: January 18, 2012, 07:07:48 PM »
If I am still offing gas at a consistent rate and it is enough to push bubbles through a 4 foot tube into a jug.....I would think it is not safe to keg it yet.  Correct?

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #67 on: January 18, 2012, 07:21:20 PM »
The pressure required to push gas through a tube is basically zero.

My experience has been that an airlock will continue to bubble steadily for weeks after fermentation is finished.
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Offline hairyhood

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #68 on: January 18, 2012, 07:24:12 PM »
OK.  I guess I am still comparing to my ales.  I get nothing in my airlock after a week in my ales.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 08:05:53 PM by hairyhood »

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #69 on: January 18, 2012, 07:58:50 PM »
If I am still offing gas at a consistent rate and it is enough to push bubbles through a 4 foot tube into a jug.....I would think it is not safe to keg it yet.  Correct?

No, not necessarily correct.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #70 on: January 19, 2012, 12:53:44 AM »
I remember reading in my research, I'll try to find it, that it becomes more of an issue the longer you leave the beer in primary.  I do not think it matters in the short-term, but becomes a problem in the long-term.  That is why I posted above not to keep the beer in primary for an extended period of time if there was a lot of cold break.  I don't know how long you guys leave a lager on the cake, but I keg after 3 weeks (so long as I had a good fermentation and reach FG) and lager in the keg.  I try to lager 6-8 weeks minimum but usually break down earlier.... :)
I lost a primary carboy in a closet for a year, it was cool but not cold.  That beer won BOS.  I don't recommend doing the same, but it's not a black/white issue.

omg...I just read this. Denny!!! Can we organize a treasure/scavenger hunt at Schmidlin's place for the NHC?  Imagine what we might turn up.
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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #71 on: January 19, 2012, 01:32:10 AM »
I lost a primary carboy in a closet for a year, it was cool but not cold.  That beer won BOS.  I don't recommend doing the same, but it's not a black/white issue.

omg...I just read this. Denny!!! Can we organize a treasure/scavenger hunt at Schmidlin's place for the NHC?  Imagine what we might turn up.
If we get into the crawl space we can find all kinds of lost beers.  :)
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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #72 on: January 19, 2012, 05:18:21 PM »
omg...I just read this. Denny!!! Can we organize a treasure/scavenger hunt at Schmidlin's place for the NHC?  Imagine what we might turn up.

Great idea for a pre conference event, Diane!  At NHC in Minneapolis I got a tour of Curt Stock's basement...this fits right in!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #73 on: January 20, 2012, 10:24:10 PM »
When are you coming up?
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: I am new to lager
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2012, 10:52:19 PM »
When are you coming up?

Sometime after you thaw out!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell