Author Topic: Should I just give up on lagers?  (Read 3040 times)

Offline denny

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Offline beersk

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2013, 01:00:53 PM »
I certainly wouldn't give up on lagers. I'm having trouble with light lagers. My other lagers are turning out pretty well. I'm starting to get into acidifying my sparge water, hoping that makes the difference I'm looking for. That ties into kettle pH, I think, and getting a crisp beer in the end.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2013, 09:02:49 AM »
Well, today is the day.
I'm making another lager attempt. 100% distiller water with 5 grams of gypsum and 4 grams of calcium chloride based on the numbers on Kai's sheet as I read it. It's a 10 gal batch.

Malt bill is going to be 18 lbs of Weyermann Pils and 2 lbs of Weyermann Munich 1. Gonna shoot for 30 IBUs with an ounce of Magnum at 60, an ounce of Tettnanger at 15 and another ounce at flameout with a pretty short stand, maybe 5 or 10 mins.

One half of the wort is getting WLP800 in a starter, the other will get 3 new vials of 833. Technically not enough so I'm treating the 833 as a "starter for future batches.

I don't have a good way to oxygenate yet besides an aggressive shaking.

Both will be in glass and fermented in my garage which is currently running in the mid-40s so I may wrap them with a blanket for a bit. D-rest will occur in the basement at 65 or so. I don't really have another way to manage the temps right now. Future plans may include a heater for the garage so I can keep it closer to 50.

Feel free to point out possible points for improvement that I have missed.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2013, 02:52:28 PM »
Was there a discussion about your lagering and fining? I suspect the water adjustments will get you most of the way to what you need but there might be opportunities to tighten up your lagering and packaging processes.
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Offline thirsty

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2013, 03:54:48 PM »
Is there any way you can oxygenate any better? Even like a kitchen whisk, really stirring it until there is a lot of foam on top? Also, maybe get some kind of fridge so temp stays consistent. There seems to be a ton of used  Refrigerators and freezers on craigslist all the time.

But it's probably just your water.

Offline gmac

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2013, 08:35:50 PM »
I agitated the wort heavily by plunging my immersion chiller up and down while cooling.  I worked up a pretty good head of foam on the wort.  Then I siphoned it into the kegs with as much splashing as I could, stopping 1/2 way on each carboy to shake them.  I'm sure it wasn't enough and if I keep working on lagers I know I'll have to get something better figured out.  I picked up an O2 tank but I haven't got a stone yet so that's next on the list.

I have a freezer already that will be used for fermenting but I only have one temp controller at present so that's also on the list.

For fining, I normally add Irish Moss at 15 mins and depending on clarity, gelatin after the beer is cold.  I have a used commercial bar fridge that I store all of my beer in until I'm ready to drink it.  It's set just a degree or two above freezing so I plan to keg, carb to prevent leakage and the lager for at least a couple months.  I'll likely transfer to another keg for serving but may not either.  I don't normally bottle.

I also said I was using WLP800 for one, that was wrong, it's WLP830.  Figured i'd better correct that because I'll probably be too bitter for a Bohemian pilsner.

Offline beersk

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2013, 06:51:12 AM »
I figured out my issue with light lagers...it was the Rahr Pils. Nasty stuff.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Should I just give up on lagers?
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2013, 09:14:36 AM »
My fermentation temp is set at 48F in my freezer.  I check the temp of the water in the thermowell to ensure it is close to 50F and I assume the fermenting beer will be 1 to 2 degrees warmer which should put it right at 50F.  After fermentation ceases, I bring the beers out into the basement for a D-rest at 65 or so for about a week and then back into the cold.  I have never had a D issue that I could perceive.

I don't understand - are you using a controller to 'set' the freezer temp?

If this is the case, tape the thermowell to the side of your fermenter. Controlling fermentation temperature isn't the same as controlling temperature of the air around the fermenter. Lager yeasts can under-attenuate or give off weird flavors when the beer temp fluctuates up and down.

I've tried using adjuncts in the form of both flaked corn and minute rice in the 20% range in an effort to lighten the body etc.  Hops are either Hallertauer, Saaz or Tettnang depending on what I have available and what my whim is.  I've been trying for something in the 30 - 35 IBU range in order to put it into the German pilsner range.

I recently tried this with a German pils. I added 8% roasted sweet corn to a Wey Pils base. IMO, it significantly reduced the graham/saltine flavors from the malt. It tasted like a 'watered down' Pilsner.

I'm still confused about what you perceive as flaws in you past lagers. Are they too sweet? Do they have an off flavor? Do they have good, clean flavors but just lack that 'snap'?
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