Author Topic: Lager Fermentation Questions  (Read 825 times)

Offline braufessor

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Lager Fermentation Questions
« on: January 03, 2015, 05:59:30 PM »
A couple questions in regard to lager fermentation and schedules people follow.

Primarily, I am interested in peoples thoughts/and what they have found to work best for lager fermentation.

*Assuming that the basics are taken care of - good recipe, water profile that is solid, mash ph, 90 minute boil, big/healthy yeast starter or repitch, temp control, chilled quickly to low 50's, etc.

*I am primarily thinking in terms of Bo-Pils, Helles, Dortmunder .....Urquell or Czech pils yeast.  2124 yeast.  Danish Lager yeast.  German Lager X yeast..... would be some of the main yeasts I am using.

1.) Question for the end of the boil and chilling...... cover, or no?  If I have a good vigorous 90 minute boil how much danger is there of DMS from covering my pot while chilling with immersion chiller?  Balancing the danger of contaminating wort post-boil, but don't want to cause DMS in the 10-15 minutes that it might take the wort to get down under 120-140.

2.) Fermenting.  I see all types of fermentation schedules.  Often, I see "3 weeks @ 50degrees" for instance.  If my lager is hitting under 1.020 in 7-10 days...... would I be best off getting it at a higher temp (low 60's) for a D-rest while it is still fermenting.  Does it do any good to have a D-rest at 2-3 weeks once fementation is basically complete?

3.) Are there other issues as far as the beer cleaning up flavors besides what I am thinking about so far?  Basically, is there a reason to have a lager fermenting 14-21-28 days?  Or, if active fermentation is complete at 7-12 days, and D-rest for a couple days....... is it best to get it in a keg and get it lagering as soon as possible.

Curious about what others do with their schedules.  Any input would be appreciated and feel free to send me to a link if you know where some of this is already answered well.  Thanks.

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 09:17:14 PM »
Well......this is what i do and my thought process.
 1.) I do cover my pot after a few min or so of chilling with tin foil, most of the steam has slowed down ( i brew in my garage with doors closed and no wind).

2.) There does seem to be many "fermentation schedules" out there and i think there are reasons for performing each for there own reasons. My approach is this: insure proper pitch rate for COLD pitching ( 46 to 48F), ferment at 50 to 52F till within 6 to 8pts from terminal gravity (7 to 10 days usually 1.050OG wort ), let it rise to 62F hold for a few days then slow crash a few degrees a day till at 40F then crash to 30F and transfer to keg and keep at 30 F under pressure for 3 weeks ( i dont use a secondary)

3.) My lagers tend to stay in primary on the yeast for 3 to 4 weeks then i keg/condition. so all my fermentation is complete prior to kegging/cold conditioning at 30F

If ya want some light reading try braukaiser.com good info. look for fermenting lagers i think


Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 10:56:12 PM »
1) Don’t ever cover your boil.  If you cover the pot then you are asking for DMS.  You might get lucky and not have DMS in the finished beer, but... there is no good reason to cover a boil, ever, especially if you want to avoid DMS.  I don’t know what difference it makes covering the wort after the boil, but I always cover mine right away during the chill and never get any DMS, so there’s ONE data point.

2) I follow no set number of days for fermentation.  Ferment until it’s “almost done” and then taste and see if it needs a D rest.  Usually it doesn’t, but if it does, raise it up.  In any case, it’s not wrong to raise the temp AND leave it up until fermentation is 100% complete.  Then, after fermentation is done, if you want to lager in bulk for a few weeks, that’s a good thing in my experience.  But wait until she’s done before cooling down.

3) There is quite a bit of cleanup and settling and clarification that occurs in lagering.  A couple 2-3 weeks is normal for my lagers.  If I get lazy it might go for 4-6 weeks.  I bottle mine so I shouldn’t really comment on kegging but I imagine you can safely lager directly in the keg if you wanted.

Bottom line:  There is no set schedule.  Let your yeast do the talking.  When you taste diacetyl, give it a rest.  Otherwise you don’t need to.  Don’t lager till they’re done.  Then lager “until it tastes good”, whenever that is, regardless of number of days or weeks.

P.S.  Oh yeah... and I don't secondary.  Keep everything in the primary until you're ready to keg or bottle.  No worries.  Just don't let it sit in primary for like 3 months because there is eventually at that point a slight chance of autolysis.  But not before like 10 weeks.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 10:58:36 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 11:11:05 PM »
I agree with everything Dave said.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 12:49:36 AM »
1) Don’t ever cover your boil.  If you cover the pot then you are asking for DMS.  You might get lucky and not have DMS in the finished beer, but... there is no good reason to cover a boil, ever, especially if you want to avoid DMS.  I don’t know what difference it makes covering the wort after the boil, but I always cover mine right away during the chill and never get any DMS, so there’s ONE data point.


Yeah - I NEVER cover during the boil.  I was just talking about after the boil is over..... basically from the time the flame is off and the wort is still around 200+ until the chiller gets it down to 120 or so.  Mainly asking because of a discussion I heard on the last Dr. Homebrew Podcast where they were talking about covering during chilling possibly leading to DMS..... Had never really heard about being an issue.  Just wondering if I had been missing something.

One thing I have not really done is to slowly lower temp back down after D-rest..... taking it down into the 30's before transferring to keg.  I have often just basically fermented at a flat temp of 50-52 for 2-4 weeks.  Couple days at low to mid 60 and straight into keg, lager in the keg for 4-8 weeks..... depending on taste.

Been trying to tighten up that schedule and do things with a bit more purpose.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 12:53:01 AM »
I think covering after flameout "could" cause DMS, but I'm guessing the chance is very minor, especially with 90 min boils.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 12:57:38 AM »
I think covering after flameout "could" cause DMS, but I'm guessing the chance is very minor, especially with 90 min boils.

Yeah, that was one of the big warnings after people started hopstanding. One of those things that's theoretical but not actual. If you used pils malt and only boiled for 60, covering to chill, I could see it. And actually I made an IPA a while back with a pils malt base, boiling 90, and did a hop stand with the lid on and had no DMS at all. All good.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2015, 06:23:42 PM »
After a ninety minute boil the precursors to DMS should all be boiled out. I always cover my beers as soon as I cut off the heat.

I push my lagers to complete as quickly as I can. I use WY2000 and pitch around 50. Once visible signs of fermentation appear I raise to 54 or 55 at a rate of 1-2 degrees per day. As fermentation starts winding down I run the temperature up so fermentation ends around 60-62. Then I let the beer free rise to around 70 for about a week. Then I bottle, carbonate and then lager. For a 4-5% ABV beer it spends three weeks max in the fermentor.
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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2015, 08:01:24 PM »
I've started using Marshall Schott's lager schedule.  http://brulosophy.com/methods/lager-method/  Works really well.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Lager Fermentation Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2015, 08:33:22 PM »
I've started using Marshall Schott's lager schedule.  http://brulosophy.com/methods/lager-method/  Works really well.

Yep - That was one of the sources that had me reevaluating what I have been doing in the past.