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Lager Fermentation Question (german schwarzbier)

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snailale:
Hey guys,

First time posting on the forum, but I have been an AHA member for 2 years. I have a question about the lagering process.

I have two beers in primary fermentation, in my chest freezer, at 50F (German Schwarzbier and an IPA). The Schwarz has been in primary for 3 weeks (bubbling about once every 30 seconds, no krausen) and the IPA has been in primary for two weeks (bubbling about once every 15 seconds, but still with a thick layer of krausen . I am looking to begin the lagering process for the schwarzbier ASAP, because I need it to be ready to drink by  June 11th.

My question is when should I began the lagering process? I normally do not use secondary fermenters, just a really long primary instead. Should I transfer to a seondary and lager, transfer to a keg and lager (leaving it to naturally pressurize) or leave it in the primary and lager?

Also, does anyone do a diacetyl rest at 65F before lagering? I was told to do this for at least 24hrs before lagering the beer.

I apologize for the number of questions, I am just confused with the lagering process, because I have never done a lager before.

Any input/advice anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

denny:
Take a gravity reading.  That'll tell you 2 things...first, if the beer is done with primary and ready for lagering.  Second, taste the sample.  If you taste diacetyl, you need the rest.  If you don't, no rest.

bluesman:
Let your gravity be your guide. Estimate and measure the final gravity. When you have reached it you may need a D-rest based on taste as Denny has indicated. I typically do a D-rest for about a week at 70ish. At that point I would then keg and lager as close to 32F as possible without freezing. The colder the better.

richardt:
http://brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue1.2/fix.html

a good resource that may answer your questions.

snailale:

--- Quote from: bluesman on May 06, 2010, 11:55:21 AM ---Let your gravity be your guide. Estimate and measure the final gravity. When you have reached it you may need a D-rest based on taste as Denny has indicated. I typically do a D-rest for about a week at 70ish. At that point I would then keg and lager as close to 32F as possible without freezing. The colder the better.

--- End quote ---

Thanks for all of your input everyone, very helpful. During the lagering process, will the keg naturally carbonate itself, or should I add some sugar?

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