Author Topic: Brewing a Lager for the first time  (Read 2492 times)

Offline zsmith87

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Brewing a Lager for the first time
« on: March 29, 2016, 05:41:46 PM »
Hi Guys,

Entering a small competition at the end of May and want to set myself aside from the competition so I'm taking a risk and brewing a lager for the first time. I have the temperature control capabilities so I'm not really too worried about much else. But I had to ask, any specific tips or pointers regarding the brewing process for a lager? All the way from mashing in to fermentation and diacetyl rest.

Thanks.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 05:48:14 PM »
1.  Pitch enough healthy, viable yeast. (check out Mr. Malty or another yeast calculator for this)

2.  Pitch into cold wort. (at least 48-50F)

3.  Depending on how you want to run your fermentation schedule, I have had good results with this....
      Ferment the beer at 48-50F until the krausen starts to drop back into the beer.
      Ramp the temps up a few degrees/day (I usually go with 4F) until you hit 65-68F.  Let it sit for around 1
      week at these temps for a good thorough diacetyl rest. This is just how I do it, and I am sure others will
      chime in with their experiences too.

Offline goschman

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 05:56:14 PM »
Choose an easy yeast to work with. I only have about 6 lagers under my belt and have used W34/70 for each one. My first lager which was dramatically underpitched scored a 41. I have not had one issue and couldn't recommend this yeast enough for first time lager brewers.
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

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Up Next: Maibock, Braunbier

Offline rob_f

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 06:12:25 PM »
What can you tell us about your water?  Pale lagers are less forgiving about water problems.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 06:20:31 PM »
1.  Pitch enough healthy, viable yeast. (check out Mr. Malty or another yeast calculator for this)

2.  Pitch into cold wort. (at least 48-50F)

3.  Depending on how you want to run your fermentation schedule, I have had good results with this....
      Ferment the beer at 48-50F until the krausen starts to drop back into the beer.
      Ramp the temps up a few degrees/day (I usually go with 4F) until you hit 65-68F.  Let it sit for around 1
      week at these temps for a good thorough diacetyl rest. This is just how I do it, and I am sure others will
      chime in with their experiences too.



+1 to all of this.  Pretty much my fermentation schedule, too. I use double the amount of yeast for a lager as I would an equal OG ale. Double the aeration as well. Be sure to use nutrients. A strain like 2124/830/34-70 (as mentioned) is a very easy strain to use and makes excellent beer. I've used a ton of 2124. Also, after fermentation and D rest, crashing the beer @ 30-31F for several days helps speed up the clearing process quite a bit.
Jon H.

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 09:40:14 PM »
I only have about 6 lagers under my belt and have used W34/70 for each one.  I have not had one issue and couldn't recommend this yeast enough for first time lager brewers.

Yes. I really like this yeast, my last lager was a pilsner made with it that is really good.
Contrary to some peoples' opinions I can brew lager.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 10:38:36 PM »
I am fairly new to lager brewing. I thought it was an insurmountable hurdle to brew a decent lager. That turned out not to be the case. Good fermentation practices and temperature control are what you need most.

Water profile is probably next in line because such a clean beer can be tooled in many ways to accentuate small but important parts of the beer's flavor and mouthfeel.

Not sure if my lagers have that "it" factor.  :-X
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Offline zsmith87

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 12:19:19 AM »
What can you tell us about your water?  Pale lagers are less forgiving about water problems.

I live in Boston, this report is about a year old, but pretty in line where things are on a consistent basis.

http://i.imgur.com/mzwiPQq.png


Offline zsmith87

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 12:20:10 AM »
1.  Pitch enough healthy, viable yeast. (check out Mr. Malty or another yeast calculator for this)

2.  Pitch into cold wort. (at least 48-50F)

3.  Depending on how you want to run your fermentation schedule, I have had good results with this....
      Ferment the beer at 48-50F until the krausen starts to drop back into the beer.
      Ramp the temps up a few degrees/day (I usually go with 4F) until you hit 65-68F.  Let it sit for around 1
      week at these temps for a good thorough diacetyl rest. This is just how I do it, and I am sure others will
      chime in with their experiences too.

Thanks for the tips!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 01:00:04 AM »
What can you tell us about your water?  Pale lagers are less forgiving about water problems.

I live in Boston, this report is about a year old, but pretty in line where things are on a consistent basis.

http://i.imgur.com/mzwiPQq.png
That is pretty good. Maybe get a little more Ca, drop the alkalinity a little to hit the mash pH, and you can brew lagers. Consult Bru'nwater or the program of you choosing for water adjustments.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2016, 12:45:15 PM »
Also given the timeframe you may want to consider using gelatin or some other fining to accelerate clearing before you package. Look at the Brulosophy article on gelatin - it's a great resource.


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Offline zsmith87

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2016, 02:09:11 PM »
Also given the timeframe you may want to consider using gelatin or some other fining to accelerate clearing before you package. Look at the Brulosophy article on gelatin - it's a great resource.


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Yes, was planning on whirlfloc - my wife is a vegan, so play the cards you're dealt.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 02:16:18 PM »
Also given the timeframe you may want to consider using gelatin or some other fining to accelerate clearing before you package. Look at the Brulosophy article on gelatin - it's a great resource.


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Yes, was planning on whirlfloc - my wife is a vegan, so play the cards you're dealt.

Whirl flow is a kettle fining addition for the break material. Biofine-clear is vegan, and drops the yeast after fermentation.
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline zsmith87

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 02:39:32 PM »
Also given the timeframe you may want to consider using gelatin or some other fining to accelerate clearing before you package. Look at the Brulosophy article on gelatin - it's a great resource.


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Yes, was planning on whirlfloc - my wife is a vegan, so play the cards you're dealt.

Whirl flow is a kettle fining addition for the break material. Biofine-clear is vegan, and drops the yeast after fermentation.

Awesome, thanks for the tip, I'll get some.

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Brewing a Lager for the first time
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 02:42:26 PM »
Yes, I was referring specially to the conditioning/clearing phase. At a high level kettle finings like Whirlfloc help minimize trub transfer from kettle to fermentor. Biofine or gelatin are basically used as "liquid time" to hasten conditioning. If you can lager your beer for months you can achieve this clarity without finings. If you're in a rush, in my experience this is a great solution.


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