Author Topic: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.  (Read 4190 times)

Offline Nick_D

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Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« on: April 13, 2016, 01:28:09 PM »
So, I've brewed a Helles. All grain 98% pilsner malt with 2% carahell, WLP833 yeast. Currently at 1.014, needs to get to 1.010 - 1.011. I was attempting to follow the traditional 'cold fermentation with conventional storage fermentation schedule, as outlined on Kai's site http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fermenting_Lagers (See diagram A)

The story/stats: so far.

- 4 gallon batch
-1.052 OG  (13.1 brix, uncorrected) , 12.86 °P
- estimated 289 billion yeast cells pitched (stepped up starter) at 43.7 F into oxygenated wort (@ 1 minute at 1 liter/min flow rate)
-Fast ferment test revealed FG 1.010-1.011, 2.84 °P (6.2 brix uncorrected) tested with both hydrometer, and calibrated refractometer (correction factor of 1.019)
-fermentation allowed to free rise to 48.2. Krausen and vigorous fermentation achieved within 24hrs.
-Fermentation @ 48.2 for 5 days, then temperature dropped by 9F each day until reaching 41 F  (i.e 48.2 > 47.3 > 46.4 etc). SG at 41 F was 1.013 , 3.33 °P (6.8 brix uncorrected)
- Racked to secondary keg.
- Added Kruasen made from saved wort (1.6 quarts/0.4 gallons)
-continued to drop temp by 9 F per day, until reaching 33 F. This is where I screwed up. Apparently the rate of temp decrease needs to be dramatically slowed once past 37.5 (according to Narziss). I believe I put the yeast to sleep by chilling too fast, and hence the stalled activity.
- In an effort to fix the situation, I allowed the temp to rise back to 48.2, and krausened with a further 0.6 gallons, made from DME. However in hindsight, I definitely overpitched into this krausen, and thus it didn't culture the new, vigorous yeast it should have. Lag time to high krausen in the batch of krausen was less than 12 hours.
-pitched krausen, which had totally flocculated in the secondary within a couple of days, with no change of gravity (now at 1.014 from the two doses of krausen).
- After leaving it for 5 or so days, with no change in gravity, I roused the yeast by racking to a new keg, and swirling the first one to pick up some yeast and raised the temp to 51 F. Again, no change in gravity after 2 days.

So, with all that being said. What would anyone recommend I do? Allow to rise to 65 F or so, and leave there till (hopefully) full attenuation, then drop back down to lagering temps, abandoning the traditional cold lager fermentation schedule? Should I make a fresh starter, and pitch only the yeast, and allow to rise in temp?

Sorry for the long post, but I've tried to put as much info in, to save people having to ask for those details.

Thank you in advance!

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 01:56:54 PM »
So, I've brewed a Helles. All grain 98% pilsner malt with 2% carahell, WLP833 yeast. Currently at 1.014, needs to get to 1.010 - 1.011. I was attempting to follow the traditional 'cold fermentation with conventional storage fermentation schedule, as outlined on Kai's site http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fermenting_Lagers (See diagram A)

The story/stats: so far.

- 4 gallon batch
-1.052 OG  (13.1 brix, uncorrected) , 12.86 °P
- estimated 289 billion yeast cells pitched (stepped up starter) at 43.7 F into oxygenated wort (@ 1 minute at 1 liter/min flow rate)
-Fast ferment test revealed FG 1.010-1.011, 2.84 °P (6.2 brix uncorrected) tested with both hydrometer, and calibrated refractometer (correction factor of 1.019)
-fermentation allowed to free rise to 48.2. Krausen and vigorous fermentation achieved within 24hrs.
-Fermentation @ 48.2 for 5 days, then temperature dropped by 9F each day until reaching 41 F  (i.e 48.2 > 47.3 > 46.4 etc). SG at 41 F was 1.013 , 3.33 °P (6.8 brix uncorrected)
- Racked to secondary keg.
- Added Kruasen made from saved wort (1.6 quarts/0.4 gallons)
-continued to drop temp by 9 F per day, until reaching 33 F. This is where I screwed up. Apparently the rate of temp decrease needs to be dramatically slowed once past 37.5 (according to Narziss). I believe I put the yeast to sleep by chilling too fast, and hence the stalled activity.
- In an effort to fix the situation, I allowed the temp to rise back to 48.2, and krausened with a further 0.6 gallons, made from DME. However in hindsight, I definitely overpitched into this krausen, and thus it didn't culture the new, vigorous yeast it should have. Lag time to high krausen in the batch of krausen was less than 12 hours.
-pitched krausen, which had totally flocculated in the secondary within a couple of days, with no change of gravity (now at 1.014 from the two doses of krausen).
- After leaving it for 5 or so days, with no change in gravity, I roused the yeast by racking to a new keg, and swirling the first one to pick up some yeast and raised the temp to 51 F. Again, no change in gravity after 2 days.

So, with all that being said. What would anyone recommend I do? Allow to rise to 65 F or so, and leave there till (hopefully) full attenuation, then drop back down to lagering temps, abandoning the traditional cold lager fermentation schedule? Should I make a fresh starter, and pitch only the yeast, and allow to rise in temp?

Sorry for the long post, but I've tried to put as much info in, to save people having to ask for those details.

Thank you in advance!

A couple of issues I see here. First, it seems that you rushed the fermentation schedule a bit. You started to cold crash the beer after only 5 days of primary fermentation.  This will stall some strains (or at very least slow them down).  Usually at day 5 on an average gravity lager is when I am bumping up my temps for two reasons

-1. a proper diacetyl rest and 2. keeping the yeast active to finish fermenting the wort.

I usually let my lagers it around 68F for at least one full week prior to packaging.  This gives the yeast enough time to condition the beer and fully attenuate. Also I believe krausening is typically done at warmer temps to promote healthy yeast activity and to allow for the yeast to condition the beer properly. 

With that being said, you have two options.

1.  Let it be, carb it up and drink it.  At 1.014 FG, it is not that high and will still taste delicious.  I think its pretty hard even for a trained judge to taste the difference between a 1.014 FG and a 1.011 FG. 

2.  Let the keg warm up to room temps (70F) and let it sit for another 10 days or so in hopes that the yeast will become active and finish fermenting those final points. Be patient with this.

Good luck and let us know what you decide on doing.


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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 02:01:51 PM »
Sounds like you were trying traditional German lager technique. Personally, I feel if it tastes good you did a pretty good job. How does it taste? If it tastes good I wouldn't worry about the numbers.

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2016, 07:14:39 PM »
It was at 1.013 at 41F? That means it should be more like 1.011-1.012 at 68F. It reads higher when it's colder. Suggestion for the future - aerate longer than a minute, give it 2 minutes at least. Sounds like you did everything else fine. You didn't mention your mash profile though. Do a step mash if you didn't; try 60 minutes at 145F, step to 162F for another 60 minutes.

From what I've read, the traditional cold fermentation schedule can be tricky, you just have to make sure to have all the right variables in place for it to not stall out on you.
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 06:38:10 AM »
It was at 1.013 at 41F? That means it should be more like 1.011-1.012 at 68F. It reads higher when it's colder. Suggestion for the future - aerate longer than a minute, give it 2 minutes at least. Sounds like you did everything else fine. You didn't mention your mash profile though. Do a step mash if you didn't; try 60 minutes at 145F, step to 162F for another 60 minutes.

From what I've read, the traditional cold fermentation schedule can be tricky, you just have to make sure to have all the right variables in place for it to not stall out on you.
I'm brewing my Helles and a Dunkel this weekend and for kicks I think I'll try your 60 @ 145 60 @162 just for a look see. My only stab at a step included a protein rest.

The Helles is a solid 40pt beer with single infusion, but I'd go the extra effort every time if it bumped it to 45

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 10:29:54 AM »
It was at 1.013 at 41F? That means it should be more like 1.011-1.012 at 68F. It reads higher when it's colder.

Bingo - I missed that. Your hydrometer will have a calibration chart that you need to use according to temp. If you are using a tight ranged la thermometer, for instance, it could be off many points at cooler or warmer temps. Sounds like you are probably right in your range after all.

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 01:15:16 PM »
It was at 1.013 at 41F? That means it should be more like 1.011-1.012 at 68F. It reads higher when it's colder. Suggestion for the future - aerate longer than a minute, give it 2 minutes at least. Sounds like you did everything else fine. You didn't mention your mash profile though. Do a step mash if you didn't; try 60 minutes at 145F, step to 162F for another 60 minutes.

From what I've read, the traditional cold fermentation schedule can be tricky, you just have to make sure to have all the right variables in place for it to not stall out on you.
I'm brewing my Helles and a Dunkel this weekend and for kicks I think I'll try your 60 @ 145 60 @162 just for a look see. My only stab at a step included a protein rest.

The Helles is a solid 40pt beer with single infusion, but I'd go the extra effort every time if it bumped it to 45
Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. I like what it does for the beer and I don't mind spending the extra time. Let us know what you think.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 02:50:40 PM »
I also think your fine.  That said, seems like you dropped temps a bit more aggressively than I recall.  I thought it was like a 2-3F than 9F.  In any event, I think the traditional cool method is antiquated but by all means, triple decoct using undermodified malt and lager all summer if you are into it.  Heck, dig a system of caverns under your basement while you're at it  ;D

2 hour mashes?!  I am trying to cram the entire brew into 2 hours...  Jesse, did you try shorter rests and found that you prefer then longer?  I am pretty happy with my uber hochkuz (15m) but I plan to try "a REAL LONG rest" of 30m :o to see if I see improvement. 
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2016, 03:27:15 PM »
Do a step mash if you didn't; try 60 minutes at 145F, step to 162F for another 60 minutes.

I can't go anywhere without seeing this now. Beta is only active for a max of 30 minutes ;)
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 03:33:09 PM »
I also think your fine.  That said, seems like you dropped temps a bit more aggressively than I recall.  I thought it was like a 2-3F than 9F.  In any event, I think the traditional cool method is antiquated but by all means, triple decoct using undermodified malt and lager all summer if you are into it.  Heck, dig a system of caverns under your basement while you're at it  ;D

2 hour mashes?!  I am trying to cram the entire brew into 2 hours...  Jesse, did you try shorter rests and found that you prefer then longer?  I am pretty happy with my uber hochkuz (15m) but I plan to try "a REAL LONG rest" of 30m :o to see if I see improvement.

The rule is 1c.

Traditional cool is FAR from antiquated. INFACT! The accelerated warm that is spoken as gospel is actually only supposed to ever be used in CCV's where you are fermenting under pressure, which suppresses the ester formation.  ;)

I can assure you the idea of short changing a brewday, is not going to get you where you need to be in regards to German lagers. There is no point in even doing an Alpha rest if its isn't above 71ish, and for at least 60 minutes. So maybe I just helped you shave more time! :)
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2016, 03:35:18 PM »
I also think your fine.  That said, seems like you dropped temps a bit more aggressively than I recall.  I thought it was like a 2-3F than 9F.  In any event, I think the traditional cool method is antiquated but by all means, triple decoct using undermodified malt and lager all summer if you are into it.  Heck, dig a system of caverns under your basement while you're at it  ;D

2 hour mashes?!  I am trying to cram the entire brew into 2 hours...  Jesse, did you try shorter rests and found that you prefer then longer?  I am pretty happy with my uber hochkuz (15m) but I plan to try "a REAL LONG rest" of 30m :o to see if I see improvement.

The rule is 1c.

Traditional cool is FAR from antiquated. INFACT! The accelerated warm that is spoken as gospel is actually only supposed to ever be used in CCV's where you are fermenting under pressure, which suppresses the ester formation.  ;)

I can assure you the idea of short changing a brewday, is not going to get you where you need to be in regards to German lagers. There is no point in even doing an Alpha rest if its isn't above 71ish, and for at least 60 minutes. So maybe I just helped you shave more time! :)

Bryan, you've never tried any of my lagers where I do the accelerated fermentation and and single step mash.  How do you know they're missing anything?  And we've never tried yours....hell, you won't even tell us what you're doing so we can try it ourselves.  I fond it hard to take your advice seriously.
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2016, 03:43:55 PM »
I also think your fine.  That said, seems like you dropped temps a bit more aggressively than I recall.  I thought it was like a 2-3F than 9F.  In any event, I think the traditional cool method is antiquated but by all means, triple decoct using undermodified malt and lager all summer if you are into it.  Heck, dig a system of caverns under your basement while you're at it  ;D

2 hour mashes?!  I am trying to cram the entire brew into 2 hours...  Jesse, did you try shorter rests and found that you prefer then longer?  I am pretty happy with my uber hochkuz (15m) but I plan to try "a REAL LONG rest" of 30m :o to see if I see improvement.

The rule is 1c.

Traditional cool is FAR from antiquated. INFACT! The accelerated warm that is spoken as gospel is actually only supposed to ever be used in CCV's where you are fermenting under pressure, which suppresses the ester formation.  ;)

I can assure you the idea of short changing a brewday, is not going to get you where you need to be in regards to German lagers. There is no point in even doing an Alpha rest if its isn't above 71ish, and for at least 60 minutes. So maybe I just helped you shave more time! :)

Bryan, you've never tried any of my lagers where I do the accelerated fermentation and and single step mash.  How do you know they're missing anything?  And we've never tried yours....hell, you won't even tell us what you're doing so we can try it ourselves.  I fond it hard to take your advice seriously.

We must be at an impasse then, cause I feel the same about yours!

However, what you quoted has no insinuation that I was speaking about your beer. I just stated facts about warm fermentation, and temperature ramps... They are not my facts, but German brewing facts. I urge you to pick up a German brewing textbook and fact check it! I could very well be wrong ;)

Edit: Denny, it's funny you bring up what I am doing to prove to you. Actually the answer to the million dollar "question" came up eons ago on HBD, and I'll be damned if it wasn't solved then as well! I may have saw your name there a few times as well ;)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 03:47:56 PM by The Beerery »
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 03:47:49 PM »
We must be at an impasse then, cause I feel the same about yours!

However, what you quoted has no insinuation that I was speaking about your beer. I just stated facts about warm fermentation, and temperature ramps... They are not my facts, but German brewing facts. I urge you to pick up a German brewing textbook and fact check it! I could very well be wrong ;)

Oh, I have no doubt that the what you quoted is an accurate quote.  What I'm getting at is that quote has no relevance to my brewing.  I really don't care what dead Germans say if my own tastebuds and experience tell me something different. 
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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2016, 03:49:03 PM »
We must be at an impasse then, cause I feel the same about yours!

However, what you quoted has no insinuation that I was speaking about your beer. I just stated facts about warm fermentation, and temperature ramps... They are not my facts, but German brewing facts. I urge you to pick up a German brewing textbook and fact check it! I could very well be wrong ;)

Oh, I have no doubt that the what you quoted is an accurate quote.  What I'm getting at is that quote has no relevance to my brewing.  I really don't care what dead Germans say if my own tastebuds and experience tell me something different.

Sadly, they are still alive... Trust you me though, if you can't taste it I totally agree with you. There is no point.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Stuck lager (couple of points sg) need advice.
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 07:36:51 PM »
I also think your fine.  That said, seems like you dropped temps a bit more aggressively than I recall.  I thought it was like a 2-3F than 9F.  In any event, I think the traditional cool method is antiquated but by all means, triple decoct using undermodified malt and lager all summer if you are into it.  Heck, dig a system of caverns under your basement while you're at it  ;D

2 hour mashes?!  I am trying to cram the entire brew into 2 hours...  Jesse, did you try shorter rests and found that you prefer then longer?  I am pretty happy with my uber hochkuz (15m) but I plan to try "a REAL LONG rest" of 30m :o to see if I see improvement.

The rule is 1c.

Traditional cool is FAR from antiquated. INFACT! The accelerated warm that is spoken as gospel is actually only supposed to ever be used in CCV's where you are fermenting under pressure, which suppresses the ester formation.  ;)

I can assure you the idea of short changing a brewday, is not going to get you where you need to be in regards to German lagers. There is no point in even doing an Alpha rest if its isn't above 71ish, and for at least 60 minutes. So maybe I just helped you shave more time! :)

Isn't alpha conversion well documented to occur faster than beta?   
Sam
Sandusky, OH