Author Topic: First lager!  (Read 8051 times)

Offline Phil_M

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First lager!
« on: April 16, 2016, 02:37:11 AM »
Finally pulled the trigger on a chest freezer! Been wanting to try my hand at lagers for a long time, but of course I've got some questions...

I plan on buying a bulk bag of pils malt. I know WORT-H.O.G. advocates Best Malz, and I know a few other folks do as well. Any suggestions?

I know this isn't the equipment section, but any advice on temp controllers? I could build my own, but part of me wants a COTS solution.

Most importantly, what should I brew first? I have a pack of WLP835 German Lager X from the recent Vault release. Clearly a higher gravity brew wouldn't be wise, and I'm thinking the opposite end of the spectrum holds issues as well. I'm thinking Boh Pils, Marzen, maybe a vienna lager? Any other thoughts/suggestions?


I'd also like to respectfully ask that people ignore attempts to drive this off topic, and not respond to any problematic posts.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline fmader

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 03:02:22 AM »
1. I use avangard pilz for my Pilsner malt needs. I must disclose that I rarely brew a lager though lol.

2. I have 4 or 5 of these temperature controllers that I have built. It works really well. The nice thing is, this particular seller is in California. All of mine have come from China and take like 3 weeks to get here. http://m.ebay.com/itm/10A-110V-Digital-Temperature-Controller-Temp-Sensor-Thermostat-Control-Relay-US-/141731449329?nav=SEARCH.

3. I've been temped to brew a Vienna lager.
Frank

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 03:47:42 AM »
The 835 works really well for a bigger Helles, Dunkel, or Doppelbock. Those are what Andechs is known for. It might do OK in a German Pils. I don't know if I would use it for a Czech Pils. Märzen would be Good.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 04:06:24 AM »
Dunkel! I brain farted on that one, it's one of my favorite styles. That may be the place to start.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline pete b

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 12:53:53 PM »
Phil, I just made my first lager successfully and have another in the fermenter. I posted the same topic "first lager" under recipes and got some great responses so check that out.
About the chest freezer: I learned that I could make it run at fridge temps with an adjustment to a screw behind the temp control knob. There is a thread in kegging and bottling about that that is recent, I think it's about fridges. It's a pia for me to do links on the device I'm on, if you can't find these threads I'll grab the links when I'm on a PC. Long story short the temp control trick is easy but requires patience to adjust, wait for temp change, re adjust etc.
You already have the skills so I don't think you'll have a problem. Bigger starter, more aeration, lower temp, more time. Good luck!
Here's the links: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=26048.0
 https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25984.15
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 12:59:05 PM by pete b »
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 01:26:57 PM »
I brew German lagers typically, but I'm not much help on malts. I use whatever my LHBS has, and they switch between Avangard, Best and Wyermann at times. I'd advise reading up on some of the differences in pH with these, as I've found some maltsters product to require less acid addition (or end up with too low pH).

As for controllers, I have two. The  Ohmbrew Automations Fermostat is nice, but I find I don't use the programmable features as much as I thought. So basically I overpaid for what I use it for.

I bought a BrewPi a few months ago and I'm having a lot of fun with that. I can connect to my controller over the Internet and start allowing my temp to rise when I see the heat generated by the fermentation backing off.

It's a little bit of a chore to get it set up if you're not a computer person, but there are great instructions out there and I like the ability to check in on things when I'm not home.

Offline blair.streit

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2016, 01:34:05 PM »
I forgot to suggest a style. With summer around the corner something like a Dortmunder Export might be nice. But if you really want to see what that yeast is all about maybe a Munich Helles would put it on display better?

Offline euge

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2016, 01:41:03 PM »
I recommend reading up on Brulosopher's quick turn-around for lagers. I'm making better lagers than ever in about the same time it takes an ale to be ready.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2016, 01:44:28 PM »
I recommend reading up on Brulosopher's quick turn-around for lagers. I'm making better lagers than ever in about the same time it takes an ale to be ready.
+1 to that. I first heard about this on the BN a  few years ago, but Brulosohpy has done a great job testing it out and explaining specifics on how to execute it.

Offline narcout

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2016, 03:33:55 PM »
I know this isn't the equipment section, but any advice on temp controllers? I could build my own, but part of me wants a COTS solution.

I've had this one for a while and really like it (much better than the Johnson A419 I used before).

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334
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Offline denny

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2016, 03:35:57 PM »
I know this isn't the equipment section, but any advice on temp controllers? I could build my own, but part of me wants a COTS solution.

I've had this one for a while and really like it (much better than the Johnson A419 I used before).

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334

same here
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Offline 69franx

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2016, 04:11:38 PM »
And here
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2016, 04:57:27 PM »
I'm not sure that I'll do the screw adjustment on the freezer, if it's not being used to brew it may get pressed into short-term food storage. It will be nice to have some "overflow" room for food when we're preparing for a party, so I want to be able to revert back to "freezer" at the push of a button.

And the Auber looks perfect for that, I'll probably go that route.

I know this gets rehashed on here all the time, but any suggestions for heating? I plan on putting two 6.5 gal glass carboys in the chest freezer, to ferment 10 gallon batches. What's the best way to heat them both evenly? I've been using a heat pad, but that's only good for one carboy at a time.

I haven't been this stoked since I started brewing. I love lagers and kolsches, can't wait to start brewing them!
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline pete b

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2016, 07:22:59 PM »
I'm not sure that I'll do the screw adjustment on the freezer, if it's not being used to brew it may get pressed into short-term food storage. It will be nice to have some "overflow" room for food when we're preparing for a party, so I want to be able to revert back to "freezer" at the push of a button.

And the Auber looks perfect for that, I'll probably go that route.

I know this gets rehashed on here all the time, but any suggestions for heating? I plan on putting two 6.5 gal glass carboys in the chest freezer, to ferment 10 gallon batches. What's the best way to heat them both evenly? I've been using a heat pad, but that's only good for one carboy at a time.

I haven't been this stoked since I started brewing. I love lagers and kolsches, can't wait to start brewing them!
If your switching back and forth that's a good move. I have a stand up freezer for food so it's actually extra refrigeration I could use.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: First lager!
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2016, 08:55:03 PM »

I know this isn't the equipment section, but any advice on temp controllers? I could build my own, but part of me wants a COTS solution.

  I use an Inkbird 308 controller, it's simple to use and to set up, and wasn't much more than building my own.

http://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Itc-308-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B011296704?ie=UTF8&keywords=inkbird%20308&qid=1460839963&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
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Currently drinking - Amarillo saison
Currently fermenting - Pale ale 1 - 2017