Author Topic: Lager keg experiment  (Read 1364 times)

Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Lager keg experiment
« on: September 07, 2016, 06:28:38 PM »
Against my better judgement, I had bought a Brewer's Best Oktoberfest lager kit...

After a bit of reading and having an open spot in the keg fridge, I figured I'd give it a proper try and pitch directly into a corney keg with a gas-side blow-off.  That was on 7/28.  Fermentation started after 2 days, peaking at 1 bubble/second in short order and sustaining that for a good 5 days.  Now at pitch+10, bubble-rate is around 20s, and I'm starting to think about how I should do my rest.

For reference, the fridge has a built-in adjustment range of 36-46*F, and the basement is relatively dry and stays between 75 and 77*F depending on the a/c.

Just how slowly should the temp be raised to 65 for the rest?  Would letting it sit out of the fridge be ok, or too quick?
I don't have a heater to do controlled warming; I do have a brewbit, but the site is currently down so I'm not sure how I'll manage the hold & crash afterward...

Thoughts?
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Offline tommymorris

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Lager keg experiment
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 06:44:32 PM »
I would just take the keg out of the fridge and let it sit. After a 3-7 days test for diacetyl. If you have diacetyl inject CO2 through the out post to stir and increase yeast surface area in contact with beer. Then wait a few more days. Repeat until diacetyl is gone.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 09:56:13 PM »
I would just take the keg out of the fridge and let it sit. After a 3-7 days test for diacetyl. If you have diacetyl inject CO2 through the out post to stir and increase yeast surface area in contact with beer. Then wait a few more days. Repeat until diacetyl is gone.

I agree with just pulling it out and letting it sit. I would go for about 5 days at those warmer temps prior to packaging.

Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 12:17:51 AM »
Now that I'm home, I've stumbled into a blog post* elsewhere that said much the same, and 10 days seems to be the best time for it.  I think I'll wait until Friday after work, unless apparent activity drops off a cliff before then.
Packaging will be right into another corney.  The fun part will be the crash, as I already mentioned.
Depending on the result, I'll likely get a drilled lid and an extra liquid dip tube (to shorten) so any corney I have can be used as a primary for lagers.

Since the information I originally referred to regarding primary in a keg was geared toward fermentation under pressure and not specifically about lager fermentation, I should note that the only blow-off was CO2 even with roughly a 5gal batch.  Granted, I haven't yet disturbed anything and my little usb camera is only pointed at the end of the tube...




* http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2012/03/13/diacetylrest-at-22-c-72-f/

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Offline santoch

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 02:59:18 AM »
I would just take the keg out of the fridge and let it sit. After a 3-7 days test for diacetyl. If you have diacetyl inject CO2 through the out post to stir and increase yeast surface area in contact with beer. Then wait a few more days. Repeat until diacetyl is gone.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 11:59:07 PM »
What yeast did you pitch and how much?  Some of the lager yeasts are pretty clean and attenuative.  I have found that a D-Rest is often unnecessary if you pitch enough of those yeasts.  Time cures diacetyl, also, but I know a guy that ferments all lagers fairly warm and they finish in a couple weeks - he uses yeast strains that tolerate his regimen well, so lagers can be done a few different ways.  Enjoy and welcome to the hobby and forum!
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Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2016, 02:57:51 AM »
What yeast did you pitch and how much?  Some of the lager yeasts are pretty clean and attenuative.  I have found that a D-Rest is often unnecessary if you pitch enough of those yeasts.  Time cures diacetyl, also, but I know a guy that ferments all lagers fairly warm and they finish in a couple weeks - he uses yeast strains that tolerate his regimen well, so lagers can be done a few different ways.  Enjoy and welcome to the hobby and forum!
I started with 2L of 34/70.  I didn't keep it cold during the ferment, but I did crash it the night before, took it out at the beginning of the brew and partially decanted it before pitching.  It think everything was 75-78* when I pitched.  Of course, I gave it about 8s of O2, and purged the headspace for good measure.
The fridge has at most a 3* swing, so I don't think it hit 50* for very long during active fermentation, if ever.

Oh, I've been doing extract kits on & off for about 8 years.  It's only recently that I've decided to put some effort into it, especially since I took a long break after a string of failures.  I'm now at the point equipment-wise where all that's really left is temperature control, moving to all-grain and converting from gas to electric. (Recently got a BeerBug, and I'm moderately impressed with the results: http://goo.gl/jfZv2V )
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Dreams of electric all-grain

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H2O

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Traveling Salesman Mead (Pata Pata Dub)

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Traveling Salesman Mead (Lemon Drop Remix)
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2016, 05:42:34 AM »
Lagers are different, and your procedure will dictate the schedule. I usually am done with the fermentation and D-rest in <7 days, pitching cold (46F), fermenting at 50F, a little free rise at the end,  ramping up to 65F.

The amount of yeast, yeast viability, O2, and yeast nutrients help the fermentaion vigor. I use 1 min. at 1 liter/minute flow through a stone when I oxygenate. I use whatever the yeast calculators say, and a little more for pitch volumes. Wyeast nutrient is my standard beer addition.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 05:43:13 PM »
Sounds pretty good and like Jeff, I pitch loads of yeast into a lager, typically and they. Finish quickly for that reason.  34/70 will tolerate warm temps pretty well.  Crash when it hits terminal and fine with gelatin - you can be drinking it fairly soon or just let it lager with time.  Enjoy!
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Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2016, 10:58:13 PM »
Well, it's out of the fridge!  Unfortunately, I haven't been back to the supply shop to get a replacement hydrometer so I have some inconsistencies in my measurements...
OG on the hydrometer was 1.066/79*
CG is 15.1 Brix (sg scale was about 1.042) 45*

A non-zero minority part of me thinks back in for another few days.  The majority keeps chanting "Beer!"
Good news is that there didn't seem to be anything obviously wrong with my very small sample.  ;D ;D

Crash when it hits terminal and fine with gelatin - you can be drinking it fairly soon or just let it lager with time.  Enjoy!
Quite familiar with whirlfloc & Irish moss for late-boil clarifiers.  I've heard mention of using gelatin & isinglass for post-ferment but never detailed info on how.  I imagine it's not as simple as just sprinkling the powder and waiting a day or 2...?
.:Currently Brewing:.
Dreams of electric all-grain

.:In the Fermenter:.
H2O

.:On Tap:.
Traveling Salesman Mead (Pata Pata Dub)

.:Bottles:.
Traveling Salesman Mead
Traveling Salesman Mead (Lemon Drop Remix)
Neighborhood Bully Barleywine

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2016, 12:10:42 AM »
Well, it's out of the fridge!  Unfortunately, I haven't been back to the supply shop to get a replacement hydrometer so I have some inconsistencies in my measurements...
OG on the hydrometer was 1.066/79*
CG is 15.1 Brix (sg scale was about 1.042) 45*

A non-zero minority part of me thinks back in for another few days.  The majority keeps chanting "Beer!"
Good news is that there didn't seem to be anything obviously wrong with my very small sample.  ;D ;D

Crash when it hits terminal and fine with gelatin - you can be drinking it fairly soon or just let it lager with time.  Enjoy!
Quite familiar with whirlfloc & Irish moss for late-boil clarifiers.  I've heard mention of using gelatin & isinglass for post-ferment but never detailed info on how.  I imagine it's not as simple as just sprinkling the powder and waiting a day or 2...?
This link has good instructions for using gelatin. I pour the Gelatin solution in the keg and then rack on top. That mixes it really well and gives very clear beer 3-7 days later.

http://www.bertusbrewery.com/2012/06/how-to-clear-your-beer-with-gelatin.html

Offline natebrews

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2016, 01:21:30 AM »
Gelatin is really easy to use.  I usually dump it into the keg after it has chilled.  Sometimes I give it a slosh after I seal it back up, sometimes no.  It always clears it up in a big hurry (48hr).  The first draw off the keg will be slurry, then it will go mostly clear and then will get brilliant over the next few days/pints you pull.
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2016, 11:02:37 PM »
I don't like leaving potentially-helpful threads open-ended, so here's another update:

I cracked the keg mid-week for a reading & sample; was so surprised I hadn't completely botched the batch that I forgot the reading.  Tasted ester-y; 2oz sample too small  ;)
Saturday, I did a closed transfer into a new keg.  Today I put it on the gas...

I have to say that adding the gelatin certainly helped improve & streamline my process.
I make my sanitizer in 1gal batches; prior to racking, I now dump a batch into the empty keg and shake the $#!t out of it for a good 2 minutes.  Connect it up to gas and liquid, push all the sanitizer through the tap, then whip up a batch of gelatin and dump it in.  I don't yet have fittings to do a "closed" transfer from the FastFerment to the keg, but I think the long hose supplied and the cushion of CO2 are adaquate for the task.  Fill, purge, chill, gas, wait, serve.
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Dreams of electric all-grain

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H2O

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Traveling Salesman Mead (Pata Pata Dub)

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Traveling Salesman Mead (Lemon Drop Remix)
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Offline Backyard Bruise-master

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Re: Lager keg experiment
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2016, 01:11:26 AM »
It would be rather unseemly to leave out any details regarding the finished product....or lessons learned.

So, having downed my 2nd pint of Block Party, here's the post-script to this thread...
--
-Tasting issues-
Starts off hot with a modest alcoholic/warm mouthfeel.  Yay fusel alcohols.  Likely cause is high pitching temp.  Brewing during Peak Summer poses a unique challenge when cooling with tap-water.
The strong bready finish is *very* reminiscent of Old Speckled Hen--immensely pleased by this.
Not quite carb'd enough, but meh, not a big deal when I have a tank of CO2 and time.

-Lessons-
I need to be able to consistently get to at least the low 70s when cooling after the boil. 
Fermentation temperature control!  Extract Twang may be more a function of fermentation temperature.

--
I've been wrestling with the Twang Monster since my first brew and before I knew it had the name.  This is the very first brew where that evil, wet cardboard blanket didn't invade every sensory input from start to finish.  It is there, but weak and so far removed from having a sip that it is easily discounted.  The only difference that sets this particular process apart is that it was fermented colder than recommended.

Sample size of 1, I know, but worth looking in to...?
.:Currently Brewing:.
Dreams of electric all-grain

.:In the Fermenter:.
H2O

.:On Tap:.
Traveling Salesman Mead (Pata Pata Dub)

.:Bottles:.
Traveling Salesman Mead
Traveling Salesman Mead (Lemon Drop Remix)
Neighborhood Bully Barleywine