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Vienna Lager fermentation question

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Good Day!

I've got a nice batch of lager currently bubbling away in primary, and I had a few questions as it is my first lager.

- It is an extract kit, the More Beer Vienna kit, however I steeped about a pound of chocolate malt before adding in the syrup from the kit. I was hoping that would add a nutty flavor profile and a bit more color. Am I right?

- I used white labs Southern German Lager yeast as my yeast. Pitched at about 64 degrees and brought it down in my fridge to an ambient temp of 50 degrees. It has been bubbling nicely since the evening of the 7th of Sept. I pulled a bit of beer and did a gravity reading, and it is about 1.020. It started at 1.040. Is this normal?

- I read on a web site that lagers for homebrewers should go through a small period of temperature increase before racking the beer. Is this a good idea?

- I did 1 oz of Czech Saaz during the boil, and was supposed (according to the kit) to add in .5 oz during the last 1 minute for aroma. I forgot to do the aroma hops. What could I expect to get if I did that .5 oz or even 1 oz as a dry hopping in the keg? That is what dry hopping is right? Is that bad to do with pellets (in a bag of course)?

- When I do rack the beer to the secondary (keg) the temperature needs to be much lower than primary ferm temp right? What sort of temperature range am I looking at here, and what is the effect that it will have on the finished product if the temp is lower or higher?

I appreciate any feedback, or even just links to good guides. I have read up a bit, but I wanted to ask before I did something that might mess up the brew.

I hope it wasn't a whole pound of chocolate malt.That would be more of a porter.

A diacentyl rest is a good idea and even more so because you pitched so warm. Pitching plenty of yeast colder than fermentation is a better method. Even when pitching cold a diacetyl rest is a good idea but less necessary.

I just toss dry hops in, others use bags and even tea balls. I use a secondary but you can just do it in the keg.

Rack when it is at FG and the diacetyl rest is over. Keep it cold for a number of weeks before serving.

It was indeed a whole pound.  :P

When you do a diacetyl rest, how much should you bring the temp up? And for how long? I assume it would be until the FG is reached.

That pound of chocolate malt has no longer made it a vienna lager. It'll be a completly different beer. It's closer to a lager porter as mentioned above. Zero dark roasted malts are used in a vienna lager. This beer will be dark brown and roasty.

It started at 1.040 right? Primary fermentation rule of thumb is 1 day of fermenting for every 4 gravity points. 40/4=10 days. It should complete primary fermentation after 10 days. Waiting 14 days is probably better and wont hurt anything . 45 degrees is about right.

Next is the diacetyl rest. For a diacetyl rest, bring the beer out of the fridge for 2.5-3 days at room temp or adjust your temp comtroller if possible. This is the temp increase you read about. Basically , let it warm up and have a good full day at room temperature (60-75 degrees).

Next comes the lagering phase. Rack it to another carboy or the keg. It is common to do this secondary fermentation colder. Lager means to store cold. You should lager for another 14 days before serving. 30 days is fine too. Lager between 35-45 degrees. It will be fairly to very cloudy. The lagering will clear it up.

The added chocolate will probably cover up some of the lager notes, but it should be a smooth roasty beer. Remember that the chocolate malt will probably add 4-5 points on your final gravity in a 5 gallon batch. So if the kit says a final gravity of 1.010, you'll probably only reach 1.014. Make sense?
If you want to add the dry hops, add them 2 days before the diacetyl rest. It's not necessary now though.  Not in the keg.

Here is the recipe as posted on the B3 fourm.

Vienna Lager - Extract Kit 297

7# German Pilsner

4oz Caramunich
2oz Carafa Special II

1oz Czech Saaz @ 60 mins
.5oz Czech Saaz @ 1 min

Saflager S-23 (I use WLP 838 Southern German)


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