First Time Lagering

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

First Time Lagering

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:48 pm

I am about to brew another batch, and have never tried lagering before...Not sure of the style (bock, maybe?), it was a recipe I had written down a couple of months ago, and never really decided to go through with it until I found it again...

Anyway, the yeast is WLP920, Old Bavarian Lager yeast (test tube), and the store attendant told me I had to keep my fermentation temp between 50-55 degrees, and he also showed me the tables about it..But, I have also read in a few articles that you can lager at even colder temps...

I have a spare fridge in my garage that we keep regular drinks in, but didn't want to turn it to the lowest setting without finding out if I could leave it in the 40-45 range, or thereabouts...Any thoughts??
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:50 pm

And before I forget, how long should I leave the batch for my primary fermentation?? I have read and heard anywhere from 2 weeks to a month using this method....
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

lagering in spare fridge

Postby tikithed » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:04 am

I check my fridge last night, just for future reference, for the highest temp it would sit at. I turned the dial to the lowest (warmest) setting. I then took my electronic meat thermometer to take a reading, I got it at Bed, Bath & Beyond, you know the ones that have a cable so you will be able to shut the door & still get a temp reading. There are others that have the same set up but the have a lower range & not used for food. Anyways My Spare fridge went to 50 degrees F.

Good luck
tikithed
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:20 am
Location: Fort Worth, Texas

To Lager or not to Lager

Postby brewmeisterintng » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:51 pm

That is the question all of us ale brewers have asked ourselves but once you have gone lager and actually tasted what you have been missing, you will wonder why you didn't try it before. I actually bought a freezer and a temp control unit to control the temp for both ales and lagers as I live in Tennessee where it can get quite warm in the summer and my ales were suffering as a result. However, now I brew three lagers to every one ale. Yes, the lagers take twice as long but are worth the wait.
To answer your question: I use the 1 week primary, 2 week secondary and 3 week conditioning for my ales. I double those times for my lagers. Pay close attention to your FG as it will take some time to get down to the reading you are looking for. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day and if you are looking for a fast turn around time do not look in the direction of lagers. I have posted a Bitburger Clone and Dundalks Pride Irish Lager both of which turned out fantastic.
-James-
User avatar
brewmeisterintng
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

Re: To Lager or Not To Lager

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:15 am

Thanks for the tips, I backed off the temp control a bit more (I had some leeway between 1 and 0), and got it to 50 degrees. I pitched my yeast yesterday afternoon around 4, but I didn't see any sign of activity this morning before I left at 6 (14 hrs). The tube said between 5-15 hrs before you see any activity, so I guess I'll have to wait until I get home, DOH!!

BTW, do you normally leave it at the same temp until bottling, then drop it down afterwards? From what I have read, that seems to be the norm....
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

One more thing

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:14 pm

I almost for the most important thing. When brewing lagers you should double the quantity of yeast also. I always make a yeast starter two days prior to brew day so that I always have a good quantity of active yeast ready for their job of turning my wort into BEER. There are plenty of sites out there on the how to's of making a yeast starter so I won't go into it here but just know that they work for both ales and lagers providing enough healthy yeast that will dramatically reduce lag time and ensure a good fermentation. Don't worry it's nearly imposible to over pitch yeast.
-James
User avatar
brewmeisterintng
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

First time lagering, cont.....

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:28 am

At this point, I have no activity (almost 48 hrs since I pitched), probably due to not using a yeast starter, which would have helped immensely after some research...

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do at this point?? HELP!! :(
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

Helps on the way.

Postby brewmeisterintng » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:20 pm

Let the temp raise until you get activity and then start lowering the tem back down. You could try pitching more yeast but at this point you really don't want to airate the wort again. How high was your starting gravity?
No matter what you do at this point you are going to end up with some off flavors but it is not ready for the sink yet.
If you raise the temp for 6 hours and still get no action. It is time to look at pitching a second bacth of yeast.
I can't stress yeast starter enough as you KNOW without a doubt that it is going to take and lag is limited to a max of 3 hours for both lagers and ales.
Hope this helps.
-James-
User avatar
brewmeisterintng
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

Thanks for the tips!

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:24 pm

I'll try raising the temp like you said and see what happens...My OG was 1.058, just of from my predicted 1.061, so everything else turned out good. I won't pitch again unless I don't see any activity, but it will have to be in the morning, I don't have another batch of yeast at this time, so I'll have to drive to Richardson o pick it up (ONLY 60 miles, ugh!!)...Thanks again!
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

While your there

Postby brewmeisterintng » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:33 pm

Ypu might want to pick up some dry yeast packet to keep in frig as a backup. I have been in your shoes but was fortunate to have a buddy that had a packet that he could spare. I recommend SAFLAGER S-23 and Coopers for ales. Both ferment clean.
-James-
User avatar
brewmeisterintng
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

Dry Yeast

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:35 pm

I actually ordered some from Austin Homebrew this morning (2 packets), at least that way, I'll have some backup in the future...Thanks again!
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

Finally!

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:33 pm

My yeast finally decided to kick off this morning, after I removed it from the outside fridge...It is bubbling about every 5 seconds at this point...

When should I place it back in the fridge to continue the lagering process?? I was thinking I would let it go for a little while, then put it back in this afternoon before I leave, about 6 hrs from now.....
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas

Your call

Postby brewmeisterintng » Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:50 pm

If it were me I would wait till I knew that the yeast / krousen was going good before lowering the temp back down. When you start dropping the temp don't crash drop or you will end up stalling out again. I am guessing you are around 60-70 degrees. I would try to drop 5 a day till I get back down to lager temp.
-James-
User avatar
brewmeisterintng
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: Clarksville, TN

Well....

Postby FrankieBoy007 » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:45 am

I actually placed it back in the fridge earlier than I had mentioned previously, but I am pleased to report the yeast is working great this morning! As you said, I may have some off flavors, but hoprfully not enough to make a siginificant difference....

In the future, I'll be sure to use a starter to get it going (live and learn, eh?)....Thanks for all your tips, I'll be sure to keep them in mind in the future! I have been brewing less than a year at this point, so I still have a lot to learn...I'll let you know how this one turns out!

When I first posted this, I mentioned I had found this recipe in one of my notebooks, but didn't list a style...I just so happened to come across a 3x5 card with the exact recipe, and it is SUPPOSED to be a dunkel, one of my favorites!! Here's hoping it turns out!
FrankieBoy007
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:13 am
Location: Texas


Return to Techniques, Methods, Tips & How To

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest