Time for my First Lager?

Discussion in 'General Recipe Discussion' started by ssashton, Jan 10, 2020.

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  1. Jan 10, 2020 #1

    ssashton

    ssashton

    ssashton

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    Hi all,

    I'm keen to make a larger, but the fact recipes I've seen recommend months of conditioning time puts me off. Yeah I know that is what 'largering' is however I struggle to wait 3 weeks for my IPA!

    Are there larger recipes which are more likely to taste good when young? (or ones I should avoid?)

    I've just upgraded from plastic barrels to corny kegs so I do now have the option of filtering and force carbonation. Would filtering bypass much of the conditioning time or is it less about clarity and more about developing the right flavour?

    Must admit my plan for the corny kegs was to use yeast for the major carbonation and install a top draw / floating tube setup.

    Thanks for your input!
     
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  2. Jan 10, 2020 #2

    Slid

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    I would suggest that you look initially at a Kolsh style beer if you are impatient for a clean tasting and light beer.

    Another approach might be to use something like US05 as a yeast as this gives a fairly clean finish, even at much higher temps than a lager beer would be fermented.

    Conditioning is pretty much achieved in contact with at least some of the yeast. The conditioning is sort of all about getting the right flavour.
     
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  3. Jan 10, 2020 #3

    fury_tea

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    I'm currently working through this method, in order to have a lager ready in around 3 weeks:

    http://brulosophy.com/methods/lager-method/

    Lagering is a technique. Some people will (rightly?) say you can't make a lager without long low fermentation and a very long low conditioning time, but with the above methods you can have something that approximates a lager in a fraction of the time. Is it the correct way to make a lager? No. Will it get you something that tastes, looks and for a homebrewer is indistinguishable from a lager? Apparently.

    My wife's brother is coming to visit and he likes lagers so I thought I'd give it a shot. Hoping it's drinkable, and better still enjoyable. Time will tell (and a lot less time than the usual methods).
     
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  4. Jan 11, 2020 #4

    chrisb8

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    I have used this method and of course having good temperature control is important. I also use a 'cold crash' and gelatine fining for clarity.

    Does it produce an approximation of a lager in a few weeks? Yes.
    But does that lager look and taste better after a couple of months of cold conditioning? Yes.

    I feel it's a useful method of making a lager if you are a) in a hurry or b) want/need to make it during the warmer months. Otherwise I will stick to making larger batches during the winter and conditioning in the cold shed ready for the summer.
     
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  5. Jan 13, 2020 #5

    ssashton

    ssashton

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    Larry's Beer 'n BBQ has been doing larger with pressure fermentation and says it goes quickly and clean (although he seems the patient type). I might try that now I have some corny kegs I could ferment in.

    I'm currently trying an IPA fermentation in my old plastic pressure barrel. It only goes up to about 10 PSI before the over pressure valve kicks in though. What kind of pressure is expected for pressure fermentation to make a difference?
     
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  6. Jan 13, 2020 #6

    Dave 666

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    Must admit, as I move towards corny kegs after only priming in the plastic pressure barrel once if a brew can be fermented under pressure?. As I understand (and as mentioned above) 10 PSI is about the limit for these pressure barrels so wandering what difference this might make to both fermentation time and overall resulting brew?.

    Though with such a method, I wander if overall it would be a more hygienic brewing wise?. What I mean is brewing under pressure, well I'd assume the last thing you'd want to do is release the pressure by removing the lid to draw a sample to test the gravity?. But pull a sample via the tap to test the gravity, well you'd keep the pressure and keep the brew pretty much infection risk free by not releasing the co2 layer and introducing external oxygen. So unless I'm missing the point, would not using a pressure barrel with a tap to ferment be a far better and safer risk free option for brewing?.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  7. Jan 13, 2020 #7

    Ghillie

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    I also use the quick lager method and it’s a decent compromise. You could certainly taste the difference though, IMO.

    I’ve recently kegged a lager which was done “properly”/my ghetto lazy work got in the way compromise... 4 weeks primary, diacytl rest, 4 weeks lagering/cold crashing in the lovely ambient Scottish winter garage temperatures.

    Even the above is not a “proper” lager by rights, but it’s been the clearest and nicest lager I’ve made to date.

    Time is a healer rings true with many things, and when it comes to lagering, it really is the case.
     
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  8. Jan 14, 2020 #8

    ssashton

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    I think the same, but I do wonder how the carbonation will effect the gravity reading. Bubbles may push the hydrometer higher and look like higher gravity.

    Anyway I'm currently fermenting in the plastic barrel. The pressure release is constantly hissing and keeps pressure at 9psi, temps at 16C.

    I'll test gravity after 5 days.
     
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  9. Jan 14, 2020 #9

    Dave 666

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    I'd like to think there is or must be a method to ferment under pressure whilst preventing carbonation to the point you can't get an accurate reading, such as releasing the pressure daily?. Maybe drawing the sample and letting it rest for the carbonation to go flat is an option?. Or if even carbonation during fermentation is a bad thing to risk?. Of cause with kits if you know it's fully fermented out and your sg is spot on as per guidelines your surely likely to be within a few points of the target fg\abv anyway. And if we are all anal over a few points on the fg or abv, well priming after the fg also adds a few points does it not?.
     
  10. Jan 14, 2020 #10

    Hanglow

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    Just pass the sample though a coffee filter, it'll degass completely.
     
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  11. Jan 14, 2020 #11

    ssashton

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    Thank you!
     
  12. Jan 14, 2020 #12

    Richy25

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    im doing my 1st lager kit coopers, just do another quicker kit of sometime to tide you over, probably worth the wait!
     
  13. Jan 14, 2020 #13

    Dave 666

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    What confuses me with "lager" kits against lager recipes if the vast differences in both processes & brewing times. My current & previous "lager" kits were both kits that the brewing instructions were pretty much exactly the same (both brewing time & fermentation temps) as most other ale kits such as an IPA or bitter etc. Meaning a "lager" kit as in a tin off the shelf can be from brewing day to drink day inside 3 weeks. Ok I know most would say "but you still need to condition it to get the best from it", could still be drink ready inside 3 weeks all the same. This (as I have asked similar in the past) it seems is more down to the yeast than anything as other lager kits tend to use US West Coast than a true lager yeast. As a result I think it was suggested it's lager in style than anything with a true lager using the much longer drawn out process using a much lower fermentation temp & true lager yeast.

    I'm trying to find a compromise, even with a kit, based on experimenting with a bitter kit late last year. As then I stretched out the fermentation period from what should have been 11 ish days to about 33 days. I'd not simply left said kit for 33 days and that was that, but I reduced the temps drastically from a recommended 20-26 to about 10-12, but surprised the ale yeast worked at this low temp. And it did carry on fermenting for about 28 of those days with 5 extra days to clear & settle. Result was a cracking bitter that I'm suggesting for exceeded what I'd have got if followed the instructions to the letter.

    Not sure where I'm going with my post, but lager is a very interesting subject brewing wise for me and allows for much experimentation. But I sure want to try & get a couple more lager brews done whilst we have the cold weather and a utility room that can go as low as 10° or a little less. Might try a true lager yeast with the next kit to see how that goes.
     
  14. Jan 14, 2020 #14

    Richy25

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    Thats what i like about larger kits mate, the only time my cold upstairs spare room is at a correct brewing temperature :)
     
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  15. Jan 14, 2020 #15

    Dave 666

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    Yep, and where my next kit will be an off the shelf kit with a replaced yeast likely the MJ's M76 Bavarian Lager yeast where the suggested fermentation temps for that yeast is 8-14°. Will be interesting in the difference and brewing time.
     
  16. Jan 16, 2020 at 12:11 AM #16

    ssashton

    ssashton

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    When you say 'kit' do you mean a liquid malt kit? Or just a pre-designed all grain recipe? All liquid malt I've tried, even 'pale' is rather malty and sweet, not at all like real crushed grain larger malt.

    For what it's worth my current IPA fermenting under pressure at 9-psi has gone crazy fast. I used Gervin yeast from Wilko and gave it a starter (DME and a little nutrient for 3-days prior). Wort went from 1054 to 1008 in 3 days! Following pitching the yeast, I gave it 12 Hours at room temp (about 18C ambient) and I clearly heard the over pressure valve hissing. Then put it in the cellar at 14C ambient. I've now moved it behind the cellar door at about 16C and will bring it to room temp again tomorrow to start diacetyl rest.

    A question about the 'quick' lager method - I really see nothing unusual here other than changing temperature gradually. Is it really that important to do it gradually, or is it more just about temp control in general?

    Be it lager or IPA, I would usually have a lower fermentation temp, then raise towards the end to get the yeast more active and finish off the sugars and allow a rest period of 3 days, then cold crash and transfer to keg. Warm up for 2 days to prime, then cold again for conditioning. How is that different than the 'quick' larger method?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 12:32 AM
  17. Jan 16, 2020 at 12:29 AM #17

    ssashton

    ssashton

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    My current lager plan is this. please advise if anything seems wrong or strange:

    3.5Kg Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt
    0.5K Weyermann Barke Munich Malt
    0.5Kg Dingemans Pale Wheat Malt

    90 min Boil
    15g Saaz Hops - 60mins remianing
    30g Saaz Hops 30min remianing

    Yeast - MJ M84 Bohemian Lager Yeast

    Ferment in pressure barrel (10psi max)

    Pitch at 14C. Hold for 3 days.
    Raise to 16C. Hold for 5 days.
    Cold crash to 4C for 5 days with gelatin. (beer fridge at 4C)
    Keg and prime for 2 days at 16C.
    Condition for 3 weeks at 4C.

    How does it sound?
     
  18. Jan 16, 2020 at 7:43 AM #18

    foxbat

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    You schedule sounds a bit quick to me. I would (and do) pitch at 10-12, hold until activity starts to visibly slow then raise about 1C every morning and evening to 16 for a total time of 3 weeks in the fermenter. Then keg, fine, wait for 3 weeks.

    The point is to let the yeast be your guide. When it slows down it's time for the warmer diacetyl rest. Then leave it until it's done. After 3 weeks you'll be kegging clear lager out of the fermenter.
     
  19. Jan 16, 2020 at 7:50 AM #19

    An Ankoù

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    Morning Ssashton,
    I don't think you've got the bittering hops right. Saaz hops are usually around 3% alpha acid and a Czech lager is quite bitter- say 40 IBUs in which case you'll need about 150g for a 23 litre batch.
    Why are you boiling for 90 minutes if the hops only go in for 60 minutes? I'd do a FWH and boil for 60 minutes plus another 10 or 15 for the protofloc and final hop addition.
    Pitch you yeast at ale temperature- 18-20 C and as soon as the surface is colonised or as soon as you got activity in the airlock, let the temperature fall to 10-12C, slowly, over 12 hours. When airlock activity has nearly ceased, then do your diacetyl rest.
    Good luck. Seems a good recipe.


    M84 can pong a bit, so don't worry too much if you start smelling rotten eggs. The yeast will clean itself up. It's one of my favourites in spite of that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 8:02 AM
  20. Jan 16, 2020 at 10:23 AM #20

    ssashton

    ssashton

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    Yes I'll measure the gravity to see what's going on, but in my experience 3 days is about how long it takes for the majority of fermentation to complete.

    Why raise temps so slowly by 1C each evening? What's the advantage compared to simply going 10-16C over 12 or 24 hours?

    If you want clear lager from the fermenter is it not helpful to cold crash?
     

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