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Lager Fermentation?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jbakajust1, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (475) Oregon Aug 25, 2009 Staff Member

    I am going to brew my first lager this weekend, and I have a question about what the fermentation is "supposed" to look like. Since Ale yeast is typically top fermenting and Lager is typically bottom, will there be a krausen on a Lager ferment? If so, will it be as thick and fluffy as an Ale, or typically thinner? I am using WY 2308 Munich Lager yeast 4L (2 2L steps) in 5.25 gals of ~1.082 wort. Just trying to plan ahead for a killer krausen and split it to 2 5 gallon fermentors, or keep it all together in 1 6 gallon.

    Thanks.
  2. I've only brewed a few lagers and fermented them in a glass carboy. The way the wort looks fermenting is pretty much the same as an ale, except the krausen isn't very big (maybe 1 inch thick) and the air lock bubbles slowly. If you decant your starters you should have enough room in a 6 gallon carboy for your beer. However, I've never brewed a lager over 1.060 so I'm not sure if my observations will be accurate with your bigger beer.
  3. Only about an inch. If you have enough healthy yeast, it will bubble along at a good rate, my lagers are done at about 5 to 8 dAys depending on OG. Control that temperature.
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    I think you'll be fine at typical lager fermentation temps.
  5. Soneast

    Soneast Savant (470) Wisconsin May 9, 2008

    At 48-50°F the yeast isn't exactly going to go crazy. It'll get the job done, but won't be nearly as explosive as it would be at 65°F+. I have never had to use a blowoff while fermenting a lager, nor even got close to needing one, even with a 1.090 dopplebock that I've brewed a couple times. I mean sure, if you throw 4.9g of wort into a 5g carboy you might have problems, but your typical 5.25g wort in a 6g carboy won't be any problem.
  6. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (475) Oregon Aug 25, 2009 Staff Member

    Thanks for all the feedback. I will have it in my temp controlled fridge @ 50*F.
  7. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (425) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    From my experience, (very little on lager) ,it seems like the colder you ferment the less you have to worry about wild krausen. I'm hoping to get a few nods here.
  8. Naugled

    Naugled Savant (455) New York Sep 25, 2007

    50F's a good temp for lagers, that's where I always start.

    You will get some krausen, but not as much as an ale.

    You may also smell a lot sulfur, which is normal, but may be surprising if you're used to ales.

    I also recommend a diacetyl rest once you are within about 4 pts of FG.

    My lagers also taste best after 4-6 weeks of lagering. That's a big lager, in my experience with dopplebocks that size, I find 6-12 months more appropriate. But, I usually get antsy and start sampling way before then, but try to wait if you can.

    Cheers,
  9. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (475) Oregon Aug 25, 2009 Staff Member

    Yeah, I am planning on letting it ferment for 4 weeks before I move it at all. I am still debating whether I will just bottle at that time and leave them all in the fridge to lager out in the bottles, or if I will transfer to a secondary to lager for a few months before bottling and then letting it age cool until after the cold weather returns after next summer.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    The issue wiith lagering in bottles is that the stuff that precipitates/falls out is still in the bottles. Yes, you can do a careful pour and all that, but still.

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