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Questions on making a Munich Helles.

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Ratsalad, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Ratsalad

    Ratsalad Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2012

    Making this lager beer without truly lagering(not set up refrigeration wise). The yeast that came with this Brewers Best kit says the yeast is fine to ferment at ale temperatures. After F.G. is achieved, is it alright to transfer to a bottling bucket for a couple more weeks so when I'm ready to bottle, I can stir in my priming sugar and not have to transfer anymore?
  2. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Savant (425) New York Dec 20, 2006

    No, a bottling bucket is not appropriate for secondary because it will expose the beer to too much oxygen. Also, do not expect a beer fermented at ale temperature to taste like a true Munich Helles.
  3. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Do you have any specs on the yeast? I would ferment at the lowest temp you can achieve that is suitable for the yeast. You might have a clean ale, but you probably won't be able to pass it off as a lager to an experienced palate. I agree with HB42 that secondary in a bucket is not ideal. I would skip secondary stage and go from primary directly to bottle conditioning. If you can keep your bottles refrigerated, you can lager in the bottle.
  4. Ratsalad

    Ratsalad Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2012

    Limited on beer equipment being a beginner(5 batches made). Knowing it's not going to taste like a true Munich, do I still need to go out and buy a glass carboy or do I just let it go in the fermenting bucket until I'm ready for priming. Directions are a little vague on how I should go about it after it reaches F.G.. I have only made a lager 1 time(best beer I have made to date), but I made it to specs in my basement fridge.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (750) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    You can lager in the bottles. After FG is reached (plus maybe a few more days), prime and bottle. Keep those bottles at the same temp you fermented at for a couple weeks (until carbonated), then move the bottles to a fridge for 6 weeks or so.

    Though this beer is not really going to pass for a true lager, the lagering time should still be benificial.
  6. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I don't believe it is necessary to prime at the same temp you fermented a, and might be marginally beneficial to prime at higher temps. I have bottle lagered about half a dozen times, priming my bottles at my standard priming temps of 65-70 F. I believe the risk of off flavors associated with higher fermentation temps is pretty minimal for the limited amount of fermentation that occurs in priming. The advantages of using a higher temp are also probably pretty minimal. (1) Priming should occur faster at higher temps, but maybe not a big deal if you are lagering anyhow (what's the hurry?). (2) The higher temps may allow yeast to clean up off flavors such as diacetyl, but really, if those flavors are present, it was too early to bottle to begin with. Still, I think of it as an insurance policy of sorts.

    In the end, I think you can make good beer either way you do it. I'm probably just overthinking this.
  7. BigAB

    BigAB Aficionado (150) Iowa Aug 4, 2008

    I've primed two of my past lagers this way (at room temp) and each time I had tart/fruity off-flavors that were not present/apparent when sampled on bottling day (1-2 weeks before tasting from a carbbed bottle). Obviously this is not a scientific rebuttal or rebuke of the practice, but I've personally sworn to never do this (again) for all current/future lagers.
  8. If you slowly lower the temp over a few days, you should in theory be able to carbonate the bottles at fridge temp. Lager yeast will still ferment in the 30s, though it will take a few weeks to fully condition. Never tried that myself, but that's how lagers used to be conditioned, and I bet some German and Czech brewers still do that by racking to secondary lagering tanks with a small amount of fermentation to go and then bunging the tanks and slowly lowering them to freezing for a few weeks.
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Well, could be I am less sensitive than you to tart fruity flavors, but consider that the advice to do a diacetyl rest is to raise the temp when fermentation is close to completion (I've seen 80-90% completed suggested) while the yeast are still active. When this advice is given (I'll reference Yeast, a Practical Guide, though I haven't read it in a while; I'm pretty sure it is in there), we are told that there is no danger of off flavors due to higher temps at this late stage. I can't imagine the priming sugar poses a problem if the D-rest doesn't. However, I will dial down my temperature advice a bit. I don't have a temp controller on my bottles when priming, and in retrospect, they probably never get of 65.
  10. MLucky

    MLucky Savant (380) California Jul 31, 2010

    I believe you're correct. My understanding is that the risk of off flavors is most associated with the early 'respiration' phase of yeast metabolism. During the 'clean up' phase, there's little risk, so we can raise temps without much risk. Bottle conditioning is probably a bit different, since we're re-introducing sugars, but my understanding is that the amount of sugar is so small it's unlikely to have much impact.

    All that said, it strikes me as a not very good idea to use a lager yeast at ale temperatures, regardless of what the package may say.
  11. BigAB

    BigAB Aficionado (150) Iowa Aug 4, 2008

    Before trying this a couple of times, I also felt this way about carbbing with lager yeast at room temperature. The amount of yeast per bottle is small, though I don't think it is necessarily insignificant. With all that said, even the minor amounts of sugar metabolized could (in theory) throw off esters at warmer/room-temps. Keep in mind that these are not veteran yeast being put into this environment, but new yeast that haven't had a chance to metabolize any fermentables yet. I still view this as a mini-fermentation. But at the end of the day, YMMV ;)

  12. “Keep in mind that these are not veteran yeast being put into this environment, but new yeast that haven't had a chance to metabolize any fermentables yet.”

    Do you add ‘new’ yeast at bottling?

    My standard lager beer process is:

    ·Primary ferment for 2-3 weeks at 50°F

    ·Cold Condition (lager) for 6 weeks at less than 40°F

    ·Bottle Condition (with no ‘new’ yeast added) for two weeks at room temperature

    Following the above process I have never obtained tart/fruity off-flavors in any of the 70+ batches of lager beer that I have homebrewed.

  13. BigAB

    BigAB Aficionado (150) Iowa Aug 4, 2008

    Yes, I had added new yeast at the time of bottling - that's probably something I should have stated more clearly. I never trusted the original yeast to have enough energy/reserves to carb-up after the lager phase - I always figured it would take even more time to get any respectable carbonation. Lately I've decide to bypass all of that and keg/force-carb my lagers. Prost!
  14. “Lately I've decide to bypass all of that and keg/force-carb my lagers.” Well, that ‘works’ too!

    For others, there is plenty of yeast after lagering is completed to bottle condition beers. There is no need to add ‘new’ yeast at bottling.

  15. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Hmm. As I stated in my earlier post, I bottle lagered, meaning I bottled at the end of primary before crashing the yeast. I added priming sugar, carbed, and than lagered. So we really were not doing the same thing. It could be that the carb phase does make some off flavors and lagering takes care of it.

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