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Rauchbier bottom fermentation at 48F

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by herrburgess, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Here are a few pics of my buddy's and my latest batch of Rauchbier. It's been a while since we brewed this -- and this is the first time we've pitched and fermented below 50F. I recall fermentation being slow and steady, but I want to get some input from you guys as to whether this looks normal. Top pic is obviously the carboys from above; 2nd is yeast clinging to side of carboy about half way down; 3rd is close-up of Krausen with some yeast colonies. This is about 68 hours in. Yeast is Wyeast 2633 with a 2 liter starter per 5 gallons. Cheers.



  2. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (350) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    I hope this turns out well for you!
  3. Me too! I've had fermentations where the majority of yeast seemed to cling to the sides instead of building a thick layer on top (I guess that's why they call it "bottom fermentation"), but I am just a bit nervous, since I don't want to let 30 gallons get screwed up in any way.

    Look "normal" enough to you?
  4. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (350) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    To be honest I have never looked inside my buckets and do not use glass. I do brew with lager yeast and one thing I can tell you is that there are some strains that do not perform well at 48 degrees. I am not familar with the yeast you are using so I can not comment. This winter I did a split batch between WLP830 and WLP800. I had to warm the 800 four degrees. Take care.
  5. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    I consider myself a neophyte in comparison but, at 5 days in, I would be concerned with the general lack of activity.
  6. Only a little over 3 days (72 hours) in at this point. My gut (and the one other batch I did that reacted the same way) tells me it's OK, but it is a bit odd to not see much Krausen on the surface.

    EDIT: I see that Wyeast gives the range as 48-58F. Maybe we'll notch up a degree or two if things don't get more "active."
  7. Scott, the best Oktoberfest beer I ever made was with 2633. I fermented in to 50-51°F range. I ferment in buckets so I can’t provide any feedback on fermentation appearance with this strain (or any other strain for that matter).

    Best of luck with your Rauchbier. It has been my personal experience that the RDWHAHB approach results in positive waves which then result in good homebrewed beers.

  8. We like to raise fermentation temps about 4F after 2/3 of fermentation with a lager yeast (wlp 830 equivalent) to drive attenuation and diacetyl reduction at the end of fermentation. We actually start at 48, hold at 52, and then raise to 54 and then 56 over a couple days after that 2/3 mark. Things usually take a couple days to get going at 48, but by day 3 it's up to 52 and going strong. Ideally you want to be at peak cell count (stationary phase) while still at your cooler temperature, but going by attenuation is simpler and foolproof as you usually stop most cell growth by this time.

    So, nothnig wrong with letiting it come up a few degrees if you want to help it along at this point...
    herrburgess likes this.
  9. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (415) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    I've had the best luck around 52F internal temp-reasonable time frame and no off flavors. And WLP 8230 is my house lager yeast.
  10. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    Errr..I meant 5 half-days...yeah that's it.
    I find that 51-52F is my lager sweet spot with WLP833 and WLP838.
  11. Nice. We bumped up a few degrees F and that seemed to kick things into a high(er) gear. Thanks for the feedback, guys.
  12. Just a quick update. Fermentation is going strong now at around 51-52F. Good solid Krausen on the surface and steady airlock activity. Thanks again for the tips.

    boddhitree and Pegli like this.
  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    That 'steady airlock activity' looks like blowoff, which I can't say I've ever seen in a lager (5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy) before. But those carboys look fuller than that (either more wort or smaller carboys).
  14. Bubbles are likely from StarSan water in the airlocks. Also 3 of the carboys are 5-gallon and 3 are 6.5-gallon...and yes, we fill them as full of wort as we can get (without getting blowoff), since we try to get a full 5 gallons into the kegs after leaving behind some Trub.
  15. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    I've had to use blow-offs with doppelbocks, etc.