Questions on making a Munich Helles.

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

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  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 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    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 Meyvn (1,307) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    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 Meyvn (1,471) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    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 Meyvn (1,307) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    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 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2008 Iowa

    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. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (578) Nov 6, 2007 California

    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 Meyvn (1,307) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    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 Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    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 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2008 Iowa

    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. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,568) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “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 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2008 Iowa

    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. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,568) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “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 Meyvn (1,307) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    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.
  16. DanMan1026

    DanMan1026 Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2015 Utah

    So I'm very new to home brewing and purchased this recipe kit. 2013 Munich Helles Recipe.pdf

    I do not have temperature control for the laggering stage. My basement will let the beer ferment within the specified range(it ranges from 54 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the beer is transfered to the glass carboy, I have no means of lowering the temperature down to the specified laggering temp. The

    My question is, should I just ferment this at room temp for an Ale(72 degrees) and if so, do I still let it lager at this temp once its been transferred to the glass carboy? Or, do I begin bottling after it has finished fermenting(I usually let it sit for another day or two once the bubbles stop)

    Second question, I think I misinterpreted the directions on my second batch of this. I let the beer ferment at the specified temp(53-59F) I have now transfered it to the carboy where it is sitting in a dark place at room temp(about 72F)where it's been sitting for 3 days. Have I ruined this batch? if not, What might this have done to the beer taste/style wise?
  17. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (452) May 9, 2007 Ohio

  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,568) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    What yeast strain was provided with the kit?

    I have heard from multiple sources that Wyeast 2124 will produce a clean (lager like) beer if fermented warm (60's). Needless to say but 54-58 is even 'better'.

    If you ferment with a lager yeast at cool temperatures, you could bottle once primary fermentation is complete and then once bottle conditioning (carbonation) is complete you could 'lager' the bottles by putting them in the refrigerator. You could drink some of the beers 'young' (that weren't lagered) and try some of the beers 'older' (e.g., after a month in the refrigerator) and decide for yourself the benefit of the lagering process.

    DanMan1026 likes this.
  19. jamescain

    jamescain Savant (992) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Actually by doing this you preformed a diacetyl rest, which could help improve your beer if there was anything the yeast needed to clean up.
    DanMan1026 likes this.
  20. DanMan1026

    DanMan1026 Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2015 Utah

    The yeast strain is "S23 dry german lager yeast" and its made by Brewferm. I didn't even think about bottling it to lagger. Thanks!
  21. DanMan1026

    DanMan1026 Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2015 Utah

    So now that I've done this by accident, I can bottle and let it Lager in the fridge? In the directions it says I would need to gradually lower the temperature by 1-3 degrees a day. How will a fairly immediate drop from lagering in the fridge affect the beer?
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,568) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Just to be clear, you find need to perform the bottle conditioning process first: store the bottles at room temperature for 2-3 weeks in order to carbonate. Once the beer is carbonated you can place them in the refrigerator to lager for the duration you deem proper (e.g., 4 weeks).

    Once they are carbonated you can drink a few but the beers will become 'better' with lagering time.

    DanMan1026 likes this.
  23. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,471) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You can lager in the bottle. The only disadvantage to that is that the stuff that drops out of suspension (the reason for lagering) will still be in your beer, at the bottom of the bottle. So I'd suggest not moving them around a lot and pouring very carefully.
  24. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (653) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    If you're going to do a lager your process needs to be very tight with temperature, pitch rate, and a lot of patience to not drink the beer before it's ready. If you bottle, just remember that this is going to take up a lot of your bottles for a long time. That said, I've had great success with a swamp cooler setup in my basement. This is a borrowed pic, but you get the gist. Add frozen 2 liters and water to regulate the temperature for 10ish hours. You say you're working with a pretty cold basement anyway. I'dd add about 6 or 7 gallons of water just to help temperature swings. Grab a temp of the water every 12 to 24 hours. You may as well get a temp on the beer too. Sanitize and do the beer first. Clean your thermometer with the water in the Tupperware while getting your water temp.


    You'll want to do a diacetyl rest. This is a gradual rise in temp to help the yeast clean up after themselves. This makes your beer taste less like butter. I'm going to go against a grain of a lot of brewers here and say that a good time to start checking for FG would be when you see your airlock activity slow down, (so long as your airlock has shown activity). A good D rest is done with the last 10-15% of your gravity still remaining. If you're a new brewer and you're going to pull off a lager, you have to be diligent.
  25. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (653) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Oh, and make sure you get your wort to the same temp, or under the temp you want to pitch at. Very important.
  26. ElmerTLee

    ElmerTLee Initiate (49) Apr 25, 2015 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Don't sweat, you are already into it. If you bottle, let it lager in the fridge for as long as you can and it will clean up nicely.
  27. DanMan1026

    DanMan1026 Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2015 Utah

    Thanks for all the advice! Yeah, it was my ignorance of brewing that made me pick a lager for my first brew.
  28. pinyin

    pinyin Devotee (413) Sep 19, 2013 New York

    I brewed a munich helles lager as my second ever brew. It turned out pretty good, (no off flavors) but there was always the guessing and waiting game because lager yeasts are bottom fermenters, prefer colder temps, and take a longer to clarify.

    If I were a first time brewer I would definitely opt for an ale yeast like US-05 and try a pale ale or IPA because they are pretty straight forward, and a lot less harder to screw up.
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