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Talked about it for awhile now and I finally am at a point where it make sense to try lagers.  Brewing at my house and my buddys so I deemed his house the Ale House and mine the Lager House.  Just wanted to discuss some things to make sure I fully understand what to do.  This is me talking through this, and by talking I mean typing... duh.  This is for at least a 5 gallon batch.  Not wasting my time for a 2 gallon lager batch. 

 

Step One - Make a yeast starter, never done one before but Im sure I can manage one.  Need the yeast to be at max potential,  You need Iron Man, not just Tony Starks

 

Step Two - Brew. Do everything in my power for a clear beer.  Irish Moss / whirlfloc and a proper cold break are a must.

 

Step Three - Pitch yeast between 60 and 65 for maximum yeast activity and then bring it down to the ideal temp for the strain of yeast.

 

Step Four - After about 7-10 days raise up to 62 degrees for a diactyl rest which will last 3 days.  7-10 days may vary, ideally when yeast is still active but on the tail end of fermentation.  Approx 75% to FG goal.  The DR makes the yeast eat the undesirable chemicals they produced during fermentation.

 

Step Five - Rack into Secondary. Should be around 62 degrees, then lower to 35 degrees dropping 5 degrees every day.  Could drop at a quicker pace however lagers take time and you may as well just be patient.  Dont want to shock the yeast.

 

Step Six - Lager.  Lager as close to freezing without actually freezing.  35 is cool.  Lager for 6-8 weeks for a 1.060 OG beer.  Good rule of thumb is 1 week per every 8-10 points of OG.  ie. 1.040 would be 4 weeks, 1.050 would be approx 5 weeks etc.

 

Step Seven - Bottle that Batch. Your yeast has been so well dropped out of suspension that you will need to add new yeast when bottling.  Sounds like a lot of work but if you batch prime its no big deal.  Boil your priming solution as normal and when it gets down to an acceptable temp then add about 1/3 package (11.5 gram) of a clean Ale yeast like Safale US-04 or Nottingham.  Start siphoning lager into your bottling bucket and add priming / yeast solution shortly after starting siphoning.  Bottle like normal.

 

Step Eight - Condition.  Now youve got ale yeast in action so condition at approx 63 degrees for at least 2 weeks.  Refrigerate and drink three days later when the CO2 is absorbed.

 

Takes about 10 weeks by my calculation.  Thats only 3 more weeks than an ale.  Theres a reason why Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Busch Light, and every other mainstream commercial beer sells so damn well.  They are lagers. They are crisp, clean and well carbed.  Totally worth the extra 3 weeks.  At least thats what Im going to keep telling myself. This is only realistic with a temp controller.  I have a separate digital temp controller and a fridge dedicated to lagers.  Changing the set point of the temp controller is easy, waiting is the hard part.

 

Sound good?  Anything I missed?  I like bocks and maibocks and especially kellerbier.  Totally worth my extra time

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I like lagers also,Beck's being one of my favorites, got a fridge for the process in father in-laws garage now just gotta move it inside,and I need to get me a Johnson controller, there's still a couple things I wanna do first but layering is definitely in the near future, good luck let us know how it turns out

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6 hours ago, Bighead beer said:

I like lagers also,Beck's being one of my favorites, got a fridge for the process in father in-laws garage now just gotta move it inside,and I need to get me a Johnson controller, there's still a couple things I wanna do first but layering is definitely in the near future, good luck let us know how it turns out

Johnson controllers are expensive and I like my digital one a lot better. It's an inkbird. I posted something awhile back about it. Cheap and easy to use and it has a cooling and heating plug. Awesome.

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Been doing a little research and it seems that as long as you use a 11.5 gram packet of dry yeast, no starter is needed.  Rehydrating is reccomended.  You should only make starters with liquid yeast to help them reproduce since liquid yeast has approx 1/3 of the active yeast cells in it compared to dry.

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Wow! That is impressive brewing!!!!

 

Some "newbie questions" if you don't mind.....

* When you listing temps - I am assuming you are talking about wort temp, not ambient. But I might be wrong. How are you measuring?

* How are you controlling temps? You said "inkbird" but my forum search skills are not ninja worthy. What is it?

* Kind of related - what are you fermenting in? Carboys...pails....etc.

 

What you are doing is awesome. I am always in awe of the level of skill and sophistication we (you) can bring to this hobby. 

 

I'm still trying to solve where to store extra ingredients!

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I'm talking wort temps taken from the temp controller probe which is taped to the side of my fermenter. However after primary fermentation ambient temp should be the same as the wort temp. I have either a freezer or a keggerator hooked to my temp controller. I also have a Johnson temp controller. 

 

I use pails but I wouldn't hesitate to use two LBK's for a 5 gallon batch.  Glass carboys are a pain to clean in my opinion.

 

Heres is my temp controller.

 

Inkbird Itc-308 Digital Temperature Controller Outlet Thermostat, 2-stage, 1000w, w/ Sensor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011296704/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_tW20wbYPDV1P4

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I like that pre-built inkbird controller.  I made one based on another unit inkbird sells:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OXPE8U6?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00 with a project box and an outlet.  Looks like I only saved about $8..  

 

I think that how you make a lager and the choices of secondary, temperatures, etc, are as varied as brewing itself... The only thing I am trying to do is, pick a method, follow it, and note results.  I like this link for options:  http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fermenting_Lagers

 

I brewed three lbks worth starting on Jan. 7th.  They all spent 18 days at 55 F, D-rested for 3/4/5 days (bottled one per night) and then were bottled.  I chose to bottle, because it seemed easier for me to carb first, then cold condition.  I know this will result in more sediment in the bottle than cold lagering in a secondary, but I will make sure to pour gently!  

They spent almost 4 weeks carbing, and are now in the mini-fridge being brought down to lagering temps.  I intend to lower temps a bit at a time, and leave them there for at least 2 to 3 months.  Most of the recommendations i've seen here say to lager at fermenting temps, meaning mid 50s.  Most of what i've read, says lower, mid 30s.  

 

I grabbed a couple of bottles of each and refrigerated them to sample.  Helles Bock:  needs more time, and could certainly benefit from 'clearing up'   Dortmunder:  Same as Helles   Baltic Porter:  This actually is good to go.  I liked it as is, but, in the name of science, will make sure it sees a full lagering too!  

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Of course lagers were the first beers I ever drank.  I never knew the difference between lagers and ales until I started home brewing.  But then when I started drinking more and more ales I found that I liked them much more than lagers.  More flavor, more mouth feel and more beer.  I still drink lagers.  We have a German style brewery close to home that produces some of the best German beer this side of the "pond" and I drink the Hell out of them (and I have the beer gut to prove it).  But as far as my home brewing goes I, personally, don't have any desire to brew any lagers.  I feel I get all the results I want out of my ales.

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Want to brew ale, but drink a lager? One word for you: Kolsch! :)

 

Still need fermentation on the cool side to keep the yeast on their best behavior , but the result should be a crisp, relatively dry brew that shows off some malt complexity with a little noble hoppiness.

I've got an extract/steeped grain recipe conditioning now that seemed very nice when I sampled at bottling and I'm mashing out an all-grain recipe today (I hope).

 

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4 hours ago, J A said:

Want to brew ale, but drink a lager? One word for you: Kolsch! :)

 

Still need fermentation on the cool side to keep the yeast on their best behavior , but the result should be a crisp, relatively dry brew that shows off some malt complexity with a little noble hoppiness.

I've got an extract/steeped grain recipe conditioning now that seemed very nice when I sampled at bottling and I'm mashing out an all-grain recipe today (I hope).

 

Ever heard of spotted cow? That's a kolsch. Top ten beers in the states if you ask me but they only sell it in WI. I'm very fortunate to live here

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2 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

Ever heard of spotted cow? That's a kolsch.

 

No, I'm pretty sure that's a Holstein...Heck, anybody from the Cheesehead State ought to know that! :lol:

Just finished off a St. Arnold's Fancy Lawnmower Kolsch. A little heavier and sweeter than I hope to get, but darn nice flavor. I should be able to crack an early sample of my extract version next week. Meanwhile, I just put the all-grain batch into primary in a carboy in my chest freezer, turned off with ice jugs to hold temp. I'll have to ride herd on it pretty hard for a while, but I think I can borrow my buddy's controller and leave it running and hold just right.

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47 minutes ago, J A said:

 

No, I'm pretty sure that's a Holstein...Heck, anybody from the Cheesehead State ought to know that! :lol:

Just finished off a St. Arnold's Fancy Lawnmower Kolsch. A little heavier and sweeter than I hope to get, but darn nice flavor. I should be able to crack an early sample of my extract version next week. Meanwhile, I just put the all-grain batch into primary in a carboy in my chest freezer, turned off with ice jugs to hold temp. I'll have to ride herd on it pretty hard for a while, but I think I can borrow my buddy's controller and leave it running and hold just right.

I was like "wtf is a Holstein beer..." Shows how deep my Wisconsin roots are.

 

it says it's actually a farmhouse ale on untappd which I disagree with. I've seen clone kits that call it a kolsch. I don't know what to believe anymore

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the liquor store I "used" to shop frequently until I began making my own, they're number 1 in Oklahoma for the largest variety selection. basically they've just about got em all, except for kolsch, they only have one brand made by Black Mesa Brewing Company, so when I decided to make a comparasion of kolsch's I really couldn't tell a difference. I like doing that before I start a brew so I can get an idea how mine will turn out

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