Lagering a Pilsner

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by diesel, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I sure hope this works.  I used a pilsner kit from more beer and have been following the directions from the kit.  It brewed at around 57 degrees for the first two weeks.  The temp did move up and down a little but not much and the yeast was very active.  Now I have it in a temp controlled environment.  The directions say to lower the temp 1 - 3 degrees per day until a temp. between 34 - 39 is reached.  Then set for another 2-3 weeks.  I have no activity now.  I check it every day and lower the temp.  It is now at 45 degrees.

  2. Sounds right to me. As long as you were sure fermentation completed before lowering it to the lagering temp.
  3. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    wouldn't it be easier to go to Costco's or your local supermarket and buy a case?
  4. cricky101

    cricky101 Smoke Blower

    I'll usually raise it to room temperature for a day or two before lagering to reduce any diacetyl, but if you fermented around 57 with a couple fluctuations you're probably fine.

  5. It would be easier. But it would cost more. When we brew at home we are not brewing BMC swill. We brew real beer that is typically 8-12 dollars a six pack for about 3.50 a six pack. BAsed on that logic, wouldn't it be easier to run over to Mac's Speed shop and buy brisket vs. making it yourself. See what I mean? Plus every guy needs a hobby. [​IMG]
  6. bdawg

    bdawg Smoke Blower

    What yeast strain did you use?

    57F is high for a lager yeast.  I have to assume you either used Wyeast 2112 (San Fran) or maybe a US-05/Wyeast 1056/WLP001 California Ale yeast.

    If it's any of these strains, it will be ok, and a diactyl rest won't hurt but it probably won't be necessary as these strains ferment cleanly at 57F.

    If it's a true lager yeast, I absolutely agree with crikey's suggestion of raising it to room temp for a couple of days to reduce diacetyl.  If you haven't had a diacetyl laden beer yet, you will NOT like it.

    It is the chemical that artificial butter flavoring for movie popcorn is made from.  Raising the temp by about 10-15F above the primary fermentation temp will allow

    the yeast to reprocess many of their fermentation byproducts and essentially clean up after themselves.  It will make a big difference.

  7. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    BDawg.  I used a morebeer kit.  The instructions said I could brew Ale style or Lager.  I tried a lager style.  The yeast were very active for two weeks before going in the cooler.  So, to answer your question about what type of yeast, I am not exactly sure.  I will look into that.

    I will check the SG this weekend to see where the brew stands.  While doing that I will give it a taste.  Maybe be able to tell if this diacetyl flavor is present?

    Thanks for the information.

    Kryinggame,  You are right about going to Costco being easier and don't get me wrong, I do get my beer at the store.  I ain't too proud brother.  But, on the other hand if you enjoy craft beers it is nothing like sitting down with a homebrew and a rack of ribs to share with you friends. 

    Thanks guys!  I am a newbie at the beer brewing stuff.
  8. Actually 55ºF is ideal lager temp for fermenting. It then gets lowered to 34ºF for lagering.
  9. bdawg

    bdawg Smoke Blower

    It really depends on the strain.  Most standard lager yeasts work best around 50F.  The issue is quite subtle.  It isn't whether the yeast like it up higher -- they DO,

    it's around the flavor profile produced.  Most beer yeasts will chug away happily all the way up at 90F, but the end product will taste awful (certain belgian yeasts excluded -- always exceptions :) .

    They tend to throw more esters as the temp gets higher. In my experience, 55 is pushing it and 57 is just plain high for most common lager strains.

    The California Common strain is used at those temps because even though it is a lager strain, it has been mutated over the years to be comparitively clean up there around 57-60F.    Certain ale yeast strains like Cal Ale or Nottingham will work well at 57 but that's really close to the edge of where they want to flocculate out and go dormant, but God they ferment clean there if you can get them to stay active!  I love the end product when brewing many of the American Ale styles and IPAs down around 58-60F.  You can really taste the difference.

    I see that morebeer recommends either the dry SafLager-23, or the White Labs or Wyeast Czech strains for their pilsner kits.  I've never used this dry yeast before but I've used the other two, and both will get fruity as the temp gets higher.

  10. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic


    Thanks for that response.  Very informative.
  11. cricky101

    cricky101 Smoke Blower

    I agree about the low temperatures. I make a light ale with Nottingham and ferment it at 58-60 degrees and it comes out very lager-like. My friends really enjoy that one because of the lighter flavor, and it is very refreshing. US-05 down around 60 degrees has made some great pale ales and IPAs for me too. Very clean!


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