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Fermentation profile for a lager

I want to brew a Czech Pilsner as my first lager and want to make sure I have my fermentation schedule correct.

For ales, my sop is to ferment in the low to mid 60’s for a week or two then raise the temp to 70° for another week. Then cold crash at 32° for a couple days and keg.

I’ll be using wyeast 2278 for the Pils which has a stated range of 48°- 58° If I do the primary at 49°, should I do a cleanup step at 70° before lagering? Also, should I lager at the yeast’s stated temp range of 48° or should it be at 32°?


According to Wyeast’s site the temp range is 50-58.
. I would be worried about lower attenuation at 49 or lower. I’ve only done one lager so far but i fermented it at 52 for about 7 days or so (cant remember exactly but it was when I saw the krausen start to drop) and I bumped it up to around 62 for a diacetyl rest for 2 days then racked off the yeast and lagered for about a month at 34.

While, I don’t have any data to support the lagers yet(have not brewed any yet with my new controller, but will soon). I just wanted to touch base on some of my findings with ales. I used to be of the same thought and have my ales start at 63, then bump it up to finish, crash cool, etc. However I recently built a fermentation controller that uses a combination of sensors (chamber, and in wort) and keeps logs. Needless to say I have found some interesting things. For instance If you look at the chamber now… Click on the top right corner “Whats Fermenting”. You will see I have a 5.5 gallon batch of 1.040 cream ale in there now. On the right hand side, by clicking on the colored dot associated with the setting you can isolate beer temp and fridge setting. You will see at the height of fermentation there is a 10f temperature differential. Think about it, this modest ale would have been 73 degrees in the wort by using my old method. If I raise the gravity by 10 points I see another 5 degrees added to that, just some food for thought. I am not saying everyone should run out and build one of these, but it is really interesting to see these patterns. I have seen a dramatic improvement on my beers, they are ready to drink MUCH faster, and so much cleaner. Being able to control to the tenth of a degree is pretty neat too!

It shoulod be pretty straight forward.

At 49* it is going to go nice and slow (shoot for 2-3weeks before raising temps).

This yeast does not sound like a major diacetyl producer, but you can’t mess up the beer with a slightly warmer rest for a few days at the end.

Most guys would taste the beer when it is finishing up to see if the rest is even needed. If you don’t taste diacetyl, it is not there.

Best process is to bring the temp down gradually for lagering. Then it is up to you how cold you want to get it. Anything above freezing is great.

Thanks Matt. I got that range from NB’s order page. … -pils.html

Your suggestion of 52° makes sense. Also makes sense that the d-rest would be at a lower temp. 62 instead of 70. A good rule seems to be 7-10° warmer than primary. Ale or lager.

Rabeb25: Nice system. Your quite right in that there is a difference between chamber temp and actual fermentation temp. My stated temps are based on fermentation temp. I have a single probe that I tape to the side of my fermentor with thick insulating tape. While it’s not quite as accurate as a thermowell, I’ve found through testing that I can make up for that by setting my controller +/- a degree of my desired setpoint.

Thanks guys! As you say Mike, pretty straight forward. :cheers:

Check the following sites for LOTS of good info on lager brewing: ... ing_Lagers

I’ve been content using the following schedule, which is a combination of what’s convenient for me and what I’ve read:

chill wort to 40 - 45F
oxygenate 60 - 90 sec
pitch somewhere between plenty and too much yeast
hold at 48F (ambient) for two days
hold at 50F for two weeks OR until SG is stable and somewhere in the neighborhood of the expected FG, WHICHEVER IS LONGER
raise to 65F for a week
cold crash at 35F for a week
Lager/sample for a month
drink, if any is left after my sampling.

I don’t enter competitions, so I don’t have an official evaluation of it, but I enjoy my lagers. They’re no more difficult to brew than ales, they just require more patience.

For lagers I usually chill to the mid 40s, pitch my yeast near 48, and let free ride to 50 degrees where it sits for a minimum of 2 weeks. After 2 or 3 weeks I take a gravity sample, do a d rest if necessary, and let finish in the mid 50s. Next I chill to upper 30s for a few days before kegging and lagering a minimum of a month. I’ll hit it with CO2 every now and then to make sure it’s carbed when I’m ready to drink it. Well worth all the effort IMO.

I forgot to add that I also pitch plenty of yeast and oxygenate for a minimum of 90 seconds. The key is patience. Good luck!

I agree. I always tell people that with lagers it’s better to be one day LATE than one day EARLY.

Well that is just pretty effing nifty! Great data!

I typically have my controller probe taped and insulated to the outside of the fermenter (usually plastic, sometimes glass), but I have to imagine there is some margin for error and differential. Maybe I should get off my tucas and start using styrofoam to insulate the probe from the ambient temp!

@mattnaik that seems like a pretty short ferment for a lager, no? 10ish days primary?

Oxygenation is also huge. Spring for a stone and welding tank or be prepared to stir like a maniac for a few minutes.

I usually do 10 days at 52-54, then raise a few degrees per day to 65 for 2-3 days, then lager 4-6 weeks. I do find that I notice less benefit to extended lagering if primary fermentation is managed properly (cell count, ferment temp (slowly being raised).

Wanted to close the loop on this thread. In short the beer turned out great! A nice light, refreshing beer.

I wound up fermenting at 50° for 14 days, 68° for 3 days then lager at 34 for 3 months.

Thanks for the help guys! I think I’m going to try Matt’s Vienna lager recipe soon :cheers:


Looks tasty. Nice job.

Good looking Pils. My first attempt at a Czech Pils has been lagering for 2 weeks now. I’m trying to forget it’s there.

Wow, 3 months lagering…that’s a while. My fermentation profile is 48-50F for the first week, then let it free rise to 60-65F for another week. By that point, it’s ready to keg and lager. Saflager 34/70 is a marvelous yeast that produces clean beer in no time. My oktoberfest this year fermented for a week, yes, A WEEK, then I kegged it. It was one of the best lagers I’ve ever brewed and I brew them pretty regularly. I couldn’t believe it. I pitched a lot of yeast and aerated with pure O2 for 90 seconds. I did an accelerated fermentation schedule with the first few days at 48-50F, then a couple days at 55F, then the rest of the week at 60-65F. Worked like a charm.
Lagers don’t have to take longer to ferment than ales, they just need longer cold conditioning to clear.

Thanks guys. Yeah, 3 months is a long time but for whatever reason the beer just wouldn’t clear. I finally decided to add some gelatin and that did the trick. cleared up in a day.

Huh, that’s weird. It definitely should’ve cleared up in 3 months.

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