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First Lager butter

As a benchmark to know where i am, i brewed a Jamil’s Premium American Lager as my first try at a lager. I used a freezer with a Johnson controller for fermentation temperature control, using recommended procedures for fermentation, rest, and lagering. When i kegged the beer and put in under forced carbonation, it tasted better than most any beer i have made or tasted. The yeast i used was W34/70, fermentation temperature was 52F (3 weeks) and rest was 60F for 24 hours. Lager was 5 weeks. OG and FG were as expected and O2 was used before yeast was pitched at the recommended rate. I tried it after a couple of days of carbonation and it was great, although still flat as expected. I let it sit for another 5 days and tried it tonight and i could butter toast with it. I clean and sanitize my kegs and have not had an issue with them in the past. Other than a possible infection in the keg (which i doubt but anything is possible) what do i look for and avoid in my next attempt?

Thanks for your comments, and suggestions.

Maybe a longer diacetyl rest? 24 hours is a bit short, i go more like 48-72.

Thanks for the reply. Why did i not detect it until it was on carbonation for about a week?

The flavor of beer changes over time and it’s possible that it just wasn’t as detectable to you earlier in the process. After the standard primary time, I take my lagers out of the fridge for 2-3 days (sometimes longer) and let them rest and clean themselves up. I also keep the lager in a secondary at basement temps for extended time because I don’t have cold storage space for all of those vessels… so that works as a d-rest too. Eventually I move the beer to a keg, chill it & carb it and there it sits (cold & carbed) until it hits the taps which can be 1-2 months. Understand too that ale yeasts can create diacetyl and sometimes it can benefit the beer to keep the beer a little warmer once primary is done so the yeast can clean up those buttery flavors. I have a British Blonde on tap right now that was made with Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale yeast and there is a slight diacetyl profile. Good luck & cheers.

I looks to me that you may have kept it in the primary too long and not quite a long enough rest. I generally take mine out of primary when fermentation is ~75% complete and let them finish at room temperature.

Theres a diacetyl precursor that can turn to diacetyl over time, that may be why it appeared. It happened to a friend’s lager and he’d done a diacetyl rest and everything. You certainly can’t be criticized for rushing the beer off the cake, maybe a longer diacetyl rest or longer conditioning/lagering time.

I disagree on the length of primary - I go a month with lagers all the time. That usually precludes any need for a d-rest. The precursors for diacetyl are usually enhanced when removing the beer from the yeast cake too early, rather than too late (which could be at a point of autolysis). Some bacteria can cause the same effect. I would add a little krausen, if you are making another batch and see if that cleans it up.


Although I can’t provide any usable data, I have to agree with ynotbrusom that a lager can sit in primary for a pretty long time. I like to reuse yeast so I often piggyback one batch off of another’s yeast cake but if the timing is not convenient, the current lager may sit in the fridge for 3-4 weeks with no problem. When I finally see the day that I will brew another batch with the yeast that’s in that primary, I try to take the lager out of the fridge at least 2-3 days before I brew again, sometimes more like 4-5 days. There’s nothing wrong with this and it may make for a cleaner lager. I would go one further and say that I do not see a benefit in taking the beer off the yeast sooner. I have heard of those brewers who like to go about 75% through primary and then warm the beer up for a d-rest and I see no problem with that either as long as it’s not too early and as long as the beer is allowed to finish to FG before being taken off the yeast.

When you take the Lager out of the fridge, do you let it stay in the carboy for the 3 to 5 days at room temperature? What is your room temperature? Thanks

I use plastic primaries and a small fridge to ferment lagers. When the lager is done fermenting (typically 2-3 weeks), I take it out and leave it on the basement floor where the temp might fluctuate from summer to winter from 65-70° down to about 55-60°. It’s just a way to raise the temp and yes it remains in the primary so the yeast is still there to mop up any flavors that may develop (diacetyl, sulphur, etc). I may leave it there anywhere from 3-5 days depending on what else is going on. There is no downside to leaving it there longer… the flavor of the beer was developed in the primary under the cool conditions you were originally shooting for and having the beer at warmer temps is not going to ruin what you’ve already done (just as lagering it will not correct something you did incorrectly in the primary). After that, I send the beer to a glass secondary with a gel solution (for clarity) and it continues to sit on the basement floor where it clears. This can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months… again, depending on beer traffic at the time. Then it goes to a keg, gets chilled and carbed and hits the taps. That time spent at warmer temps is good for a lager because the rest allows the yeast to clean things up. This can happen in the secondary (at room or cellar temps) but the cleanup process will be slower as the temp goes down and also because there is far less yeast in there to do the mopping up. Cheers.

Would taking my beer out of the fridge, bleeding most of the CO2 out of the keg, and letting it sit at room temperature (around 70+ degrees) help reduce the diacetyl or is it to late?

[quote=“hbrew”]Would taking my beer out of the fridge, bleeding most of the CO2 out of the keg, and letting it sit at room temperature (around 70+ degrees) help reduce the diacetyl or is it to late?

You need a little yeast in there, thats why the perons above mentioned adding some krausen.

I’m usually one to leave my lagers in primary a good long time, but I’ve started to wonder if it doesn’t wind up causing some oxidation issues. I was going to start transferring a little sooner, but still doing a diacetyl rest first. To some degree I wonder if the diacetyl rest isn’t better done just towards the end of active fermentation, rather than long after the yeast have started settling out. I know the cake is still potentially active, but it may be that having more yeast suspended is preferable for cleaning up diacetyl.

[quote=“hbrew”]Would taking my beer out of the fridge, bleeding most of the CO2 out of the keg, and letting it sit at room temperature (around 70+ degrees) help reduce the diacetyl or is it to late?
It could help. The question would be… what is the health of the remaining yeast? You would probably want to get the keg warm and then possibly shake it or invert it so the yeast layer will come up off the bottom and wake up so it could do its thing. This is something that I don’t have a lot of experience with but in principle it sounds valid. Maybe someone else will come along and give us their experience with this. I will just say that this is a good reason to try to slow down the process and allow things to take their course. Maybe Budweiser can get their beer from brewpot to beerglass in 20 days but they have a lot of tools that we do not. If you try this, please report back and let us know how it came out. I would love to hear that you left it at warmer temps & the beer was cleaned up! Cheers and good luck.

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