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First Lager

I’m going to make 5 gal. of Papazian’s ‘Rocky Raccoon’s Crystal Honey lager’.
I’m using saflager s23 dried yeast because it’s cheap and “Saflager is one example of true dried lager yeast.” – Papazian

I am planning on lagering for 3-4 weeks (not months at 35f) is 45f a good temperature? Or should I go with recommended temp on the yeast package which is 51 to 59 f?
To make a lager yeast starter “I recommend that you ferment the yeast starter at no more than 5 degrees above the primary fermentation temperature.” –Palmer/book
On his web page Palmer says 10f
What to do?
Is the general recipe for making a lager starter different than ale?
I have been using ½ gallon water with 6 oz DME and ½ tsp yeast nutrient +yeast.
Will it take longer to start bubbling in the air lock than ale yeast? When do I pitch it? (For ale I pitch the yeast starter 12 to 24 hours after making it.)
Am I going to need a blow off tube at first?
Do I need to worry about the yeast all dying, not carbonating in the bottle if I lager it too long?

After I bottle it what temperature should I store it at and low long
should I wait to drink the first bottle?

Holy crap! Lots-o-questions. I’ll answer what I can.

You should ferment your lager within the temps that the yeasts manufacturer recommends. So if the packet says between 51-59F, ferment between 51-59F. I almost always ferment at the lower end of the recommended range. When fermentation is done 2-3 weeks, then you drop the temp down lower to larger for a few weeks. You want to lager in the mid 30’s. I lager around 35F, but anywhere in the mid 30’s is fine. You want to do this for a minimum of 4 weeks, but upwards of 10-12 weeks, IMO. The longer it lagers, the smoother it will be.

For the starter. I ferment all my starters at room temps. Never had a problem. Just make sure to cold crash and decant the spent wort. The spent wort could have some funky flavors from fermenting warmer. You’re not making beer, just growing yeast, so the higher temps are fine and are actually better for growing yeast. Yeast like it warm! But if you want to make a starter at colder temps, by all means go for it. It won’t hurt, but will take longer to ferment out.

You want to make a much bigger starter for a lager than an ale. Use Mr. Malty as a reference. But the process is exactly the same. Again, you’re just growing yeast, not making beer.

You most likely won’t need a blow off tube for a lager is you keep it cold. Lager fermentations are generally less active than ales.

Depending on how long you lager for, you may or may not need to add some extra yeast at bottling. If you only lager for 4-8weeks, you should be ok with NOT adding extra yeast. If you go longer, like 3months of lagering, then you should add a little dry yeast when bottling.

After bottled, store your bottles at room temp just like you would an ale to carb. Maybe 2-3 weeks at room temp. Then feel free to get your bottles cold. Putting your carbed bottles in the fridge to get cold will also add to the lagering time. I generally bulk lager, but recently lagered in the bottle for 8 weeks and the beer came out very well. Very smooth and easily drinkable.

Hope I could help answer some of your questions!

[quote=“dobe12”]Holy crap! Lots-o-questions. I’ll answer what I can.

For the starter. I ferment all my starters at room temps. Never had a problem. Just make sure to cold crash and decant the spent wort. The spent wort could have some funky flavors from fermenting warmer. You’re not making beer, just growing yeast, so the higher temps are fine and are actually better for growing yeast. Yeast like it warm! But if you want to make a starter at colder temps, by all means go for it. It won’t hurt, but will take longer to ferment out. …

You want to make a much bigger starter for a lager than an ale. Use Mr. Malty as a reference. But the process is exactly the same. Again, you’re just growing yeast, not making beer. …

Hope I could help answer some of your questions![/quote]
a big thanks, have looked at Mr Malty, and one more question

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-4.html

… pitch a much larger yeast starter than you would for an ale… I recommend that you pour off the excess liquid and only pitch the slurry to avoid some off-flavors from that much starter beer
which part is the slurry for a lager? the thicker part in the bottom because lager yeast is bottom fermenting ?

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