Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Help me with this lager/ale brew

I am going to brew a polish ale, but the kit I am going to use states that it brews at lager temps 58-64 or so using white labs san fran lager yeast. Am I good to go two weeks primary and two weeks secondary and call it good. I have a Johnson temperature control unit for my chest freezer. I am making a starter obviously. Is it the same as any other brew, but just at 58-64 degrees instead of in the closet?

Here is the link to the kit I want to brew

http://www.homebrewing.org/assets/images/AIH%202013%20Recipes/AIH%20Polish%20Ale1.pdf

I have no experience with a beer like this, but SF Lager yeast is typically used for steam beers, and they are fermented at the temperatures recommended by that kit. So yes, just like a regular beer but at that fermentation temperature. Beers that are fermented at lower temperatures do sometimes take longer, so take a gravity reading before you rack it out of primary to make sure you know where the yeast is at. You might want to leave it longer.

Don’t call it “good” after a couple of weeks primary and a couple weeks secondary. Take gravity readings and let the yeast tell you when the beer is done. It might not be convenient, but don’t rush things.

Low temperature fermentations take a lot more time.

Pitch enough yeast and let it primary for three weeks. Better yet, let it go for a month.

Getting it off the yeast quickly isn’t a concern at homebrew volumes. I’ve let lagers go for months without consequence.

Hans
What determines the gravity reading we are looking for to move to the secondary? I understand starting and ending gravity reading but did not realize there was a point to move to secondary.
Just on my fifth brew batch and your comment made me question my procedure.
Thanks in advance for your reply.

[quote=“556man”]the kit I am going to use states that it brews at lager temps 58-64 or so using white labs san fran lager yeast[/quote]Those are not lager temperatures, lagers need to be fermented at 48-50. The San Fran yeasts are ok at those temperatures but you’d be disappointed if you fermented other lager yeasts that high.

[quote=“KartRacer”]What determines the gravity reading we are looking for to move to the secondary? I understand starting and ending gravity reading but did not realize there was a point to move to secondary.[/quote]Your beer should be completely fermented before racking to a secondary vessel for conditioning, it’s not a secondary fermentation. A secondary fermentation is when you rack it to another vessel and add more fermentables like fruit or you’re going to introduce some bugs to sour it out. I never do a secondary unless it’s a big beer that needs aging or I’m dry hopping, I go 3-4 weeks primary then keg or bottle.

[quote=“Glug Master”][quote=“556man”]the kit I am going to use states that it brews at lager temps 58-64 or so using white labs san fran lager yeast[/quote]Those are not lager temperatures, lagers need to be fermented at 48-50. The San Fran yeasts are ok at those temperatures but you’d be disappointed if you fermented other lager yeasts that high.

Thanks I never heard it put that way, makes since. I have a batch in the primary now and was planning to move to secondary after two weeks. I misunderstood that process thinking that it was a secondary fermentation but without the added trub in the fermentor.
My last batch was a failure, the brew was undrinkable after 2 was primary, 2 weeks secondary and two weeks bottle condition. The beer taste ok at first but has a terrible aftertaste immediately after a couple of drinks. Ready to empty it out. I may have rushed the primary fermentation. I also brew with softened water and have brewed this next batch with water before the softener.

[quote=“KartRacer”][quote=“Glug Master”][quote=“556man”]the kit I am going to use states that it brews at lager temps 58-64 or so using white labs san fran lager yeast[/quote]Those are not lager temperatures, lagers need to be fermented at 48-50. The San Fran yeasts are ok at those temperatures but you’d be disappointed if you fermented other lager yeasts that high.

Thanks I never heard it put that way, makes since. I have a batch in the primary now and was planning to move to secondary after two weeks. I misunderstood that process thinking that it was a secondary fermentation but without the added trub in the fermentor.
My last batch was a failure, the brew was undrinkable after 2 was primary, 2 weeks secondary and two weeks bottle condition. The beer taste ok at first but has a terrible aftertaste immediately after a couple of drinks. Ready to empty it out. I may have rushed the primary fermentation. I also brew with softened water and have brewed this next batch with water before the softener.[/quote]

Is the taste in your last batch getting progressively worse over time, ie, did it taste better a week ago than it does now, or do you mean that the first sip out of the glass tastes fine, but by the time you get half way through the aftertaste gets to be too much?

If each bottle you open is worse than the last, you likely have an infection. Review sanitation processes before you brew again. If the bad taste builds as you drink a glass, the water softener might be the cause. If your house needs a water softener, it is likely that your water isn’t going to be very good for brewing. Consider getting jugs of distilled or RO water to use. Assuming you use extract instead of AG as a base for the beer, you don’t need to do anything special with the jugs of water except pour them into the kettle and fermenter to use.

Is the taste in your last batch getting progressively worse over time, ie, did it taste better a week ago than it does now, or do you mean that the first sip out of the glass tastes fine, but by the time you get half way through the aftertaste gets to be too much?

If each bottle you open is worse than the last, you likely have an infection. Review sanitation processes before you brew again. If the bad taste builds as you drink a glass, the water softener might be the cause. If your house needs a water softener, it is likely that your water isn’t going to be very good for brewing. Consider getting jugs of distilled or RO water to use. Assuming you use extract instead of AG as a base for the beer, you don’t need to do anything special with the jugs of water except pour them into the kettle and fermenter to use.[/quote]

Thank you for the input, sounds like water is the culprit, I have a batch in fermenter with water before softener. If problem shows in this batch I will switch to bottled water.
That first taste of a new batch went from exciting anticipation to total letdown. Hope to not have that experience again:)

Thanks for the info. I will do 3-4 weeks primary and one week secondary. I like to rack to secondary for clarity, I know it is not needed, but I like having clear beer.

Second question, what temp should I pitch the yeast? I usually pitch at 68. Should I do 68 and then just put it in the fridge at 60 degrees?

[quote=“556man”]Thanks for the info. I will do 3-4 weeks primary and one week secondary. I like to rack to secondary for clarity, I know it is not needed, but I like having clear beer.

Second question, what temp should I pitch the yeast? I usually pitch at 68. Should I do 68 and then just put it in the fridge at 60 degrees?[/quote]

No. Fermentation will warm it up. Chill to fermentation temp or just below, then pitch the yeast.

Will do, thanks Denny. This is either going to be a great brew or an total failure. I have been on a hot streak lately and the last several brews have turned out great. I think this one is going to be good. I will post some pics of the final product when it is done. Thanks for all your help guys.

[quote=“KartRacer”]Is the taste in your last batch getting progressively worse over time, ie, did it taste better a week ago than it does now, or do you mean that the first sip out of the glass tastes fine, but by the time you get half way through the aftertaste gets to be too much?

If each bottle you open is worse than the last, you likely have an infection. Review sanitation processes before you brew again. If the bad taste builds as you drink a glass, the water softener might be the cause. If your house needs a water softener, it is likely that your water isn’t going to be very good for brewing. Consider getting jugs of distilled or RO water to use. Assuming you use extract instead of AG as a base for the beer, you don’t need to do anything special with the jugs of water except pour them into the kettle and fermenter to use.[/quote]

Thank you for the input, sounds like water is the culprit, I have a batch in fermenter with water before softener. If problem shows in this batch I will switch to bottled water.
That first taste of a new batch went from exciting anticipation to total letdown. Hope to not have that experience again:)[/quote]
You probably won’t get the same off-flavor for the fermenting brew that you had in the last batch - different chemical mix, different beer (I’m assuming) and it is when the two mix that you can get something funky. Hard water is good for some beers (IPAs for example), but terrible for others. Softened water is usually out-of-whack for all beers. But the thing is, if you are using extract, the extract manufacturer already put in all the ions you need to make your beer taste right. You will get the best results using distilled or RO water, because that won’t throw off the balance. And that is true even for those beers that are better with hard water.

If you decide to switch to all-grain brewing, you are going to spend a lot of time learning about water chemistry to get the beers to where you want them.

Rebuiltcellars
I have two more extract kits, then switching to all grain. Maybe I better not take any chances and use bottledwater. Would it make sense to get an outside companies analysis?

First step would be to contact your municipal water authority and ask them for a water quality report, and let them know you are particularly interested in the ionic concentrations for the “flavor” elements, not organic chemicals or heavy metals or such. If they are not helpful or if you are on a private well, you can get an analysis done from Ward labs. They have a water analysis they do specifically for homebrewers. It costs $25 or $30.

If you plan to used bottled spring water, the company web site should list an analysis of it.

Once you have that info, you need to know how to interpret it. There is a chapter in “How to Brew” (available as a free read on the web) that goes through that.

You can also download Bru’n Water, a spreadsheet that you put in your water analysis and build water profiles for the specific beers you are brewing.

For your remaining extract brews, I would ignore all this and just use distilled or reverse osmosis bottled water. That is NOT bottled drinking water or spring water. It is water that has had all the trace chemicals removed. Most big drug stores sell it by the gallon.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]First step would be to contact your municipal water authority and ask them for a water quality report, and let them know you are particularly interested in the ionic concentrations for the “flavor” elements, not organic chemicals or heavy metals or such. If they are not helpful or if you are on a private well, you can get an analysis done from Ward labs. They have a water analysis they do specifically for homebrewers. It costs $25 or $30.

If you plan to used bottled spring water, the company web site should list an analysis of it.

Once you have that info, you need to know how to interpret it. There is a chapter in “How to Brew” (available as a free read on the web) that goes through that.

You can also download Bru’n Water, a spreadsheet that you put in your water analysis and build water profiles for the specific beers you are brewing.

For your remaining extract brews, I would ignore all this and just use distilled or reverse osmosis bottled water. That is NOT bottled drinking water or spring water. It is water that has had all the trace chemicals removed. Most big drug stores sell it by the gallon.[/quote]

Thanks again, I will take those steps for my next brew session. I have downloaded bru’n Water but honestly I have not worked with it yet, looks complicated but I can figure it out once I gather all of the info.
Thanks for clarification on the bottled water, I wondered what difference it makes on the water at grocers as it is really just filtered water the same as I get from the water district which comes from Liberty who gets it from Kansas City. A lot of players:)

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com