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Lager in a Bucket

I’ve been brewing for about six months now and I’m gearing up to try my first lager. I came across a mini-fridge for free and I want to put it to good use. Unfortunately, I can’t fit a carboy in there without some modifications which I’d rather not do at this point (unless this lager really sucks). So, I’m going to do it in a bucket, which just happens to fit perfectly. From what I’ve read on the interwebs its not good to do it in a bucket because there is a greater chance of oxygen leaking in and you can’t see the krausen so it’s hard to know if it’s time to do a diacetyl rest.

So here is my dilemma. I’m going to brew the World Wide Lager extract kit and the recipe calls for primary fermentation of two weeks. From what I read it’s good to do a diacetyl rest but I can’t keep checking to see if the krausen has gone down or not without exposing my brew to oxygen… which I’m scared of even more.

What I’m considering doing is adding a week to the primary fermentation just to make sure I don’t do a diacetyl rest too early. Does that sound about right?

Any advice welcomed!

I do lagers in buckets all the time with no problems. I give it 10-14 days at 48-50° then bring it to the upper 60s for a couple more weeks. The key is to truly lager it after primary fermentation, keg or secondary and keep it below 40° for at least 4 weeks, the colder and longer the better.

http://www.brew-wineforum.com/shwmessag ... geID=59851

This guy doesn’t do any D rests. On his schedule there would be little concerns of O2 permeability of the plastic pails.

+1

Pitch enough healthy yeast and my experience has been that you won’t need a diacetyl rest.

Sounds good… I feel better now. Thanks for the advice, going to order my kit tomorrow.

Wet your pants first. Ferment the WW lager till you get below 1.020 and then warm to 55 to 60 for a week. You did not mention yeast. What ever you do go to Mr Malty and figure out how much yeast you need for your beer. Be a big boy and use enough yeast recommended by Mr. Malty yeast calculator if you follow the YEAST CALCULATOR you should be good, the WWL is a good recipe. if you brew it right you should be able to get a 45 score in a contest. Trust me I did.

I brew mostly lagers and I brew everything in plastic buckets. No worries at all. I ferment for about 2 weeks in a fridge and then take it out and leave it on the basement floor (~60°) for about a week and then rack it off the yeast. You’ll make a great lager that way. Cheers.

I agree about pitching enough healthy yeast, even if it means making a starter with 2 packs of yeast and yes a d-rest is NOT always necessary, but it’s not like it’s a hard procedure. Ferment for 2 weeks at 50ish. Pull it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temps for a few days. Then, back into the fridge to lager at 35ish. Done.

Of course you could always take a taste after 2 weeks and see if it needs the rest, but why even bother? It’s a simple safety precaution.

When I picked up Beer Captured, I was looking through some of the recipes and many of the lagers suggested a d-rest. At the time, I was a brewing newbie and even more of a lager newbie so I tried getting in touch with the Szamatulskis and ended up talking to Tess at their homebrew store, Maltose Express. I asked her about it and she said that the only lager strain she knows that absolutely requires a d-rest is Wyeast 2308. I believe that Wyeast is pretty clear on this too… 2308 benefits from a diacetyl rest. Since it’s so easy to do and it’s basically just an insurance policy (and also because warming the beer will allow the yeast to clean up other flavor by-products as well), I have always done one on every lager strain I’ve used. Some suggest doing it when primary is about 75% done but I just wait until activity is slow or stopped (usually 2 weeks), gently swirl it and leave it on the basement floor. Plus… I secondary on the basement floor which is basically a d-rest… eventually I have room in my “lager fridge” and the beer will either lager in a secondary or a keg. It’s good either way. Cheers.

[quote=“WaukeganBrewer”]I’ve been brewing for about six months now and I’m gearing up to try my first lager. I came across a mini-fridge for free and I want to put it to good use. Unfortunately, I can’t fit a carboy in there without some modifications which I’d rather not do at this point (unless this lager really sucks). So, I’m going to do it in a bucket, which just happens to fit perfectly. From what I’ve read on the interwebs its not good to do it in a bucket because there is a greater chance of oxygen leaking in and you can’t see the krausen so it’s hard to know if it’s time to do a diacetyl rest.

So here is my dilemma. I’m going to brew the World Wide Lager extract kit and the recipe calls for primary fermentation of two weeks. From what I read it’s good to do a diacetyl rest but I can’t keep checking to see if the krausen has gone down or not without exposing my brew to oxygen… which I’m scared of even more.

What I’m considering doing is adding a week to the primary fermentation just to make sure I don’t do a diacetyl rest too early. Does that sound about right?

Any advice welcomed![/quote]

if your doing something that you are only lagering for a little bit you may be fine. If you are lagering something that lagers for a few months I woulndt try it, buckets let more oxygen in than carboys

Transfer from the bucket after the primary fermentation (including d-rest if you use one) is done and the beer is within a point or two of FG. Then you need to put it into something with less headspace for the lagering time. Kegs are perfect for that.

You can also pick up an unholy amount of fridges on Craigslist

Damn, thanks for all the great advice everyone. And yes, I’ve definitely been on Mr. Malty and I’m going to go with their recommendations. I’ve been kind of obsessed with brewing these last few months but there is just so much info out there that it’s hard to sort of pick the path I’m going to go with. Of course, that’s also part of the fun.

I do have a question about the yeast though. I’ve read it a couple ways… to do the yeast starter at room temp, and to do it at fermentation temp. I know getting the yeast starter going at lower temps takes longer… but how much longer? How much time should I give it? I’ve done a starter for ale’s before but never a lager.

[quote=“WaukeganBrewer”]Damn, thanks for all the great advice everyone. And yes, I’ve definitely been on Mr. Malty and I’m going to go with their recommendations. I’ve been kind of obsessed with brewing these last few months but there is just so much info out there that it’s hard to sort of pick the path I’m going to go with. Of course, that’s also part of the fun.

I do have a question about the yeast though. I’ve read it a couple ways… to do the yeast starter at room temp, and to do it at fermentation temp. I know getting the yeast starter going at lower temps takes longer… but how much longer? How much time should I give it? I’ve done a starter for ale’s before but never a lager.[/quote]

You create a lager starter and allow it to grow at room temp. It has been said many times that you are making “yeast”, not “beer”, so do it at room temp. Once it reaches high-kraeusen or finishes, you can cool it if you wish or bump it up, either way. Try to pitch the yeast cold and into wort that is at or maybe 5° below your desired lager fermentation temp.

Btw… I apologize but when you started this thread, were you saying that you wanted to do the lager PRIMARY in a fridge with a plastic bucket or do the colder lager phase (cold-conditioning phase) in the fridge in a plastic bucket? You can absolutely primary in plastic but the lager phase may be a problem if you went long-term. 4-6 weeks may be okay but I hear that plastic will eventually allow oxygen in.

Yep make your lager starter a touch cooler than room, like 60 or lower, a cool basement. Remember the stir plate will add some temperature. Go ahead and ferment in a bucket and if you pitch enough yeast you don’t need to d-rest. What I mean is you pitch alot of yeast! Alot means twice, similar to german rates considering the freshness and health of the yeast. I doubt you could over pitch a lager yeast as a homebrewer.

Sounds good on the yeast…

And yes, I will be doing both primary and secondary in a bucket as a bucket is all I can get to fit in my mini-fridge right. I guess I’ll see how this one goes and hope the oxygen doesnt get in.

[quote=“WaukeganBrewer”]Sounds good on the yeast…

And yes, I will be doing both primary and secondary in a bucket as a bucket is all I can get to fit in my mini-fridge right. I guess I’ll see how this one goes and hope the oxygen doesnt get in.[/quote]
Good luck and keep us posted. Are you in Waukegan, IL? Are you brewing with Lake Michigan water? What style are you brewing for your lager? Cheers.

[quote=“WaukeganBrewer”]Sounds good on the yeast…

And yes, I will be doing both primary and secondary in a bucket as a bucket is all I can get to fit in my mini-fridge right. I guess I’ll see how this one goes and hope the oxygen doesnt get in.[/quote]

thats fine but isnt a carboy smaller than a bucket?

[quote=“grainbelt”][quote=“WaukeganBrewer”]Sounds good on the yeast…

And yes, I will be doing both primary and secondary in a bucket as a bucket is all I can get to fit in my mini-fridge right. I guess I’ll see how this one goes and hope the oxygen doesnt get in.[/quote]

thats fine but isnt a carboy smaller than a bucket?[/quote]
I think that the neck & airlock come up too high and come in contact with the freezer area (if there IS a freezer area). I can get a bucket or a 5-gal glass carboy in my 4.4cf fridge but the carboy makes it a little tight height-wise.

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