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Lager- rate to drop to lager temp

Homebrewers,

Transferring a lager after d-rest to secondary. I’ve read some folks gradually drop temp by 1-5 d F per day until they reach lagering temps.

Is this considered a best practice? What’s the risk in immediately dropping to lagering temps?

Thanks.

I cold crash to 34F without any problem, but I hold my lagers in primary for a full month and check my gravity if I question it at all. I pitch large slurries and have little concern that my lagers finish in a month. But I don’t isle a D-Rest and don’t rush a beer to finish… YMMV, of course and some lagers are done pretty quickly and some guys do lagers at the mid 70’s, so it all can work.

I believe that the slow drop is intended to let the yeast adjust and keep working as long as they can to maximize the cleanup of incomplete fermentation byproducts. It is possible that you will get a cleaner-tasting beer if you do that, but I haven’t experimented enough to be able to say from first hand experience.

My MO is to gradually warm the beer starting about a week after pitching the yeast to ensure complete fermentation, then drop the temp back down to fermentation temp or so for another couple weeks before racking to a keg and storing at lager temps. Seems to work for me.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]I believe that the slow drop is intended to let the yeast adjust and keep working as long as they can to maximize the cleanup of incomplete fermentation byproducts. It is possible that you will get a cleaner-tasting beer if you do that, but I haven’t experimented enough to be able to say from first hand experience.

My MO is to gradually warm the beer starting about a week after pitching the yeast to ensure complete fermentation, then drop the temp back down to fermentation temp or so for another couple weeks before racking to a keg and storing at lager temps. Seems to work for me.[/quote]

Same here, sort of. I pitch and hold around 48-50F for about 7 days. I then slowly raise the temp 1-2 degrees per day until it gets up to 64F. This usually takes 10-14 days. I hold at 64F for 2-3 days then drop it down to around 34-35F. I don’t gradually drop it down. Just set the temp on my fridge to 38F (the fridge itself runs a few degrees colder) and let it go for however long I decide to lager for. This has always worked well for me, but as you can see there are many different ways you can make a lager. The big guys turn around lagers much faster than us home brewers. So I won’t ever say there is a right and wrong way.

I typically pitch into well oxygenated, 50° lager wort and let it go for a good 2 weeks, sometimes longer. When it appears to be complete, I take it out and leave it on the cool basement floor for a few days (I swirl the primary at that point as well) to a week for a d-rest. Then I transfer it to a secondary where it sits longer on the basement floor and then eventually it goes to a keg (straight to 35°, no steps) where it gets cold and carbed. I don’t really have the patience to adjust things by 2° over a week’s time but with all the other stops along the way, I have no doubt that my lager yeast has completed its important work. It may be one of those ‘you don’t know if it makes a difference until you try’ things. That said, I make some pretty wimpy lagers and they always come out clean & tasty so I think you could skip the gradual decline in temps.

Ken, glad you replied because I actually made your long ball bock. Used Wyeast 2308. Reached terminal gravity (1.013) at about day 12, and then did a d-rest for 4-5 days. i’ve been gradually lowering the temps of my fridge for the past 2-3 days now. But, will probably crank it down to 35 when I get home.
Thanks

Ken, glad you replied because I actually made your long ball bock. Used Wyeast 2308. Reached terminal gravity (1.013) at about day 12, and then did a d-rest for 4-5 days. i’ve been gradually lowering the temps of my fridge for the past 2-3 days now. But, will probably crank it down to 35 when I get home.
Thanks[/quote]
Nice. I have it in secondary at the moment. At this point I think you could send it down to lagering temps with noooo problems. I hope it comes out tasty! Cheers.

The only reason to lower the temps gradually is if the yeast is still working. If you have reached terminal gravity there is no reason not to drop temps immediately.

That’s good to know because I never understood the reason for it. I know that some people suggested fermenting cool until you were at 75% through primary and then take it out for the d-rest while the yeast was still active. I let the primary go the full fermentation range and then swirl it a little when I take it out for a d-rest. I’m not sure why anyone would want to bring the beer to the lager phase while the yeast was still working.

Neither would I Ken. The only thing I could think of is that it would extend the D rest and help clean that up.

Okay, so I’ve been lagering this brew for approximately two months. I transferred to a keg this morning and was planning on letting it lager for another two. I tasted a sample, and it was delicious. No hint of sulfur or anything else. I’m happy to let it sit longer, but if it tastes good now is there really any reason to?

If it tastes like you want it to, I say “Go For It”!

[quote=“apf87c”]Homebrewers,

Transferring a lager after d-rest to secondary. I’ve read some folks gradually drop temp by 1-5 d F per day until they reach lagering temps.

Is this considered a best practice? What’s the risk in immediately dropping to lagering temps?

Thanks.[/quote]

There’s good information about this on Kai’s webpage: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti … ing_Lagers

Check out under the heading The Conventional Fermentation in a German Lager Brewery.

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