Help! I think I messed up...

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

LRAT

Active Member
Joined
16/10/18
Messages
43
Reaction score
12
Location
NE of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Hi,

On 22 March I made a first batch of Bohemian pilsner.
The brewing process went well and I hit all the target numbers.
I used a WLP800 yeast.
My fermentation profile went as follow:
27-03: Fermented at 11C
31-03: Fermented at 12C
01-04: Fermented at 13C
02-04: Fermented at 14C
04-04: Decanted the beer in two fermentation drums (18 litres each)
Put back in fridge at 14C
04-04: Stepped up temperature to 18C
05-04: Decanted in two kegs of 19 litres volume
I did a bit of tasting and it tasted really good (Except no carbonation as expected).
Lagered the beer at 2C until now (16-05).
I now want to bottle the beer and will add 128g of dextrose to obtain a CO2 volume of 2.4.
Now I read that I should have done this before the lagering!
Is it too late to add dextrose and bottle it? What should I do.
Will the WLP800 yeast still have some life left to complete the carbonation in the bottles?

I never really understood the lagering process and I found so much contradicting information that I'm still lost.
Could somebody please explain, in simple words, how the lagering should be done?

Thanks for your help in advance!
Cheers,

Luke

After I put the pilsner in bottles (With extra dextrose) do I need to keep it at 2C or can I store it at room temperature?
 

duncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
8/12/19
Messages
198
Reaction score
73
Location
paremata nz
@LRAT

Don't panic. Think all will be good. You aren't carbing in the keg and drinking from those.
Perfectly normal to let the beer clear and then bottle, that's good practice.
I would just dilute the dextrose in boiled water and divide that volume up between your bottles.
Lets say you will get 38 litres and you have 500ml bottles.
So 76 bottles
128 g dextrose add to 380 ml of the boiled water ( warmish so dextrose dissolves easily )
That will give you a new volume divide it by 76 and it will be over 5ml per bottle. Just squirt it into each bottle with a syringe.
This way guaranteed correct dose per bottle. If you bulk prime you will stir up that sediment in your kegs and you don't want that having worked to get clear beer by lagering.
Once capped move to room temp 22 celsius ish for probably 3 weeks and then cool a bottle down and open it if not conditioned enough leave another week.
Once conditioned then move to as cool an area as possible to keep it fresh.
Lagers aren't easy.

Not sure how priming before lagering would help unless you were going to drink from keg or had a counter pressure bottle filler.
 

LRAT

Active Member
Joined
16/10/18
Messages
43
Reaction score
12
Location
NE of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Duncbrewer!
I will follow your advice to the letter. I was just thinking that the yeast would have lost all viability after this long period sitting at 2C.
Thanks for helping me out!
 

MHB

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/10/05
Messages
6,456
Reaction score
3,914
Location
Newcastle
Lager brewing is technically demanding and I think the best time to ask the sort of questions you have is before you start, it’s called planning and goes a long way to de-stressing the whole process.


I find this very helpful, the old picture being worth a thousand words thing, its out of Kunze (the bible for lager brewing) and is one of many ways to make Lager but it’s the oldest, simplest and probably the fermentation profile closest to what home brewers can do easily at home.
Lager.jpg

The Dark solid line is Temperature (left hand scale oC)
The Dashed line is gravity in Plato (left hand scale %W/W)
The Light solid line is VDK or Diacetyl (right hand scale mg/L)
The Arrows are where Trub is or dumped (bottom scale is days)

Couple of things to note: -
Warm Fermentation; note that it is kept under 12oC and that the yeast is pitched colder at 8oC. Think lots of healthy yeast! A Diacetyl rest is a remedial process to fix excess DA it need not be part of your plan and won’t be necessary if you do everything else right.
This is for a CCV, (Cylendro Chonical Vessel) which makes dumping trub easy, in flat fermenters you might need to work around the trub dumps some.
21 Days isn’t necessarily the only end point 21 days is sort of a minimum for a light lager, bigger beers and more complex/underpitched lagers might take a lot longer.

Back to your questions
Lagering in the old days was called also "Chill Proofing" most beers when cooled down get cloudy, this is called "Chill Haze" if you cool the beer down until haze forms then wait, the haze particles will fall to the bottom.
The closer you are to the freezing point of the beer (~-1.5oC) the more and the faster the haze will form and sink to the bottom.
If you let the beer warm back up, the haze matter will go back into solution (well most of it will).
If you rack the beer while its cold, or dump the trub (CCV) made of haze matter and yeast, when the beer warms up, the haze forming matter is gone. So will be most or nearly all of the yeast.
If you were kegging the beer you could easily force carbonate, if you want to bottle its going to mean adding more yeast, probably bulk priming with a bit of yeast is easiest.
Bottle the primed/yeasted beer allow it to warm up to a suitable temperature for the yeast to work (using lager yeast would be best so over 12oC). Wait until the beer is conditioned (fizzy) then store.
You could keep the bottles somewhere cool and dark and they will be fine for months. In a perfect world you would cool the beer to less than 5oC and keep it there until you drank it. One thing that harms lager is the temperature going up and down so cold and steady is optimum.

Have a think through it, if you have any more questions am happy to discuss.
If you are thinking of making another lager have a chat about your plan, happy to work through it with you. I suspect two trub dumps/racks will be a minimum.
Mark
 

LRAT

Active Member
Joined
16/10/18
Messages
43
Reaction score
12
Location
NE of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thanks Mark for the lengthy and informative response!
There's a lot of information in there that I'll need to digest.

There is a reason for me asking for help.
At the start of May my QNAP NAS was hacked into and all my files became corrupted due to ransomware. (Caused by a vulnerability in the code developed by QNAP).
Luckily I had a full backup which was made about 4 weeks before the attack. I got all my files back. However, the only thing I couldn't recover was my Beersmith folder! I had all my notes in there and now these are permanently lost. ( I had a backup but the ransomware converted this in a 7zip file as well).
I went through a lot of online recipes to work my way out of this but the majority of these recipes are just recipes. They deal with all the ingredients needed, the mashing, boiling, hopping, etc. but the lagering process is not clearly stated.
I've forgotten where I got most of my information from and therefore it was time to ask for advice.

Do you know about a good link that explains the lagering process in layman terms. Like a step-by-step explanation how to make lager.
I've got a big fridge which I converted and I've got a high precision control over the temperature. This is essential to make a pilsner.
So, in brief, I've got all the means but I'm lacking the knowledge :)

Also, do you think the yeast will have some life left in it?
If I add new yeast to the brew:
-Will it affect the taste?
-Will it affect the clarity?
-Should I use the same strain of yeast (Liquid WLP800)?
-Should I dissolve the yeast in the priming solution so that it will evenly distributed for each bottle?

Thanks for all you help and time!
Luke
 

MHB

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/10/05
Messages
6,456
Reaction score
3,914
Location
Newcastle
There are a few good basic write-ups, start with the one on BYO (is isn’t behind a pay wall yet), gives you a basic overview of the process. I'll have a dig around and see if I can find you a better one.

Personally I think the one really big "Must Do Right" is yeast. Pitching a really big healthy amount of yeast at the start is crucial.
Somewhere in the 1-1.5M cells/mL/oP will make everything else work properly.
Just a glance at the numbers, say you are pitching into 20L of 1.050 (12.5oP) wort looking at the mid point 1.25MC/mL/oP
1.12*10^6*20,000*12.5 = 312,500,000,000 cells or 3.125^11.
One packet of White Labs fresh and in good condition, well they aren’t as forthcoming as say Wyeast but claim 2-2.8^9/ml and 40-45 ml per package, so again midpoint around 42.5ml*2.4^9 is ~1.02^11 cells. Big benifits in pitching even more, it must be well handled to.
Call it 3 packs of yeast or a get out of here starter. Just be aware that I personally have a lot of doubts about some of the claims home brewers make about their starters, I strongly suspect we don’t all get quite what we think we might be.

As to the specifics you asked about
Also, do you think the yeast will have some life left in it?
From your process in post #1, probably, I think you haven’t really lagered properly. Normally I would say no, proper lagering will reduce the yeast population too far and you should use a bottling yeast
If I add new yeast to the brew:
-Will it affect the taste?
Not really, yeast makes flavours (mostly) during its reproductive phase, new yeast won’t do much reproducing because there is no (we hope) Oxygen or other nutrients available. Yeast can also detect and respond to alcohol, this means that bottling yeast won’t do much reproduction so can’t make much in the way of flavours.
-Will it affect the clarity?
Not much yeast is yeast; the amount need for bottle conditioning is minute so it will be just a couple of dots on the bottom of the bottle.
-Should I use the same strain of yeast (Liquid WLP800)?
Not necessarily, could be a mistake to use a much more attenuateive yeast, could lead to over carbonation.
The same yeast would be the best choice but I would probably use something like 1/4 of a packet of a good dry lager yeast in the bulk prime.
-Should I dissolve the yeast in the priming solution so that it will evenly distributed for each bottle?
That would be how I would do it, there are other options, all require you be very precise in your dosing to get consistent results. I think that if you are racking of the cold trub before adding priming and yeast doing all three operations at the same time works very well.

Making really good lager is a challenge, there is nowhere to hide any mistakes so we just can’t be making any.
Mark
 

Latest posts

Top