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Vienna Lager - advice/help required

Discussion in 'All Grain Brewing' started by Fleabag, 9/10/18.

 

  1. Fleabag

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    Posted 9/10/18
    Hey all - hoping for a bit of advice. Heading out of town this weekend for 2 weeks, and the Vienna lager that I hoped to have at lagering temps by then still has a way to go before it’s done. (Og 1.055 1 week ago when I pitched, saw initial activity on weekend when I bumped it up to 15°, now at about 1.02ish).

    It’s my 1st lager and I was hoping to push to 18° for a diacetyl rest, then gradually drop down to about 3° by Saturday when we go. I don’t think there’s time for that now, so wondering what I should do. Was curious if I just drop it now to 7° or so for while we’re away then bump back to 18 when we get back, if that would be bad. No idea really what to do here.

    (Using m84 yeast)
     
  2. EmptyB

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    Posted 9/10/18
    You could invest in an Inkbird ITC-310T and program it to perform the d-rest and gradual reduction to cold crash temps while you're away?
     
  3. Fleabag

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    Posted 9/10/18
    In theory, yeah. But absolutely flat out between now and then so no chance to do it.

    What I might be able to do is hang the probe in the fridge away from the fermentasaurus so it operates on air temp. The maybe the fridge cools a bit, the liquid would warm the air a bit, fridge cools a bit more. Etc. Should be fairly gradual that way. (It’s not a big fridge so not much air space around the saurus)

    Hmmmm.
     
  4. raturay

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    Posted 9/10/18
    Mate I had the exact same issue with my first ever lager about 12 months or so ago. My LHB advised me simply to leave it as it was, i.e. at the fermentation temp, let the yeast do all it's work, and all would be good when I got home. It ended up on the yeast for a touch over four weeks. At the time of leaving it it had a very distinct diacetyl smell to it. Back home and the diacetyl aroma had gone completely so I cold crashed it and kegged it. Turned out a great beer.

    I would have no hesitation doing it again. Matter of fact I kegged an IPA this morning that has been in the FV for 20 days as we have been away for a couple of weeks. It would have finished about a week or more ago. Tested great in terms of FG, smell and flavour. I've been leaning towards leaving batches on the yeast for longer than "normal" with no ill effects so far. In fact I think they are the better for it.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. Fleabag

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    Posted 9/10/18
    Woo! That’s what I wanna hear - thanks!
     
  6. Danscraftbeer

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    Posted 9/10/18
    I too would consider just leaving it at ~12c. I guess no harm leaving it at 15c either I'd think. It should be well cleaned up by the time you get back.
     
  7. Fleabag

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    Posted 9/10/18
    I was thinking about that temp range. In fact might even do that sooner rather than later.
     
  8. raturay

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    Posted 9/10/18
    Yeah, I probably should have said. My fermentation temp was 12c so I just left it there right through to the cold crash.
     
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  9. Paulos

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    Posted 9/10/18
    The extended time at 15 wont be bad for it, but if you're in a hurry to drink it you could d rest, then take it down to cold crash temps in 2 hits, friday night and saturday before you leave (which is what id do).
     
  10. Fleabag

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    Posted 9/10/18
    I’ll keep an eye on the gravity. If I get close to FG tomorrow night I’ll try that. Still a ways off yet I think. (About 1.022)
     
  11. Paulos

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    Posted 9/10/18
    Ahh, i assumed you meant .012 whichd be near fg. Best to leave it at your fermentation temp until you're back.
     
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  12. keine_ahnung

    joeblogsbier.com

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    Posted 10/10/18
    Hi Fleabag,

    as a professional (and German-qualified) brewer in Bavaria, my advice is leave to it at 6-7deg. This is what we (and most lager breweries in Bavaria/Austria) do in this situation. Assuming you had enough oxygen to start with, and other prerequisites for the yeast (e.g. Zinc!), it'll keep fermenting slowly.
    And if not, increased temperature at the end of the fermentation is not your ideal solution.
    Sure, one can argue that that accelerates the breakdown of ferm. biproducts (incl. diacetyl), but in general, Lagers are never brewed above 10-12deg. (Most breweries here ferment lagers from 6-9deg). Above those temperatures, the yeast starts producing lots of flavours, aromas and higher alcohols - which aren't all reversable....

    If you have another clean fermenter available, transfer your Vienna Lager into that and leave the worst yeast in the bottom of your first fermenter (inactive/old yeasts cells => get out of the beer as soon as possible!)

    Then LAGER it, good and long!! i.e. 6-8 weeks (absolute minimum 4 weeks).
    The biggest trick to making good lagers is lower ferm-temps and long lager-times :)

    Cheers,
    Joe
     
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  13. Fleabag

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    Posted 10/10/18
    Fantastic feedback - thanks! I’ve set it to 9.5° (currently 12°), and I’ll dump the yeast in the morning (using a Fermentasaurus) and set it to 7°. The yeast I use (Mangrove Jacks M84) says 10-15°. Should it still work below that range?

    Going off that timeline, this should be ready just in time for Xmas.

    Attached a pic of my brew fridge notes for the full process. In case I went wrong anywhere else.
    IMG_6139.JPG
     
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  14. -OG-

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    Posted 14/10/18
    Hi Fleabag,
    how did your fermentation schedule work out for you?
     
  15. Fleabag

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    Posted 15/10/18
    Currently touring New Zealand for 2 weeks in a campervan. Will find out when I get back!

    I dumped what yeast I could before I left, and left it at 7°. We shall see what happens.
     
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  16. keine_ahnung

    joeblogsbier.com

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    Posted 15/10/18
    Servus!
    Not a problem ;)

    Awesome note-taking on your fridge by the way :D

    Yeah, the yeast isn't thaaaat sensitive to temperature. Feel free to think of yeast a little bit like another living organism, similar to us. We have a temperature where we are quite comfortable and happy to work. Start reducing the temperature, and we start slowing down. ...until it gets to a point where the body (i.e. yeast cell in this case) starts to go into standby mode and starts shutting down metabolism processes.
    On the other side, the warmer it is, the "stinkier" we get....espeically with strenuous work. ;)
    Picturing yeast like this is a helpful way to understand what happens in the fermentation.
    -> at the end of the day, yeast is just trying to do what we do: metabolise energie sources and reproduce.

    In short it'll keep working below that 10-15°C from Mangrove. (Provided it had the required nutrients to start with - e.g. FAN, Zinc etc)
    As said, that's waaaaay too warm for a Vienna Lager (or any lager). To be honest, every brewer in Germany would cringe at the thought of fermenting a lager that warm. We once had a thermostat fail on us in the brewery on the second day of fermentation with a Helles. Didn't notice it until the next morning, and by then it was almost at 16°C. We did everthing we could to reduce the horrible byproducts (Diacetyl, Acetyldehyd, etc) with temperature, time, aufkräusen and long lagertime, but we were so ashamed of it, that we couldn't sell it as it was.
    If a brewery in Bavaria tried to brew at Mangrove's recommended temperatures, they'd end up with a lager that stinks like old football socks so much, that they'd practically commit commercial suicide.

    As said before, the absolute most important thing for lagers is low temps and long lagertimes.

    Let me know how yours keeps going.
    It should definitely be ready by Christmas! ;)

    If you happen to have time, try repeating the exact same process, but ferment it at 8-9°C, then rack it when you're 10-15% before FG.
    If you want to keep perfecting your Vienna Lager, I've got a few tips for your mash-schedule too. But for now, the fermentation is a bit more important :)
     
  17. keine_ahnung

    joeblogsbier.com

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    Posted 15/10/18
    P.s. just noticed your hop additions. Do you have an aroma hop-addition at the end of your boil? Or just the Tettnanger at the start?
    btw, tettnanger is a nice choice for this kind of beer :)
     
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  18. Fleabag

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    Posted 15/10/18
    All good advice - again much appreciated. If I didn’t have this trip to NZ planned I would have sat and waited with the lower temps but time as usual forced my hand.

    And a bit of a note taking fail there. I also added 20g with 15min left of the boil.
     
  19. EalingDrop

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    Posted 15/10/18
    Could've given the house keys to a mate and pop over to press the switch a few times!
     
  20. ABG

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    Posted 15/10/18
    Great advice Joe. Thanks for sharing. I've always fermented my lagers at 10 degrees and while they've been good, they've never been great. I'll drop the temps a bit next time I brew one and see what improvements that brings.

    Do you pitch the yeast at these really low temperatures, or do you pitch at say 10 degrees, then bring the temperature down 12 hours later? Roughly how long does it generally take for fermentation to complete, given that it will take longer at lower temperatures? Also, what is the ideal lagering temperature? I imagine it would be challenging for most Australian home brewers to lager at the temperatures you do given our warmer climate. And would you mind sharing your mash schedule tips with the rest of us?

    Sorry for hitting you with so many questions.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
    Last edited: 15/10/18
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