From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: re: Lager fermentation
Date: 1989-02-07 15:34:00 GMT

in the Feb 06 digest, unet!mccrae!jimmc@Sun.COM (Jim McCrae) writes:
"At the moment I have what promises to be an excellent Pilsener
"in the 2nd day of primary fermentation. Yesterday I started the
"yeast at about 70F. It took off in a few hours. I pitched it when
"the wort had dropped to below 60F and left it at room temperature
"overnight. It got VERY cold last night; the dog water dish outside
"the door had a healthy 1/4" of ice on it this morning, and that
"was about 5 feet away from the fermenter. I would guess the wort
"dropped to the 40F's; there was some residual heat in the basement
"where it was kept. This morning I put the primary in the basement
"fridge, set to ~45F. So far I have seen no activity in the primary,
"but I'm assuming it's too early given the cold temps I've kept it at.
"Is the primary supposed to be kept at lagering temperatures right
"from the start like I've done? Or does the yeast need a few days
"at room temp to get started in the wort? Note that the starter batch,
"about a cup, was doing great when I put it in the wort. How long should
"the brew sit in secondary? All in the fridge or some at room temp?
"Can anyone give me some pointers on timing and temperature? I don't
"think I would enjoy a malt daiquiri all that much.

It depends on the yeast you are using. The lager yeast strain I use
likes warmer temperatures for the primary. It is useful to start off
warmer (50-60F) and cool it down a bit after the yeast has a visible
hold on the wort. As it is, your suffering a long lag time. Another
way to do this is to pitch more yeast. There are yeasts that, for
various reasons, demand to cooled and warmed at specific points. If
you cool the yeast too quickly, it will tend to drop out of suspension
before diacetyl (a buttery off flavor which is produced during the
respriration phase) can be reduced. Also, a cold ferment has less
activity and less sulfur flavors are blown off. I normally primary
in the low 50s and then reduce the temperature over a week in the
secondary. After terminal gravity is reached, I continue the
secondary at 32f (or whatever my fridge will hold) for a couple
more weeks to get the clearest, brightest beer possible.

--Darryl Richman

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