Brewing a Pilsner have bottling questions

Post #1 made 1 month ago
So I'm a newer brewer with some extract brews and two biab brews under my belt and I want to brew a Pilsner. This time of year the garage is perfect for cold fermentation at a pretty stable 50 degrees. I'm pretty confident on brewing and fermenting the beer, but I have questions on the lagering phase. I don't have a fridge big enough to house a secondary for lagering, so I was planning on priming and bottling before lagering. My question is how long should I wait before moving the beer to the fridge for lagering? My ales always seem to carb up in a bit less than a week, do lagers take the same amount of time to carb up? Am I really going to miss out on anything not lagering the beer altogether in a secondary? Thank you guys for any input, really have enjoyed the site and so glad I decided to try biab brewing.
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Re: Brewing a Pilsner have bottling questions

Post #2 made 1 month ago
hi exploringamigo,
couple of good questions, thought i might throw my 2 cents in.
1. the yeast activity is responsible for conditioning, so obviously the more yeast volume in the fermenter is more efficient at conditioning than the smaller amount in the bottle. I like to give the brew more time in the fermenter before bottling. If you bottle early you force the yeast in the bottle to have to finish conditioning and priming - could impact flavor. Basically I would not view lagering and bottling as the same thing even when you leave the bottles for a bit. Bottle conditioning is a technique used for example in some great belgian style ales and it is the conditioning in the bottle that helps give it the unique flavors. OK - with that said I still have seen folks lager in the bottle - my view is it is your preference and you have to experiment a little to get the beer you want with the equipment you have and the time and the environment etc...
2 - you can minimize any concern from off flavors of the brew sitting on the trub by moving to secondary. I have done both left it to lager (fast lagering technique in primary and longer lagering in secondary) with good results. I usually do the fast lagering technique (search the site and you will find some data on it also at the brulosophy site where I first found it.)
3. not sure how you are largering in the garage - I have done it while in the secondary in a tub full of ice covered by a towel. Typically you want the lagering to occur at lower temperatures. Unless the recipe is calling out 50 degrees F, I would go lower. I take my pilsners way done to 30s F. In winter it isnt hard with bag of ice or so a week. the cooler temps slow processes down and minimize some of the chemical reactions you don't want to taste strong in your brew. remember there is an order to the process for a reason - setting up the yeast to impart the right flavors. Key is take good notes on the process and the end result then adjust for the next brew.

Anyway , that's my 2 cents - lager in the fermenter then transfer to the bottle would be my vote. A little more time and energy but the end result will be worth it. Hopefully you will get some other input from the site so that you can work out what you think will work best for you. Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.
Pete
    • SVA Brewer With Over 20 Brews From United States of America

Re: Brewing a Pilsner have bottling questions

Post #3 made 1 month ago
Hey Pete,
Thanks for the reply and all the info! I've been thinking about the things you mentioned in your reply and I think what I am going to do is have a little bit of an experiment. I am going to take my 3-gallon batch and split half of it to a smaller fermenter that I can move to the fridge for lagering. After 4 weeks of that I will move them to bottling and conditioning for a couple weeks. Then I will take the second half bottle it, let it condition to carb up for a couple weeks, then move the bottles to the fridge for lagering for four weeks. After six weeks time I can have a little taste test and see what the differences might be. Do you see anything I may be overlooking with my ideas? I'm going to look for that fast lagering technique on brulosphy you mentioned this afternoon, I've always liked the stuff those guys cover.
Matt
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Re: Brewing a Pilsner have bottling questions

Post #4 made 1 month ago
Nice! Experimenting is the best way to learn. Only comment would be for the pilsner go colder then 50 if can. I have found the toughest part is waiting! Sound all good, experiment, learn, and drink some beer as you go. I am sure both ways will produce drinkable brew, but this way you'll develop your preferred method. Look forward to hearing how it turns out. I just did a modern Oktoberfest via fast lagering worked out well. When I get a chance will post recipe.
Pete
    • SVA Brewer With Over 20 Brews From United States of America

Re: Brewing a Pilsner have bottling questions

Post #5 made 1 month ago
Sounds good I would like to check out your recipe. I've been wanting to brew an Oktoberfest too.

Just finished scaling a recipe for my pilsner that I got from byo.com.

Here it is

Bohemian Pilsener
(3 gallons/11.4 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.056 (13.9 °P) FG = 1.016 (4.2 °P)
IBU = 40 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.3%

Ingredients

6.35 lb. (2880 g) Durst continental Pilsner malt (or similar) 2 °L
0.45 lb. (204 g) Briess Carapils® malt (or similar) 2 °L
4.83 AAU Czech Saaz hops (0.85 oz./24 g for 3.5% alpha acid) (60 min)
5.8 AAU Czech Saaz hops (0.99 oz./28 g for 3.5% alpha acid) (30 min)
2.9 AAU Czech Saaz hops (0.53 oz./15 g of 3.5% alpha acid) (10 min)
2.9 AAU Czech Saaz hops (0.53 oz./15 g of 3.5% alpha acid) (0 min)
White Labs WLP800 (Pilsner Lager), Wyeast 2001 (Urquell) or Fermentis Saflager S-23 yeast

Step by Step

Mill the grains and dough-in targeting a mash of around 1.5 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (a liquor-to-grist ratio of about 3:1 by weight) and a temperature of 154 °F (68 °C). Hold the mash at
154 °F (68 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Infuse the mash with near boiling water while stirring or with a recirculating mash system raise the temperature to mash out at 168 °F (76 °C). Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is around 6.5 gallons (25 L) and the gravity is 1.044 (10.9 °P).

The total wort boil time is 90 minutes, which helps reduce the SMM (S-methyl methionine) present in the lightly-kilned Pilsner malt and results in less DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) in the finished beer. Add the first hop addition with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. The other hop additions are at 30, 10, and zero minutes left in the boil. Add Irish moss or other kettle finings with 15 minutes left in the boil.

Chill the wort to 50 °F (10 °C) and aerate thoroughly. The proper pitch rate is 20 grams of properly rehydrated dry yeast, four packages of liquid yeast or one package of liquid yeast in a
9-liter starter.

Ferment around 50 °F (10 °C) until the yeast drops clear. With healthy yeast, fermentation should be complete in two weeks or less, but don’t rush it. Cold fermented lagers take longer to ferment than ales or lagers fermented at warmer temperatures. If desired, perform a diacetyl rest during the last few days of active fermentation.

Rack the finished beer to a keg and force carbonate or rack to a bottling bucket, add the priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2 to 2.5 volumes.

A month or more of cold conditioning at near freezing temperatures will mellow some of the flavors and improve the beer. Serve at 43 to 46 °F (6 to 8 °C).
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