Issues with the process

Lagering methods and times

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caedus
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Issues with the process

Postby caedus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:48 am

I have been having issues with yeast sediment in my lagering/serving kegs. The original paper recommend transferring with 1 plato left, but that leaves a shitload of yeast in suspension. I was getting good malt and hop flavor with a lovely wash of yeast on every pour. The last beer I did, I was out of town for a week, so I let it stay in primary until FG was hit plus some. Fifteen days total with a cold crashing regime down to 2C, then I transferred moderately clear beer into a purged keg. (I do the fill/flush to completely purge kegs).

I also tried to save the last two beers I did by jumping them to new serving kegs in the hopes to eliminate most of the yeast cake. I will see how those turn out, but the oxygen ingress of transferring also makes me nervous doing that as standard practice.

I have been fermenting under pressure (2-3 psi), which leaves quite a bit of sulfur in solution. This, in theory, should act as an antioxidant and will protect the beer going from primary (@ FG) to a lager/serving keg.

Just curious to hear what everyone else was doing. I think it might be time for a series of "in-depth" posts to collect each members process.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby Techbrau » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:30 pm

Commercially, you would just filter. They often add non-flocculating yeast for secondary in order to ensure complete attenuation because they know they're going to filter anyway.

For us, filtration is very hard to do well. It's an option if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

My approach is to cut the dip tube in my fermenting keg to ensure I'm not pulling any of the cake or the beer close to it, which will usually have more yeast in suspension as it's beginning to drop out.

I also have the dip tubes cut about 1/2 cm short in my lager kegs

All that said, you will see the biggest improvement if you focus on tailoring your fermentation. Yeast choice is critical. I have found two and only two yeast strains that I've been satisfied with for the LoDO process, WLP835 and Wyeast 2206. That doesn't mean others can't be made to work, but it boils down to learning how to work with your chosen strain. I know that given my pitching rate, oxygenation rate, pitching temperature, and fermentation temperature curve WL835 will attenuate down to 2p above FG in about 5-6 days, start to slow down and drop out a little, and at 1p above FG I can rack only mildly cloudy beer to my lagering keg where it takes another 5 days or so to reach FG. After that it drops like a rock and I have relatively clear beer after another 2 weeks, and it looks filtered after 4 weeks.

LoDO isn't a set of one-size-fits-all steps that you can apply to your system and be guaranteed to get the results you want. It's a mentality that underlies a process which needs to be individually adapted to each unique brewing system via trial and error.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
caedus
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby caedus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:03 pm

I am aware that it's not a one size fits all. I am just running into snags in the process and am reaching out to find out exactly what others are doing. What fermentation profile are you using with 2206?
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:24 pm

My first attempt still has yeast in suspension, and will, until it kicks in a few days.
For my second attempt, I bent the dip tube in the primary so that it picks up from the side of the keg about an inch up from the bottom. I think that helped, but I don't know how much sediment I have in my lager/serving keg, which has a full length dip tube. Also, that batch used WLP 830, FWIW.
I'm thinking I may save up for a Chronical Fermenter for my primary. The ability to drain the yeast first, and/or have a rotating racking arm would be nice.
I am also considering experimenting with gelatin fining, using pre-boiled water to dissolve the gelatin, and injecting it into the gas out QD in a slight overpressure condition with a syringe to minimize O2 exposure.

But yes, this is a riddle I have yet to solve.
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:36 pm

Now I'm considering modifying one of my kegs and installing a drain valve with a rotating racking arm like you find in SS Brewtech's BrewBucket.
https://www.ssbrewtech.com/collections/ ... rackingarm
Shouldn't be hard to do and I just bought a couple old kegs to refurb for $25 apiece. If it fails, I could sacrifice one.

But think about it: truly converting a keg for use as a primary fermenter. Weldless thermowell with thermometer, drain valve with rotating racking arm...could solve a lot of problems.
caedus
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby caedus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:08 pm

The issue is yeast in suspension, though, not the trub that has already fallen out.

I have a chronical, and I love it. I drop trub and then collect beer out of the second port, but even then I have excess amounts of yeast hanging in suspension.

I would think that krausening beer on it's way to the serving tank would be the best way, after already ramping down to 1C or lower, and once the beer passes a certain level of turbidity. I have a setup for pressure transferring krausen to a keg easily enough.
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Cavpilot2000
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby Cavpilot2000 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:35 pm

My current problem is transferring too much Settled yeast from primary to secondary. That may have been solved with my bent dip tube - we'll see.
I'm not worried about suspended yeast too much, as it will settle out during lagering, but that again presents a challenge with sucking it up off the bottom. When serving, which, again, could be solved by a shortened dip tube.
The problem with that lies in overall volume loss. I'm already limited to 5 gallons going into primary keg (where I used to always put 6 gal in primary so that with trüb loss I could still transfer 5 gal to lagering), then between pulling gravity samples and shortening the dip tube to prevent trüb transfer, im looking at 4.5 gallons to lagering if I'm lucky, and shorten another dip tube and best case I get about 4 gallons of usable beer from a batch.
Granted, it's great, high quality beer, but that's a 20% loss in volume of finished product.
6 gallon legs would be ideal, but nobody makes them.
While I like the idea of modifying a keg, it doesn't solve my volume problem.
I'm back to needing a bigger primary. Looking at a chronical or maybe a brew bucket short term.

I like the idea of kreusening, but in order to make that work you basically need to be constantly making the same beer. I'm in constant rotation, so that won't work. I don't want to Kreusen my Pils with an amber Keller, so kreusening is a non-starter for me.
Right now though I'm focusing on tightening up my process as much as possible, then I'll work out kinks like increasing volume.
caedus
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby caedus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:57 pm

You can get a 1/4 barrel sanke to ferment in. I have done it once before with good success. I cut the shank to the 1 gallon mark.
Techbrau
German Brewing
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby Techbrau » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:08 pm

caedus wrote:I am aware that it's not a one size fits all. I am just running into snags in the process and am reaching out to find out exactly what others are doing. What fermentation profile are you using with 2206?


Pitch at 8c, ferment at 9-10c. From there I either drop back down to 8c when there's 2p fermentable extract remaining, or bump it up to 12c. Both have been working fine for me.

BTW I also lowered my pitching rate to about 250-300 billion cells for 17 liters of wort.
If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten.
caedus
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Re: Issues with the process

Postby caedus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:14 pm

Why is that? The lower pitching rate I mean.

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