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I'm planning to make my first batch of lager beer, and I chose the vienna lager style. But I have never made a lager before, so I want some tips! Since I have just two fermenting buckets but only one fits in the refridgerator, I'm planning to make use of just the primary. How much time do you recommend for fermentation (and what temps), and how much time for lagering?

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
2,00 kg       Vienna Malt (6,9 EBC)                     Grain        37,74 %       
1,25 kg       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3,9 EBC)             Grain        23,58 %       
1,00 kg       Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (5,9 EBC)           Grain        18,87 %       
0,75 kg       Munich Malt (17,7 EBC)                    Grain        14,15 %       
0,30 kg       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (150,0 EBC)    Grain        5,66 %        
16,00 gm      Brewer's Gold [8,00 %]  (60 min)          Hops         16,3 IBU      
15,00 gm      Fuggles [4,50 %]  (10 min)                Hops         3,1 IBU       
15,00 gm      Cascade [5,50 %]  (10 min)                Hops         3,8 IBU       
2 Pkgs        Saflager W 34/70 (Fermentis)              Yeast-Lager    

What do you think?

Thank you!

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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would be absolutely sure to pitch enough yeast. I assume you are aiming for 5 gallons into the fermentor. The yeast rate pitching calculator @ Mr. Malty -- http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html -- GREAT resource, don't leave home without it) recommends almost four of the 5 gram packs, or almost two of the 11.5 gram packs.

Do you keg? Corny kegs make excellent bright tanks. Some people will dedicate a couple of kegs to conditioning/bright tanks and cut 1-2 inches off the diptube. This way, you can rack from primary to the bright corny, let it condition/lager, and then transfer it under pressure to a serving keg. The shortened dip tube will leave any yeast/sediment behind.

Other than that, you might consider getting rid of the pale malt and upping your vienna or pils - I've seen Vienna recipes of 100% vienna malt, as well as a mix of vienna/pils/light munich.

Here's a good article on the style: http://www.byo.com/stories/beer-styles/article/indices/11-beer-styles/1597-vienna-lager-in-exile

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

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Hi, thanks for the tips, I'm not going to give up for my pale malt because I don't want a too sweet beer. I've already read this article, it's very nice! :P –  loop0 Aug 31 '10 at 2:03
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Finally I made my Vienna, but I think the temp on pitching was too cold, around 8C, now on 24h I have temp around 10C and yeast doesn't started fermented yet, so I opened my fridge to try to get around 14C. Anyone know if it's normal a 24h+ lag time? How much time should I wait until I have to make another decision or maybe put more yeast? Thanks!

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This could and should be a new question, IMO. –  brewchez Sep 7 '10 at 19:46
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Keeping your recipe exactly as it is I would remind you to rehydrate the yeast first, to give it the best shot at fermenting (adding an additional packet wouldn't be a bad idea either though, but I don't know your restrictions on cost so we'll leave it at that.)

The ideal fermentation temp for this yeast is 12C. See here for the spec sheet on this yeast.

Plan to do the primary for at least 3 weeks. But I prefer to go by gravity. So be prepared to check it after three weeks to see where the gravity is. Check it a couple times to be sure its done fermenting and at a stable gravity reading.

You should plan a lagering phase for at least 4 weeks or longer. Optimum lager temp here will vary but getting down to 2-4C would be a good start. You should also rack the beer from your first bucket to a clean and sanitary second bucket.

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I read on review that 2 packages is the right amount for 5 gallons, I'm going to use 2 packs of yeast. Like I explained, I can't rack to secondary since only one of my fermenting buckets fits on the fridge! Thanks for the advices, I'm going to follow this schedules! –  loop0 Aug 31 '10 at 2:01
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