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I really wasn't ready to do a lager, but I wanted to do a Bock, so I requested California Lager yeast. My supplier failed to make the substitution and sent me home with Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager. I was snowed in and the temperature in my garage would be around 40°-50° for a couple weeks, so I decided to roll with it. After two weeks of fermentation at 42-48°F, it started getting warmer (~52°F). After about 2 days at that temp I decided to take a gravity reading, and found that I was sitting at 1.015. I tasted it and it wasn't too bad, but there was a hint of diacetyl (totally drinkable in my mind). I gave a sample to my wife and asked her to describe the taste...

Wife: "Tastes like a hamburger"
Me: "A hamburger?"
Wife: "Yeah, like a Sonic hamburger."
Me: "Like, buttery?"
Wife: "Yeah, like a buttery hamburger."

I saw here that it said this yeast benefits "from diacetyl rest at 58°F (14°C) for 24 hours after fermentation is complete". Great, I thought, my fermentation is complete, so I'll bring it up to 58 and let it sit for a day and see if that helps. It's been about 12 hours, but I'm a little nervous that the warmer temp will make the problem worse, and I've been reading that I should've done a d-rest much sooner.

What should I do in this scenario? Wait another 12 hours and bottle? 12 hours then lager in the fridge? Bottle then condition in the fridge? Cool the fermenter back down?

I've also looked at krausening, but that seems like a lot of effort on what may be a tight timeline. Any thoughts on that?

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what's a sonic hamburger? can you add link? –  mdma Apr 9 '13 at 16:02
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The warmer temperature should not make this problem worse. I'd let it sit for up to 48 hours and taste it again. I wouldn't bottle yet. Bottling (and conditioning in general) helps many beers but you'll waste 12 ounces at a time just to taste if you bottle it now.

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I agree with this, plus there is more yeast around to do the cleanup. –  mdma Apr 10 '13 at 17:30
    
This is actually what I ended up doing just because that thing called "life" got in the way. After sitting at a temperature that was a bit warmer than I intended for a couple days, it tasted much better. I bottled it and split it into a few batches to try different conditioning based on conflicting things I've read about lagers. I'm anxious to see where it ends up. My gravity sample sure tasted good! –  Eric H Apr 17 '13 at 1:25
    
Update: The best bottles from this batch were definitely those that were bottled and placed directly into the refrigerator and cold-conditioned over a couple months... not to say that the warmer ones from the closet weren't good, but the ones that were allowed to age in the fridge had a very clean, crisp taste to them. Note that it took much longer for them to carbonate, as expected. –  Eric H Jul 22 '13 at 15:40
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Bottom cropping yeasts are easier to rouse out of dormancy with higher temps than top cropping yeasts. I'd say that, even now, warming the fermenter up to 58 for the diacetyl rest would be totally appropriate and doable. I don't know that the time component is really important, unless it'd been so long that all the yeast was dead, and I don't think that's the case.

But, if I can add to this whole discussion: do you bottle? I bottle, and I've noticed that bottle conditioning at room temps for a couple of weeks (or just two or so days for the lagers) serves perfectly well in place of a "traditional" diacetyl rest, before cold crashing everything.

Oh, @mdma, a Sonic is a fast food chain in the States. Their hamburgers are, you know, ok. ;)

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Yes, I do bottle, and typically allow two weeks for bottle conditioning with my ales. This is my first lager, so I don't have any experience with bottle conditioning lagers. Thanks for the input. –  Eric H Apr 9 '13 at 16:58
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