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Good day!

Brewing a Czech pilsner OG 1.046 (brought it down from 1.056) Yeast: Wyeast 2278 (1 litre starter) - 10-14 degs range 22L batch

My temperature control on my fridge said 14degs but a belated check confirmed 16degs, which would explain the very vigorous fermentation throwing off a lot of sulphur.

I've corrected it down to 14 degs after 3 days.

What is the recommendation to try and counter balance the ester formation:

  1. Should I go lower to 10-12C stepwise?
  2. Should I bring fwd / delay my D-rest?
  3. Keep to normal practise and lager longer?
  4. Just chill out and accept it's a fruity lager that will be perfectly ok to drink just not win any prizes....

thanks! Aran

  • Was the 14 deg. you saw on the temp. controller a set-point or an actual thermometer reading? – Franklin P Combs Jul 10 '15 at 3:34
  • Set point on a dial, which as been accurate until recently. – Aran Scutcher Jul 10 '15 at 10:07
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    14C is a little warm for a lager, particularly as you are measuring the fridge temp not the beer temp. In future, I suggest setting the fridge at 10C and slowly increasing to 16C over 2 weeks to help the yeast ferment out the beer. – mdma Jul 10 '15 at 23:09
  • Thanks agree that starting at 10c and slowly increasing makes sense, and good point about beer vs fridge temp. Though the Wyeast 2278 is designed for 10-14C. – Aran Scutcher Jul 12 '15 at 4:29
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I will state up front that I don't brew lagers, but I believe this information applies to both lagers and ales.

Most ester (or ester precursor) production occurs during yeast reproduction. Since this happens early on in the fermentation process, you likely can't do much to stop it now. You also can't reverse it once it is done.

According to this article, ester production is controlled by choice of yeast strain, fermentation temperature, pitch rate, and wort oxygenation. If you got three out of four right then maybe it won't be so bad.

I say just stick to your normal schedule. Ride it out and see what you get!

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  • thanks, have gone ahead, I think the damage is minimal. Just wrapping up my d- rest, am at 1.012 so will rack to secondary and begin lagering at 4C. – Aran Scutcher Jul 12 '15 at 4:32
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Sulphur is normal in lagers, so I would not worry about that one. Even at 10C my lagers made a lot of sulphur!

Esters are formed during the first few days (1 - 3) of the fermentation process, so you will have slightly more esters in your beer than planned. HOWEVER, lager yeasts have very little formation, so you might just get away with it.

I don't think lowering the temperature will have much of an effect regarding fermentation, but it should help with flocculation.

Nope, keep your d-rest where you originally planned it, as long as you just have one.

Esters will not drop out, so longer lagering will not change that.

Yes, relax. Maybe you have the best beer ever! :) The beer might still be very clean.

However: You can blow off some of the esters if you keg your beer. To do this keg and carbonate your beer. Then de-gas the keg completely (the esters will be blown off) and re-carbonate. Repeat in a day or two. NOTE: This will also remove hop and malt aromas.

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  • Great that's good feedback, i did the D-Rest and have started lagering, Sulphur smell isn't present anymore, some esters still there. Will see how things are after a week and then if necessary try blowing off some esters. thanks. – Aran Scutcher Jul 14 '15 at 8:20

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