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Currently got a lager kit brewing but not sure if it is ready to bottle.

The kit I have says to leave it for 10 days but I didn't seem ready then and had quite a strong apple smell to it although that seems to have got weaker since a few days ago. Should I leave it a bit longer or try warming it up a bit to get the yeast more active again?

Anyone had a similar problem? Still a bit of a newb to home brewing...

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The smell of apples is totally normal in beer fermentation. The chemical compound acetaldehyde gives the characteristic green-apple flavor and aroma. It's an intermediate in the synthesis of ethanol from glucose by yeast.

Usually warm conditioning is enough to reduce levels to below flavor threshold. Factors like not pitching enough yeast or not oxygenating/aerating enough can lead to elevated levels in finished beer. A lot depends on your exact fermentation strategy, so it would help to know more, e.g. yeast strain, how much you pitched, how you aerated, what temperature you fermented at, gravity readings, conditioning temperatures, &c., but typically this flavor goes away with conditioning, if you have healthy yeast.

Especially with lagers, which can easily take 10-14 days to finish primary fermentation, I'd say patience is key. Let it go another week or two, trying it periodically to assess flavor and aroma. Let your senses be the guide to when it's done, not what the kit tells you (it can't ever take into account all the factors affecting the progress of your beer).

  • I have no idea what strain of yeast was included in the kit. Fermentation has been around 22-23C if the thermometer can be trusted. I didn't do anything special with the aeration just gave it a good stir before adding the yeast. I completely forgot to take a gravity reading so unfortunately I can't even check that! – Daniel West Sep 25 '15 at 23:08
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    Depending on the kit, it's entirely possible/probable that the yeast was in fact an ale yeast, not a lager yeast, especially if those were the temperatures called for. – Franklin P Combs Sep 25 '15 at 23:31
  • Yeah it said it needed to be around 20-25C for 10 days which did sound a bit too quick. I did a bitter quite a while back and that turned out really well. This one seems to be having problems. – Daniel West Sep 25 '15 at 23:35
  • Ten days at 20-25°C sounds right for an ale yeast. This 'lager' kit is probably meant to produce a beer much lighter in flavor than the bitter you made, so you may simply notice off-flavors more now. Light beers do tend to show off flaws much more than more flavorful beers would otherwise. – Franklin P Combs Sep 26 '15 at 3:04

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