Things have been moving along on my latest Vienna lager (Take Two Vienna Lager) and German pils (Palaeotis Pils). The two beers are in the same fermentation chamber; because the pils was brewed most recently, the temperature control regimen has been dictated by that batch.
For these brews, I elected to use a fast lager schedule. The pils was brewed on 9 December, with a starting gravity of 1.048. When I checked the beer on 16 December, the gravity was down to 1.020. At 57% apparent attenuation, this exceeded the recommended 50% threshold for temperature ramp-up, so I was clear to go. I didn’t bother to check on the Vienna lager, because it had been in there for a week extra and high krausen had long since passed. So, I figured it was more than safe to ramp that one up too.
At this point, I turned off the fermentation chamber to let things free-rise for the first day. Because my garage temperature was fairly cool, the temperature in the fermentation chamber hadn’t exceeded 55° after 24 hours. So, I added the heating pad and set the temperature for 68°. The temperature probe was loose, so that it would sense ambient temperature in the chamber, for a slower rise in the fermenters themselves than if the probe was attached to a fermenter directly.
I checked the pils again on 24 December, at which point the gravity was 1.011, and this was unchanged two days later (5% abv, with the 1.048 starting gravity). The Vienna lager (depicted in the photo) was at a final gravity of 1.013 (5.1% abv, following a starting gravity of 1.052). So, on 26 December I set the fermentation chamber to 34°, still leaving the temperature probe loose so as to ensure a slower temperature drop in the fermenters. I filled the airlocks with vodka, to avoid having the sanitizer water sucked in as things cooled.
After 24 hours of cold-crashing, I added gelatin, with 1/2 tsp. in a half cup of water for each batch. I’ll let things settle for a few more days before kegging and carbonating.