After over 3 weeks fermenting, and having held steady at a gravity of 1.012 for over a week, I decided to bottle my pilsner yesterday. It will take a couple weeks at room temps to carbonate, the remaining yeast in suspension being fed fresh priming sugar when racked to the bottling bucket. Then, at least 4 weeks lagering in my beer fridge in the basement.
Not having brewed a lager before, it’s all new territory, given that lagers have their very own set of issues and conditions. First thing I noticed was the buttery smell. I was horrified. Butter is a sign of diacytl, the biggest of no-nos, especially in German Pilsners. I had already prepped about 50 bottles: soaking in OxyClean Free solution for a couple days, labels removed, bottles rinsed, then run through the dishwasher with heat dry to sanitize. Bottling is a royal pain in the ass. If I were kegging, I could simply let the beer lager in a keg in the fridge for a month, then test to see if there’s a change in the butter aroma before force carbonating with CO2.
I shot a message to a friend in TX who used to work in a brewery ages ago, asking if I diacytl could lessen in the bottles over time. His response was “yes” and explained he had a pilsner that he had homebrewed that was awful to the point he dumped all but one 6-pack… only to taste it a few weeks later and find it delicious. So I moved ahead with bottling, mixing in the boiled priming sugar solution as I transferred the beer form carboy to bottling bucket.
I have NO IDEA how this is going to turn out. I have been extremely lucky so far in that other than my first 5 gallon extract brewing attempt, all my beers have been drinkable, some downright delicious. But a lager is a different beast, and this is the first time dealing with the dreaded “butter” of diacytl. I took precautions I knew I needed to: a longer mash, a longer boil, given this used a 100% pilsner malt grain bill.
From here all I can do is hope… and wait… and wait…