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1st time Lager, yeast technique

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by krz, 9/5/18.

 

  1. krz

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    Posted 9/5/18
    Hi all,

    I'm about to ferment my first lager, havent be able to before as I didnt have a temp controller.

    Anyway, my first ferment will be with 60 litres of wort and I ended up buying 6 x packets of liquid yeast White Labs WLP820 (as its a lager I was told use twice as much yeast as you would with ales, hence 6 packets)

    Now what I have done in the past with ales, is make a fermentation starter, I usually start a few days before and grow one packet of yeast to 2 or 3 packets depending on volume. But this time,as its the 1st time lager I'd thought I would be safe and bypass the fermentation starter.

    Questions.
    1. Would it be best to dump all six packets into the fermenter or
    2. Make a yeast starter with one packet, and add it together with the 5 packets into the fermenter or
    3. Do something else?

    cheers
     
  2. Coodgee

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    Posted 9/5/18
    you'll still need to make a starter I'd say. depends on your OG. use mr malty yeast pitching calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

    that's a lot of lager for your first one. You don't do things by halves do you! Be warned lagers can be hard. good luck!
     
  3. krz

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    Posted 9/5/18

    Yeah thanks for feed back, I dont do by halves but sometimes learn the hardway.
    I just got a new SS unitank 1/2 barrel and also a new glycol chiller, hence the reason to be excited.

    MrMalty still confuses me.

    If i make a starter, should I just do a 1 x pack and add the rest at time of pitch? Thats my dillemma
     
  4. Brewno Marz

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    Posted 9/5/18
    Next time think about using dry yeast. Cheaper and sooooo much easier. FIve packs of Fermentis W34/70 for 60 litres...rehydrate and pitch...ferment...simples.
     
  5. Drewgong

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    Posted 9/5/18
    I'm doing a lager and a pilsner both 21 litre batches two packets of saflager 34/70 in each fermenting at 12 degrees both are very active. What's your process going to be once fermentation is complete? are you kegging?
     
  6. krz

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    Posted 9/5/18
    yes will be begging, will be fermenting at about 12C as well. Did you create a yeast starter? Did you pitch your yeast at say 18C and then gradually cool to 12?
     
  7. Drewgong

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    Posted 10/5/18
    no starter pitched at 12 degrees. what's your plans for lagering?
     
  8. themonkeysback

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    Posted 10/5/18
    The simple answer is do whatever you can to get the greatest number of yeast, best way to do this depends a bit on what equipment you have etc.

    I suspect Mr Malty is going to say 6 packs is a significant under pitch. Depends on date of manufacture of your yeast (irregardless it will still say it is an under pitch for a lager).
    I prefer the homebrew dad calculator: http://www.brewunited.com/yeast_calculator.php

    What equipment do you have for a starter?
    Flask? What size?
    Stir plate?

    The simplest option would be to grow up 1 pack to the maximum number of cells you can with a starter and then add the yeast from the starter + all of your other packs of yeast to the wort at the same time.

    The initial cells in a starter has some impact on how many cells you can grow, this will also depend on the volume capacity (i.e. flask size) you have available for making starters. So if you have a large flask you may be better off growing up a couple of your yeast packs. The description on the page for the yeast calculator I linked above gives some detail for this, it also has a link on that page to braukaiser for more detail.

    Hypothesising that you have a 2L flask and a stir plate:
    Make up an approx 1.040 work to 2L in your flask (essentially 200gm DME topped up with water to 2L volume).
    Add 1 pack of yeast. Ferment out over a couple of days on the stir plate, then pop in the fridge to drop the yeast out of suspension. Decant the beer off the yeast and add the slurry + all your other packs to your wort and away you go. This will still be an under pitch but will probably do the job.

    There are various other approaches for adding active starters etc. but the above is probably a fair starting point.

    Adam.
     
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  9. krz

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    Posted 10/5/18
    You hypothesised correctly, yes have a 2 litre flask and stir plate.
    Must note the, yeast Im using is WhiteLabs liquid March 2018 manufactured date

    so,what do you think about this?
    1. create a one pack starter
    2. take slurry and other packs to room temp 21C, mix all together and pitch
    3. after 2 days or when evidence of fermenentation, slowly drop to 12C
     
  10. themonkeysback

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    Posted 10/5/18
    I would probably still just ferment at 12 degrees, and raise it a couple of degrees late in fermentation for a diacetyl rest.
     
  11. krz

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    Posted 13/5/18
    Hi all, thanks for those that commented here.
    I started the ferment last night, this is what I did and the current status.

    1. I pitched 2 packets of whitelabs yeast into a 2 litres of DME/Water (I have a 3 litres flask). I used 2 of the 6 packets I bought because they were past their best use date, the other 4 are ok.
    2. I brought the 60 litres of wort up to 21C and then oxygenated for about 3 minutes using a oxy stone
    3. Pitched the yeast starter and the other 4 packets that I had warmed to room temp over 4 hours.
    4. Sealed the fermenter and waited, this was about 8pm last night.
    5. At 8am and it was bubbling quite rapidly into the blow off bucket, so I dropped the work to 19, 17, 15, 13.5 over 10 hours. Its still bubbling quite a lot, about a bubble a second. My target temp is 12C, I will drop it to that in 2 hours time. I dropped the temp slowly, as thats what the yeast packet says, maybe I am dropping it too slowly? I believe dropping it slowly avoids the yeast being shocked!

    Cheers
     
  12. Moad

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    Posted 13/5/18
    I step a starter from pack to 2L, decant and go into 5L. Ideally pitch at high Krausen and aerate with oxygen. Pitch as close to ferment temp as possible.

    You don’t want to stress the yeast at all in a lager or you’ll get unwelcome esters etc.

    I’m really enjoying the challenge of lagers lately and there are lots of styles I didn’t know about.

    I think most brewers must go through a similar cycle. Try something “craft” and find there is flavour, go down path of hoppy beers, get sick of hops and look for maltier or more interesting styles that aren’t hops, rediscover lagers. Someone tell me what’s next!
     
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  13. krz

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    Posted 13/5/18
    Ive just done a beer life making decision.
    Ive hit 12C, I closed the blow off tap!
    This means it will ferment under pressure unto 15 psi.
    I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but i did it anyway.
     
  14. Drewgong

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    Posted 13/5/18
    are you going to lager the beer after fermentation. I was told from my lhbs not to carbonate whilst lagering . Wouldn't fermentation under pressure start to carb the beer?
     
  15. Tony121

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    Posted 14/5/18
    Interesting. To answer your question, yes it will carbonate under pressure however whether lagering whilst carbonated is a problem is debatable. I am interested in details around this, if someone with more knowledge than I could answer it would be appreciated.

    My thoughts are that there is no difference whether the beer is carbonated or not, actually better to be carbonated to prevent potential oxidisation. From my understanding there are a number of breweries that ferment under pressure and carbonate naturally then lager their beer. If they have no issue with it then neither do I.
     
  16. krz

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    Posted 14/5/18
    Yes I will be lagering, but Im fortunate to also have a system that allows me to a closed transfer, so I will transfer to the kegs and lager in them.
     
  17. Drewgong

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    Posted 14/5/18
    nice I'll be lagering in kegs I have a lager and a pilsner these are my first lagers I'm only going off what I was told at my lhbs fermentation at 12 diacetyl rest for two days at 18 then cold crash transfer to kegs burp kegs with co2 then lager for 6 weeks before carbonating
     
  18. Tony121

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    Posted 14/5/18
    Hope I didn’t come across argumentative, was not the intention. It is just that this question came up when talking to a mate of mine the other day and it would be good if someone with more knowledge could weigh in as to whether carbonation makes any difference. Personally I don’t think it would.
     
  19. krz

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    Posted 14/5/18
    No way argumentative.
     
  20. Rocker1986

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    Posted 14/5/18
    Just to put another way out there, with my lagers I just make one starter and pitch that after decanting (I also harvest some of it for use on the next batch), however the batch sizes are only 21 litres or so. The yeast is pitched cold straight from the fridge, as I crash chill the starters to drop out the yeast more. I had read some literature that suggested this was better practice than allowing the yeast to warm up for hours first. This doesn't apply to fresh packs though.

    I try to get the wort at ferment temp before pitching but it's not always possible. I no-chill in cubes, and if there's space in the brew fridge I chill them further in that prior to pitching. If there isn't, then room temp it is. In any case, I just set the controller to ferment temp (I use 10°C) as soon as it's pitched and leave it. It sits at ferment temp until the gravity is in the low 1.020s (usually about 6 days), and is then allowed to naturally rise to 18, where it stays until a few days after FG is reached (usually 14 days total, they reach FG in about 8-10 days). It's then dropped to 0 for two weeks then kegged. Sometimes they go on gas straight away and stay chilled the whole time, other times they warm.up again while awaiting a tap, it just depends on the timing of the batch.

    I haven't really noticed any difference in flavour between ones that stay chilled after kegging and ones that don't, or ones that are pitched at or near ferment temp and those that are pitched warmer (sometimes up to 25°C), and none of them has had any off flavours that would be attributed to yeast stress, at least that I can detect. It's a simple schedule that has worked well for me on probably 25 lager batches over the past 3 years, and I'll continue to use it well into the future.
     

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