Coopers (Lager) Yeast

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livo

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My first question here; Lager, Faux Lager or Ale?

What type / style of beer is Coopers Lager canned concentrate kit (Original Series) when made to the instructions on the packaging and using the provided yeast?

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I think it is an Ale because all of the Original Series Coopers range are provided with C-R007 which is "Coopers ale yeast - Our own strain, which was developed in-house, but it is not the same strain as the yeast in our commercial ales". I also read somewhere that it is produced under licence for them somewhere. Fermented between 21 and 27 'C and conditioned for 2 weeks (or more) it can't be a Lager (I think). Is this correct, or is it a faux lager (imitation or fake lager)? What is a faux lager anyway?

It is interesting that the Canadian Blonde from the International Series is also supplied with the same yeast while the Mexican Cerveza is supplied with C + L R3426 which is a blend of their ale yeast and a lager yeast (but which one?). I haven't found a definite explanation to this blended yeast and it could be for 2 reasons, or one or the other or something completely different. I've read it suggested that this could allow the lager yeast to do some work in an elevated temperature range (home brewer) or possibly for different flavour profile. I don't know enough to say. It probably should ferment at lower temperatures (below the recommended range) but I don't know for sure. I haven't tried it.

Coopers also says of the yeast they use "These strains are commercially available dry yeasts and their details are held in confidence." So their alphanumeric codes are just internal identifiers for other yeasts commercially available, and they don't want anybody to know. This brings me to the next question.

What are the 2 Lager yeasts available through the Coopers DIY Beer site? Coopers DIY Beer Yeast They have a Lager Yeast and a German Lager Yeast available in 15 g packs for $7.95 or $7.16 club rate. Recent interest in 34/70 and Diamond etc, has caused me to think about trying these out. Does anybody know what they are? Has anybody used them? What are they like? Both have a recommended temp range of 12 - 15 'C with the German saying it can go up to 22'C. With that in mind it is most likely to be the included lager yeast in the blend supplied with some of the kits and it's probably best to ferment the kits with this blended yeast at less than 22'C then.

If the other yeasts they use are commercially available, but just coded internally, then are these 2 lager yeasts the same as other commercial yeasts as well?
 

MHB

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I suspect its 497Y, see following.

By definition a Lager beer is brewed with Lager yeast. Lager yeast has a double genome (there are some lager yeasts with a 1.5 genome). A bit like Champagne is made with Champagne yeast, but importantly by what is called "the methode champenoise " or the Champaign method. I could make a still red wine with Champagne yeast but it wouldn’t be ”Champagne".
Similarly with Lager, it needs Lager yeast and used in a way that promotes the typical Lager profile.

The yeasts under the lids are really too small. You will get much better results with much larger pitches (nothing wrong with the quality of Cooper’s yeasts, just the size). As per the other thread, how you use yeast is just as important as the choice of yeast, you would be well advised to familiarise yourself with the maths.

I guess a Faux Lager is a bit like fizzy white wine, cheaper, quicker and easier to make than traditional Champagne, just not quite the same.
Mark
 

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I suspect its 497Y, see following.

By definition a Lager beer is brewed with Lager yeast. Lager yeast has a double genome (there are some lager yeasts with a 1.5 genome). A bit like Champagne is made with Champagne yeast, but importantly by what is called "the methode champenoise " or the Champaign method. I could make a still red wine with Champagne yeast but it wouldn’t be ”Champagne".
Similarly with Lager, it needs Lager yeast and used in a way that promotes the typical Lager profile.

The yeasts under the lids are really too small. You will get much better results with much larger pitches (nothing wrong with the quality of Cooper’s yeasts, just the size). As per the other thread, how you use yeast is just as important as the choice of yeast, you would be well advised to familiarise yourself with the maths.

I guess a Faux Lager is a bit like fizzy white wine, cheaper, quicker and easier to make than traditional Champagne, just not quite the same.
Mark
My understanding is that AB Mauri supplies beer, wine and baking yeasts to many commercial enterprises. Why do they not turn up in home brew shops except in Coopers kits? Does that mean that Mauri is uninterested, and Coopers repackages their yeasts?
 

livo

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Yes. Hmmm, not exactly though is it? 12 - 20'C (Mauri) is different to 12 - 15'C and can tolerate up to 22'C (Coopers German Lager). I'm quite good at maths but I don't know a lot about yeast.

What would happen to the part of the blended yeast capable of tolerating 22'C if someone used the higher end of the recommended ferment temperatures, ie; above 22 out of 21'C up to 27'C? Wouldn't it die, or at the minimum stress and cause issues? It appears to me that Coopers have just put the same 21 - 27 'C range on all the instructions, even with the different yeasts supplied.
 

Rosco

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livo, all the Original Series kits were supplied with the Ale yeast (including the Lager and the Draught). You might find the attached file helpful in understanding which yeasts Coopers supplies with the kits, even though the information is a few years old now.
 

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MHB

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Mauri probably supply the greater bulk of all the yeast used in home brew kits in Australia, their 514 Ale is very popular as is their lager, both are available all over the world. Unfortunately they are somewhat looked down on here but elsewhere are regarded as a premium product (go figure).

They are probably a perfect choice for Aussie conditions where most of the home brew is made at ambient temperatures varying from +30 to 10oC. These yeasts will perform very well without throwing too much in the way of off flavours.
Remember that the people here represent a very small fraction of the home brew produced; we get exposed to lots of good information on how to make better beer, part of which is using better yeasts. Better yeast requires better management to make better beer...

If conditions are too far from a yeasts proffered range, it won’t thrive. The initial pitch is a "seed" amount, it reproduces until it runs out of one of its required nutrients (usually Oxygen) then it starts making alcohol.
With blended yeast the one best suited to the conditions it finds itself in will reproduce faster and tend to dominate.
Kits can make very good beer, with temperature control and good hygiene truly excellent beer!
My biggest criticism of them is that the yeast supplied is way too small and not the best brewing option, clearly a good manufacturers option, if not a brewers first choice.

Looking at the 497Y info above it says 5.0*10^9 cells/gram.
Its commonly said that to make good lager you should be pitching at 1-1.5million cells/mL/oP
Let’s look at a 23L, 1.050 wort (12.5oP) and a pitch rate of 1million
The equation says we need (1*10^6)*23,000*12.5 = 287,500,000,000 or 2.875*10^11 cells
2.875*10^11 cells / 5*10^9 = 57.5g

In the spec sheet it also says 80-150g/hL or 100L, which is 18.4-34.5g/23L.
Clearly a lot less than the standard equation would indicate (it is probably based on 1.040 wort, 10oP and 20 IBU is pretty much what people call standard beer).
Personally I think 497Y is a bit of an outlier in yeast terms, it does perform very well at much lower pitch rates, its prone to throwing a bit of Acetaldehyde which matures out during lagering.
The above calculation also is for normal Lager conditions where yeast is pitched at 8-10oC and fermented way cooler than 20oC, usually in the 10-12oC range and sometimes cooler. In any case pitching warmer will encourage more reproduction and allows a smaller initial pitch.

Yeast is a many varied thing, finding ones you like, that work with your system and make the beer you want to drink is often a matter of experimentation.
Mark
 

livo

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As good an answer as I could hope to obtain. I'll re-read when I have a little more time. I bake bread, cook pizza from scratch and have done HB before today. I've also done other fermentation based practices that are less fussy than drinkable beer, including but not limited to Apple Cider Vinegar. Yeast is an amazing beastie and I'm going to try to learn more about it.

Many thanks Mark. You clearly know your stuff.

Edit: So from your calculation Mark, it would require 5.5 x 10 gram pack which is either 5 or 6 packs at $4 each. The spec sheet is either 3 or 4 packs. Why isn't yeast sold in quantities that better suite the required pitch rates? If kits actually work and produce 'good' beer with only 7 grams of yeast, how significant is increasing by 500 -700%?
 
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livo

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Not that I've tried to find any supply of 500g packs of mauri brew 497, but is it really only good for 5 days at 4'C after opening? W34/70 only good for 7 days? I have 2 x 500g packs of mauri bread yeast in the fridge. The opened pack is still viable after more than 12 months and still makes good bread and pizza. Both packs are approaching their 2 year best before dates.

Edit: A guy in Wisconsin US bought 500 g of 497 in Jan 2020 and was still using it in May 2021. Included reuse, and finally dropping from 25g pitches to 10g with no noticeable difference in performance. In fact he said it was better with less dead yeast. He kept it in his fridge with vacuum applied each time he opened it. Source: brewersfriend.com
 
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Edit: A guy in Wisconsin US bought 500 g of 497 in Jan 2020 and was still using it in May 2021. Included reuse, and finally dropping from 25g pitches to 10g with no noticeable difference in performance. In fact he said it was better with less dead yeast. He kept it in his fridge with vacuum applied each time he opened it. Source: brewersfriend.com
[/QUOTE]

Did the cheesehead (aka Wisconsonian) maybe vacuum pack between uses?
 

livo

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Yes. He said he vacuum packed each use.
Brewers Friend thread It is towards the end on page 3 where the discussion turns to storage.

There is also another guy here on this site, from UK I think, who says he has been using a 500 g pack or 34/70 which he simply keeps in his fridge. Says he drinks 70 units a week. I'd have to search for the thread but have to go out. While the yeast my lose vitality over time if poorly handled / stored, I doubt very much that it will die within a week of opening and freezing is always another option with dried yeast.
 

livo

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I have my first batch of Coopers Lager under temperature controlled fermentation (13.5'C+/-0.5) with a specialty lager yeast. I used 1 packet of Lallemande Diamond Lager yeast and it has been in the FV for 8 days today. It has been holding the same SG now for 3 consecutive days and today is day 4 if it's the same again, which I'm pretty sure it will be. There has been barely any airlock activity since the end of day 3 really but the FV / airlock remains pressure +ve.

Lalbrew says this; "Vigorous fermentation that can be completed in 5 to 7 days." so I guess it is ok to go ahead and bottle today. I've read that some say to allow 10- 14 days to primary ferment but I think it's done.

The question is in the actual SG readings, and I've allowed for temperature adjustment due to colder test readings. My hydrometer readings are at 1.008 but being probably around 15'C by the time I extract the sample and de-gas, I'm allowing 0.0014 points. So, I'm I'm assuming that my FG is around 1.0066. This may be what you get with this yeast. I don't have an empty FV for secondary so I hope I'm not going to over-prime.

Advice appreciated.
 

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Bump it up to a higher temp for the diacetyl rest. Interested in what you get, as I read the can isn't exactly lager malt.

I would predict it will be clean, and with some lagering, crisp. But I doubt you will get that pilsner of Czeck, or melanoidin of German lagers.
 

livo

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Thanks Swannie. Didn't get to bottle yesterday so not too late. How long for diacetyl rest at what temp would be recommended?

Just read 2-4 days at only 3-4'F (so 1'C) higher. Does that sound about right?

Diamond yeast; - 10'C - 15'C. If I raise my temp set from 13.5'C +/- 0.5 to 14.5'C +/- 0.5 that should do the trick, (I think, never done it before).
 
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Thanks Swannie. Didn't get to bottle yesterday so not too late. How long for diacetyl rest at what temp would be recommended?

Just read 2-4 days at only 3-4'F (so 1'C) higher. Does that sound about right?

Diamond yeast; - 10'C - 15'C. If I raise my temp set from 13.5'C +/- 0.5 to 14.5'C +/- 0.5 that should do the trick, (I think, never done it before).
For lagers most sources recommend a diacetyl rest at 20 or higher. The very experienced Martin Kai (braukaiser) goes to 22: Diacetylrest at 22 C (72 F) | Braukaiser

But how much diacetyl you get, therefore how much the rest matters, depends on the strain of yeast. Still. if you want a very clean lager, you might want to err on the high side.
 

livo

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Great info yank. Thanks. I'm heading down to the shed now.
 

MHB

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Two points that need to be born in mind.
First a DA rest is only necessary if you have excess DA that needs to be metabolised. The amount of DA is both strain and process dependant. If you use the right amount of healthy yeast in a well aerated wort, odds on you won’t have enough DA to need to do a DA rest.
Second Lager yeast will keep working down to something less than 5oC (again strain dependant). The traditional way to use lager yeast is to cool from fermenting temperatures (8-12oC) to Lagering temperatures (<4oC) slowly. This allows the yeast to keep working as the beer cools and it will also metabolise any DA.
If you crash cool a lager, the yeast will go dormant and not do the job of maturing the beer that is part of what makes Lager the beer it is.

I rarely find a DA rest necessary, do a VDK test, if you don’t have a problem skip it, if you have excess DA, it’s a handy remedial step.
Mark

PS
I find a couple of 250mL Erlenmeyer (conical) flasks really good for doing VDK tests.
M
 

livo

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Now I'm totally confused. Increase temperature by 1-2"C. No, go for 6.5- 8.5"C. No, hang on. Cool it slowly to 5'C.

Coopers Lager kit. Swapped yeast out to Diamond. 9 days at temp controlled 13.5"C +/_0.5. SG steady at 1.0066 for last 4 days (going on 5). In a bucket FV in my shed with the luxury of temp control. ie: "Home Brew".

I'm not going to cold crash as I have no "suck-back" protection.

I will attempt to do a VDK test and try to make a judgement about bottling day. What is a "Hot Water Bath"? (as in what temperature?) I'm not expecting to make premium European lager in Australian summer conditions. I'm hoping for an improvement on dumping full batches made in heat with burnt rubber flavours.
 

livo

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Well, to my surprise that worked and even though I doubted my nose's capability, I was able to detect a different aroma from the heated sample, and yes, I could describe it to be buttery.

So, I guess that means I need to do a DA rest, but at what temperature? Slightly elevated to the yeast upper limit of15'C or full outside at 20 - 22'C?

I'll raise it to 15 first which will take a while and await further instruction / recommendation.
 

philrob

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If you have temperature control, just set it at about 20ºC and let it rise naturally, then leave for a couple of days, and slowly reduce the temperature again.
I tend to drop it 1ºC each morning and evening until I get to as low as my fridge will take it.
 
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