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Pitching Temp For Lager Yeasts

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Snow

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What are the opinions/ preferences out there for temperatures when pitching lager yeast to fresh wort? For example, do you cool the wort down to fermentation temp (9-12C) before pitching a pre-cooled starter, or is it ok to pitch the starter at 20C then bung the whole lot in the fridge to cool down overnight, given the yeast won't be in fermentation mode during the lag time anyway?

Cheers - Snow.
 

Justin

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Although I haven't done many lagers I'm pretty sure that if you were to pitch a decent sized starter (lager sized starter) into a wort at 20oC it will go off like a rocket and you will have heaps of trouble getting the temp down quick enough to achieve what your after in regard to lager characteristics due to the heat that it will generate. By pitching low you can slow the take off but it's a balance between lag times and pitching temps. Keen to hear some experienced lagerer's thoughts on this.

JD
 

Gough

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I'm not quite sure if I qualify as an 'experienced lagerer', and I'm interested in the views of others here as well, but I've brewed quite a few lagers over the last 18 months and have generally pitched at approx 20-22 degrees and then chucked it straight in the fridge (I've got one I brewed 10 days ago in there at the moment). This does increase the lag time, but I've had some really good tasting results. I set my fridge with my gro warm thermostat to just below the 10 degree mark and with the brew in full on ferment mode it keeps it at about 11-12 degrees. I could go colder I guess, but so-far so good. When pitching at 20ish degrees iI haven't had one 'go off like a rocket' so far. Like I said lag times are increased compared to ale brewing at 18-20 degrees, something I put down to the rapid cooling slowing the yeasties and making life at least initially a little difficult. Still, good results so far so will only change my method if someone more experienced here can convince me to. Very happy to be convinced though, so fire away :)

By the way, gotta love those thermostats. Was 38 degrees yesterday and predicted to be mid to high 30s in Newcastle all week and I'm brewing lagers! Worth every cent...

Shawn.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Dr Chris White of WhiteLabs recommends pitching a lager at 23C. Lager starters can be prepared at ale temps, you are building yeast not making beer.

Contrary to Justin's concern that the ferment would take off like a rocket, remember that yeast spend the first few hours in a well oxygenated wort budding new cells rather than fermenting.

I pitch my lager worts at 23C, put the fermenter in my fridge(ordinary domestic fridge) and it is cooled down to 8-10C b4 the main ferment starts.

Jovial Monk
 

Justin

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Ah, no probs. I'm pretty sure someone was telling me that they did a lager that churned away very quickly when pitched at that temp and they then had trouble slowing and cooling it down. But, I'm not going to argue. That sounds better actually, pitching at 23oC because I imaging it would be tough to get the wort down to 10oC quickly, so therefore it allows you to pitch your yeast at the end of brewing not the next morning etc. etc.

Cheerio.
 

GMK

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Lager pitching

I have pitched the lager yeasts at 22 Degrees and usually let this sit overnight for as JM says - we want to the yeast to bud.
Then approx 8 - 12 hours after initailly pitching i cool them down to around 12 degrees.
Usually leave in the primary at this temp for 12 days and then take out of the fridge for the next 2 - lets the yeast temp climb back up again to do a diacetyl rest.
Then into the secondary and dry hopped for at least 2 -4 weeks.
Then keg and drink.

Hope this helps.
 

Snow

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Thanks guys, some good food for thought amongst those replies. JM, you jogged my memory - I remember reading that same advice from Whitelabs. I have read other advice from seasoned lager brewers that suggest you cool both the wort and the starter before pitching, but it seems to go against the principles of yeast establishment that i have read in other papers. I think I will continue with my practice of pitching at 20C and putting it straight into the fridge. As I use a 3-4L starter, I am confident the overnight lag time while it is cooling is sufficient for yeast establishment without risking off-flavours. It worked for my previous lagers, so I might stick with it.

Cheers - Snow
 

PostModern

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Just to complicate this thread and take it ~slightly~ OT...

I'm thinking of brewing Baltic Porter, which I understand is a robust porter grain bill fermented with lager yeast. Does anyone know if this style is fermented at lager temps or (like steam beer) at ale temps?
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Baltic lager is an obscure style, anything you do is likely right.

The Finns brew it as a lager, now think about Finnish temps, right pretty much like lager temps, eh?

The Swedes brew it as an Ale, prolly on the low side of ale temps. Ringwood yeast would be the go, though Scottish or Nottingham would also work OK at low ale temps. try the Ringwood if brewing it as an Ale: it requires twice daily rousing, hence it is called a "notorious" yeast

Jovial Monk
 

Linz

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Another view of this question is.....


Cool and pitch the starter/and wort at lager temps..."negates/removes" the need for a diacetyl rest.

Pitching at ale temps requires a fermentation fridge so that cooling can be controlled once the starter has been pitched and, as GMK said, A diacetyl rest near the end of primary fermentation for 24-48 hrs(raise to ale temps).

The latter is easier

And have a large(2 litre min) starter that is very active
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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who told you that load of tosh, Choc?

diacetyl is formed during lager ferments, as is DMS

you need a yeast cake (big cake, not starter cake) to remove the diacetyl formed *during* the lager ferment, pitching temp is irrelevant

Jovial Monk
 

Snow

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Well I brewed my Oktoberfest last night that I did the decoction mash on on Tuesday. Force chilled the hot wort to 26C and pitched the 3.5L starter of Whitelabs Marzen/Oktoberfest. Bunged it straight into the fridge at 10.00pm last night and it was 12C this morning, but still no airlock activity. Fingers crossed! :huh:

- Snow.
 

Gough

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Snow,

The one I did about 12 days ago followed an almost identical path to yours, pitched mid 20s, chucked straight in the fridge, down to 12 overnight but it took a full 24 hours to really see any airlock action and even then it tends to be pretty slow. The happy sight of Krausen is always comforting though :)

Hope yours goes OK, keep me posted...

Shawn.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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And, again, just remember lager yeasts are bottom working yeasts, never gonna get a huge krausen

JM
 

Linz

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For His Holy Monkness....

Try reading Palmers "How to Brew" Chapter 10.4

It begins.......

10.4 Yeast Starters and Diacetyl Rests

There are two other items that are significant in brewing a good lager beer and I will describe them briefly. These are Yeast Pitching and the Diacetyl Rest. Lager brewing is best described in a book of its own and fortunately someone has done just that. See the Recommended Reading section in the appendices for more information.

Because of the cooler temperatures, the yeast is less active at first. The best way to ensure a strong, healthy lager fermentation is to pitch a much larger yeast starter than you would for an ale. Where you would pitch a one quart starter solution of liquid yeast for an ale, you would use a 2 or 3 quart starter for a lager. This is the equivalent of about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of yeast slurry. In addition, the pitching temperature should be the same as the fermentation temperature to prevent thermally shocking the yeast. In other words, you will need to chill the wort down to 45 - 55 F before pitching the yeast. The yeast starter should also have been brought down to this temperature range while it was fermenting. A good way to do this is to pitch the yeast packet into a pint of wort at 60 F, let that ferment for a day, cool it 5 degrees to 55F and add another pint of aerated, cool wort. Let this also ferment for a day, and cool and pitch a third and even fourth time until you have built up 2 quarts or more of yeast starter that is comfortable at 45 -55 F. I recommend that you pour off the excess liquid and only pitch the slurry to avoid some off-flavors from that much starter beer.

Some brewers pitch their yeast when the wort is warmer and slowly lower the temperature of the whole fermenter gradually over the course of several days until they have reached the optimum temperature for their yeast strain. This method works, and works well, but tends to produce more diacetyl (a buttery-flavored ketone) than the previous method. As the temperature drops the yeast become less active and are less inclined to consume the diacetyl that they initially produced. The result is a buttery/butterscotch flavor in the lager, which is totally out of style. Some amount of diacetyl is considered good in other styles such as dark ales and stouts, but is considered a flaw in lagers. To remove any diacetyl that may be present after primary fermentation, a diacetyl rest may be used. This rest at the end of primary fermentation consists of raising the temperature of the beer to 55-60 F for 24 - 48 hours before cooling it down for the lagering period. This makes the yeast more active and allows them to eat up the diacetyl before downshifting into lagering mode. Some yeast strains produce less diacetyl than others; a diacetyl rest is needed only if the pitching or fermentation conditions warrant it.

Palmer must be full of "Tosh"
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Yup

and the main reason for pitching large starters into a lager is to reduce the number of times the yeast divides, as each generation of budding adds flavor to the beer and that is not wanted in a lager.

Diacetyl is produced during the lager ferment, nothing to do with starters


Jovial Monk
 

wedge

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do you have many friends JM?

I'm not questioning your knowledge only your people skills.

Every forum i see you on, you've upset some one.

I'm sorry if this is harsh, but we're all trying to help each other here not take cheaps shots, like you tend to do!

Be CONSTRUCTIVE!!!


Both you and your business will be better for it.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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What cheap shot?

I think Palmer is wrong and said so.

JM
 

Doc

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What do you mean a cheat shot JM ?
You have offended people on every list you've been on including yours !!!

Doc
 

Linz

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There shouldn't be ANY offence taken.....its a forum.....people telling it as they see it.(even if we dont agree)
Can't see too much diacetyl being created during lagering(Below fermentation temps)as most would be created during initial fermentation and removed with a rest.
Lagering, as I understand it, is similar if not the same as CC'ing. Allowing yeast and other nondiscript bits to settle out to the bottom of the vessel, and not continuious and vigourous fermentation(of course there will always be the slow consumption of complex sugars).

Anyhoo..My view is to pitch at normal(20oC) temps with a large starter(+2lt) and then into a temp controlled fridge.
 

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