Do you find it worth using lager yeast

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by Zephyr259, Nov 18, 2019.

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  1. Nov 18, 2019 #1

    Zephyr259

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    I don't really brew lagers, I did a bock and a helles then stopped as the starters were too much hassle in a 2L flask but I've just been told where I can get a 3l and 5L flask for £20 which is half the price of either flask I've seen before.

    My plan had been to try out Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale at the minimum temp of 13c and see how lager-like it comes out. Given how clean lagers are I'm always surprised they're so much choice between strains but then I guess some favour malt over hops and give variable attenuation for the different lager styles.

    So what do those who make lagers or pseudo-lager around here think?

    Thanks
     
  2. Nov 18, 2019 #2

    MyQul

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    True lager strains give off a lot of sulphur and some lagers have a slight taste of it, which some people like. I've done a couple of pseudo lagers with notty and really liked them.
     
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  3. Nov 18, 2019 #3

    Brew_DD2

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    I'm a fan of proper lager yeasts. As MyQul says, they are regularly not all that clean and do have a character of their own.

    That being said, you can make a cracking pseudo lager with many ale yeasts. Experiment and find what works for you.

    Starters for lager are a ballache, but to my mind, are absolutely worth it.
     
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  4. Nov 18, 2019 #4

    JonBrew

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    Are you using notty cold for your pseudo lagers? I always get a tart edge with notty when I ferment warm. Does that come through in your lagers?

    @Zephyr259 why not used dried yeast to avoid the need for a big starter. I've heard good things about CML helles.
     
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  5. Nov 18, 2019 #5

    Brew_DD2

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    The CML Helles is very good.
     
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  6. Nov 18, 2019 #6

    MyQul

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    Ive used notty from 14C - 27C and never noticed a tart edge. I've read about the tart edge notty can give. I think it's one of those flavours some people pick up and others dont
     
  7. Nov 18, 2019 #7

    Clint

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    I've done a couple of pseudos with notty and used kolsch..all were very nice. Ferm temps at the low end.
     
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  8. Nov 18, 2019 #8

    jjsh

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    I preferred my house "lager" with either CML Kolsch or CML California Common yeasts to the MJ proper lager yeast if I'm honest, and it was a bit less faff, and the yeast was better value.
     
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  9. Nov 19, 2019 #9

    steveinUS

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    Saflager 34/70 dry lager yeast is the Weihenstaphan strain, and it has been drop-dead reliable. I usually pitch it dry at 50-52˚F, and 1.5 - 2 packets per 5 gallons, depending on the wort's gravity. A couple weeks primary, then a diacetyl rest at 60-65˚F for a couple days, then rack and get it as cold as you can for a month.
     
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  10. Nov 19, 2019 #10

    Zephyr259

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. My issue with dried yeast was when I last looked into it I needed 2 packs for a batch and they seemed to cost £3.50 a pack so it wasn't any cheaper than liquid, less hassle though. Don't think CML has lager yeasts at that point.

    I did some sums last night an even using the Scottish Ale yeast I'd need a pretty big starter to help with the low temps so the big flask is probably a sound investment regardless, then I can experiment with other strains. I should probably plan brews to run off the same yeast in a row, since I swap about a lot I have to grow up the strains every 6 months to keep them going.
     
  11. Nov 19, 2019 #11

    PhilBrew

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    Hi Zephyr

    A 5 ltr bottle of Tesco Ashbeck or Asda Eden Falls for just over £1 will provide you with a cheap flask/demi-john for fermenting the occasional large starter in :?:

    For recent cold fermented brews I've adopted a "real wort starter" approach to building starters ... I make a 1 ltr starter using a "standard" approach ... then on brewday at end of boil, I drop around 5 lts of my wort into a stockpot and the rest into my no-chill cube and seal it up, I then boil the wort in the stockpot just enough to re-sterilise it and chill it in a water bath to get it cool before transferring to my plastic demi-john (empty 5lts water bottle) ... that goes into my brewfridge to chill it down to pitching temp (at lager yeast fermentation temps), and once it's got there I pitch the lager yeast from the starter, and leave that to ferment for a day or two (till the ferment is established), when I also add the no-chill cube into the brewfridge to get the rest of my wort down to fermentation temps ... and once that's cooled, I transfer the main body of the wort into my FV and pitch the entire "real wort starter" into it (all of it, not just the yeast from the bottom, since the wort in the starter is the same as the wort you're fermenting, it can all go in without affecting the brew) , and that can go back in the brewfridge to get on with its fermentation wink... ... written down in one paragraph like that it looks incredibly involved and complicated, but in terms of bits of activity over several days it's really not much work athumb..

    Cheers, PhilB
     
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  12. Nov 19, 2019 #12

    Zephyr259

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    I have 1 gal demijohns that I could use, the problem is that non-stirred starters need to be even bigger.

    15L at 1.050 with a 100 billion overbuild requires 380 billions cells. If my yeast pack was 3 weeks old I need a 2L stirred starter or a 4.5L "manually shaken" starter. I know people use the dead volume from one brew to make the starter for the next which I might try, but I tend to get 1.5L including the trub so not sure it'll be worth it.

    Your method must work for you but I'd be really nervous leaving my wort sitting a couple of days before pitching the yeast, especially a lager yeast which can take a while to get going. Thanks for sharing though, it is a pretty efficient process.
     
  13. Nov 19, 2019 #13

    PhilBrew

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    Hmmm, I guess one man's "storing my freshly made wort, securely sealed in a sterilised (pastuerised) container, until I'm ready to ferment with it" is another man's "leaving my wort sitting a couple of days before pitching the yeast" :?: ... but, I just offer my method up as an approach, you are the head brewer in your home brewery and you will decide what approach you will adopt, of course :hat:

    Cheers, PhilB
     
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  14. Nov 19, 2019 #14

    Zephyr259

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    Haha, very true, I've never done no chill and thought it was generally left only overnight. Didn't mean to come across as dismissive. Thanks for sharing.
     
  15. Nov 19, 2019 #15

    jceg316

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    I really enjoy lagers, my favourite style. Making a Munich helles is a bit easier than a Czech pils in my experience. I think more character of Czech pils comes from the yeast. I've not successfully made a pseudo lager, however the commercial kolsches I've had, whilst nice, often aren't quite the same as a crisp helles.

    Something I'm gonna do at some point is split a wort between 5 small demijohns and use a different yeast for each one. I'm doing this as I have a lot of yeasts in my fridge and would be good to do a comparison, but also a productive way of making a starter.
     
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  16. Nov 19, 2019 #16

    Zephyr259

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    Sounds like a fun experiment, crispness is something that's lacking in my Maibock. Never had a commercial one so don't know if they're meant to be crisp but I think that would make mine a lot nicer.

    I made a Helles last year and it was alright, used WY 2124 with a fast lager fermentation, the last couple of bottles were much nicer so maybe if I'd lagered the batch for a month I'd have enjoyed it better. Was going to try another pseudo-helles with golden promise and the scottish ale yeast.
     
  17. Nov 19, 2019 #17

    the_quick

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    I did in the past Czech Pilsner with Cali Common - really good. Recently done Vienna Lager with CML Hog-Norsk - clean as well, fermeted around 22 degrees - it has been in fridge maturing at 4 degrees for 3 weeks now - but quite nice beer.
    I would definitely go back to Cali common
     
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  18. Nov 19, 2019 #18

    PhilBrew

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    Hi Zephyr
    ... to be clear, I didn't take it that you were being dismissive, sorry if I cam across as defensive/dismissed wink... ... if you haven't used a no-chill cube before then I remember how using one the first time was a bit scary, but since then I've used mine many a time usually just overnight, but I think the longest I've had my wort in it without yeast has been 2 weeks (one brewery used to make "Fresh Wort Kits" that could be purchased from malt Miller, which were basically professionally made wort dropped into no-chill cubes ... see the discussion there (link) ... I think the costs (including P&P) were the reason they didn't take off, rather than quality issues :?: ... so wort can be safe in one for longer, if wished).

    And I'm definitely not trying to convince you that this is what you should do here, just giving you the information to make your mind up, but ...
    ... I've just put those numbers into the Brewer's Friend Yeast Calculator (link), which gives you options to calculate multi-step starters, and ... a one ltr stirred starter at 1.036, with a 3 week old pack of yeast pitched into it, followed by a 4.5 lts 1.050 starter, not agitated, would get you 472 billion cells ... whether you take a "real wort starter" approach or not, if you want to use cold fermenting yeasts, pitched cold. You might want to consider stepping up your starters wink...

    Cheers, PhilB
     
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  19. Nov 19, 2019 #19

    strange-steve

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    I'm with those who suggested dry yeast. I'm a big fan of W34/70, some of my best brews have been with this yeast including my gold medal eisbock. Buying 2 packs might not be much cheaper than a liquid yeast but it's a hell of a lot easier than a multistep starter.
     
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  20. Nov 19, 2019 #20

    Ben034

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    I'm trying out the CML Hells yeast today on a German Pilsner. Will update on how this turns out. Have been using WLP830 for a while but would like to give dry ago for this style.
     

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