Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Lager Yeast Pitching Temps

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-15-2009, 02:00 PM   #1
barthautala
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Traverse City,MI
Posts: 33
Default Lager Yeast Pitching Temps

Ok, Ive read a couple different things on this subject.

1. Pitch the starter into the wort with both at room temp (75 deg).
2. Pitch the starter into the wort with both at lager fermentation temp ~50 deg.

Which one is right - if either of them is wrong. And why?

I just did a light lager and pitched with both at room temp, waited for visible fermentation to begin, then tossed into my fridge for the remainder of the primary @ 46 Deg.

Thoughts on this? Whats your experience been?

__________________
barthautala is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-15-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
petep1980
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
petep1980's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,901
Liked 13 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

In August I was looking for this, and found no real answer. I ended up making a sizeable starter and did my best to pitch at my fermentation temps.

You should be fine though because you'll be around 46°F within 24 hours and lagers are slow enough you won't get too much off flavor over that time, if any at all.

Mine has been lagering for about a month, and I plan to tap the keg in early November. I'll know then how it turned out.

With a d-rest starting at 1.020 I got around a 70% attenuation.

__________________
petep1980 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-15-2009, 02:42 PM   #3
Windigstadt
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 92
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

I've actually done both. I've brewed award-winning lagers pitching at 70°F and dropping the temp 5°F a day to my desired temp (usually 50°F), but I've also had some that took off like a bat outta hell and left me with some subtle fruity flavors (in particular I recall a Maibock that fermented in just over a week and had just a hint of pineapple; most people didn't notice until I pointed it out, but it was there). So if you're being really picky, or if you're brewing something high-gravity, you may want to pitch cooler, but otherwise you'll probably be okay pitching at 70°F or so.

__________________
Windigstadt is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-15-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
mkling
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Posts: 730
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

You can do either, but you'll get better beer pitching colder. Two reasons for this -- 1) You'll get more esters from the fermentation that does take place while your wort is cooling -- esters are generally bad in lagers, and 2) Many times going from warm to cooler temps will make your yeast decide to go into hibernation and could stall your fermentation.

__________________
Currently On Draft: Bamberger Rauch Dunkel, Belgian Blond, Pilsener Urquell clone, Smoked Porter
Bottled: Concord Pyment, Mi'Apa Sparkling Mead, Chimay Blue, Old Simcoe American Barleywine, Old Cantankerous
Fermenting and Conditioning: Pseudo-Decoction Munich Dunkel, Left Hook Bitter
Recently Kicked Kegs: Fresh Hop Pale Ale, Citra Rye IPA
On Deck: Old Rasputin, Northstar IPA, Ur-bock Dunkel
mkling is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-15-2009, 05:57 PM   #5
barthautala
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Traverse City,MI
Posts: 33
Default

Ok, checked the gravity. Reads about 1.015. Recipe was a kit - Taz light lager from Midwest. According to the directions - FG should be 1.010 to 1.014. I guess the thing for me to do is to give it a taste and see if any off flavors exist.

FYI - Boil date was Friday the 9th.

__________________
barthautala is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #6
Hilbert
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 189
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

Does anyone have an answer to the original question or what temps to make the starter?

I made a starter with White Labs California Lager but without thinking about it kept the starter on my counter at around 70 degrees. I took my wort (not the starter) down to 50 degrees and pitched the 70 degree starter into the primary.

It took about 30 hours to show signs of fermentation which is longer than I usually get. Then once it took off it went gang busters. It's blowing out of the airlock so bad I have had to clean out the airlock lid to keep it moving.

Did I mess up by keeping the starter too high or pitching a warm starter into the wort? Do you think I will get off flavors?

__________________
Tap 1: Belgian Golden
Tap 2: Acid Weizenbock
Tap 3: Summer Ale
Tap 4: Heffe
Hilbert is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-20-2009, 04:12 PM   #7
menschmaschine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delaware
Posts: 3,278
Liked 31 Times on 26 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilbert View Post
Does anyone have an answer to the original question or what temps to make the starter?
The general consensus among homebrewers is: If you're planing to cold-crash and decant the starter beer, it's OK to ferment a lager starter in a warmer range than optimum fermentation temperatures for that yeast. If you plan to pitch the whole starter, then it's best to ferment the starter wort at or near the same temp. as primary fermentation.

The reason for this is that flavor-active compounds (esters, sulfur compounds, higher alcohols, etc.) will be produced when fermenting with a lager yeast in warmer temps and pitching this starter beer into your wort may result in these flavors being noticeable in the final beer.

If you ferment a starter with lager yeast warm and decant the beer, you should be OK. However, there could be some validity to the point that if lager yeast "learn" to ferment warmer and "get used to" producing these flavor-active compounds, they may produce these compounds more than they would have otherwise in your main beer, even if primary fermentation is done in the optimum temp range for that yeast.

But that could be splitting hairs. We're talking flavor thresholds here for various compounds in beer. That's why most lager homebrewers have ended up at the consensus stated above: If you ferment the starter warm, cold-crash and decant the starter beer. If you ferment it cold, it's OK to pitch the whole starter.
__________________

END TRANSMISSION

menschmaschine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-20-2009, 04:43 PM   #8
SpanishCastleAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 4,384
Liked 29 Times on 29 Posts

Default

Here's more from Mr Malty's 14 essential questions about yeast starters:

Quote:
Q: Does a starter need to be kept at the same temperature as it is going to ferment the batch of beer later?

No, but there are practical limits to how high or low you can go.

Warmer starters (up to 98°F, 37°C) equal more rapid yeast growth, but using these very high propagation temperatures negatively affects the viability and stability of the resulting yeast. Very rapid growth or excessive growth can result in weaker cell membranes due to lower unsaturated fatty acid concentrations. Lager yeasts tend to be especially sensitive to high temperatures.

The cooler you ferment the starter (down to the planned fermentation temperature for the main batch) the slower the yeast growth, but the yeast can be healthier than yeast coming from a high temperature starter.

Keep starters between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C). A temperature around the low 70s (72°F, 22°C) strikes the best balance for the propagation of yeasts. Lager yeast starters can be kept a few degrees cooler and ale yeasts can be kept a few degrees warmer, but this temperature strikes a good balance of yeast health and efficient propagation for both types of yeast.

If you are going to pitch the starter at high krauesen, it is best to keep the starter within 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3°C) of the wort temperature of the main batch. Pitching a very warm, active starter into cold wort can stun the yeasts and with lager yeasts this can cause a higher incidence of petite mutants, which can negatively affect attenuation, flocculation, and increase hydrogen sulfide production.

You can add small amounts of cool wort to the starter over time, to bring the temperature down gradually, but it is really better to keep everything closer to fermentation temperatures from the beginning. Any time yeast sense a big drop in temperature, they slow down and drop out.

Q: At what point do I pitch the starter into the wort?

A great deal of discussion rages over this topic. Should the starter be fermented completely, the spent liquid decanted, and the yeast pitched or should the entire starter be pitched when at the height of activity?

Most yeast experts say that when propagating yeast, moving at high krausen is optimal. The time of high krauesen can range anywhere from a few hours to twenty-four or more. It depends on the amount of yeast added to the starter wort, yeast health, temperature, and several other factors.

Doss says a starter made from an XL pack of yeast into 2 liters of wort will reach its maximum cell density within 12-18 hours. If you’re starting with a very small amount of yeast in a large starter, it can take 24 hours or more to reach maximum cell densities. For the average starter, let's just say that the bulk of the yeast growth is done by 12-18 hours.

I like to pitch starters while they're still very active and as soon as the bulk of reproduction is finished, usually within 12 to 18 hours. This is really convenient, because I can make a starter the morning of the brew day or the night before and it is ready to go by the time the batch of wort is ready.

Of course, if you have a large starter volume in relation to your batch of beer or a starter that was continuously aerated, then you probably don’t want to pitch the entire starter into your wort. Adding a large starter or a heavily oxidized starter to your wort can alter the flavor of the finished beer.

If you’re going to pitch only the yeast from the starter, make sure the starter attenuates fully before decanting the spent wort. The yeast rebuild their glycogen reserve at the end of fermentation and it is this glycogen that they use when preparing to ferment a new batch of beer. Separating the spent wort from the yeast too early also selectively discards the less flocculent, higher attenuating individuals in your yeast population. You may end up with a pitch of yeast that won’t attenuate the beer fully. Allow the fermentation to go complete cycle, chill, decant the beer and pitch just the yeast.
__________________
Early brewers were primarily women, mostly because it was deemed a woman's job. Mesopotamian men, of some 3,800 years ago, were obviously complete assclowns and had yet to realize the pleasure of brewing beer.- Beer Advocate
SpanishCastleAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-20-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
Chad
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Chad's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Apex, NC
Posts: 1,036
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Mr. Malty FTW!

In addition, pitching cold yeast into warm wort is fine. Pitching warm yeast into cold wort is not, it could shock them into temporary hibernation, so if you are going to pitch cold keep your yeast cold.

Pitching lagers warm shortens lag time and ensures that you get active fermentation before cooling the wort. That was the recommended process for quite some time. If you do pitch warm, however, you should probably do a diacetyl rest near the end of fermentation. That warm start might have produced some off flavors (most notably diacetyl) that need to be cleaned up.

If you chill your wort to fermentation temperature before pitching, your yeast is most likely going to take off more slowly but you'll have a cleaner fermentation with less need for a diacetyl rest.

You can do it either way, but there are pros and cons to each.

Chad

__________________
Chad Ward
An Edge in the Kitchen
William Morrow Cookbooks
www.chadwrites.com
Chad is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-20-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
Hilbert
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 189
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

Great thanks a lot guys.

Good advise for the next lager. This was my first lager so I'll chalk it up to learning curve. That explains though why my fermentation took a while to kick in and then took off like crazy once it went.

__________________
Tap 1: Belgian Golden
Tap 2: Acid Weizenbock
Tap 3: Summer Ale
Tap 4: Heffe
Hilbert is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
pitching lager yeast Zorbarose Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 03-22-2009 04:03 AM
How much do temps affect yeast before pitching? Casey27 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 01-21-2009 04:18 AM
Lager yeast at ale temps jldc Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 12-15-2008 07:36 PM
Question about pitching yeast at low temps JamesJ Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 08-08-2008 04:47 PM
Pitching lager yeast Cos General Techniques 4 01-12-2008 02:25 AM