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Old 06-08-2006, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default Pitching a lager

OK so I read a few ways of doing this which is best or does it matter..

Method 1. Cool the wort and starter before pitching.....

Method 2. Pich as if it was an ale then pop it in the fridge once the krauesen forms.

Method 3. pitch at room temp then take it to the fridge.

What is best way to do this?

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Old 06-08-2006, 07:21 PM   #2
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I'm not saying this is the best method, but I pitched at room temperature and cooled it down as soon as I noticed a bubble, which was within 5 hours.

I definately wouldn't go with method 2, as I understand it most of the esters are created at the start of the fermentation.

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Old 06-08-2006, 07:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budbo
Method 1. Cool the wort and starter before pitching.....
This is usually referred to as cold pitching. The wort is cooled to or even below fermentation temp and pitched with a lot of yeast. 100ml (~ 1/2 cup) of yeast sediment for your average 1.050 wort. You need to pitch much more yeast since there won't be much yeast growth happening at the low temp. But due to the lower yeats growth the production of esters and other undesirable compounds is lower.

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Method 2. Pich as if it was an ale then pop it in the fridge once the krauesen forms.

Method 3. pitch at room temp then take it to the fridge.
Warm pitching. In this case less yeast can be pitched since there will be significant yeast growth after pitching. A 2qt starter should be just fine. The beer may not be as clean as with cold pitching.


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What is best way to do this?
Since it is your first lager pitch it warm. A 2 qt starter pitched at 65-70F should be fine. Once the kraeusen starts forming, pop it in the fridge and let it cool down to ferment at about 52F. This way fermentation problems are less likely.

Later you can do some more reading and look into cold pitching.

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Old 06-09-2006, 02:49 AM   #4
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Method 1: Never tried it, don't plan to. Too worried that the extra time needed cool to lager temps before pitching might allow something else to take over.

Method 2: Tried several times with no complaints. I read that this method is fine as there has not been enough time at the warmer temps to form any esters. There appears to be enough of a debate over this that it might be worth wild to do some research and make your own conclusion. Eventhough I have had fine results, decided to abort this method.

Method 3: My current method. Adopted it so I didn't have to worry about remembering to move it when fermentation starts. Tradeoff was a little longer lag time.

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Old 06-09-2006, 01:16 PM   #5
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Method 1: Never tried it, don't plan to. Too worried that the extra time needed cool to lager temps before pitching might allow something else to take over.
Yes cooling to lager temps takes longer, but can be achieved with the use of ice water in a counterflow or immersion chiller. But at lager temps, nothing will be growing fast enough to take over before the yeast does as long as you pitched enough yeast.

As you pointed out, the home brew (and even the pro brewing) community is divided over this subject. There are many knowledgeable brewers who pitch warm and there and many who pitch cold. Even the German brewing community goes back and forth over this. As far as I know the Weihenstephan school of brewing is now teaching cold pitching. But there has been a time when they taught warm pitching was the way to go. (source: The Brewing Network interview with White Lab's Chris White)

I believe that more growth will lead to more esters. And if growth is limited, the production of esters will be limited. Is there enough difference for the home brewer to worry about. Probably not, and the fermentation will be more reliable if you pitch warm. That's why I suggest to start with warm pitching and more to cold pitching if the brewer sees a need for this and feels comfortable with it.

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Old 06-09-2006, 01:59 PM   #6
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I'm brewing Saturday so will most likely pitch the yeast late afternoon (1qt starter) and pop it in the fridge Sunday morning.

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