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Old 04-09-2007, 02:13 PM   #1
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Default Nick in my lager confidence

In my last 12 or so batches, 2 of them were lagers using Saflager dry yeast. I don't tend to favor lagers over ales in general, but they just happened to be two of my favorite homebrews. On those two, I rehydrated as I always do with dry yeasts, sprinkle on 80-90dF water and let sit for 20 minutes. Then I acclimate it to the wort temp by dropping a teaspoon at a time over a few minutes. I pitched both previous lagers at about 60dF and immediately put them in their 54dF ambient environment. I suppose the brief period at elevated temps really helped it take off.

On this last batch, after reading so many posts about pitching at ferment temps, I tried rehydrating at 60dF and pitching into wort in the high 50's. Man, what a lag. I'm at 36 hours and it's just now showing signs of life. Maybe it was a rehydration issue, but I'm thinking it was just a low cell count anyway.

Right now, my opinion is that there's no way to successfully pitch at ferment temps with a dry yeast unless it was propagated through a starter first (of course I'm speaking specifically about lager yeast).

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Old 04-09-2007, 03:00 PM   #2
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I've done ~6 lagers in the last three years and they have all been very successful. I use liquid yeast and still, I always pitch at ambient temperature and then let the temp fall to the desired range.

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Old 04-09-2007, 07:54 PM   #3
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I used to pitch at ambient (about 70) out of necessity but now that I have a CFC and 50dF tap water, it was easy to hit the mid 50's. Oh well. I'm sure it will become beer.

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Old 04-09-2007, 10:27 PM   #4
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If you are afraid of your lag time, then just pitch more dry yeast.

When doing a lager at lager fermenting temps and using dry lager yeast, I pitch 22g to 26g and still get a day lag time.
But I don't worry about it as I have confidence in my sanatization.

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Old 04-10-2007, 12:45 AM   #5
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I haven't lost any lager confidence because I never had any to begin with

In any case, I pitch at fermentation temps. It does take 24-48hrs to really see good activity and that's not counting the ~24hrs it takes me to get the wort to pitching temps. It just takes longer at fermentation temps. I'm pretty confident in my sanitation processes so I'm okay with it, especially at the lower temps.

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Old 04-10-2007, 02:19 AM   #6
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Im with Rhoobarb here. I pitch at about 70 degrees or close to it, let it get started (about 24 hours) then move to fridge to get to the correct lager fermentation temp, and have always had good results

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Old 04-10-2007, 02:54 AM   #7
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I think I was being romanced by the lager purists around here who made it sound like pitching at lager temps is the cat's ass. It finally started at 36 hours and I'm sure it's fine.

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Old 04-10-2007, 04:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I think I was being romanced by the lager purists around here who made it sound like pitching at lager temps is the cat's ass. It finally started at 36 hours and I'm sure it's fine.
The science for pitching at fermentation temps is pretty sound, but a lot of people have success with pitching at warmer temps so I'm sure that's fine, too. The key to doing anything in brewing where there are multiple schools of thought is to understand why you're doing something and being comfortable with it (IMO).
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:19 AM   #9
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I think my problem was trying to rehydrate at lower temps (60ish) instead of the normal 85/90F. I was using flawed logic thinking that it would be easier to acclimate down to pitching temps if I didn't start so high. In either case, the ferment is going as strong as I'd expect a lager to, nice and consistent.

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Old 04-12-2007, 11:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron von BeeGee
The science for pitching at fermentation temps is pretty sound, but a lot of people have success with pitching at warmer temps so I'm sure that's fine, too. The key to doing anything in brewing where there are multiple schools of thought is to understand why you're doing something and being comfortable with it (IMO).
That about sums it up.

I have successful brews pitching cold and from all the reading I have done about it, it is the way to proper lager fermentation. Not to say someone who pitches warm, don't make good lagers. Just the chance of fusels and esters are greater.
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