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Old 06-21-2010, 10:41 PM   #1
passedpawn
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Default Lager Yeast Experiment: S-23 vs. Wyeast 2124

Setup
I brewed a 10g batch of German Pils.

Malt: Pilsner
Hops:
Magnum @ 60 min.
Saaz @ 15 and 1 min.
I split the batch between 2 better bottles. Yeast was pitched at 70F, then both were set into my chest freezer where they reached 50F in about 5 hours. One fermenter got Fermentis S-23 Lager Yeast, the other Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast.
Yeast
DRY: Two packets of dry yeast were pitched without rehydration (I normally do rehydrate, and I can't remember why I didn't do it this time).

LIQUID: The liquid yeast was grown from a frozen 10ml tube in my yeast bank. The liquid yeast was stepped up on a stirplate to 4 liters. The liquid yeast starter was very active and blew off the foil from my flask. Before pitching, the liquid yeast was decanted and the nasty beer was poured off so that only the yeast was pitched.
Fermentation/Lagering
2 wks @ 50F
3 days @ 65F
3 wks @33F
Tested after 25 days in bottle.

Both beers finished at 1.013.
Discussion of Differences
Appearance
  • Dry slightly more orange / less yellow
  • Liquid produces a better head of foam.
Aroma
  • Liquid slightly more of the spicey aroma; probably I'm just smelling the saaz better because of the better carbonation
Taste
  • Dry has a perfumey taste
  • Dry has a bit more malt flavor (very slight).
  • Liquid has a very slight fruity taste. Very faint.
Mouthfeel
  • Both are light-bodied.
  • Dry has a slightly astringent (dry aspirin); dry is definitely crisper.
  • Dry has thinner/lighter mouthfeel.
Drinkability
  • Both are great. Due to the slight astringency in the dry yeast beer, I’d stick to the liquid yeast one.

Other
Refractometer measured 5.75 Brix on Dry, 5.1 Brix on Liquid
From this, I would calculate that I got about 75% attenuation from the dry, and 81% from the liquid.
Conclusion
The Wyeast 2124 seemed to attenuate a bit better, but at the same time left some esters (maybe from the warm pitching temps) that made a better beer. The S-23 was a very pleasant beer except for the slightly dry, finish. I really like the convenience of using dry yeast, so I would consider using the S-23 again for a light beer like this. I have used this dry yeast for other lagers (i.e., Scharzbier) in which I could not taste any astringency. Also, the dry yeast is half the price of the liquid.

<-- Dry Yeast....................Liquid Yeast-->
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:21 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info. I am getting ready for my first lager and this was on my questions list. I will probably try dry 1st. and seeing that I do have a stirplate and flask will step up liquid for the next.

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Old 07-22-2010, 04:48 PM   #3
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Nice info. I just brewed an european pilsner and used s-23. I pitched one package rehydrated. My temputeres were about the same as yours. I lagered for 5 weeks. A week after I bottled it I checked for carbonation and it was carbing nice but it had a real warm alchohly taste to it but a smooth finnish. I checked it again after another week and it smoothed out and tastes great. I might use the s-23 again but I think I will use two packages instead of one. I've heard bad things about s-23 but I think if you keep your temps right it makes nice beer

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:07 AM   #4
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Resurrecting a zombie thread. Passedpawn, have you continued to use S-23? Still noticing the color/astringency issues?

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Old 06-25-2013, 04:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfgonzo View Post
Resurrecting a zombie thread. Passedpawn, have you continued to use S-23? Still noticing the color/astringency issues?
No, I really abandoned it completely around that time. I started using W34/70 (dry). I used that a lot. I now use Wyeast Czech Pils for my pilsners.

The S23 wasn't bad, and the astringency was probably due to the better attenuation, which exposed the hop flavor a bit more. Can't remember really.

I won't say that I have a favorite. After several generations of the W34/70, I started getting a lot of cloves from it. Nasty pilsner that I had to dump. I'm many generations into the Czech Pils yeast and it's still faring well, so that's the one I'm sticking with now.
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