Originally Posted by maltoftheearth
The chart is great but one thing is says to me is that lagering at a temperature in the low 50s, which is the comfort level for most lager yeasts, is not too significantly different from lagering in the mid-40s. My experience has been that when I go lower than 50F I have seriously delayed fermentations that always worry me (but should not.)
To be clear, the "lagering" period is the cold storage period (closer to 32F the better), not the fermentation period.
It can be nerve-wracking to wait for lager fermentations to start, but if you create good conditions for your yeast and pitch enough of them, they always figure out what to do. I also think AG fermentations go a lot better for lagers than extract fermentations.
I now regularly pitch at 43-44, then let the wort warm up to 45-46 for fermentation. It might take 36-48 hours to see much activity, but it always comes. I now regularly use two packs of dry lager yeast rehydrated, or repitch 1 to 1.5 cups of slurry depending on the gravity of the beer I'm starting.
Right now I have a Bohemian pilsener going into which I pitched two packs of S-23 rehydrated. The yeast are working hard at 45 degrees. After pitching Saturday night I saw activity Monday; OG was 1.052 and today I measured it at 1.036 which tells me things are moving along nice and slowly. Likely take it out of the chamber for d-rest this weekend sometime.
Can't wait for my S-189 to arrive from American Brewmaster!