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Old 01-28-2013, 12:53 AM   #1
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Default Safbrew S-23 Lager yeast

Started a German Oktoberfest the other day. I pitched of dry lager yeast and kept the temps at around 70°F. I'm quite impressed with how active the fermentation is, considering how high the temp is.

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Old 01-28-2013, 04:15 AM   #2
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Should be an interesting beer, but you've done some things that will make it 'untraditional'.
Lager yeast ferments best at cooler temperatures, typically in the 45-55 range depending upon the strain. S-23 is a wacky one, and a little more ale-like than most traditional lager yeasts. So, you've started fermentation much warmer than should be done, even with this strain. The hot temperature is probably why you've had such a vigorous fermentation so far.
Lager yeasts ferment slower and cleaner, and are stored cold, lagered, to clean up the fermentation off flavors and byproducts that they produce. The warm fermentation is probably going to produce a lot of these that will be tough for the yeast to clean up.
I'll bet it turns out really tasty, and in the end it will still be beer. It just may not be exactly what you were aiming for.
Good luck, and enjoy the fruits of your labor in a couple of months or more.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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I knew lager needed cooler temps to ferment properly, but I didn't know what the side-effects would be in my case. The active part of the fermentation that produces CO2 has come to an end (2 days in). Now I fear for the gravity and the clean up process. There also was a pungent smell of sulfur coming from the airlock, but I heard that is typical for lager yeast. My question is; can I cool the temps to improve conditions for the beer? Also, how can I regulate the temp to around 45 - 55? My girlfriend would freak out if I turned the thermostat that low. Thanks for the information!

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
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Sulfur smell is normal.
Too late to save the beer, the majority of the flavor has been developed in the first couple of days of fermentation. Cooling now may help a little bit, but you aren't going to end up with a lager beer or anything like a traditional Oktoberfest.
Search 'swamp cooler' on here for ways to cool, or there's some mention of methods in Papazian's and in Palmer's books.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:40 PM   #5
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Here is my swamp cooler with details about using ice to drop the temperature:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...mp-cooler.html

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:42 AM   #6
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Nice, thanks a lot for the advice and information guys. I guess I got too excited to do this type if beer and didn't look deeper into it. I normally brew ales and didn't know this was going to require lager yeast until I already bought the supplies. So I asked myself what's the worst that can happen? Next time Ill do an ice bath or another alternative. When does the sulfur smell go away? Do I need to rack to secondary with this one?

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Old 01-30-2013, 01:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrowboarder View Post
Nice, thanks a lot for the advice and information guys. I guess I got too excited to do this type if beer and didn't look deeper into it. I normally brew ales and didn't know this was going to require lager yeast until I already bought the supplies. So I asked myself what's the worst that can happen? Next time Ill do an ice bath or another alternative. When does the sulfur smell go away? Do I need to rack to secondary with this one?
The sulfur smell will go away after lagering. Rack it to secondary (or into a keg) and put it at fridge temperatures (35-40 F) for about three weeks.

You'll end up with some ester flavors because you used lager yeast at ale temperatures. Some brewers do this deliberately: see Anchor Steam for a commercial example. I had a beer come out similarly recently when my fermentation temps were higher than I wanted. Even though it wasn't what I was trying to make, it was a very tasty beer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:46 AM   #8
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Good stuff. Now that the CO2 producing stage has completed (for now) how long should I wait to rack to secondary? I imagine I want the beer to sit on the cake for a few weeks? Should I just take the primary and place it in an ice bath now?

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:02 AM   #9
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a little over 2 weeks in the primary and I checked the gravity - 1.012. The OG was around 1.055.

I sneaked a little taste from what was in the graduated cylinder. To be honest, there was hardly any taste. The smell of alcohol overwhelms anything else that might be there. I steeped the wheat, added 6lbs of munich malt extract, boiled the hops for 55 minutes and the aroma hops for 5 minutes at the end. Doesn't taste bad, but not good either.

I figure I'll let it sit in the primary for another week or so. But if I check the gravity in 3 days and it's the same, any suggestions? What can be done now to add a little flavor?

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Old 02-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrowboarder View Post
What can be done now to add a little flavor?
Your description sounds like what I would expect from trying to make a lager at ale temperatures.

Time might help reduce the off flavors. You might consider racking it to a glass carboy and letting it age for a month. You might consider embracing the alcohol flavor and soaking some oak or hickory chips in whisky for a day and then adding that to the secondary. Or perhaps dry hoping.
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