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Old 12-18-2010, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Starting a lager warm

I made Charlie Papazian's German Pils recipe the other night and bought Wyeast Czech Pils for the yeast. I made a starter and followed the directions on the yeast packet and pitched at about 68 degrees and waited until fermentation started. After that I moved it to about 55 degrees and plan to finish the primary fermentation there.

I was just looking on there website and they talked about pitching lager yeast into cold and well aerated wort. In doing some research here, it seems most people have the same advice, " a big starter and pitch cold."

There is a line on their website about pitching warm:

If a faster primary fermentation is desired or you are pitching less yeast, then it is best to start a little bit warmer and then cool to the desired fermentation temperature once signs of fermentation are evident.



I guess my question is what happens with a 'faster' primary fermentation? I think this is what will happen since I followed the packet directions and pitched warm and then moved it.

Not to ramble, but I guess my main question is what is the advantage of a cold and slow primary fermentation versus pitching warm and moving to a colder spot?

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Old 12-19-2010, 12:02 AM   #2
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the biggest diff i know of is that with cold pitching you need a diacytle rest but get a shorter lager time. with the warm pitch i haven't needed a rest but the laggering time increases from 3-4 wks to 6-8 imo.

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Old 12-19-2010, 12:05 AM   #3
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Well, to make a long story short(er), I guess I'll answer with a question.

When you make an ale, do you pitch at 85 degrees, wait until fermentation starts and then lower the temperature to 65 degrees? If not, why not?

Ok, same question with a lager! Some people will pitch an ale way too warm, to compensate for underpitching and hoping that they can "catch" the fermentation before it gets too estery and too "hot".

Same with a lager. You can try to compensate for underpitching, but then you have to try to 'catch' the lager before fermentation actually starts and still reduce the temperature before the fermentation gets going and esters form. You also don't want to drop the temperature too fast, so that it stalls. but you can't drop it too slow or fermentation will be over before you get to 49 degrees! At warmer temperatures, fermentation can be over in 2-3 days.

Anyway, after that, it just seems easier to me to make a huge starter and pitch at 48 degrees.

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Old 12-19-2010, 12:05 AM   #4
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Thanks. . I was thinking the biggest difference might be with the Diacetyl and the lager time. That is good to know about a longer lagering time. I was planning on 4 weeks, but I may increase it to 6.

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Old 12-19-2010, 12:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
When you make an ale, do you pitch at 85 degrees, wait until fermentation starts and then lower the temperature to 65 degrees? If not, why not?
Great Point Yooper and a great way to think about it. I only had it at 65 to 66 degress for about 24 hours and then moved to 55 degrees over the course of a day or two.

I don't have a lot of experience with lagers (clearly ) so this is all very helpful.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eriktlupus View Post
the biggest diff i know of is that with cold pitching you need a diacytle rest but get a shorter lager time. with the warm pitch i haven't needed a rest but the laggering time increases from 3-4 wks to 6-8 imo.
To throw a monkey wrench into this, my experience is exactly the opposite!

With a cold pitch and enough yeast, with a non-notorious diacetyl producing yeast, I've NEVER needed a diacetyl rest.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:21 AM   #7
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I also make a point to NEVER lower the temp of fermenting beer. If you lower the temp too rapidly, apparently the yeast will decide it's time to go dormant.

Of course, I'm sure every fermentation has a different measure of "too rapidly" so I'd rather not risk it. (The general rule is no more than 1 degree per hour).

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Old 12-19-2010, 01:06 AM   #8
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I have found that pitching warm requires a diacetyl rest but pitching cool does not. Pitching warm creates esters, etc. What Yooper said. Not exactly what you are looking for in a lager.

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Old 08-30-2011, 03:42 AM   #9
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Been reading these old threads trying to figure out if I can make the most out of the Sam Adams clone that I have started fermenting at too high temp. Using WLP830 German lager yeast, I pitched at about 78-80 deg. Ferment started and I thought I had the fridge set to cool slowly before going to work but when I got home (this is 24 hours after pitching) the temp is still at 78-80 deg. Ferm is going strong with a high krausen, I'm trying to cool it without stalling.

What should I do to get the most out of this brew? Extended lager time? I'm kinda freaking out about off flavors of the high ferm temp.

I didn't know you could cold pitch at those low temps.

Update: so to put the numbers to it....

Pitched at 78 F airlock activity after 12 hours.

At 24 hours full krausen rapid airlock activity and wort still at 78 F.

At 31 hours wort is down to 58 deg.

So it had at least 24 hours of fermenting time at 78+. I guess I will let it finish out to to 75% and raise the temp to 60-65 for a couple days for a D- rest? Then rack it & dry hop and start pulling it down to 35-40 deg to lager it for 3-5 weeks?

Thoughts?

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