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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Whitelabs WLP 800 Temp confusion
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:06 AM   #1
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Default Whitelabs WLP 800 Temp confusion

I used a WLP800 Pilsner Lager Yeast with a starter.
Pitched at 70* (package says 70-75 until ferment begins) for 2 days. Then 52* until secondary (10 days) brought it down 5* a day to 39*. Remained at this temp for 4 weeks.

I raised the temp to 70* (room temp) over a period of 2 days. for a dicetal 48 hour rest. This was our first time attempting a rest prior to bottling. The wort was still very cloudy OG was 1.058 and now 1.024. The bubbler was back up to one per 3 seconds.

I decided not to bottle and secondary longer.

I went back and verified the label on the yeast. --so here is the question: If lagering is done at such a cold temp, why does the yeast instruct me to ferment at 70-75 in initially? The threads I read talk about chilling the primary.

Did my yeast stall @ 39*? Or is 4 weeks secondary not long enough? I plan on adding some gelatin at this point in hopes of better clarity, but hope to improve the process on my next batch...

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Old 12-08-2009, 10:24 AM   #2
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Lagers need to be fermented at 48 to 52 from beginning to almost the end when some will raise temp about 10 degrees for a diacetyl rest. Starting your ferment at 70 will produce loads of diacetyl. If it taste like a butterbomb you know thats what it is. I usually pitch at 45 and let temp rise to 50. I have never treated lager yeast that way so I really don't know what your in for.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:17 PM   #3
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I think those instructions stink. I believe David_42 said he does his lagers that way with good results, so I know it's possible.

While I don't agree with that method, there is a reason they instruction you to do that. They have you do that, so that the activity starts sooner, and they don't tell you to make a huge starter to buy 4-5 packages of yeast and ferment at a proper temperature.

It's too late to change it now, but for your next lager, consult mrmalty.com's yeast pitching calculator, and make a yeast starter so that you have enough yeast to ferment a lager. I have a feeling that your starter, while helpful, just wasn't big enough.

I chill and decant my lager starters, and on brew day raise the temperature of my yeast gradually to 47-48 degrees and pitch it into wort about 2 degrees warmer. I then ferment the batch at the optimum temperature for that yeast strain. Usually, I don't even need a diacetyl rest. But then, after the diacetyl rest, the beer is at FG and is racked to secondary.

You don't want to lager until you're at FG. Lagering before you reach FG will only slow down the fermentation and cause some problems (as you've found, I guess!) So, I'd keep the beer at 50 degrees until it's done. Once it's done, or at least 75% done, THEN you can do a diacetyl rest. Don't go by the number of days- go by the SG. After it's at FG, then the beer can be racked off of that stressed yeast cake, and the lagering began.

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Old 12-08-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
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Agree with yoop. It's the yeast lab's way of having you build up the yeast health in a direct pitch situation. They want to sell the yeast to people that are too lazy to make starters. The problem with the warm pitch is that by the time it starts fermenting and then reaches optimum temps of 50F, you're 15 points into the attenuation already and they've already puked diacetyl into the wort.

Build your starter up at 65-70F, chill to 50F.

Chill wort to 50, pitch, let it ferment almost completely out (about 10 days) then slowly ramp up the temp to about 65F and hold it until activity is completely dead (about 3 days). Chill down to 35, rack to secondary and lager at 35 for at least a month.

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Old 12-16-2009, 06:40 AM   #5
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Alright thanks fella's. I hadn't thought of WhiteLabs not being able to read my mind that I was not making a starter. And Yes, a butter-bomb. I'll experiment and see if I can salvage what I've got. Thanks for the techniques, also, just found an early edition of Gregory Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer" which was suggested by others on HBT. Also, I be sure and check out MrMalty's.

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Old 07-12-2010, 06:00 PM   #6
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Great I just did 70-75 thing it hasn't been 12 hours yet should I throw the whole thing into the fridg now at 50? I haven't see any activity yet either.

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Old 07-13-2010, 10:49 PM   #7
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I see this thread is dead, but I'll throw an update up anyway.

The WLP800 I used was Six months past it freshness date and the OG was 1.065 so I guess a somewhat high gravity.

After pitching, it sat at 72 degrees for about 13 hours after reading this thread I put the carboy in the fridg. Temp inside fridge is 50-55. Its fermenting there are bubbles and Krausen. Will update as things move forward.

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Old 10-26-2010, 04:21 AM   #8
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Default WLP800 lager

So... What did you do and what happened? Brewing minds want to know.

I'm using this yeast with the Propensity Pilsner recipe from Joy of Hb. I've kept it 57-60F, a bit high for this strain. But I pitched it cold, and I'm glad I did--why bother with a lager if you cook it to death up-front? I asked a pro brewer acquaintance of mine, and he said he and some others were speculating about why White Labs suggests a hot pitch. He said he really doesn't know why they recommend that. He did say a starter is a good idea, and that he would just go ahead and pitch the whole starter, attenuated starter beer and all, rather than racking off the starter beer and just pitching the yeast. I made a 2L starter and it still took three days get going (maybe because of a high OG?) But then in 24 hours it went from 1.060 to 1.040, and here a week out it still has a full head of kreuzen.

But I'd sure like to know what your experience was.

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Old 11-05-2011, 04:44 AM   #9
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Default Followup on Propensity Pilsner

So much of the time, these threads peter out, and nobody comes back and finishes the story. So here I am with a followup to the story, in case someone later wants to know.

The Propensity Pilsner I wrote about a year ago turned out well, though there's an odd story behind it. After five weeks, the krausen still hadn't fallen, so I finally moved it to secondary for lagering. At that point, it had a strange off-taste in the middle, like between shampoo and hairspray. I lagered it for two months at around 38F (ambient temperature in my garage in January), and then bottled. Two months of bottle conditioning and it was great. The only beer I've made so far that my wife really likes. I made it again this spring, and my wife likes it still. Didn't go through the tannic/hairspray phase the second time.

So the moral is, give it time. My beer cleaned itself up, though it was five months from brew day to truly drinkable. If that sounds like a long time, just give thanks that you're not a wine guy.

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