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Old 04-08-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
bowz98
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Default Wyeast Pilsen Lager at high temp??

Good Day friends,

So this is my first pilsner/ lager attempt.

Several hours before I pitched (8 hours), I removed my wyeast pilsen lager package from the fridge and broke the packet inside and set it out in 70 degrees temperature in my house to start.

Much later I completed my mash and pitched the yeast into my aerated wort in the fermentation vessel. The package had NOT swollen at that point. I brought the vessel downstairs to my basement/garage where it is steadily in the low 50s this time of year and left it to ferment with a blow off tube. After a day or so, i did not see any activity. I consulted the forums and read that I might not see any bubbles, but I should do a reading to see if there was a change of SG. I took a sample and there was no change of AG from the time i Pitched the yeast.

So I waited a few more days to see if something would happen and after 6 days, still nothing. I know this was a little bit long, but I also didn't have a moment to really take action during the week. So after there was still no action on the 6th day i consulted past forums again and decided to repitch. I brought the beer back upstairs to warm to 70 degrees and took out another batch that I was going to pitch. (white labs pilsner/ lager) After a few ours, I went to check the liquid temperature and low and behold the beer is actively fermenting. It's now been about 24 hours and its steadily fermenting.

So I have 2 main questions:

1) What did I do wrong? Should I have left it in 70 degrees for a day or so first, then brought the temperature down to 50 degrees?

2) What should I do now? My first inclination is to bring it down to 50 degrees again.

many thanks for your help.

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Old 04-08-2014, 07:41 PM   #2
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When fermenting a lager, it's best to build a yeast starter. This will not only build your cell count to the level needed to properly ferment a lager, but it will also prove yeast viability. You can get away with direct-pitching a smack pack in a low/med gravity ale, but it's a no-no with lagers.

In this case, it is strange that no fermentation activity took place for 6 days; I suspect your yeast may have been old/dead? If you still have the package, check the "born on" date. If not, don't worry about it and do a starter next time.

As far as what you should do now, yes, you should cool it down to 50 asap. You want as much of the primary fermentation as possible to occur at the correct temperature (50).

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Old 04-08-2014, 07:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowz98 View Post
Should I have left it in 70 degrees for a day or so first, then brought the temperature down to 50 degrees?
Regarding this question specifically, no, you should not start a lager out at 70 and then reduce. I have heard of some people starting their lagers out at higher temps to "get the yeast going", but even they typically start out in the 60's (not as high as 70). That said, I think the general consensus is that this is not good practice. Many brewers, most notably German commercial lager brewers, start their lagers out cold and pitch in the mid 40's, then warm up to ~50. This seems to be a more professionally vetted practice than "warm pitching". Personally, I just chill my lagers down to primary temp (50) and pitch/ferment at the temp, then warm up for a diacetyl rest at 65 for 2 days, then ramp down to 35 over a period of 2-3 weeks.

I'm sure there are some that will argue in favor of the "warm pitching" practice, so take my opinion as just that. The beauty of this hobby is that ultimately you, the brewer, get to decide what works for you.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:06 PM   #4
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I appreciate the replies. I will definitely be making starters moving forward. Thanks!

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Old 04-08-2014, 09:22 PM   #5
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FYI- the correct pitch rate using lager yeast is 2X that of an ale. A single vial or smackpack is nowhere near the cell count you should have, especially if it's older than a month or two.

With lagers, either get used to making big starters (a stir plate lets you make them smaller for the same # of cells) or use multiple packs of dry lager yeast.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-p...er-calculator/

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