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Old 03-03-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
Dec 2007
Johnstown CO, Colorado
Posts: 213
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Ok...I'm looking for opinions on this thought.

In the past I have pitched my lagers at arouund 68 degrees...let fermetation kick off (say 24 hours or so) ...then drop to around 50 degrees for the bulk of primary fermentation.

I have never personally experienced any off flavors but I wanted to hear the experts weigh in on this.

The reason I have gone this route..is I'm not very diligent about making starters....and two..if I do it this way I've (in my mind) establilshed that the yeastie beasties are up and adam and gettting to work...then I drop temp...I assume they slow down but keep working away...then after all that...cold crash to "lager" say an average of 35 degrees for about two months.

Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who.

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Old 03-03-2011, 10:05 PM   #2
Oct 2010
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 144
Liked 39 Times on 26 Posts

As a general rule of thumb, I drop below fermentation temp to say 45-46°F, pitch ahuge starter and let it work it's way up to 50ish° over a day or two, then ferment at 50° till end of fermentation.

I have pitched high before, around 65° and dropped the temp to fermentation temps overnight, mostly because my chiller was out of commission, unbeknownst to me. I also did a 24 hr diacetyl rest, and while I didn't get any diacetyl in the finished product, I did get a lot more sulfur than usual, in particular the aroma of the finished pilsner was quite sulfury. I dunno if that is related or not.

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Old 03-04-2011, 03:09 AM   #3
Sep 2007
Posts: 2,553
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I make a big starter for any lager and will pitch that at room temp, then allow the brew to start fermenting. Once that occurs, I'll put it in the fridge around 45-50, then continue on....

Gotta pitch a big starter with lagers.

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Old 03-04-2011, 12:57 PM   #4
Mar 2009
Posts: 506
Liked 34 Times on 27 Posts

I have limited experience with lagering, but as I have read, you will be doing yourself a favor to pitch at a cool-in temp of around 46 degrees, and allowing the beer to warm up to 50 over the next 36 hours for fermentation. As you stated, you will see a lot of growth by pitching at 65, but you are also opening Pandora's box for off flavors. If your sanitization is really good, I think you will be fine delaying pitching until you are in the right temperature range, even if you have to wait over night. You can make good beer under pitching at 65, but you will make better beer pitching the right amount of yeast at 46.


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Old 03-04-2011, 01:43 PM   #5
ArcaneXor's Avatar
Nov 2007
Posts: 4,572
Liked 118 Times on 105 Posts

This used to be quite a vigorous debate about 5 years or so ago, most notably on the Brewing Network. If I recall correctly, the consensus turned out to be that it's ideal to pitch a large starter at or slightly below fermentation temperature. If, however, you don't have the ability to make a large starter, pitching warm and cooling it down slowly will aid the yeast in reproducing and cut down on the lag time. The yeast will produce more flavors often considered undesirable in lagers when pitched warm, some of which will age out and some of which won't.

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Old 03-04-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
Aug 2009
Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,174
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Yeah, this is one of those things where the lazy people will say "I did it and it works for me!" (the thing I hate hearing most on HBT), and then the people who want to make the best beer possible, minimizing any chance for off flavors will pitch cold. It's all about minimizing problems - pitch the right amount of yeast for the ideal fermentation, add the right amount of O2, ferment at correct temps, etc. You can do things the lazy way and you'll definitely make beer, but why not put in a tiny bit more effort to increase the chances of making a GREAT beer!

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