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Old 02-09-2012, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default Lager yeast question

New to lagers and need suggestions/reassurance. On Sunday, I brewed 10 gallons of Bohemian Pilsener. I cooled the wort down to 50F and pitched a packet of Saflager W-34/70 in each fermenter. I have never hydrated dry yeast in the past, but those were all ales. I am beginning to wonder if I ended up pitching too cool. I do see there is positive pressure on the airlocks, just no noticeable bubbling.

What is the best course of action here? I could let the temp rise a few degrees over the next couple days until it gets going and then slowly bring the temp back down to 50. I could pick up a couple more packets of yeast, hydrate, and pitch. Or, I could just stop worrying about it and just trust the yeast to do their thing.

What do you think?


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Old 02-09-2012, 02:04 AM   #2
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According to BeerSmith, you have 173 billion cells in each packet, but you need 383. On top of that, you pitched at a pretty cold temp and never gave the yeast a chance to get going. Minimum temp for this yeast is 48, maximum is 59.

I would try bringing up the temp to around 56 and see what happens. If you live near a LBHS, I wouldn't otherwise worry as you can always get more yeast. If you need to order it online, I'd order it just in case today.

In any case, don't worry.


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Old 02-09-2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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As mentioned, you underpitched by a wide margin. That combined with the fact that lager fermentations are generally more gentle, slow, and steady are the reasons behind your concerns.

You risk off flavors by raising the temp too much, I would avoid that. Your best bet is to pitch more yeast ASAP and hope the existing yeast isn't too stressed.

With proper pitching rates, lager fermentations will start within 24hrs at or below 50F and proceed steadily to FG for 7-14 days (generally).
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:40 AM   #4
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You should have hydrated it water. You may have got as much as twice as much viable yeast that way, over 20 billion cells per gram. 2 grams per gallon works good for normal gravity lagers.

Just let it go. They are in there working. It will be fine.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:48 AM   #5
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I ended up bringing the temp up 3 degrees and picked up a couple packets of yeast on my lunch hour today. When I came home, this is what I found.

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Looks like I can save those extra packets for another brew.

I am thinking of bringing the temp back down 1 degree per day for the next couple days, starting tomorrow.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:43 AM   #6
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I think you should let it ride st the temp you have it at now.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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Glad to see things are working. Two packages rehydrated is a good rule of thumb for most "normal" gravity lagers with Fermentis dry lager yeasts. IIRC they recommend 80-120 g/hl unless you go really cold on the temps, in which case the pitching rate jumps to 200-300g/hl.

In your case I would be sure to do a d-rest once you see the krausen start to fall, or around 1.020 (or just over). Giving the temperature a bump will help the yeast finish strong in case you have worked them a bit too hard.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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I think I will let it ferment at current temp (53F). I guess I will chalk this one up as a good lesson learned and will be pitching 2 packets hydrated in the future per 5 gallon batch.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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Agreed on bringing the temp up for a D rest. I usually go 2 weeks, bring up temp for a D rest for 4-7 days. Remember when you pitch a lager, it isn't going to go wild like an ale. To each his own on the hydrating thing. I've split batches of rehydrated and not, I couldn't tell a difference. Next time pitch a couple packets. If your not familiar with mr. malty pitching calculator, use it and it will help with knowing how much. I like to back it up with another lager and use the cake.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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53 will be a very good choice for this batch, all things considered.


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