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Old 07-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
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Default Temperature of Lager yeast when pitching?

I've been reading ALOT about this and have found many varying schools of thought on how and when to pitch lager yeast. The one thing Most everyone is somewhat vague on is what the temperature of the yeast should be for pitching.

For the sake of argument let's say for a 2 gallon batch of normal gravity lager, I'm rehydrating W-34/70 at around 70 degrees. I want to pitch at fermenting temperature, low 50's but my question is do I chill my yeast slurry close to or at fermenting temps before pitching or do I pitch with the yeast slurry at 70 degrees? As well, the instructions on my other yeast choice, a smack pack say to activate at 70-75 degrees and let it go for 3 hours then pitch. But the directions say that if you want to pitch at fermenting temps to increase pitch rate, but says nothing of temps of yeast.

I guess my ultimate question is will pitching a room temperature yeast slurry of say 70ish degrees into 53 degree wort be too much of a shock to the yeast?

I do apologize if this topic has been covered ad nauseum but my search tweeter seems to not be working too well for me today, LOL

Thanks for any help,
~Hare


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Old 07-18-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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I don't like shocking yeast so I always pitch as close to the fermentation temp as possible and change temps slowly. This means when I'm crashing an ale starter to clear off the starter beer I then let it slowly warm back to the fermentation temp before pitching. For lagers I make the starter at warmer temps then put it in my lagering fridge and let it slowly drop to fermentation temp before pitching.


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Old 07-18-2012, 01:43 PM   #3
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Rehydrate your dry yeast as per the product sheet instructions then cool to within 10 degrees of wort temperature and pitch. Same goes for your liquid yeast starter. Normally, since lager starters are so large, you will be making a starter then chilling and decanting. It's therefore easy to get your slurry temp close to your wort temp--time in or out of the fridge.

In general you don't want your yeast temp and wort temp to be much different at pitching. It's not a make-or-break factor for a batch, but it's a "best practice" that you should try to achieve.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. If I decided to use a smack pack, should I temper the pack to fermenting temps and then smack it and let it set for the recommended 3 hours at fermenting temps then pitch it?
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harebearva View Post
Thanks for the info. If I decided to use a smack pack, should I temper the pack to fermenting temps and then smack it and let it set for the recommended 3 hours at fermenting temps then pitch it?
If you're pitching yeast directly from a smack pack without making a starter, you have more to worry about than the temperature.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FirstStateBrewer View Post
If you're pitching yeast directly from a smack pack without making a starter, you have more to worry about than the temperature.
LOL, You'll have to treat me like a ten year old I'm afraid. This will not only be my first lager but My first time using a smack pack so i'm not sure what you mean. Are we talking 'not enough yeast?' I figured that a whole pack in a 2 gallon batch would be sufficient, But I may very well be mistaken.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harebearva View Post
LOL, You'll have to treat me like a ten year old I'm afraid. This will not only be my first lager but My first time using a smack pack so i'm not sure what you mean. Are we talking 'not enough yeast?' I figured that a whole pack in a 2 gallon batch would be sufficient, But I may very well be mistaken.
I didn't notice you said a 2-gallon batch, but I would still recommend you use a starter. Otherwise, you might wonder why your pilsner doesn't ferment.

I speak from experience. Many years ago before becoming active on this forum, I brewed a 5-gallon batch from an extract pilsner recipe. I never took gravity readings back then. After months of lagering, the beer still tasted sweet! Yuck! Not knowing what to do, I finally just dumped it.

Now I know better. Make sure you have plenty of good healthy yeast to survive the colder lagering temperatures.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstStateBrewer View Post
I didn't notice you said a 2-gallon batch, but I would still recommend you use a starter. Otherwise, you might wonder why your pilsner doesn't ferment.

I speak from experience. Many years ago before becoming active on this forum, I brewed a 5-gallon batch from an extract pilsner recipe. I never took gravity readings back then. After months of lagering, the beer still tasted sweet! Yuck! Not knowing what to do, I finally just dumped it.

Now I know better. Make sure you have plenty of good healthy yeast to survive the colder lagering temperatures.
Sounds like a good idea. I'm all for an ounce of prevention. I haven't done a starter before but I imagine from what I've read that it would solve my temperature quandry as well. Thanks for the advice, now I gotta read up on starters, LOL I've got a few weeks before I boil this one so I'm just wanting to completely familiarize myself with all the processes. I hate suprises on brew day.

Thanks again
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harebearva View Post
Thanks for the info. If I decided to use a smack pack, should I temper the pack to fermenting temps and then smack it and let it set for the recommended 3 hours at fermenting temps then pitch it?
Smack the pack at room temperature and allow it to swell at room temperature. Then cool the package to pitching temperature and pitch it.

Use the pitching rate calculator at www.mrmalty.com to ensure you are getting enough cells into your wort.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by osagedr View Post
Smack the pack at room temperature and allow it to swell at room temperature. Then cool the package to pitching temperature and pitch it.

Use the pitching rate calculator at www.mrmalty.com to ensure you are getting enough cells into your wort.
Thanks for the great info. According to Mr Malty, I would need 0.7 packs of dry yeast from an 11.5g pack. KNowing this, I imagine that rehydrating an entire pack should work. On the other hand, a smack pack would require a 1 liter starter if I use 1 pack.
Hmmm... I may have to give it a think and decide which way to go. Either way, I think you guys have given me enough to make this happen!

Thanks!


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