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Old 09-10-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
Jan 2011
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Posts: 869
Liked 23 Times on 19 Posts

Hi folks! So I made a california common with WLP830; the German lager yeast instead of the normal San Fran strain, which is meant to be used at higher than normal temperatures for a lager. When I was looking for what this may do, I couldn't find much apart from questions, so thought I'd throw this out into the google search universe.

Why didn't I just use the San Fran strain? Well, someone challenged me.

Anyway here's how it went:

Fermentation was kept around 62-64F with swamp cooling, optimum temp for this yeast is apparently 50-55F.

Malt bill:

Maris Otter 73.2%
Munich 14.6%
Caramalt 9.8%
Wheat 2.4%

OG came out high at 1.052 and FG was 1.012 with a 150F mash

After the first few weeks in bottle, it wasn't the best; thought it was a dumper. VERY fruity esters (like you get with S-04 when it's too warm), not very nice and a bit harsh.

So I left it in basement and a couple of bottles in the fridge to see if it cleared up at all.

After a good month or so, the fruity esters had died down and the beer became a lot less harsh, very freshing and quite smooth to drink. The little touch of sulphur the lager yeast typically give had also faded and is now in line with normally treated lagers.

The flavour now had some banana type esters like a hefeweizen yeast; although a lot more subdued. I initially thought it was infected, although the beer hasn't deteriorated/soured or anything and the banana is quite mild so I'm fairly confident it is just a result of using a lager yeast outside it's temperature range. The initial off-flavours were most likely due to a lack of lagering or giving it long enough in bottle to condition properly (although I usually give a good 3 weeks before trying any).

This aside, if you were doing a cali common, I'd opt for the normal strain for the job, unless someone challenges you. ha.


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