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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > WLP820 vs. WLP860 fermentation lag times
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:12 PM   #1
mkeckjr
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Default WLP820 vs. WLP860 fermentation lag times

Quick blurb on the notoriously long lag time of WLP820. This will probably be my last time using it.

Last Sunday, 4/27/2014, I brewed 11 gallons of Oktoberfest. Recipe was similar to the BCS recipe:

6.5 lb each of Vienna, Munich 10L, and Pilsner
1 lb Caramunich 56L
1 lb Melanoidin malt
3 oz Hellertauer (60 min)
1 oz Hellertauer (20 min)

I mashed at 153 F for 1 hour, and boiled for 90 minutes. I ended up with approximately 10.75 gallons of 1.061 SG wort that I chilled via immersion to about 65 F in about 25 minutes, and then I tried to split it evenly between two carboys, which I placed in a chest freezer with ambient temp 48 F to chill to pitching temp overnight.

In preparation for this I made two starters over that week. First, I made a 2 liter starter of a single vial of WLP820 on a stir plate (manufacturing date 3/17/2014 - estimated viability ~70%). I then stepped that up to a 3 L starter without a stir plate, but with intermittent shaking. Using Brewer's Friend the estimated number of yeast cells using this method should be approximately 716 billion yeast cells, resulting in a pitch rate of approximately 2.3 M cells/ml/degree Plato for 5.5 gallons of my wort.

While the second step of that starter was propagating, I took the Erlenmeyer it was originally in, and made a 2.5 L starter for a single vial of WLP860 on the same stir plate (manufacturing date 3/10/2014 - estimated viability ~65%). This starter only had a SINGLE step, so this results in (again, using Brewer's Friend) approximately 463 billion yeast cells, which is a pitch rate of 1.5 M cells/ml/degree Plato for 5.5 gallons of wort. Thus, the starter of WLP820 is 80 M cells/ml/degree Plato HIGHER than this pitch rate.

I pitched the two starters on Monday afternoon (4/28/2014) around 6 pm after the wort temps had stabilized to 48 F. Attached is a photo of the two fermenters next to one another in the chest freezer from this morning (4/30/2014), approximately 36 hours after pitch. The fermenter with the high kreusen is the one with WLP860 (the LOWER pitch rate). Further, a quick pull from each of the two fermenters confirms that these visual fermentation symptoms accurately characterize what's going on: WLP820 is reading approximately 1.060, WLP860 is reading 1.055.

For those considering WLP820/WY2206 for their next lager, my experiences with this yeast are lackluster. It produces a lot of sulfur, doesn't clear quickly, and is notoriously slow fermenting when compared to almost any other lager strain. Hope this helps someone out there. My understanding is that the first generation of this strain (which this is) has some unpredictable results, such as long lag time and potential under attenuation. My suggestion would be to use more predictable strains like WLP830/WY2124 and WLP833, the second of which produces great malty beers.


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Old 04-30-2014, 04:18 PM   #2
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Great work on this experiment...very useful info!

I tend to stick to WLP830/833. They both work great if treated right.


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Old 05-04-2014, 07:48 PM   #3
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I had recently brew a batch of Oktoberfest using wlp820. I made a 2 step starter of 1.5l and a second 2 l step. I pitched at 48 degrees and had airlock activity at about 32 hrs later and was slow and steady for next 2.5 weeks. I would tend to agree on its slow work ethic but it did finish at around 1.014. Currently in secondary so jury still out but smelled good during transfer. The dms was very noticeable the first week or so but diminished to a malty aroma by the end. I will use again based on its current track.


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Old 05-07-2014, 01:42 PM   #4
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I do believe that at the end of the day the flavor of the beer is definitely the deciding factor, so it's true that perhaps, at the end, 820 will prove to be the better beer. To that end I plan on submitting both beers to at least two competitions after they lager, which I plan on doing most of the summer. I will also be making a third batch in the next month or so that is decoction mashed and fermented with 830 or 833, and have that alongside this set.

I will take gravity readings this evening and give an update of the progress of the two beers.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:52 PM   #5
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as an off subject but of really off by much.... Poured the spent yeast wlp820 into vegi garden..... Holy tomatoes batman .... Great soil amendment


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Old 05-08-2014, 06:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkeckjr View Post
I do believe that at the end of the day the flavor of the beer is definitely the deciding factor, so it's true that perhaps, at the end, 820 will prove to be the better beer. To that end I plan on submitting both beers to at least two competitions after they lager, which I plan on doing most of the summer. I will also be making a third batch in the next month or so that is decoction mashed and fermented with 830 or 833, and have that alongside this set.



I will take gravity readings this evening and give an update of the progress of the two beers.

Would certainly be interested in the outcome of the submissions to competition


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Old 05-09-2014, 02:13 PM   #7
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Just a quick update: this morning was eleven days after the pitch of the yeast. I took gravity readings last night and WLP860 was getting near terminal gravity, 1.019, so I expect it to be done in a couple of days. On the other hand, WLP820 was at 1.050! That is, over the last eleven days, it has fermented about 11 points of specific gravity at 50 F, while the exact same wort fermented 42 points of specific gravity at the same temperature in the same time when using WLP860.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:14 PM   #8
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Default WLP820 vs. WLP860 fermentation lag times

Wow that's too bad on 820..... I'm no expert by no means ....I only have just recently used it and seemed successful...but I did baby this yeast given it reputation... I made big starter and feed them plenty of nutrients i.e. Wyeast. My temp profile was 48* f at pitch and let it climb slowly to 50*-52*f the first week after ferm started which was 1 1/2 day or 32 hrs from pitch. The second week bumped up temp to 53-54 and the last 5 or so days to 55*f then upped it 65 for d rest for 3 days, And walla done 1.014. I believe mine was about 1.028 after day 10 with first TG .
This is only my experience not a hard rule. The next time I do it we will see if the same occurs.


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Old 05-09-2014, 04:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing, klaggy. I know this yeast also likes to ferment a little warmer than most lager yeasts, so this morning I set the temp controller to move up to 52 F in hopes that it'll get a little faster.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkeckjr View Post
Thanks for sharing, klaggy. I know this yeast also likes to ferment a little warmer than most lager yeasts, so this morning I set the temp controller to move up to 52 F in hopes that it'll get a little faster.

I saw somewhere the modified lager temp profile on these forums don't remember who's but it made sense to me..... I also gave the fermenter a turn to keep the yeast up and active a couple a times...
Hope it works out and it's just lazy


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