Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Lager Pitching Temp: Can we settle this lager debate?
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:19 AM   #1
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Default Lager Pitching Temp: Can we settle this lager debate?

LAGERS...
Some say cool wort to fermentation temp (roughly 50 degrees) before pitching..

Some say pitch while warm and put directly into cold conditions...

And some say pitch while warm but wait for visible fermentation signs before cooling...

Opinions? Experience?


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Old 02-18-2008, 04:25 AM   #2
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I pitch when my wort is 50º and my yeast is 48º
All the boks and information I have ever read say this is the best way to do it.


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Old 02-18-2008, 04:34 AM   #3
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I tried to elaborate on this here.

Commercial brewers pitch below fermentation temp b/c they have enough healty yeast to pitch. Home brewers started to pitch above fermentation temp to avoid problems w/ underpitching lager yeast.

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Old 02-18-2008, 04:49 AM   #5
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It's probably best to learn how to make starters before you go to lagers. Building up the colony allows you to pitch at ferment temp.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:00 PM   #6
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Unless you know you have enough yeast, the Kaiser is right. If you do not have enough yeast, than you need to pitch warm and cool down to fermentation temp. This gives the yeast enough time to multiply to the correct number. Chris White of White labs also stated that if done this way there will be no ill effects to flavor because there will be no alcohol production for the first twelve hours at least, and that if you are going to pitch at fermentation temps, be familiar with yeast growth( not just starters) because under pitching will cause a lot of problems in fermentation. A good rule of thumb, is to pitch two Vials or smack packs at fermentation temps. Each package is designed to be enough for an ale, but for a lager pitching twice the amount at fermentation temp would be advisable, unless you follow the directions on the label, which tell you to pitch warm and cool down. Than one is enough.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slnies
A good rule of thumb, is to pitch two Vials or smack packs at fermentation temps.
I guess, before I would drop $16 worth of yeast into a batch I'd rather be spending the money on a large erlenmeyer flask and a stir plate. I didn't know people actually pitch multiple vials since there is a significant cost to this.

But you could always brew a few lagers in a row and recoupe some of the cost.

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Old 02-18-2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
It's probably best to learn how to make starters before you go to lagers. Building up the colony allows you to pitch at ferment temp.
+1

I ended up doing a 5L starter for my last lager.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperiorBrew
I pitch when my wort is 50º and my yeast is 48º
All the boks and information I have ever read say this is the best way to do it.
This is precisely what I do! I make a huge starter first, and then put that in the fridge when it's fermented out. I decant the spent wort, and pitch that cold yeast into a very slightly warmer wort. It seems like that small temperature difference "kick starts" the yeast. Too much of a temperature difference would stun the yeast, but 2-3 degrees seems about perfect.

If you pitch cold, you usually don't have an issue with diacetyl or other off-flavors, either.

I do the same thing in a way with ales, if you think about it. I pitch the yeast at fermentation temperatures- I don't pitch at 80 degrees and bring it down to 66 degrees, for example. I always pitch the yeast at the fermentation temperature. I just think that this would give you the most consistent way to minimize off-flavors in both lagers and ales.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:49 PM   #10
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I bought a very outdated smack pack of the Budvar yeast recently. I made a starter and it didn't really seem to do much. So, I made a second starter, decanted the first, tossed the second on top of the yeast and put it back on the stir plate. Got good activity in the second starter. Put it in the fridge. I still didn't trust it very much though, so when I brewed my pils yesterday, I went ahead and pitched at about 65*F and put the fermenter in the cold room at 52*F. Just went out and checked on it and 12 hours later, the fermenter is at 52*F and I have krausen. I'm a little worried that I may have a fruit bomb but we'll see. So the moral of the story is, pitch at ferment temps and trust your starter.


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