Best yeast for a Czech pils?

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palmtrees

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I'm planning my next few brews and am thinking of doing a Czech pils, and I could use some advice on the yeast, as I'm not nearly as familiar with lager yeasts as I am with ales.

I tend to brew new styles, rather than repeat recipes. And for the past year or so, I've been keeping a yeast bank from overbuilt starters. At this point, I have a good mix of staples and fun extras that covers pretty much everything I routinely brew (Bell's house yeast, Imperial Pub, Cosmic Punch, a Belgian abbey strain, Lutra kveik, a German ale yeast, a kolsch yeast, etc.). Whenever I have to pick up a new yeast, I try and get something fairly versatile that I could use on other beers.

With that in mind, does anyone have thoughts on a strain that would be good for a Czech Pils and would also be versatile enough to keep around in my yeast bank for some other continental lagers? If the answer is that I should be using a different yeast for this than for any other type of lager, that's fine, too. :)
 

hottpeper13

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WLP 833 is the one I'm using this season. I try a different one each year and start with an overbuild starter then a 1.040 Pils. I'll repitch the cake 3-4 times with the last one a double or triple bock. I had a Octoberfest blend from Wyeast (can't remember the #) that made a great first beer but didn't repitch well. The 34/70, 830 , 2124 yeast is dependable but there are others that give a more malty/ grainy flavor. I always have 1-2 packs of 34/70 in the fridge for my buddy Justin Case.
 

Miraculix

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I think wlp 800 is supposed to be the urquell strain, easy going strain that also ferments well when fermented warm. Very good flocculation compared to 3470 for example.

I guess that the Imperial yeast version Urkell should be the same if not better than the wlp version. I'd choose Imperial for this.
 
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palmtrees

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I had penciled in Imperial Urkel, so I'm glad my first thought wasn't too far off. But I'll check out S-189, too. Does anyone have any thoughts on repitching S-189?
 

monkeymath

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On the German forum "hobbybrauer", S-189 appears to be a popular yeast for German pilsners. In particular, it is praised for leaving a thinner body and mouthfeel compared to W34/70.
I've never used it myself, but this has been sufficient for me not to consider it for a Czech-ish pils I have planned. I'll be going with Diamond Lager.
 

Miraculix

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On the German forum "hobbybrauer", S-189 appears to be a popular yeast for German pilsners. In particular, it is praised for leaving a thinner body and mouthfeel compared to W34/70.
I've never used it myself, but this has been sufficient for me not to consider it for a Czech-ish pils I have planned. I'll be going with Diamond Lager.

Oh, I considdered 3470 already on the edge of being too thin.....
 

Oleson M.D.

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Well...how about Diamond Lager yeast? It is our daily driver now. And is very suitable for most any European Lager style beer.
 

Franktalk

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According to the latest work on the yeast genome, saflager s-23 is supposed to be a close relative to the Urkel strain. And at least one yeast expert claims he made his best czech pils with it. I read it on the AHA forum posted by the venerable Mark also known as Saccharomyces.
 

dmtaylor

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I just did a split batch experiment with S-189 and Diamond. I honestly can't really taste a difference. I did some blind tastings and had no preference for one over the other. Both are great. I do wonder however if WLP833 might still have an edge over dry yeasts. More experiments are needed. But if you want to keep it simple, either Diamond or S-189 are both very solid options.
 

monkeymath

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I just did a split batch experiment with S-189 and Diamond. I honestly can't really taste a difference. I did some blind tastings and had no preference for one over the other. Both are great. I do wonder however if WLP833 might still have an edge over dry yeasts. More experiments are needed. But if you want to keep it simple, either Diamond or S-189 are both very solid options.

Yeah, I'd be inclined to think that the differences between most lager strains are rather subtle. And I think that we generally overestimate our ability to pick up nuances: homebrewers like to discuss which pilsner malt is best*, yet in triangle tests people struggle to distinguish pilsner malt from pale malt.

I was trying to find out which commercially available lager strains belong to the Saaz group (naively, it made sense to me that those were the ones to seek out for Czech pilsners). But apparently, all available strains are Frohberg strains? And Saaz strains are more of a (historical) curiousity and not actually used a whole lot in the brewing industry?

Also, I'm usually a liquid-yeast guy, but with lagers I kind of shy away from the huge starters it requires. I don't want 10% of my beer to be gross starter wort. And I think it's not so easy to get a lager yeast to flocculate so well to allow for decanting without dumping out the most viable yeasts.

*I discovered just a few days ago that there was a malthouse near where I live, using locally grown barley. Super excited to try it out!!
 

dmtaylor

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I was trying to find out which commercially available lager strains belong to the Saaz group (naively, it made sense to me that those were the ones to seek out for Czech pilsners). But apparently, all available strains are Frohberg strains? And Saaz strains are more of a (historical) curiousity and not actually used a whole lot in the brewing industry?

True. We can't get Saaz lager strains from any commercial source that I know of. They're all Frohberg, OR... in several cases, they are actually S. cerevisiae (i.e., ALE strains!).

Any yeast should flocculate out well enough that you can just pitch the slurry without much of the unhopped "beer" liquid. On the (recently more rare) occasions when I make lager starters from liquid yeasts, I make a big starter then decant, as I think most do. I can understand why you wouldn't want to pitch 100% of the starter without decanting.
 

Beer666

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Been using Mangrove Jacks Bohemian for many generations and i love that. I also use wyeast 2278 (czech lager), wyeast 2007 (American lager) and White labs Mexican lager and i really struggle to notice the difference cold fermenting. I would use 2278 though to be more authentic for your recipe. Great style of beer. Have not bought lager yeast for about 3 years. Stopped making starters, only use slurry now.
 

Beermeister32

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I’m really liking WLP833 German Bock, said to be the Ayinger strain. Makes great beer, I like it better than W34/70 (Weihenstephaner) strain).

There is less difference in final flavors with lager yeasts than ale yeasts. Lager yeasts are all pretty clean compared to ale yeasts which are all over the map flavor-wise.
 
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hottpeper13

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I try a different one each year and the 833 this year is my fav. It's a PC yeast and I've banked it,as it will be my house lager yeast. As far as floccing out ,after 3 weeks in primary it's pretty clear. My 4th repitch is a 1.060 Baltic Porter and when that's donewill be putting that entire yeast cake on a Rye double/ triple bock at 1.070.
 

bwible

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I would recommend using websites. Go on the website of whatever yeast comany you like and they have charts and recommendations for their yeasts by style. Most of them do anyway.

I like Wyeast’s site because they really help you. You can look their yeasts up by strain or by beer style. Under each yeast it tells you what styles they recommend it for and under each style they list their recommendations to make it. You can narrow it down to a couple that way then read the descriptions further and decide.

I haven’t done a whole lot with lagers because I don’t have a lager fridge. But I’m thinking of getting one. For me its the 50 degree temp controlled place that is the problem. I’ve used 34/70 at room temp then lagered at 35 degrees in the back of my kegerator for a month and liked the results. But that was not a pils. I understood Wyeast 2278 or its equivalent with one of the other companies to be Czech lager yeast.
 

Beermeister32

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Here’s yeast info from the Salt City chart online, if you want to try Urquell or Budvar yeast.
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JohnDBrewer

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I like wyeast 2124. I do 10 gal batches and usually split and do two different types of yeast. I've compared 34/70, wlp800 & 802, imperial l28(?). Least favorite was the Imperial (kind of bitter), 34/70 (very clean just kind of bland), then 802 not sure why just liked 800 better). 800 and 2124 are pretty close but 2124 something about it. Also seems to score better in comps. Want to try mangrovejack next. Really like MJ Belgian yeasts. Have not tried a bock yeasts except in German beers. Never thought about using one in a czech pils though. They seem to dry out a bit more. Perfect for German styles.

Big starter always the key to lager.
 
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