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Imperial L09 / WLP 940 Mexican Lager - Pressure or no pressure?

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hausofstrauss

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I've been using WY2206 as my house lager yeast for ages, but looking to make a change. I've picked up a package of Imperial L09 (Que Bueno), which crosses to WLP 940 Mexican Lager.

I'm planning to ferment in a keg, but was debating on whether to go temperature controlled 50 degF primary, then raise to ~65 degF diacetyl rest or just go basement temperatures 60-65 degF under pressure at 1 bar for the duration of the fermentation.

Does anyone have firsthand experience and/or preference?
 

jinjorge

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I don't have firsthand experience or a preference as this is my first go around with L09. I am currently fermenting with L09 @50F. I do plan to do a diacetyl rest at 65-68F.
 

mongoose33

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I've been using WY2206 as my house lager yeast for ages, but looking to make a change. I've picked up a package of Imperial L09 (Que Bueno), which crosses to WLP 940 Mexican Lager.

I'm planning to ferment in a keg, but was debating on whether to go temperature controlled 50 degF primary, then raise to ~65 degF diacetyl rest or just go basement temperatures 60-65 degF under pressure at 1 bar for the duration of the fermentation.

Does anyone have firsthand experience and/or preference?
I brew a dark lager with this. Chose it because I like the clean finish Mexican Lager brings to the beer. I pitch it at about 70 degrees, hold it there for about six hours, then drop to 50 degrees. When the wort is halfway attenuated, I start ramping up to 66 degrees, 4 degrees ever 12 hours.

It's my house beer, and I really love that yeast in this application.

FWIW: I do a 1-liter starter with this, oxyenating the starter wort and using a pinch of yeast nutrient, then pitch the starter at what I hope is the height of krausen, which usually is about 15 hours. So if I begin the starter at 10pm the night before, I'm hoping to pitch about 1pm the next day.
 
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hausofstrauss

hausofstrauss

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Thanks for the details. The 70 degree start will be helpful in the summer.

Do you use the yeast on any other styles with that schedule?
I brew a dark lager with this. Chose it because I like the clean finish Mexican Lager brings to the beer. I pitch it at about 70 degrees, hold it there for about six hours, then drop to 50 degrees. When the wort is halfway attenuated, I start ramping up to 66 degrees, 4 degrees ever 12 hours.

It's my house beer, and I really love that yeast in this application.

FWIW: I do a 1-liter starter with this, oxyenating the starter wort and using a pinch of yeast nutrient, then pitch the starter at what I hope is the height of krausen, which usually is about 15 hours. So if I begin the starter at 10pm the night before, I'm hoping to pitch about 1pm the next day.
 

mongoose33

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Thanks for the details. The 70 degree start will be helpful in the summer.

Do you use the yeast on any other styles with that schedule?
No, though I've been tempted to just brew a crisp Mexican Lager.

I've also done the accelerated schedule with a Pils I do, and it was great. There are two parts of this that are....unusual with regard to standard brewing practices.

The first is the accelerated fermentation schedule. Let it ferment halfway at 50 degrees, then ramp it up as indicated. I got this idea from the Brulosophy site, thought it was interesting and tried my own variation. It's certainly faster, and incorporates what is essentially a Diacetyl rest as part of it. I didn't include this above, but I'll let it sit at 66 degrees for a day or two, then back down 6 degrees every 12 hours until 48 degrees, let it lager there a few days, then crash and keg.

[I bought a TILT hydrometer so I could time the ramp-up. Often, though, it's about 48-60 hours from the pitch. The TILT means I don't have to take several samples to try to time this, though truth be told, if you were off by 10 percent either direction, I don't think it would matter that much.]

The second is how I do starters (there are 3 or 4 of us here on HBT who do something similar to this). I do a 1-liter starter as normal, add a pinch of yeast nutrient prior to boiling, then after chilling it to pitch temp, I oxygenate the starter wort. I do NOT step it up or make a 2-liter starter, as is standard practice for a lager. Then I pitch the whole starter at 15 hours or as close as I can get.

I pitch about 70 degrees, roughly at the temp the starter has been working, during or right after oxygenation of the wort in the fermenter. I then hold it at 70 degrees for at least 6 hours, then start gradually moving the temp down to 50 degrees over the next 12 hours or so.

What I'm trying to do with this is to get the yeast to get another doubling in a warm fermenter, then push it down to normal lager ferm temps. Based on the results, it works. That's not just me, I have friends who want to buy this beer at commercial prices, a local bar owner who wants to sell it. No license, alas. :(

***********

A few other things. First, pitching an entire 1-liter starter into a 5-gallon batch will lower the OG by 1/2 to 1 point of gravity. I don't care about that, it's not a gravity contest, it's a flavor contest. :)

Second, some argue they don't want to pitch starter wort because "it doesn't taste good." I've never understood that argument. People use DME all the time in extract brews, it's just...wort. Further, one reason to ramp up at the end of fermentation (besides Diacetyl) is to let the yeast clean up any off flavors. If there are any such flavors, the yeast will get them at the end of fermentation. IMO, the results are no different than if I tossed 100 grams of DME into the boil. It just doesn't affect results.

Third, I oxygenate the starter wort. Some people just HATE this idea.

When you boil water, you deoxygenate it--in fact, I pre-boil and then cool my strike water prior to doughing-in precisely to remove oxygen from it.

So how do we make a starter? We add DME to water, THEN BOIL IT, driving off the oxygen that yeast needs. I can't figure out why it would be optimal for yeast to be pitched into a NO-oxygen environment and then expect it to find optimal conditions. Yeah, the stir plate should help bring oxygen in, but still.

So, I oxygenate the starter wort. I give that yeast a boost, which I believe then allows it to be healthier, multiply better, and be at its peak when I pitch it into a fermenter whose wort is the same temp as the starter.
 

jinjorge

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The first is the accelerated fermentation schedule. Let it ferment halfway at 50 degrees, then ramp it up as indicated. I got this idea from the Brulosophy site, thought it was interesting and tried my own variation. It's certainly faster, and incorporates what is essentially a Diacetyl rest as part of it. I didn't include this above, but I'll let it sit at 66 degrees for a day or two, then back down 6 degrees every 12 hours until 48 degrees, let it lager there a few days, then crash and keg.

[I bought a TILT hydrometer so I could time the ramp-up. Often, though, it's about 48-60 hours from the pitch. The TILT means I don't have to take several samples to try to time this, though truth be told, if you were off by 10 percent either direction, I don't think it would matter that much.]
This is gold! Going to give it a try with the brew I currently have in fermentation
 

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