MJ's M54 Californian Lager yeast - ferment speed?

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Toxxyc

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Good morning ladies and gents! This weekend I started another extract brew (I'm doing extracts, by the way, still learning the ropes), being a Mangrove Jack's Dutch Lager tin paired with a bag of No 60 (German Lager) DME from Brewcraft/Copper Tun. OG was a bit lower than I expected and came in at 1.038.

That's not a bad thing at all, since I was aiming for a light, easy to drink, sessionable lager with the temperatures ramping up here in South Africa for the upcoming summer. I'm just wondering - can it be done already? I pitched on Saturday afternoon, so it spent about 4 days in the fermenter and the airlock activity is dead. Krauzen is declining and dropping and there seems to be no fresh CO2. I'm planning on keeping it in the fermenter for AT LEAST 2 weeks to give it a chance to clean up well enough, but if I don't have to worry about keeping the airlock topped up that would be great. Can just fill it and move it to a cool spot in the house until 2~3 weeks is done.

As mentioned in the title, I used Mangrove Jack's M54 Californian Lager yeast. Fermentation temperature has been a constant 18°C where I dropped it to after pitching at 20°C. Yeast was rehydrated as per instructions.
 

Miraculix

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Good morning ladies and gents! This weekend I started another extract brew (I'm doing extracts, by the way, still learning the ropes), being a Mangrove Jack's Dutch Lager tin paired with a bag of No 60 (German Lager) DME from Brewcraft/Copper Tun. OG was a bit lower than I expected and came in at 1.038.

That's not a bad thing at all, since I was aiming for a light, easy to drink, sessionable lager with the temperatures ramping up here in South Africa for the upcoming summer. I'm just wondering - can it be done already? I pitched on Saturday afternoon, so it spent about 4 days in the fermenter and the airlock activity is dead. Krauzen is declining and dropping and there seems to be no fresh CO2. I'm planning on keeping it in the fermenter for AT LEAST 2 weeks to give it a chance to clean up well enough, but if I don't have to worry about keeping the airlock topped up that would be great. Can just fill it and move it to a cool spot in the house until 2~3 weeks is done.

As mentioned in the title, I used Mangrove Jack's M54 Californian Lager yeast. Fermentation temperature has been a constant 18°C where I dropped it to after pitching at 20°C. Yeast was rehydrated as per instructions.
One of my favorite yeasts, used it a lot.

It is a quick one as well, so your beer is technically done with this low og.
There is usually nothing to clean up with this yeast, but there is yeast to settle out. If you can cold crash, do so. If not, wait at least 12 days in total for the yeast to settle, then bottle :)
 
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Toxxyc

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Fantastic, that's great news! Yeah I'm planning on leaving it in the fermenter for a while still, got no time to bottle right now anyway. It'll stay there for a while longer, might just slowly decrease the temps after adding some gelatin to clarify as I would like this one to end up crystal clear in the bottle.

REALLY looking forward to this one!
 

Miraculix

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Fantastic, that's great news! Yeah I'm planning on leaving it in the fermenter for a while still, got no time to bottle right now anyway. It'll stay there for a while longer, might just slowly decrease the temps after adding some gelatin to clarify as I would like this one to end up crystal clear in the bottle.

REALLY looking forward to this one!
Gelatine helps, but is usually added after the temperature has been lowered. Otherwise it wouldn't remove chill haze.
 
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Toxxyc

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Ah. I don't have a deep freezer or big enough fridge to cold crash anymore, so I think I'll leave the gelatin and use a different clarifying agent instead. I've had good results with those little 5g packets you buy, and even had great results without any clarifying agents at all. Just gave the stuff time.
 

Miraculix

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Ah. I don't have a deep freezer or big enough fridge to cold crash anymore, so I think I'll leave the gelatin and use a different clarifying agent instead. I've had good results with those little 5g packets you buy, and even had great results without any clarifying agents at all. Just gave the stuff time.
I had good results with gelatin without cold crash. But chill haze never was an issue for me, so if you never experienced it, chances are good that you would be fine just using gelatin at room temp, like I did.
 
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Toxxyc

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I'm planning the above method, yes. Gelatin at room temp, maybe slightly under (around 18°C), let sit for a few days and bottle. Simple enough, I guess.
 
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Took gravity reading this morning - 1.008 (from a quick glance, was in a hurry). Safe to say it's pretty much done now. It's busy cooling down now so I'll be pitching gelatin this evening to get it to clear up a bit!

Smell and a fingertip taste test marks it a "spot on" to what I was aiming for. Fermentation time was 11 days.
 

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Took gravity reading this morning - 1.008 (from a quick glance, was in a hurry). Safe to say it's pretty much done now. It's busy cooling down now so I'll be pitching gelatin this evening to get it to clear up a bit!

Smell and a fingertip taste test marks it a "spot on" to what I was aiming for. Fermentation time was 11 days.
What was the og? Around 1.04? It is usually done after about 5 days, but I would also wait at least ten days to let it settle and clean up a bit. I think botteling after 12 to 15 days is usually the best time, based on my own experience. Never tried longer times though, so I actually don't really know :D

Edit: I see, 1.038. Going to be nice and crisp!
 
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Toxxyc

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That's the hope, yes, light and crisp brew with a finish that's not too sweet. We're approaching summer here in South Africa and with the temperatures already in the mid 30's at the start of spring it's looking like it'll be a hot one...

It took 11 days to get done at the 18°C mark, but I'm leaving it a few more days to clean up and settle a bit more. Krausen around the top isn't gone yet and I want it nice and reduced before I resort to bottling.
 
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Added the gelatin as per instructions on some page somewhere on the internet on Saturday morning. I'm trying my best to cool the fermenter down as far as it would go, but it seems like it won't be going any lower than 12°C. I want to bottle on Wednesday, so I'm going to have to make a plan. Maybe a massive bag of ice dumped in there on Tuesday afternoon? I don't have a fermentation chamber, so it's the best I can do.

PS: The beer never was as cold as the instructions said (it was at 14°C), but man the gelatin already works really, really well. I can see a definite difference!
 

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Took gravity reading this morning - 1.008 (from a quick glance, was in a hurry). Safe to say it's pretty much done now. It's busy cooling down now so I'll be pitching gelatin this evening to get it to clear up a bit!

Smell and a fingertip taste test marks it a "spot on" to what I was aiming for. Fermentation time was 11 days.
Fingertip taste test? You're not drinking at least some of the hydrometer sample? Shame, shame!

One more error like that and we're revoking your homebrewer credentials. Wasting beer...unbelievable. :)

***********

I kegged a California Common last night, but didn't use M54. On my list to try. Final gravity 1.011, which is fine. I'd crashed it so it was about 38 degrees. Tasted some of the beer out of the fermenter and while not carbed, it was delicious. It's in the keezer now carbing. I'm anxiously waiting....waiting...
 

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Added the gelatin as per instructions on some page somewhere on the internet on Saturday morning. I'm trying my best to cool the fermenter down as far as it would go, but it seems like it won't be going any lower than 12°C. I want to bottle on Wednesday, so I'm going to have to make a plan. Maybe a massive bag of ice dumped in there on Tuesday afternoon? I don't have a fermentation chamber, so it's the best I can do.

PS: The beer never was as cold as the instructions said (it was at 14°C), but man the gelatin already works really, really well. I can see a definite difference!

Yes, it really turns the yeast into some chunky mass type of thing, which is quite nice. I also had good results without chilling.
 
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Toxxyc

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Fingertip taste test? You're not drinking at least some of the hydrometer sample? Shame, shame!

One more error like that and we're revoking your homebrewer credentials. Wasting beer...unbelievable. :)

***********

I kegged a California Common last night, but didn't use M54. On my list to try. Final gravity 1.011, which is fine. I'd crashed it so it was about 38 degrees. Tasted some of the beer out of the fermenter and while not carbed, it was delicious. It's in the keezer now carbing. I'm anxiously waiting....waiting...
I mentioned a taste test earlier, didn't I? Well if I didn't, here we go - You know when you've had a "long night" of drinking and your primary drink was European lagers? Like Amstel/Heineken? Well, when you wake up the next morning and you're not yet sober and the hangover hasn't hit yet and you walk over to a table and see a half-leftover semi-warm, flat Heineken on the there and you take a sip - this is how it tastes. Like warm, flat beer. So yeah, tastes good :p

About the temps - I'm planning on bottling tomorrow and I'm getting the temperatures down actually. This morning it sat at about 11°C, so this afternoon I'm getting a big-ass bag of ice, dumping it in there and getting the beer ice cold before bottling. Krauzen is gone (dropped very nicely over the last two days or so) and the last bits of head on the beer is reducing to nothing. Smell is excellent, and clarity is really improving. Definitely has some chill haze left, but that's just fine!

Last thing about the taste:

To note, I fermented this beer at ~19°C for 11 days. After that I left it to sit at slightly warmer for two days (around 23°C) to let it clean up and finalize but nothing changed much after that. Then I cooled it down over the past few days. Smell is excellent, flavour is crisp and dry. It's excellent!
 
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Toxxyc

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Bottled the lot last night. My take:

1. The gelatin worked well, but not as well as it would have if the beer was at the temperatures it should have been. It's still cloudy, but at least the heavier particles dropped out and it actually looks like chill haze. A few weeks in the bottle should solve this.

2. I got 2 x mini kegs, 24 x 440ml and 6 x 340ml bottles out of the batch. The yeast cake was VERY loose, and I couldn't get as much out of it as I'm used to. I usually tilt the fermenter to the tap side to get the most out of it, but the yeast cake in this batch simply sloshed to the side when I did this, so I got a bottle filled mostly with yeast. Stopped when that happened.

3. Beer colour is a lot darker than the comparing European lagers they seem to want to compare to. They're comparing to Heineken mostly, and this beer is a lot darker. I suspect it's because I used the German Lager enhancer (DME) and not just plain dextrose, so that's just fine. I don't mind the slightly darker colour, I actually like it.

4. FG stuck at 1.008, so my ABV is around 4% ABV, including the carbonation drop. Not high, so this will be a very lekker sessionable beer. Can't wait!

5. Taste...now this one stuck out to me as interesting. Even after the wait and the gravity not dropping (at all), I still got a slight hint of malt sweetness. I've never tasted it in beer that's done fermenting before, and I'm hoping that it's just the "green" of the beer hitting through. Bitterness is very mild and nicely sessionable and the aroma is plain lager beer. Nothing to complain about, but I might have wanted it a bit higher but then again, it is a light lager and not a hoppy bomb. The rest of the taste though - brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It's crisp, refreshing (considering it was flat and at around 10°C) and just tastes nicely balanced. DEFINITELY needs some bottle conditioning, but that's expected. I can't wait for this one to finish up...

6. Oh, on the yeast - no off flavours or by products detected. It was a very clean ferment from what I could see. Love this yeast!
 

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5. Taste...now this one stuck out to me as interesting. Even after the wait and the gravity not dropping (at all), I still got a slight hint of malt sweetness. I've never tasted it in beer that's done fermenting before, and I'm hoping that it's just the "green" of the beer hitting through. Bitterness is very mild and nicely sessionable and the aroma is plain lager beer. Nothing to complain about, but I might have wanted it a bit higher but then again, it is a light lager and not a hoppy bomb. The rest of the taste though - brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It's crisp, refreshing (considering it was flat and at around 10°C) and just tastes nicely balanced. DEFINITELY needs some bottle conditioning, but that's expected. I can't wait for this one to finish up...

6. Oh, on the yeast - no off flavours or by products detected. It was a very clean ferment from what I could see. Love this yeast!
Funny thing...it never even crossed my mind to use this yeast for anything other than a California Common recipe. Mangrove Jack's website says "Suitable for California Common and any lager fermented at ambient (ale) temperatures."

Now I'm tempted to do some other recipes with this.

*********

I do a California Common using either 2112 or 810, with this grain bill/hop bill:

9# 2-row
1.75# Munich
1# 2oz Crystal 60L

Northern Brewer Hops at .75oz/60, 1.25oz/10, and 1.00oz/flameout, fermented at 64 degrees.

[BTW, this is a bit heavy on grain as I bumped up the recipe about 10 percent to account for system losses in mash tun, trub left behind, wort in hoses and pump, etc.]

There is a very noticeable California Common flavor, though it's difficult to tell how much is in combination with the use of Munich and 60L. But I use Munich and 60L in other beers, and don't get it, so I get it as a flavor produced by the yeast.

*************

I wonder what M54 would do at 64 degrees with just 2-row, or just Maris Otter and a hop like Hallertau.

Just thinkin' out loud here....
 
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Toxxyc

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I wonder what M54 would do at 64 degrees with just 2-row, or just Maris Otter and a hop like Hallertau.

Just thinkin' out loud here....
Well from this singular brew I made with this yeast, with absolutely no claims that it promises anything, I'm going to wager a guess that it'll deliver a clear, crisp, easy-drinking, mild beer. The yeast in my beer delivered very few flavours, if any at all, so what you'll get is what you put in.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Funny thing...it never even crossed my mind to use this yeast for anything other than a California Common recipe.

I wonder what M54 would do at 64 degrees with just 2-row, or just Maris Otter and a hop like Hallertau.

Just thinkin' out loud here....
You've obviously not been following the warm-fermented lager thread then...
 
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Toxxyc

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This is how my brew came out:



A bit green still, with the obvious associated flavours, but from a week ago to yesterday I could see a definite improvement already. Can't wait for it to really get "in the zone".
 
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