New to lager yeasts... did 70 degrees for 36 hours kill my yeast?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New Member
Apr 13, 2018
Reaction score
This is the third beer I've brewed. The previous two used a general ale yeast advised to ferment at 65-70, and I thusly assumed this was a standard brewing temperature across all yeast strains. This batch, however, is a pils using Wyeast Czech Pils 2278, and after 36ish hours at 65-70 degrees and little-to-no fermentation activity, I decided to investigate the matter online and sure enough (duh) this strain is supposed to be fermented at 50-58 degrees. The yeast was pitched with the wort at 70 degrees.

I'm moving it to a cool area now, but what I want to know is: 1) Did I kill my yeast by keeping it at these temperatures for this long? 2) IF NO, I am going about the right way of correcting my mistake? 3) IF YES, should I pitch the package of aforementioned general ale yeast that I keep as backup?

Thanks very kindly for your helpful replies. <3
1. No, you did not kill your yeast.
2. It is a bit late now to fix it probably. With the higher temperature, it would start and ferment faster, you cant take that back.

If you pitched, and left it at aruound 70 degrees, there is a chance that it is already finished. Did you test your gravity?
1) You absolutely didn't kill the yeast, not at those temps. If anything, you would likely get some undesired flavors thrown off, as that's what typically happens when you run any yeast above their "target" temp. However, with a czech pils yeast, you may end up liking the flavors that come from it. Possibly a little more sulfury than desired. Don't sweat it yet.

2) I would be careful about dropping the temp so quickly, as some yeast don't like having a ferment start at one temp, then having the temp dropped mid-ferment. It could stop their activity altogether and have it stall before reaching expected FG. However, the fact that you mentioned there appeared to be little-to-no activity is working in your favor, if you dropped the temp slowly. I use the word "appeared" because you didn't mention taking any readings, so there could be fermentation going on with no krausen or airlock activity.

3) You shouldn't have to get this going with an ale yeast at all.
It didn't kill your yeast. May or (may not) have created some esters and other flavor components you might not like. Let it finish, then lager for a month.

There's all kinds of info on lager brewing out there, so I'm not going to try to put it in here and make it a long, drawn out reply. :)
Lager yeasts are bottom fermenters so the fermentation is going to look different than with and ale yeast.

The yeast are going to absolutely love the warmer temperatures, but you have not brewed a traditional pilsner. There are beers that are intentionally brewer with lager yeasts but fermented at ale temperatures. I have done a few and they are good. But I had a recipe and used the specific lager yeast suggested.

I would expect that you will have a decent beer, just not the one intended.

I would also wait another day or two before deciding to add more yeast.
How do you know there is little-to-no fermentation activity? If you're using buckets and the issue is no bubbling through the airlock, it's likely the lid or something else didn't seal. Can you see the surface of the wort? Is there a krausen?

FWIW, California Common or Steam beers are brewed at ale temps using a lager yeast. That doesn't mean yours will turn out, but it may end up being interesting.
Thanks all for your wonderful and very helpful responses! Since moving it to my 50(ish) degree basement last night, the airlock has been bubbling at a more healthy rate.

Many of you mentioned that I likely sped up the fermentation process by keeping it at warmer temperatures. Should I put it through diacetly rest a bit earlier than normal, then? I was initially planning to do it 20 days after boiling.

Thank you again!!
On the warm fermented lager thread we try to ferment warm intentionally. On the thread...Fermentation temperature reproach... you will see some strong opinions on both sides.
Should I put it through diacetly rest a bit earlier than normal, then? I was initially planning to do it 20 days after boiling.

Diacetyl rest should never be based on time, but based on specific gravity. The easiest rule of thumb is to begin increasing temperature when gravity is half of what you started with. For example, when OG of 1.060 comes down to 1.030 (60/2 = 30) then it's time. This could become necessary after 3 days, or 3 weeks -- who knows when. Begin checking gravity every couple of days after the first 3 or 4 days to know for sure.
Are u checking gravity readings using your hydrometer? Gravity readings are important to determining many aspects of brewing a great beer [emoji481]!
This is how the California Common aka steam beer was invented, I would check your gravity to see if any fermentation has occurred, if so at this point I would see it through, otherwise repitch
You mentioned seeing little to no fermentation activity? How are you gauging this? Is the beer in a see-through fermentation vessel? If it is in an opaque vessel and you can't see it, don't count on airlock bubbling to be an accurate representation of what's going on in there. If anything, I would guess that the yeast took right off at 70 degrees.
An extended time in primary at normal lager temps, followed by a nice long D-rest, followed by a decent lagering phase should help clean up any unwanted fermentation characteristics.
In the end, the beer may taste different than it would have if you had started fermenting low, but I'll be it won't be bad.