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Starting a Lager warm?

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Cpt_Kirks

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The directions for my lager kit say to let the primary sit at 70* for 12 to 36 hours, until obvious fermentation begins, then moving it into a cooler area, from 48 to 55*.

I don't recall ever reading that before. This is a Dos Equis Amber Lager clone kit, with Saflager S23 dry yeast. I will be fermenting in a fridge, so I can chill it however it needs.

I am planning on two weeks in the primary, two weeks in the secondary, then about three weeks of lagering in the keg. Hope to be drinking it by Christmas.
 

Bobby_M

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They recommend that because it's only a single packet of yeast. I like to pitch at ferment temps but I use a large starter or 2 packs of S23 to make sure it gets a good start. If you want the beer to be drinkable earlier, I'd still go with pitching at under 60F because you don't want ale-like esters.
 

david_42

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This is one of the two common approaches. The other is a massive starter & pitching cold. When I've used Saflager S23, I've pitched warm and started cooling after 12 hours. I don't wait for fermentation to start (although it almost always has), so I guess it is actually a third method.
 
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Cpt_Kirks

Cpt_Kirks

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They recommend that because it's only a single packet of yeast. I like to pitch at ferment temps but I use a large starter or 2 packs of S23 to make sure it gets a good start. If you want the beer to be drinkable earlier, I'd still go with pitching at under 60F because you don't want ale-like esters.
I'm planning to let it warm up a bit between primary and secondary to give it a diacetyl rest.
 

Yooper

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I'm planning to let it warm up a bit between primary and secondary to give it a diacetyl rest.
Yes, that would probably be necessary.

I'm in the pitch cold camp. I use enough yeast and pitch at fermentation temperature. I also do this with ales. For example, when I make an ale, I don't pitch at 85 degrees and then turn it down to 65 after 24 hours- I pitch it at 65 degrees.

When I make a lager, I pitch at 48 degrees or so. I bring my yeast up to 48 degrees (and I've decanted the spent wort from the starter) and pitch it into 50 degree wort.
 
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Cpt_Kirks

Cpt_Kirks

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When I make a lager, I pitch at 48 degrees or so. I bring my yeast up to 48 degrees (and I've decanted the spent wort from the starter) and pitch it into 50 degree wort.
Is 48 a little chilly? According to the docs, 48 is the bottom temperature for S23.
 

bradsul

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Yes, that would probably be necessary.

I'm in the pitch cold camp. I use enough yeast and pitch at fermentation temperature. I also do this with ales. For example, when I make an ale, I don't pitch at 85 degrees and then turn it down to 65 after 24 hours- I pitch it at 65 degrees.

When I make a lager, I pitch at 48 degrees or so. I bring my yeast up to 48 degrees (and I've decanted the spent wort from the starter) and pitch it into 50 degree wort.
This is the method I've been using as well and I've not had to do a diacetyl rest on any of my lagers so far.
 

Yooper

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Is 48 a little chilly? According to the docs, 48 is the bottom temperature for S23.
But I'm talking about pitching a larger amount of yeast- not one package of S23- and pitching it into slightly warmer wort. Not enough to shock the yeast, of course, but slightly warmer wort seems to really kick start the yeast. 48 might be the bottom temperature, but it's not out of the range and I'd ferment it at 50 degrees.

(My understanding that S23 is a "fruity" lager yeast so I'm not likely to use it- probably listen to David_42 instead of me anyway!)
 

TeleTwanger

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+3 on pitching plenty of yeast at fermentation temps and D rest.
 
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Cpt_Kirks

Cpt_Kirks

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I pitched with both the wort and starter at 65.

I let it sit for a while, then brought it down to 58. Not seeing much activity this morning, a little yeast smell at the air lock and positive pressure, but no bubbles.

Thinking about stopping a the LHBS on the way home and getting another pack or two of S-23 and adding another pack tonight.
 
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Cpt_Kirks

Cpt_Kirks

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Lagers take a while to get going and they're not as vigorous as ales, give it a couple weeks before you worry about it too much.
Yeah, it has been a while since I did a lager. The ales I have done lately have spoiled me, as to activity.

At least my office doesn't stink like it did with that last wheat.
 

hopsalot

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+1 Davis I brewed a bock and pitched warm until fermentation started then I transferred to fridge and chilled to 45-50*, beer turned out good
 
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