Using lager yeast at ale temps?

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JLem

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I've been thinking about using a lager yeast at warm temps to see what I get from it, but I figured others must have tried this before. Anyone have experience with this? What kind of flavors/results did you get?

Please note that I am not looking to figure out how to brew a lager at warm temps (like a Cal Common), but am curious if warm-fermented lager strains might be another tool that could be used when designing a recipe.
 

MrPostman

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my thinking says no, this won't work.
the lager yeast prefers the lower temperature because it fits their metabolism. the higher temps will produce more off flavors because the yeast are under stress and have a harder time metabolizing sugars and producing ethanol, thus leaving some molecules in intermediate stages of enzymatic activity. if you pitch a normal pitching rate of lager yeast and ferment it at an ale's temp you're going to get alot of off flavors and may not hit your desired fg. you could add more yeast, but your fg will be satisfied while you are overwhelmed with skunky musk.

would not proceed!
 

Colorado_Gold

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I'd say, go for it. You'll never know till you try it. Thats what they did with the California Common. Who's to say others won't work out too? I've been thinkin bout trying it with this pilsner recipe I have...
 
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JLem

JLem

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MrPostman said:
my thinking says no, this won't work.
the lager yeast prefers the lower temperature because it fits their metabolism. the higher temps will produce more off flavors because the yeast are under stress and have a harder time metabolizing sugars and producing ethanol, thus leaving some molecules in intermediate stages of enzymatic activity. if you pitch a normal pitching rate of lager yeast and ferment it at an ale's temp you're going to get alot of off flavors and may not hit your desired fg. you could add more yeast, but your fg will be satisfied while you are overwhelmed with skunky musk.

would not proceed!
I hear you, but 'off-flavor' depends on the flavor and the beer. Clove and bubblegum would be off flavors I they were in a Kolsch, but not if they were in a Belgian Golden. Even funky, Brett flavors are desirable in some beers. So, really, I'm wondering what flavors would be produced by lager yeasts fermented warm. Those flavors could then be taken into account when designing a recipe.

Also, I'm not sure about the yeast's metabolism being less efficient. From my understanding, yeast, including lager yeast, metabolize faster at warmer temps. They may produce various other compounds in the process (hence the 'off-flavors'), but I imagine the fermentation of sugars would not be a problem. But, then again, I really don't know this for sure.
 

MrPostman

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i agree about working off flavors in to your recipe and that those flavors, in some styles at certain levels tastes good, even necessary, but I was just thinking with the amount of yeast you'd have to pitch and it occurred to me that the level of the off-flavors might be a bit strong, i.e. the off flavors would become THE flavors.
the more i mull it over, the more i don't think you'll have problems with the yeast metabolizing the sugar though. i say do it for science!
what sort of grains/hops were you thinking of? how big of a beer would it be?
 

rinhaak

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Seems like an interesting idea to me. Post the recipe when you're done and let us know how it turns out.
 

nate_ive

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saflager s-23 is super clean at ale temperatures. I have used it with Revy's "kiss yer cousin" and a guiness like stout at 64F, both taste great. There are several posts about how insanely fruity s-23 is when used at lager temps though. There is one data point.
 

HopJuicer

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I say go for it, very interested in the results! What yeast did you plan on using? I have heard the same as nate's results with S-23. Interested in the results!
 
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JLem

JLem

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So I did a little reading in the brewing science journals and i realized that I failed to consider excessive fusel alcohol production. Seems like lager yeasts at high temps produce more fusels than ale yeasts. I also emailed White Labs and they confirmed that fusels would be a concern.

Still, I'm intrigued by this idea and may give it a whirl with a small experimental batch. If I do I'll post an update.
 

TarheelBrew13

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I inadvertently did this experiment after culturing the yeast from a bottle of Franziskaner (apparently they bottle with a lager yeast). The amber ale I made at 73F ambient turned out remarkably clean. It put off a little sulfur while fermenting but there was none in the finished beer. No detectable hot alcohols. I was pretty disappointed with how clean it was but hey it may be good for some beers.
 

JonM

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How about a five gal batch, five one-gallon jugs? One on the basement floor at 62, one on a high table in the basement at 66, one in a closet on the first floor at 70, etc?
 

Rainier

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For what its worth from a newbe - I brewed a Belgium Black using White Labs San Francisco Lager Yeast it ferments up to 65 degrees. I kept the temp at 60 degrees (easy to do in the Seattle area) and have a wonderful Belgium Black to rival a New Belgium 1554.
Here is a link to the White Labs page: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp810.html
 

Radegast

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I stumbled across this while looking for info on the same subject. I didn't see anything on the brew blog, but I wanted to check in and see how far along you were in the planning stage or if you'd discovered anything.
 

erkwist

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Other than the fusel alcohols, it's more a matter of getting and identifying the flavors and finding a way to make them work for you. You'll have to figure out what flavors they produce so you can find the right place to accentuate them.

Start by treating it like a hop experiment, same malt bill, simple is best. For this use a hop you know well, then try multiple yeasts to see what they do. This way you can id the flavors and it will be easier to find a spot to show them off.
 
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Way to prove you didn't read the thread, or maybe understand it, its already been mentioned and is not what is being looked for. :p
I didn't read the thread beyond the OP and the first reply, so sorry if I stepped on toes, no offense intended. But thanks, it always comes off classy when you insult one's intelligence, always my first resort. :mug:
 

erkwist

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*edited* deleted due to to drunk to post on forum. Sorry to any and all affected.
 

beeber

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Wyeast american lager and california common yeasts both work well at temperatures that are considered warm. Give it a try and see if you like it.
 
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JLem

JLem

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I stumbled across this while looking for info on the same subject. I didn't see anything on the brew blog, but I wanted to check in and see how far along you were in the planning stage or if you'd discovered anything.
Never did do any experimenting with this. Still want to, but I don't have the time at the moment.
 
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