Why Do Beer Kits only Include One Yeast Package

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AngusMacDuff

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I have only brewed 3 all grain and 2 extract batches - all 5 gallon. As I learn more, I see that the yeast calculators always say more than one package of yeast is required but only one package is included in the kits. What am I missing? I just bought the equipment needed to make starters. I will probably follow the yeast calculators but am curious if it is just overkill.
 

RM-MN

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Perhaps the yeast calculators are using data from big brewers who feel they need to pitch a lot of yeast so their fermentation starts faster as time is money to them. Perhaps the calculators use data that suggest that yeast (liquid cultures) die off way more quickly than other research suggests. Every time I have used the single pack of yeast for a batch the beer fermented quickly and reached the expected final gravity. The fermentation may have started slower than if I had used a second pack but since I have multiple fermenters and expect to leave beer in them for 10 to 20 or more days, the extra couple hours or more for the yeast to start working doesn't seem to be worth the cost of a second pack.

Perhaps you might like to see what this experiment gets for results.

 

mongoose33

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I have, over time, come to the tentative conclusion that the amounts of yeast in standard packages are just fine for most beers, exception being big beers (higher than, say, 7.0 ABV).

I attended a yeast workshop put on by Chris White of White Labs (yeah, the head guy!). I asked about starters and such and he said he'd just pitch a pack of his liquid yeast in most beers, no starter. Well, suffice to say that I was a bit surprised as that's counter most conventional wisdom in homebrewing. I've done that and <shock> it actually didn't change the outcome for me.

A packet of dried yeast will have someone in the neighborhood of 50-60 billion cells. A package of White Labs yeast will start with 100 billion, but over time that number declines such that it's probably, midway through its best-by life, down near that.

As a practical matter, I'd ask how the beer tastes. If it's fine, then the yeast is doing its job. You're doing what most people who are really into this homebrewing thing do, i.e., experiment. The best idea is to brew two beers, one using dry yeast at recommended dosage, another with a starter.

Now, there generally is a recommendation NOT to do starters with dry yeast. And truth be told, even rehydrating dry yeast is seen by many as unnecessary--though Lallemand recommends rehydration now on their site.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Another exception to the 1-dose advice generally is for lagers fermented cool, i.e., around 50 degrees. I make starters for lagers using liquid yeasts, but I do it in an unconventional way. I make my starter and try to time pitching the yeast at about 15-17 hours after I began the starter. I also oxygenate the starter wort. The idea is that the yeast is REALLY going about 15 hours after beginning the starter, and I'll pitch that whole starter directly into the wort. No crashing, no decanting, just right in at about 70 degrees. That additional liter of starter wort drops the gravity about a point, not enough to be noticeable.

I then leave the wort at 70 degrees for about 6-8 hours, and then begin a gradual reduction in temperature to 50. This effectively gives the yeast another doubling prior to the final temp drop. Another benefit is that if there's any contamination in the wort, the yeast can outcompete it because rather than sitting there going through lag phase and allowing contamination to get a foothold, it's working. Typically I have bubbling out of the airlock in 4-6 hours doing it this way.

And just to screw with your head a bit more, I also do an accelerated lager schedule. When the yeast is about halfway done, I begin ramping the temp up 4 degrees every 12 hours until 66 degrees, where I allow it to finish. This not only speeds up fermentation, it acts as a diacetyl rest.

You may or may not do any of this (and if you don't have temp control you can't), but besides giving you ideas, it shows that one doesn't just have to blindly adhere to conventional wisdom.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Brewing is more resilient than we sometimes give it credit for being. As long as you follow good sanitation practices, and are close on temps, you'll be good. Enjoy the experimenting and see if it produces a noticeable difference for you.
 

Immocles

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I've always kinda wondered the same thing. I do find myself generally pitching half a packet of dry yeast into most of my 3G brews, though.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Now, there generally is a recommendation NOT to do starters with dry yeast. And truth be told, even rehydrating dry yeast is seen by many as unnecessary--though Lallemand recommends rehydration now on their site.
In video presentations over the past six months, both Fermentis and Lallemand mentioned the idea of "high stress" worts (high OG, sours, ...). My "take away" was that re-hydration may be helpful in those situations. Making starters with dry yeast came up in at least one of the Q&A sections of those videos. My "take away" was that if I make a starter, I need to treat it as a liquid yeast.

Sprinkle it, re-hydrate it, make a starter - just be sure to pitch the yeast.
 

dmtaylor

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Yeast calculators are off by at least a factor of two. One pack of dried yeast is enough for 5 gallons of any style. One pack of liquid yeast should always be stepped up via a starter. Those are the correct answers AFAIC.
 

mongoose33

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Yeast calculators are off by at least a factor of two. One pack of dried yeast is enough for 5 gallons of any style. One pack of liquid yeast should always be stepped up via a starter. Those are the correct answers AFAIC.
Well, "correct" depends on who you ask. Chris White would disagree with you on the need for a starter with liquid yeast in most conventional circumstances, and I've done brews using liquid yeast and no starter, and they weren't any different for me.

Some questions have multiple "correct" answers.
 

couchsending

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Well, "correct" depends on who you ask. Chris White would disagree with you on the need for a starter with liquid yeast in most conventional circumstances, and I've done brews using liquid yeast and no starter, and they weren't any different for me.

Some questions have multiple "correct" answers.
Yes however Chris White’s opinion might have just a bit of bias don’t you think? He’s speaking about his own product. Implying that you might need starter might also be implying that his product is in some way inferior or not as desirable as a product that you might not need to make a starter from... Imperial yeast for instance.

I bet that if you were to brew two exact 1.050 5g beers side by side. Pitch one vial of yeast into one and the “correct” amount of yeast into the other you’d see both a decrease in lag time, larger drop in pH, quicker fermentation, quicker diacetyl pickup, etc, etc. Will they both be “fine”? Maybe? Just depends on your definition of “fine”, I guess...
 
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mongoose33

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Yes however Chris White’s opinion might have just a bit of bias don’t you think? He’s speaking about his own product. Implying that you might need starter might also be implying that his product is in some way inferior or not as desirable as a product that you might not need to make a starter from... Imperial yeast for instance.

I bet that if you were to brew two exact 1.050 5g beers side by side. Pitch one vial of yeast into one and the “correct” amount of yeast into the other you’d see both a decrease in lag time, larger drop in pH, quicker fermentation, quicker diacetyl pickup, etc, etc. Will they both be “fine”? Maybe? Just depenSS on your definition of “fine”, I guess...
I agree at one level....but at another level not. If you were Chris White, would you want to tell people they could pitch a packet of White Labs yeast without using a starter if it wasn't going to work? What would that do to the reputation of your product?
 

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My opinion is that yeast companies are basically playing a game of chicken with each other. At some point, someone did the math and figured out what a homebrewer would be willing to pay for a pack of yeast, decided how much yeast they could put in that pack and still turn a profit. Another company popped up and decided to price their homebrew pitch similarly, which drove that size/cell count and on and on. They all knew that one pack, even a month in the package, wasn't enough for many beers but they're not going to flip the applecart over on the whole industry.

Yes, I believe that pitching a single pack of white labs, wyeast, or omega into most beers over 1.050 is a significant underpitch unless that pack was sealed yesterday. Of course Kveiks and some English styles would be exceptions. Forget making clean lagers with even two packs. Pros pitch high cell counts primarily because they can't roll the dice and say "underpitching usually isn't a problem, screw it".

Even at a limited empirical level, I knew several brewers who refuse to make starters or pony up for the additional pack of yeast and they're constantly sharing beers with me that show significant fermentation flaws, yeast stress, acetaldehyde, etc. In another thread, I brought up two friends of mine that were 1st and 3rd place state homebrewers of the year. Do you want to guess how much yeast they pitch? Let's just say their stirplates are well seasoned pieces of gear.
 

Beermeister32

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and I'll pitch that whole starter directly into the wort. No crashing, no decanting, just right in at about 70 degrees.
On lagers, I prefer to decant the starter overnight and only pitch the remaining yeast at 48F, ferment at 50F. If you ever taste starter off a stirplate it can be really oxidized. I'd prefer to keep as much of it out of the beer as possible. Great thing is you'll have beer either way...!
 

Bobby_M

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So what is your process for brewing with liquid yeast? Does it vary based on strain? style? recipe?
I generally use the pitch rate calculator built in the Beersmith3 and more recently BrewFather and set the pitch rate to .75M/ml for most beers and just follow the output. More specifically I use .75 for ales where I want some esters. 1.0 for neutral clean ales and 1.5 for lagers.

So, even at the .75 rate, a month old pack of yeast needs either 3 packs or 1 pack grown up in a stirred 1 liter starter.
If it were a 1.045 super clean lager like a German Pilsner I would be closer to 5 packs (never) or build a 3 liter starter (always).
 

Vale71

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Going back to the original question...

Beer kits only include one yeast pack because manufacturers want them to be as cheap as possible and as profitable as possible. They're very well aware that most people who buy kits only buy one and that's it, so any concerns about final product quality never even register in their decision process. I mean, the cheapest kits even save on DME and have you use massive amounts of plain sugar and we know very well what that means quality-wise.
 

D.B.Moody

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Going back to the original question...

Beer kits only include one yeast pack because manufacturers want them to be as cheap as possible and as profitable as possible.
So the take away is: QUIT BUYING KITS! Become the (brew)master of your own house, and do what you like.
 

mongoose33

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On lagers, I prefer to decant the starter overnight and only pitch the remaining yeast at 48F, ferment at 50F. If you ever taste starter off a stirplate it can be really oxidized. I'd prefer to keep as much of it out of the beer as possible. Great thing is you'll have beer either way...!
That was actually one of my concerns initially doing this method. The results suggest it's not a problem, but more than that, whatever flavor degradation might occur in the starter due to oxidation is, IMO, overwhelmed by the flavors in the other 6 gallons in the wort.

I've never enjoyed the taste of a starter after it's fermented on the stir plate, but then it A) uses just light DME, B) has no hops in it, C) hasn't conditioned, D) isn't carbonated, and E) isn't cold. One reason for raising the temp at the end of fermentation is to help yeast clean up after themselves, and I certainly don't give the starter yeast any time to do that. Whatever flavor byproducts that exist in the starter and for which there wasn't time to clean them up are, IMO, going to be cleaned up by the yeast in the fermenter.

One of the funny things about this for me is that I went to that yeast workshop--and the follow-on one in White Labs laboratory--thinking that Yeast was the place I could next make significant steps in my brewing. I bought the microscope, the dyes and such, the hemocytometer, and in the end, it just seems to me that the brewing process is pretty robust, at least with regards to yeast. I'm still diddling with it, and reserve the right to change my mind.

I also recognize the potential for what Yooper termed the "ugly baby" problem, i.e., this is MY beer so it must be great! I realized early on that this might color my evaluation of my own beer, so I took pains to try to overcome that. I took an off-flavor workshop so I could identify issues if there were any (I couldn't find any), and I have others evaluate it. I have a friend who's a beer guy with a palate like I'll never have. (He once lamented an Apricot beer for having used Apricot extract instead of real Apricots--heck, I could hardly tell there was any Apricot in there :) ). He evaluates my beer and we have a deal--he has to be brutally honest. When it's great he tells me; when not, we assess what might be chanced and I will do it again. I also have friends who want to pay commercial prices for my beer, and there's a local bar owner that wants to sell it. Seems like it might be ok.

So, I've tried hard to be ruthless in the evaluation of my beer. My conclusion is that the way I do yeast is fine. That doesn't mean a gross underpitch or overpitch won't hurt the beer, just that the way I'm doing it doesn't result in that.
 

Bobby_M

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So the take away is: QUIT BUYING KITS! Become the (brew)master of your own house, and do what you like.
I do sell kits. In the case of Brewers Best extract kits, they come with a single dry pack which is closer to the right amount of yeast. For my all grain kits, I'm very transparent about yeast choices and I explain that 2 packs is highly recommended if you don't plan to make an appropriate starter. In other words, my kits don't include one liquid yeast pack. I give the customer info and the choice to buy one or more packs.
 

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i just started making my own strong wine, got a turbo yeast for 1 gallon, so far i have made 2 gallons from it, i just poured out 3/4 of it into a new container to prepare for drinking, and filled the remaining 1/4 back up with some boiled sugar water, its been fermenting for a few days and is starting to pick up in rate again.
 

Nubiwan

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Perhaps the yeast calculators are using data from big brewers who feel they need to pitch a lot of yeast so their fermentation starts faster as time is money to them. Perhaps the calculators use data that suggest that yeast (liquid cultures) die off way more quickly than other research suggests. Every time I have used the single pack of yeast for a batch the beer fermented quickly and reached the expected final gravity. The fermentation may have started slower than if I had used a second pack but since I have multiple fermenters and expect to leave beer in them for 10 to 20 or more days, the extra couple hours or more for the yeast to start working doesn't seem to be worth the cost of a second pack.

Perhaps you might like to see what this experiment gets for results.

Yeast calculators are off by at least a factor of two. One pack of dried yeast is enough for 5 gallons of any style. One pack of liquid yeast should always be stepped up via a starter. Those are the correct answers AFAIC.
I brewed this pils based lager last Thursday.
10lbs pils
1lb vienna
.5 lb munich
Saaz at 60,20 and 5 mins
Mashed 2 hours, not out of choice, its just the way my brew days go sometimes
Boiled 65 mins
From 8+ gallon preboil, if got around 6.5 gallons of wort to the fermentor OG was 1.048
Hoping my FG will get down to .010 range
IC had wort down to 62 degrees in about 20 mins
Any aeration i do happens when i transfer to the fermenter. Its all i ever do.
I pitched a single packet of S-23 on the recommendation of my trusted posters @RM-MN and @dmtaylor and my fermenter has been sitting at 58 degrees for about 6 days.

It never started to do anything for about 72 hours. Finally, the action started, but its very very slow. Like i am timing it at 2 bubbles every 65-70 seconds. Been doing that for 72 hours. Steady 2 bubbles per minute. SG has dropped to .040, which is nothing like my experience with ale yeasts, which typically blast through for me in 3-5 days.

It appears i underpitched. Have I? Opinions seem to differ. Contrary to suggestions 1 pack of yeast is good for 5 gallons. Ok 6.5. The bulk of posts i have read, since pitching, seem to suggest a larger starter for lager, 2-packs of dry yeast, or hydrate yeast on wort.

I am now apprehensive the ferment wil stall. Ive ordered another pack of S-23. Should i wait this out, or simply add the extra yeast. Whats the best way to add it?

I am also reading the yeast budding or creating new generations will cause some diacetyl. That correct? I tasted the wort at SG, and imho, tastes bloody good. Its sweet, but tart. No buttery flavour that i can tell. Not sure that just devlops later.

Realize its not a true cold lager ferment, but i simply dont have the means of temp control, beyond steady ambient temp of around 58, and an ability to lager later in a variable temp (35-40) cold porch, or colder garage.

Thoughts and suggestions welcomed. Does my lager need saving? Am i doomed?
 
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dmtaylor

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I brewed this pils based lager last Thursday.
It never started to do anything for about 72 hours. Finally, the action started, but its very very slow. Like i am timing it at 2 bubbles every 65-70 seconds. Been doing that for 72 hours. Steady 2 bubbles per minute. SG has dropped to .040, which is nothing like my experience with ale yeasts, which typically blast through for me in 3-5 days.

It appears i underpitched. Have I? Opinions seem to differ. Contrary to suggestions 1 pack of yeast is good for 5 gallons. Ok 6.5. The bulk of posts i have read, since pitching, seem to suggest a larger starter for lager, 2-packs of dry yeast, or hydrate yeast on wort.

I am now apprehensive the ferment wil stall. Ive ordered another pack of S-23. Should i wait this out, or simply add the extra yeast. Whats the best way to add it?

I am also reading the yeast budding or creating new generations will cause some diacetyl. That correct? I tasted the wort at SG, and imho, tastes bloody good. Its sweet, but tart. No buttery flavour that i can tell. Not sure that just devlops later.
Well, this is a lager. You're fermenting it colder at 58 F. It's going to take more time to ferment than an ale.

IMO you did not underpitch. The fact that you saw results in 72 hours is consistent with this pitch rate and the fact that it's a cool ferment.

Pitching another pack of yeast at this point is not going to do anything useful. The beer is already saturated with yeast. The new yeast will join them in finishing and settling out at the bottom of the fermenter. You'll just end up with more yeast at the bottom is all. No difference in results. Won't hurt anything, won't help anything.

I have personally not used S-23 yet, but I hear mixed reviews on it. To find out what it really does, I have a pack in my refrigerator to use on my next batch, which will be a split batch -- I love splitting batches to try different yeasts, it's kind of my thing. So I'll have more experience soon enough. But for now, suffice it to say that it seems S-23 is a known producer of fruity esters and diacetyl. So, yeah, you're going to get diacetyl.

My advice would be to raise the temperature up to mid 60s or room temperature in the next couple of days. This will speed up fermentation AND will allow the yeast to eat up diacetyl that might be present, before they quit eating. So then your fermentation might be finished in another 7 to 10 days.

More advice: Wait until you are sure the fermentation is completely done... then wait another 3-4 days before you think about racking or chilling or bottling or kegging or anything else. Keep the beer on the yeast, warm, after fermentation is done for a while, just to be sure and to allow them to finish cleaning up after themselves.

Bottom line: IT'S GOING TO BE O.K. Sometimes the hardest thing about brewing great beer is the often unspoken part about PATIENCE.
 
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Nubiwan

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Well, this is a lager. You're fermenting it colder at 58 F. It's going to take more time to ferment than an ale.

IMO you did not underpitch. The fact that you saw results in 72 hours is consistent with this pitch rate and the fact that it's a cool ferment.

Pitching another pack of yeast at this point is not going to do anything useful. The beer is already saturated with yeast. The new yeast will join them in finishing and settling out at the bottom of the fermenter. You'll just end up with more yeast at the bottom is all. No difference in results. Won't hurt anything, won't help anything.

I have personally not used S-23 yet, but I hear mixed reviews on it. To find out what it really does, I have a pack in my refrigerator to use on my next batch, which will be a split batch -- I love splitting batches to try different yeasts, it's kind of my thing. So I'll have more experience soon enough. But for now, suffice it to say that it seems S-23 is a known producer of fruity esters and diacetyl. So, yeah, you're going to get diacetyl.

My advice would be to raise the temperature up to mid 60s or room temperature in the next couple of days. This will speed up fermentation AND will allow the yeast to eat up diacetyl that might be present, before they quit eating. So then your fermentation might be finished in another 7 to 10 days.

More advice: Wait until you are sure the fermentation is completely done... then wait another 3-4 days before you think about racking or chilling or bottling or kegging or anything else. Keep the beer on the yeast, warm, after fermentation is done for a while, just to be sure and to allow them to finish cleaning up after themselves.

Bottom line: IT'S GOING TO BE O.K. Sometimes the hardest thing about brewing great beer is the often unspoken part about PATIENCE.
Ok thanks. Thats good to know.

Lol, patience i have for this lager and, as of today, an extra pack of s-23. As long as it keeps plugging away, i have no problem waiting 2 more weeks for it to finish off. Should i wait till SG hits around 1.030 before ramping up the temperature, or just go at it? Just another thing i read in anticpating the D-rest process. That is, to wait till 50% complete.

When would / should i be tasting diacetyl? Is it very pronounced? Both odor and/or taste? Ill be sure this is finished off before i bottle. My FG is only what i assume it will possibly be, due to my long mash, and based on ale mashes i have done, but clearly, that might not be relevant at all.
 

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@Nubiwan, I would expect your FG to be about 1.011, same as you have predicted. I'd warm it up when SG is close to about 1.025 or thereabouts. Probably another 3-5 days is my guess.

If you are going to get diacetyl, it could show up at any time, up to and including AFTER you have bottled several weeks from now. Not to worry. Any diacetyl that shows up will be eaten by the yeast. Just a matter of... you guessed it... patience and time. No worries. The longer you keep it warm, the less diacetyl you should have. And you might be lucky, sometimes diacetyl doesn't show up at all. Maybe since you are fermenting this lager a little "warm" at 58 F, you might not see any at all. About 50/50 odds would be a reasonable guess! But if it happens, like I say, don't worry about it, the yeast will eat it as long as you don't remove the yeast and chill it down too quickly.
 

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It never started to do anything for about 72 hours. Finally, the action started, but its very very slow. Like i am timing it at 2 bubbles every 65-70 seconds. Been doing that for 72 hours. Steady 2 bubbles per minute. SG has dropped to .040, which is nothing like my experience with ale yeasts, which typically blast through for me in 3-5 days.

It appears i underpitched. Have I? Opinions seem to differ. Contrary to suggestions 1 pack of yeast is good for 5 gallons. Ok 6.5. The bulk of posts i have read, since pitching, seem to suggest a larger starter for lager, 2-packs of dry yeast, or hydrate yeast on wort.

I am now apprehensive the ferment wil stall. Ive ordered another pack of S-23. Should i wait this out, or simply add the extra yeast. Whats the best way to add it?
I would like to make a few humble suggestions:, I'm sure others will have theirs. If I were doing it, I'd:

1. Bring the boil up to 90 minutes on Pilsner malt
2. Always do a big pitch with lagers, I personally would have done a 2 liter starter, decanted
3. Somehow, even with ice in a big bin, "somehow" get your fermentation temperature down - I like 50F degrees. I use a small refrigerator with a temperature control, I can dial it in from any temp from freezing to ambient.
4. Pitch even colder if you can, I like to pitch at 48F, ferment at 50F.
5. Ramp up the temp 5 degrees a day at the end to clean it up with a D-rest. I try to bring it up to about 66F and hold it there a few days.

Any of the above ways you do it, you will have beer, no question. I'm just outlining my preferred method.
 

Nubiwan

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I would like to make a few humble suggestions:, I'm sure others will have theirs. If I were doing it, I'd:

1. Bring the boil up to 90 minutes on Pilsner malt
2. Always do a big pitch with lagers, I personally would have done a 2 liter starter, decanted
3. Somehow, even with ice in a big bin, "somehow" get your fermentation temperature down - I like 50F degrees. I use a small refrigerator with a temperature control, I can dial it in from any temp from freezing to ambient.
4. Pitch even colder if you can, I like to pitch at 48F, ferment at 50F.
5. Ramp up the temp 5 degrees a day at the end to clean it up with a D-rest. I try to bring it up to about 66F and hold it there a few days.

Any of the above ways you do it, you will have beer, no question. I'm just outlining my preferred method.
Thanks for that @Beermeister32 . My next lager will probably be an attempt at this guide. My issue is one of temp control. I can guarantee my 58 degrees in the room downstairs. To go cooler, I'd be out in a porch, off basement, at 45 degrees, but potential to swing 3-5 degrees if outside temps change. Cooler at night, warmer at day type thing, so not consistent. Be below 45 though.

I don't have, nor will SWMBO allow me to have a dedicated beer fridge. I think my best option is warm control temp lager. I am going to see how this one tastes. If its good, then I can decide what to try.

SWMBO loved my last Cream Ale made at my regular restrictive temps. It was, in essence, a lager.
 

Nubiwan

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@Nubiwan, I would expect your FG to be about 1.011, same as you have predicted. I'd warm it up when SG is close to about 1.025 or thereabouts. Probably another 3-5 days is my guess.

If you are going to get diacetyl, it could show up at any time, up to and including AFTER you have bottled several weeks from now. Not to worry. Any diacetyl that shows up will be eaten by the yeast. Just a matter of... you guessed it... patience and time. No worries. The longer you keep it warm, the less diacetyl you should have. And you might be lucky, sometimes diacetyl doesn't show up at all. Maybe since you are fermenting this lager a little "warm" at 58 F, you might not see any at all. About 50/50 odds would be a reasonable guess! But if it happens, like I say, don't worry about it, the yeast will eat it as long as you don't remove the yeast and chill it down too quickly.
Thanks Dave - will report my findings, and hopefully not derail the thread. Sure people like to see results on a question posted. I do. @dmtaylor
 

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Even at a limited empirical level, I knew several brewers who refuse to make starters or pony up for the additional pack of yeast and they're constantly sharing beers with me that show significant fermentation flaws, yeast stress, acetaldehyde, etc. In another thread, I brought up two friends of mine that were 1st and 3rd place state homebrewers of the year. Do you want to guess how much yeast they pitch? Let's just say their stirplates are well seasoned pieces of gear.
This right here. I've done side by side comparisons, there are very noticeable differences in the finished beer especially as the OG creeps up. There is also no accounting for taste.
 

Nubiwan

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This right here. I've done side by side comparisons, there are very noticeable differences in the finished beer especially as the OG creeps up. There is also no accounting for taste.
There is no accounting for taste. We sure argue enough about it. :)

When I first moved to north america from the uk in the late 70s, it was quite surprising to me how, in England, there were numerous styles of ale. Lagers, browns, milds, stouts, pales. All with their own unique differences, often within the style, you'd find many different brewers, and each style quite clearly different. Indeed, you could often distinguish beers from various parts of the uk, by taste. North American beer, in stark contrast was all light ales like Molson canadian, labatt blue, Budweiser, Miller, schlitz, coors. There was very little difference in the beer spectrum across the entire continent. It seemed ironic to me, that these companies spent millions advertising the uniqueness of their product, when the differences in taste could be so subtle. Many beers, which are today called absolute rubbish on this forum, were the only beers you could buy before 1990 perhaps. The argument rages on on brew forums. Budis still the self styled King of Beers, and still dishwater, for me at least.

In the 70s and 80s, Friends visiting from the uk would simply define all north american beer as lagers. Irrespective of the brewing process, they were all lagers in terms of appearance and character. Even those credited with stronger ABVs would still be categorized as just a strong lager. There were few, if any beers being brewed to challenge your taste. No such thing as an IPA. Certainly no dark beer. Not on any comercial level. You might have a favourite beer, but brand loyalty wasnt that important if the bar you were in didnt sell your favourite. It never mattered a great deal. They all tasted pretty similar, and the common joke was "after 3 or 4, you cant tell the difference".

Indeed, the only place you could find beer, tasting different, was in stylized British pubs, who would carry stuff like Guinness, Carlsberg, Tennants, Double Diamond, John Smiths. At a handsome premium, i might add. Sitting next to the traditional North American taps, these would be considered luxury beers. Imported beer that most North American pubs / bars / clubs never touched, because they sold their similar tasting lagers exclusively to their 'discerning' patrons :)

I find it ironic then that there is debate over taste of lagers on a North American brewing forum - whether fermented warm or cold - and how you might or might not make a good tasting beer or ale either way. Its hardly like the beer palette* of the nation has a rich history of great tasting brews to fall back on. Thankfully, we've come a long way.

*EDIT: i intended to check for the correct spelling of "palate", as to taste, after writing my post. I never did till now. It occurs the "artists palette" spelling i used, is rather ambiguously or ironically appropriate in the context, as is the intended spelling. So i left it. A search of this forum reveals numerous occurrences of the incorrect spelling of palate, when referring to taste, so i didnt feel too bad.
 
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bkboiler

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I live about 10 minutes from White Labs and the tour is top notch.
From having used their products for many years, I can attest that the beers come out much better with starters.
I used their pure pitch for 2.5 gallon batches below 1.05 OG with no issues. That was my empirical cutoff from many batches.
 

Bishop9.5

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I find it ironic then that there is debate over taste of lagers on a North American brewing forum - whether fermented warm or cold - and how you might or might not make a good tasting beer or ale either way. Its hardly like the beer palette of the nation has a rich history of great tasting brews to fall back on. Thankfully, we've come a long way.
I thought this particular debate was about pitching rates. 🤷‍♂️

Prohibition destroyed the beer industry in the US. It's unfortunate it took so long to recover, but I'm definitely glad it did. Even in the early 90's, when I started drinking in volume, options were limited. Within 20 years that completely changed and now I'd argue the US craft beer industry sets the standard for quality and variety. It's a good time to be a beer nerd, for sure.
 

Nubiwan

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I thought this particular debate was about pitching rates. 🤷‍♂️

Prohibition destroyed the beer industry in the US. It's unfortunate it took so long to recover, but I'm definitely glad it did. Even in the early 90's, when I started drinking in volume, options were limited. Within 20 years that completely changed and now I'd argue the US craft beer industry sets the standard for quality and variety. It's a good time to be a beer nerd, for sure.
Yes..... saw a (ken buns?) doc on prohibition, where it described the number of breweries that went under during that time. What a crazy time for America and Temperance. 18th amendment! The only amendment ever repealed. I do believe Busch were one of the breweries survived through it. Or emerged from it. Id have to watch it again. Very interesting.

And also yes, the post is about single packet pitch rate, but often veers off into should and should nots of lager brewing. I could have posted my diatribe in a dozen such posts.

Whether tight or wrong, ive only ever tore the top off a pack of dry yeast, and thrown it atop my 5-6 gallon wort, and let it go. So far, its worked for me, though my current lager is really going slow. In future, I think im going to start harvesting yeast from trub, as it seems a waste to throw it all..

As a footnote to my saga, i recall visiting Boston in the early 90s and finding some Sam Adams (darker) lager on tap, and thinking, now this is what i am talking about. I loved thst beer, though i havent had one in a few years now. So many others to choose from these days.
 

Bishop9.5

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Whether tight or wrong, ive only ever tore the top off a pack of dry yeast, and thrown it atop my 5-6 gallon wort, and let it go. So far, its worked for me, though my current lager is really going slow. In future, I think im going to start harvesting yeast from trub, as it seems a waste to throw it all..
Pitching any quality, packaged yeast will turn your wort into beer. This is why kits only come with one pack, it'll work. Pitching the proper amount will make better beer, objectively and subjectively.

I'm also a huge fan of washing yeast. I stick to one strain for about 90% of my brews so why pay for it each go around.
 

D.B.Moody

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All with their own unique differences, often within the style, you'd find many different brewers, and each style quite clearly different. Indeed, you could often distinguish beers from various parts of the uk, by taste.
I first visited the UK in 1984. I loved the beer. Pub bitters are why I'm into home brewing.:)
On that first trip, I remember buying the tour bus driver a pint one night. He ordered a "bitter and light" and I asked about that. He replied that none of these places, brew proper beer, so he always cuts the local bitter with a national light. I don't recall where he was from, but, since I had no expectations, I found all the local bitters great.
And then we came back home to St. Louis, home of Budweiser. I started home brewing in 1994. I pitch dry yeast straight from the packet; sometimes, but not always, I do two packets when I use Munton's.
 
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CascadesBrewer

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I thought this particular debate was about pitching rates. 🤷‍♂️
If this is still a thread about pitching rates...

In my book, pitching rate is just one aspect of fermenting beer. There are other aspects like wort oxygenation, fermentation temp control, and nutrient levels. I feel like if you are really strong on a few of these, you can cut back a little on other aspect. If you instead skimp on all these factors, you will likely have issues. Maybe not all the time though. The more factors you put effort into, the more likely you will have consistent and complete fermentations.

I have brewed plenty of good beers pitching one pack of White Labs yeast. I have much less lag time if I pitch a good quantity of harvested yeast or if I make a vitality starter (I am more of a shaken-not-stirred vitality starter guy than a cell count guy).

Keeping fermentation in a desired range and boosting fermentation temps by around 5F as fermentation slows was probably the biggest factor that helped with consistent fermentation for me.
 

Nubiwan

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Pitching any quality, packaged yeast will turn your wort into beer. This is why kits only come with one pack, it'll work. Pitching the proper amount will make better beer, objectively and subjectively.

I'm also a huge fan of washing yeast. I stick to one strain for about 90% of my brews so why pay for it each go around.
Im definitely going to put this to the test with my current batch. It occurs to me i definitely underpitched according to the calculators. Its still plodding along at a bubble every 35 seconds.. just never seen fermentation like this. At least not that i can remember. I dont do many lager styles. The beer in my gravity samples is excellent to me.
 

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