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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: mmitchem on May 17, 2012, 09:16:35 pm

Title: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 17, 2012, 09:16:35 pm
I have read alot about people mixing lager and ale yeasts together to get the best of both worlds. I have also read that in most cases a dominant yeast will usually lend the most character to the beer.
With that being said, I am conducting an experiment mixing two lager yeasts together. I threw 2 vials into my flask to make a starter - 1 vial WLP833 (German Bock) and 1 vial WLP838 (Southern German Lager). They both look pretty close when complared on White Labs yeast charts. I know that the WLP838 tends to drop out of the beer pretty fast making it pretty clean. The WLP833 tends to be slightly more 'dusty' and doesnt drop out as fast. Other than that - I would say they are pretty close in most respects with the obvious flavor differences.
I really like these two yeasts - alot! Hence the experiment at hand. I pitched the big starter onto an Oktoberfest I like to brew.
Has anyone done this before? What was the outcome? Thanks in advance :)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 09:32:36 am
Nobody touching this with a 10 foot pole huh? :)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: denny on May 18, 2012, 10:35:22 am
well, since you asked....my first thought is "why?"  What do you expect to get out if this? My own experience with pitching 2 yeasts at once is that one dominates and you can't tell the other is there.  I've had the best success by pitching each into its own batch and then blending post fermentation.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 10:53:14 am
I think my initial thought was "Why Not?" Just to experiment since the yeasts have many similarities. I am not sure what to expect...and I think that is part of the fun. I have also had great success with both of these yeasts individually, then blended. It might be a huge failure, but there is a chance of success. Besides, if it is gross, it only cost me 5 gallons and a little time.
Could be fun, right?
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: denny on May 18, 2012, 11:17:23 am
I really doubt it will be "gross" or a "huge failure".  I just don't think there's anything to be gained.  Other than saying you did it!  ;)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: majorvices on May 18, 2012, 11:30:28 am
Normally when you blend yeast you are going for the flavor characteristics of one and the attenuation of the other.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 11:44:20 am
Denny & Major, I hear ya. There might be nothing to gain in the end at all. Ehhh, saying that I did it...that doesnt matter either I suppose. I do really like the feedback though. It is always appreciated when seasoned veterans are approachable and active in this community. Cheers to that for sure! Once again - thanks for the replies. It is about a week into fermentation @ 48 degrees, in a couple of weeks I will know the outcome. 
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 18, 2012, 12:04:30 pm
For the Bo-Pils I make we use the PU "D" strain on 5 gallons and the "H" strain on 5 gallons. Blend after they are done. This is what PU used to do, now they use one strain.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: ynotbrusum on May 18, 2012, 02:00:16 pm
FWIW, I like both of those strains, especially 838 in an Oktoberfest Marzen.  I have no idea on whether they will "mate" as you proceed with generations going forward, but I would make a few batches to see!  Sounds like an experiment to me... I wish you good luck.

Cheers to trying something.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: morticaixavier on May 18, 2012, 02:14:31 pm
Denny & Major, I hear ya. There might be nothing to gain in the end at all. Ehhh, saying that I did it...that doesnt matter either I suppose. I do really like the feedback though. It is always appreciated when seasoned veterans are approachable and active in this community. Cheers to that for sure! Once again - thanks for the replies. It is about a week into fermentation @ 48 degrees, in a couple of weeks I will know the outcome.

are you saying Denny and Major are old? well, Denny, okay I'll give you Denny but Major still has lots of life in him.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 02:22:47 pm
are you saying Denny and Major are old? well, Denny, okay I'll give you Denny but Major still has lots of life in him.
Haha, they are both pretty knowledgable either way. As for the age thing - it always tends to be in ones mind ;)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: majorvices on May 18, 2012, 03:46:06 pm
Denny & Major, I hear ya. There might be nothing to gain in the end at all. Ehhh, saying that I did it...that doesnt matter either I suppose. I do really like the feedback though. It is always appreciated when seasoned veterans are approachable and active in this community. Cheers to that for sure! Once again - thanks for the replies. It is about a week into fermentation @ 48 degrees, in a couple of weeks I will know the outcome.

are you saying Denny and Major are old? well, Denny, okay I'll give you Denny but Major still has lots of life in him.

+1
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: tonyp on May 18, 2012, 04:01:13 pm
Denny & Major, I hear ya. There might be nothing to gain in the end at all. Ehhh, saying that I did it...that doesnt matter either I suppose. I do really like the feedback though. It is always appreciated when seasoned veterans are approachable and active in this community. Cheers to that for sure! Once again - thanks for the replies. It is about a week into fermentation @ 48 degrees, in a couple of weeks I will know the outcome.

are you saying Denny and Major are old? well, Denny, okay I'll give you Denny but Major still has lots of life in him.

I thought it meant they were covered with salt & pepper... :)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 04:03:43 pm
Haha, back to the light-hearted forum we all know and love.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 18, 2012, 04:34:08 pm
So I guess what I am taking is that this could go both ways. Either one yeast will dominate or they might marry up and be a fine yeast. I am also taking away that Denny is old and Major is full of life...and also that both might be covered in salt and pepper.  :P
Time will tell. At any rate it is Friday night, so it is time to eat pizza and drink beer with my wife. Throw more feedback if ya got it. Thanks :)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: denny on May 19, 2012, 10:07:49 am
Denny & Major, I hear ya. There might be nothing to gain in the end at all. Ehhh, saying that I did it...that doesnt matter either I suppose. I do really like the feedback though. It is always appreciated when seasoned veterans are approachable and active in this community. Cheers to that for sure! Once again - thanks for the replies. It is about a week into fermentation @ 48 degrees, in a couple of weeks I will know the outcome.

are you saying Denny and Major are old? well, Denny, okay I'll give you Denny but Major still has lots of life in him.

I thought it meant they were covered with salt & pepper... :)

That's how I prefer to think of it, Tony!  I generally feel like I'm full of life, although more than a few people will tell you I'm full of something else....
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2012, 07:38:26 am
A few years ago, Sun King made a great Belgian Golden with what they said was a "mixture of 7 yeast strains". If I ever get a chance, I'd really like to ask the SK guys how they did this...

Can you match up the Belgian strains with similar behaviors/attenuation ranges this way? Kind of like Hopfen described with the PU strains.

If you dump enough yeast in, will it give you something different (and worth the price of all that yeast)?
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: bluesman on May 21, 2012, 07:50:12 am
Typically speaking, when I want the characteristics of two or more yeasts in a beer, I'll ferment them separately and blend the beer together after fermentation. This way you'll be able to achieve the desirable characteristics of each yeast in a desired proportion in the finished beer.  I recently used this technique for a BDS using Trappist and Abbey Ale yeasts.  Amazing results.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on May 21, 2012, 08:03:45 am
I am a big fan of blending brews as well, and I also love the results. But it would be nice to brew half the batch and get the same result. It is getting towards the ned of fermentation now. Probably in a few days the refractometer will read good and I can start lagering. Soon we will have the verdict...
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: denny on May 21, 2012, 09:39:47 am
A few years ago, Sun King made a great Belgian Golden with what they said was a "mixture of 7 yeast strains". If I ever get a chance, I'd really like to ask the SK guys how they did this...

Can you match up the Belgian strains with similar behaviors/attenuation ranges this way? Kind of like Hopfen described with the PU strains.

If you dump enough yeast in, will it give you something different (and worth the price of all that yeast)?

Sure, you can put 7 or 70 yeasts into a beer, but how do you know that it made a difference?
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2012, 09:51:31 am
Typically speaking, when I want the characteristics of two or more yeasts in a beer, I'll ferment them separately and blend the beer together after fermentation. This way you'll be able to achieve the desirable characteristics of each yeast in a desired proportion in the finished beer.  I recently used this technique for a BDS using Trappist and Abbey Ale yeasts.  Amazing results.

Currently trying this with a Flanders Red/Lambic-type beer - half with Roselare, and half with a concoction of dregs. Otherwise the fresh strains in the Roselare take up too many sugars/nutrients and give off too much acidity to revive the several strains from the dregs.

Also gives me some room to blend, hopefully creating a Flanders and a lambic from the same wort. We'll see.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: mmitchem on June 11, 2012, 09:23:22 pm
Update - the beer tastes pretty good. It fermented out all the way, and has a pretty good flavor.

Denny & Ron - I will say that I think you were right all along...I think I would have been better off blending as it isnt's quite what I was going for. A blend of the two beers fermented with different yeasts IS the way to go. Doing it this way, I am tied to whatever the final outcome of the fermentation is. Through blending at different amounts I think I might find that balance I am looking for.

Though the beer isn't bad - I have serious doubts it is the best it can be. Good call guys, thanks for the advice as I will be taking it my next batch :)
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: Wildgoose on January 17, 2018, 12:32:58 pm
looks like the boston beer company tried mixing ale and lager fermentation as well.  We'll see how successfule they were later this year.  https://www.drinks-insight-network.com/news/samuel-adams-launches-sam-76-us/
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: James K on January 17, 2018, 06:08:46 pm
The only time I have used two strains is when one strain did not take off or finish completely. I wouldn’t try this but if I wanted the best of both worlds I would probably blend the beers.

What I have been thinking of doing lately is doing a 5 gallon batch along side a 1 gallon batch, I have 4 1 gallon fermenters, this could be a fun sour project with blends.
Title: Re: Mixing Lager Yeasts - Pros and Cons
Post by: Steve Ruch on January 18, 2018, 11:00:40 am
The only time that I've ever mixed lager yeasts is when I've started my brew day and realized that I don't have enough of one strain to pitch.