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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 08:57:34 am

Title: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 08:57:34 am
I have been fermenting lagers with 34/70 under about 15 psi at 60 Fahrenheit. They are coming out nice and clean. The only issue I’m wondering about is that I cannot detect any sulphur whatsoever in the beer.

I know you do not want a lot of sulphur in a lager, but am i wrong that a very small amount is characteristic to a lager?

Should I try another strain? Could it be my water?
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 09:26:02 am
perhaps the higher ferm temp is blowing off the sulfur?
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 09:40:02 am
That could be the case, maybe I’ll try a traditional temp.

I’m wondering if other people get this too. Reminds me of why I love to homebrew, there is no magic cure-all method to brewing. Pros and cons to everything!
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 09:40:56 am
That could be the case, maybe I’ll try a traditional temp.

I’m wondering if other people get this too. Reminds me of why I love to homebrew, there is no magic cure-all method to brewing. Pros and cons to everything!
in my experience, 34/70 isnt as sulfury as some other lager yeasts either.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: RC on December 21, 2020, 09:46:48 am
A tick of sulfur is usually desired in most lager styles, especially the paler ones. IMO lagers without it are bland. 34/70 produces that tick very readily, but I'm guessing it's missing because you're fermenting under pressure. I don't think temp has anything to do with this.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 10:07:01 am
A tick of sulfur is usually desired in most lager styles, especially the paler ones. IMO lagers without it are bland. 34/70 produces that tick very readily, but I'm guessing it's missing because you're fermenting under pressure. I don't think temp has anything to do with this.
would the pressure keep more sulfur in solution, or somehow suppress its formation?
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: majorvices on December 21, 2020, 10:09:14 am
I don't think of sulphur as being a desired characteristic. It's more a problem than anything.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 10:12:34 am
Hmmm, I know it isn’t something you want a lot of in any beer. I do find it helps define some lagers is small amounts. Not something that jumps out at you, but very subtly there.

It could just be my taste. I think it helps some lagers seem crisp. But having them with zero sulphur that I can detect at all almost tastes like it’s missing something to me.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 10:13:51 am
I don't think of sulphur as being a desired characteristic. It's more a problem than anything.

Its a component in alot of lagers, that being said, I dont like it. I'd rather not have matchsticks in my beer
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 10:14:48 am
A tick of sulfur is usually desired in most lager styles, especially the paler ones. IMO lagers without it are bland. 34/70 produces that tick very readily, but I'm guessing it's missing because you're fermenting under pressure. I don't think temp has anything to do with this.


I should do a side by side and see
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: denny on December 21, 2020, 10:15:58 am
I don't think of sulphur as being a desired characteristic. It's more a problem than anything.

I'm with you, buddy.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 10:23:41 am
I don’t want a lot of it, but am wondering if it is why my pale lagers seem a little flabby. I notice it in many commercial examples so I thought it was typical.

Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: RC on December 21, 2020, 10:31:09 am
Hmmm, I know it isn’t something you want a lot of in any beer. I do find it helps define some lagers is small amounts. Not something that jumps out at you, but very subtly there.

It could just be my taste. I think it helps some lagers seem crisp. But having them with zero sulphur that I can detect at all almost tastes like it’s missing something to me.

I totally agree with this, but it might just be you and me here. Just a hint of sulfur adds a bite, a crispness, that I enjoy in pale lagers especially.

The style guidelines allow for "slight yeast-derived sulfur notes" in many lager styles. "Slight" definitely being the operative word. It takes hardly any additional sulfur to go from pleasing to undrinkable.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: denny on December 21, 2020, 10:39:57 am
I don’t want a lot of it, but am wondering if it is why my pale lagers seem a little flabby. I notice it in many commercial examples so I thought it was typical.

Try a Bitburger and tell me if you get sulfur.  Or a Trumer.

Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 10:54:58 am
Will do Denny, but I’ll wait until it’s a little later!

I’m also thinking it could be my water, I don’t treat it other than removing chlorine with campden tablets and adjusting the ph. Maybe that is why mine isn’t tasting as crisp. Maybe it isn’t sulphur at all I’m missing.

I’ll try a side by side batch of traditional and pressure and see if I notice a difference.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 10:59:04 am
Will do Denny, but I’ll wait until it’s a little later!

I’m also thinking it could be my water, I don’t treat it other than removing chlorine with campden tablets and adjusting the ph. Maybe that is why mine isn’t tasting as crisp. Maybe it isn’t sulphur at all I’m missing.

I’ll try a side by side batch of traditional and pressure and see if I notice a difference.

this very well may be it. Water chemistry is important for all beers, but it is especially critical for lagers
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: majorvices on December 21, 2020, 11:19:47 am
A brewery I worked for fermented their lagers warmish and under pressure and while they were clean I never truly enjoyed them. Maybe try a more traditional fermentation temp. And, of course, water is definitely important so that is something to look at as well.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 11:29:13 am
A brewery I worked for fermented their lagers warmish and under pressure and while they were clean I never truly enjoyed them. Maybe try a more traditional fermentation temp. And, of course, water is definitely important so that is something to look at as well.

I have yet to have a warm fermented lager that I thought highly of. Many folks in my homebrew club do them and I can always pick them out
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: erockrph on December 21, 2020, 11:34:32 am
I've always found that 34/70 was missing that hint of sulfur, pressure or not. I do get it from most liquid yeasts. I also get it from S189, but I have yet to try that yeast under pressure.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Cliffs on December 21, 2020, 11:36:01 am
I've always found that 34/70 was missing that hint of sulfur, pressure or not. I do get it from most liquid yeasts. I also get it from S189, but I have yet to try that yeast under pressure.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Same experience Ive had with 34/70. Less sulfur than most lager strains.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: denny on December 21, 2020, 11:51:21 am
Will do Denny, but I’ll wait until it’s a little later!

I’m also thinking it could be my water, I don’t treat it other than removing chlorine with campden tablets and adjusting the ph. Maybe that is why mine isn’t tasting as crisp. Maybe it isn’t sulphur at all I’m missing.

I’ll try a side by side batch of traditional and pressure and see if I notice a difference.

If you're not adjusting minerals, it could very well be the cause.  There's more to it than just pH.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: Steve Ruch on December 21, 2020, 12:01:23 pm
I've always found that 34/70 was missing that hint of sulfur, pressure or not. I do get it from most liquid yeasts. I also get it from S189, but I have yet to try that yeast under pressure.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
The only time I ever got sulphur from S-189 was when I used it to ferment a cider.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 02:52:43 pm
A brewery I worked for fermented their lagers warmish and under pressure and while they were clean I never truly enjoyed them. Maybe try a more traditional fermentation temp. And, of course, water is definitely important so that is something to look at as well.

I have yet to have a warm fermented lager that I thought highly of. Many folks in my homebrew club do them and I can always pick them out


I agree, there is something not quite right about my lagers. Really clean and neutral, but for me they are missing the crispness I’m looking for. I was thinking it was possibly a  lack of sulphur, and that could be, but I probably should do a side by side of traditional and pressure fermented warm to see.

I just ordered a book on water, it is something I’ve avoided getting into with brewing but think it’s time to delve into it more.

Thanks for all the replies and ideas. Happy holidays!

Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: majorvices on December 21, 2020, 03:42:18 pm
Attenuation also contributes to crispness - make sure your lagers are attenuating enough.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: denny on December 21, 2020, 04:05:42 pm
A brewery I worked for fermented their lagers warmish and under pressure and while they were clean I never truly enjoyed them. Maybe try a more traditional fermentation temp. And, of course, water is definitely important so that is something to look at as well.

I have yet to have a warm fermented lager that I thought highly of. Many folks in my homebrew club do them and I can always pick them out


I agree, there is something not quite right about my lagers. Really clean and neutral, but for me they are missing the crispness I’m looking for. I was thinking it was possibly a  lack of sulphur, and that could be, but I probably should do a side by side of traditional and pressure fermented warm to see.

I just ordered a book on water, it is something I’ve avoided getting into with brewing but think it’s time to delve into it more.

Thanks for all the replies and ideas. Happy holidays!

I'd skip the book and read the water knowledge page at Brunwater.com.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: denny on December 21, 2020, 04:07:56 pm
Something I've been wondering..is it possible that what people are thinking of as an appropriate sulfur note in commercial beers actually is a sign of poor handling and being lightstruck?
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: BrianBrews88 on December 21, 2020, 04:28:11 pm
It’s entirely possible. I could easily be mistaking this sulphur note for something else. I’ll check that website out, thanks!

My final gravity readings have been normal in these cases. I do notice the head retention is really sturdy on the pressure fermented beers. I wonder if this could be related to the beer not having that crisp character I’m looking for. These lagers are flabby, or almost creamier than I’d want. Maybe I shouldn’t expect the same results out of such a different process.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: santoch on December 23, 2020, 03:38:43 pm
I agree it's probably the water chemistry and pH by itself is not everything.
Lightstruck, though, is very different from sulphury.  But both can make a beer pretty much undrinkable to me.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 23, 2020, 07:33:30 pm
Something I've been wondering..is it possible that what people are thinking of as an appropriate sulfur note in commercial beers actually is a sign of poor handling and being lightstruck?

You get a faint whiff of Sulfur (H2S) in many German beers, from the tap or barrel in Germany. I've had it from beer served inside and out side. I've had it in clear glass and in ceramic steins.

It is fleeting, after to the whiff the sensation goes down. After a couple of sips, gone.

It is viewed as a preservative, and a sign that the beer is fresh. Not lightssruck aroma by any means.
Title: Re: Sulphur question
Post by: RC on December 23, 2020, 08:14:42 pm
Something I've been wondering..is it possible that what people are thinking of as an appropriate sulfur note in commercial beers actually is a sign of poor handling and being lightstruck?

Possibly but doubtful, IMO. Skunk is obviously very distinctive, and "lightstruck" is caused by the same molecule. If someone knows to describe a beer aroma/flavor as "sulfur", I assume they mean H2S sulfur, not skunk. Otherwise they probably would have described it as skunk, given how distinctive it is.