Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 06:13:40 AM

Title: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 06:13:40 AM
Hi. Im a beginner, I don't do a lot of brewing, largley to time constraints,  so I've been making kits in order to learn and understand the process. Last weekend I made my first lager kit. Its a Vienna Lager kit made by Brewer's Best. It had a yeast pack that the intructions said would work well as lager or ale, and that I could brew this beer as an ale.

I want(ed) to brew this a lager to better understand the difference in process. So mixed it up. And pitched the yeast as intructed, and was told to keep it at 48F-58F to ferment, which I did......and nothing happened. I left it at about 57F for two days and nothing. So I pulled out to 67F and vola,  fermentation.

Does this mean that I now have an ale and not a over?
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: beveragebob on December 11, 2010, 06:20:25 AM
Does the kit say what kind of yeast it is? If it's an ale yeast it's an ale if it's a lager yeast you just made a "Steam Beer" (Lager fermented at ale temps)
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: Slowbrew on December 11, 2010, 06:37:51 AM
To some extent the yeast does define the beer.  As with any complex process no one factor is completely determinate, however.  The beer you produce is a combination of extracts (sugars, grain fruits, whatever), hops, technique, yeast and time.

Yeast will ferment at any temp in wide range. Some work better at one end or the other of that range.  Lager yeast likes it cool to cold and ale yeasts prefer the higher end but neither are limited to one range or the other.  What flavors you get from the yeast is quite dependent on temperature.  This is a huge topic all by itself.

Easy answer to your question is Yes.  The more accurate one is "you now have a new research project".

Welcome to the obsession!!

Paul
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 06:43:14 AM
The yeast packet said it was a lager yeast. So what did I do wrong that caused no fermentation when I had it at the specified range?



Thanks for the reply, just trying to wrap my head around it.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 06:47:32 AM
Also, do I complete the process as a lager despite it being a steam beer now?
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: tygo on December 11, 2010, 06:52:50 AM
It was probably just moving more slowly at the lower temps.  Lagers tend to take longer than ales to ferment out.  By heating it up you sped up the process.

Once it's done fermenting go ahead and lager it.  Cold conditioning the beer will only help.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 06:59:06 AM
Thanx for the advice folks.

One more quetion about the lager ferm.  The kit instructions said that ferm would happen in 48 hrs. That it didn't, is what spooked me. What is a normal range for a lager to begin fermenting. And will prolonged exposure to cold temps with no activity damage the batch?
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: beveragebob on December 11, 2010, 09:02:46 AM
No one can accurately predict when fermentation starts. All of the conditions of fermentation are variable. Yeast are living things and have their own timetable. That said, you can do things that make them happier by oxygenating the wort before pitching and making sure that everything is sanitized good so, they do not have to compete with any other organisms. You stated that you were a new brewer, I don't know if you have or read any books but,  How to Brew by John Palmer covers all the aspects and questions you have asked and would be a good thing to check out.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: whitey on December 11, 2010, 09:17:23 AM
Thanks Bob. This may sound like an excuse, but I have trouble concentrating and grasping longer explanations. Chalk it up to ADHD  ;D

Which is why, (and I hope it isn't problem to the people on here) I like to ask questions as and when things arise. I find that I learn better by encountering difficulty and then searching out the answer from people who know. I find that the myriad of replies gives creates a more interesting answer.

Thanks again though.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: tschmidlin on December 11, 2010, 10:54:52 PM
In addition to what is mentioned above, it helps to pitch a LOT of yeast into a lager.  This might be a beer where you wanted two packets of yeast, which could explain the long lag time.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: ipaguy on December 14, 2010, 12:57:16 PM
The guys that win a lot of awards will tell you that the 2nd most important factor (behind sanitation) for brewing good beer is to pitch enough yeast.  For a medium gravity ale this means making a 2L starter for 5 gal.  For a lager you need 1.5x to 2x as much yeast.  There's a formula for how many yeast cells you need for a certain amount of beer of a certain original gravity, but I don't remember what it is.
Title: Re: does the yeast define the brew?
Post by: Slowbrew on December 14, 2010, 01:39:30 PM
I'm surprised no one has posted the Mr. Malty site yet.  This is a yeast starter calculator.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Paul