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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: kcjaz on February 05, 2011, 06:37:45 PM

Title: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: kcjaz on February 05, 2011, 06:37:45 PM
My last batch was an American lager.  Because I brew 10 gallons, I split my batches in half because I don't have a 10 gallon vessel to ferment in.  In one carboy, I pitched the lager yeast at about 65 F and let it sit over night to get going before I put it in the fridge at 45F.  The other half, I let sit in the fridge to cool off and settle before I pitched a starter at the same 45F.
 
The cold pitched half got down to 1.010 faster than the one that was pitched at 65F.  Doesn't make sense to me but that is what happened.  The warm pitched half eventually got down to about the same at 1.011.  Taste wise, the cold pitched half is better.   The warm pitched half tastes a little sweater and not as "clean".  Enough sweater that the small difference in SG was a surprise to me.

It is probably important that for the cold pitched half to note that I racked it to a different carboy before I pitched the yeast, taking it off of the trub that had settled over night.  I'm sure this helps, especially on a lighter beer.

My take away is that starting a lager warm to make sure the yeast gets going, isn't necessary and comes with some negitive side affects.  The beer isn't bad, its just not as good as the beer that pitched at the lager temp.

What do you Lager Veterans do?
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: denny on February 05, 2011, 08:15:00 PM
I always chill to a bit below fermentation temp before pitching either lagers or ales.

FWIW, an experiment on lagers done by a guy on Brews and Vies found that he got a clearer and better tasting beer by not removing trub.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: tom on February 06, 2011, 03:16:34 AM
kcjaz, thanks a lot for the info.

re Denny - do you notice any difference in appearance between the 2?
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: Kaiser on February 06, 2011, 03:33:49 AM
Jason,

That was a nice experiment and it gives even more credit to those who say that lagers should be pitched at or below fermentation temperatures.

I get my lager worts chilled to about 5-7 C (41-45 F) before I pitch the yeast. Primary fermentation is generally done at 46-48 F.

Kai
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: bluesman on February 06, 2011, 03:41:43 AM
Nice work Jason.  :)

I like to chill my lagers down to 42F or thereabouts and pitch. Fermentation is kept between 44-48F. This regimen seems to work really well for me. I think the key is consistent temp and low temps.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 06, 2011, 10:43:33 AM
My ususal procedure is to chill to about 46oF and ferment at 50oF.

For a Bo-Pils recently, I went down to 40oF and fermented at 48oF.  Takes a lot longer to chill that low.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: majorvices on February 06, 2011, 02:21:34 PM
I've never had a beer that tasted like a sweater, thank God!  :D
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: Mark G on February 06, 2011, 02:33:31 PM
I like to pitch lagers in the low 40's and slowly raise the temp during the fermentation, typically finishing in the low 50's.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: denny on February 06, 2011, 02:49:42 PM
kcjaz, thanks a lot for the info.

re Denny - do you notice any difference in appearance between the 2?

I definitely find the cold pitched beer to be cleaner
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: spowlison on March 13, 2011, 01:35:09 AM
I just brewed a pilsener and I think I might have pitched it too warm--perhaps room temp or so? Aside from the less clean flavor, is there any risk here of killing the yeast or slowing the start of fermentation? It's been about 3 days and still no krausen. Getting worried...
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: tygo on March 13, 2011, 04:06:48 AM
For a Bo-Pils recently, I went down to 40oF and fermented at 48oF.  Takes a lot longer to chill that low.

I don't bother to chill that low before getting it into the fermenter.  I'll get it down to maybe 60 and then it goes into the chest freezer to bring it down the rest of the way before pitching.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: Mark G on March 13, 2011, 01:17:55 PM
I just brewed a pilsener and I think I might have pitched it too warm--perhaps room temp or so? Aside from the less clean flavor, is there any risk here of killing the yeast or slowing the start of fermentation? It's been about 3 days and still no krausen. Getting worried...
You're not going to kill the yeast pitching at room temp. If anything, the warmer temperature should have made them start up a bit faster. How much yeast did you pitch? Did you make a starter?
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: spowlison on March 14, 2011, 02:42:57 PM
I just used a Wyeast smack pack. It made me nervous though because it didn't really swell after I popped it. I think I'm finally starting to see some bubbles in my airlock, but it seems like it's been slow going. Hopefully it'll come around soon...
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: denny on March 14, 2011, 03:33:57 PM
I just used a Wyeast smack pack. It made me nervous though because it didn't really swell after I popped it. I think I'm finally starting to see some bubbles in my airlock, but it seems like it's been slow going. Hopefully it'll come around soon...

IMO, you should always make a starter for any beer over 1.040 OG, and for ANY lager.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: Hokerer on March 14, 2011, 04:51:53 PM
IMO, you should always make a starter for any beer over 1.040 OG, and for ANY lager.

Never bought a Wyeast lager strain but please, please, tell me they don't also claim the lager smack-packs are "pitchable"
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: a10t2 on March 19, 2011, 05:09:11 PM
Never bought a Wyeast lager strain but please, please, tell me they don't also claim the lager smack-packs are "pitchable"

The text on all the yeast packs is exactly the same. They just stamp the strain and production date on them. It also says to pitch at 65-72°F, wait for bubbling, then lower it to fermentation temperature.
Title: Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on March 20, 2011, 03:45:14 AM
IMO, you should always make a starter for any beer over 1.040 OG, and for ANY lager.

Never bought a Wyeast lager strain but please, please, tell me they don't also claim the lager smack-packs are "pitchable"
Yes it is if you buy 2 liter smack pack :)