Author Topic: Additional Yeast for Lager?  (Read 1175 times)

Offline mdbrew

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Additional Yeast for Lager?
« on: January 17, 2014, 09:49:35 PM »
I am in the process of fermenting my first true lager - which is a Doppelbock.  I let it ferment for two weeks at 50°F and then racked it to a secondary.  I have slowly dropped the temperature down to just above 32°F and it has been lagering for almost 8 weeks.  I originally pitched Saflager S-23 and I know that I will most likely need to pitch some more yeast before bottling.  My question is - which yeast should I use?  I have another packet of the S-23 on hand.  Should I add 1/2 the packet to my bottling bucket?  I also have packets of Lallemand Nottingham and Muntons Ale yeast.  Would one of those be better?  If so, how much should I use?  Also, once I've decided on which yeast I should use, should I re-hydrate the yeast before I add it to the bottling bucket or should I just sprinkle and stir?  Any tips and/or suggestions would be appreciated - thanks!
Primary: n/a
Secondary: English Bitter
Bottled: Rogue Dead Guy Clone, Honey Bee Ale, Cream Ale, Octoberfest
Next up: Doppelbock

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 12:07:48 AM »
I would have left it in primary till done, even if that was 4-6 weeks. There should be plenty of yeast still in suspension to finish it up, just will take longer. Third option would be rehydrate and pitch more 23

Offline mdbrew

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 08:22:18 AM »
Thanks for your reply.  I was going with Palmer's suggestion to rack off to a secondary, to lessen the chance of autolysis.  Many of the other articles on brewing lagers suggest moving to a secondary before dropping the temps.  Is this not common practice?  Thanks again for your suggestions.


I would have left it in primary till done, even if that was 4-6 weeks. There should be plenty of yeast still in suspension to finish it up, just will take longer. Third option would be rehydrate and pitch more 23
Primary: n/a
Secondary: English Bitter
Bottled: Rogue Dead Guy Clone, Honey Bee Ale, Cream Ale, Octoberfest
Next up: Doppelbock

Offline denny

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 08:58:23 AM »
Thanks for your reply.  I was going with Palmer's suggestion to rack off to a secondary, to lessen the chance of autolysis.  Many of the other articles on brewing lagers suggest moving to a secondary before dropping the temps.  Is this not common practice?  Thanks again for your suggestions.

John changed his mind about that a few years back...as have most homebrewers.  From the Ask the Experts section of this forum...

When and why would you need to use a secondary fermenter? First some background – I used to recommend racking a beer to a secondary fermenter. My recommendation was based on the premise that (20 years ago) larger (higher gravity) beers took longer to ferment completely, and that getting the beer off the yeast reduced the risk of yeast autolysis (ie., meaty or rubbery off-flavors) and it allowed more time for flocculation and clarification, reducing the amount of yeast and trub carryover to the bottle. Twenty years ago, a homebrewed beer typically had better flavor, or perhaps less risk of off-flavors, if it was racked off the trub and clarified before bottling. Today that is not the case.

The risk inherent to any beer transfer, whether it is fermenter-to-fermenter or fermenter-to-bottles, is oxidation and staling. Any oxygen exposure after fermentation will lead to staling, and the more exposure, and the warmer the storage temperature, the faster the beer will go stale.

Racking to a secondary fermenter used to be recommended because staling was simply a fact of life – like death and taxes. But the risk of autolysis was real and worth avoiding – like cholera. In other words, you know you are going to die eventually, but death by cholera is worth avoiding.

But then modern medicine appeared, or in our case, better yeast and better yeast-handling information. Suddenly, death by autolysis is rare for a beer because of two factors: the freshness and health of the yeast being pitched has drastically improved, and proper pitching rates are better understood. The yeast no longer drop dead and burst like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life when fermentation is complete – they are able to hibernate and wait for the next fermentation to come around. The beer has time to clarify in the primary fermenter without generating off-flavors. With autolysis no longer a concern, staling becomes the main problem. The shelf life of a beer can be greatly enhanced by avoiding oxygen exposure and storing the beer cold (after it has had time to carbonate).

Therefore I, and Jamil and White Labs and Wyeast Labs, do not recommend racking to a secondary fermenter for ANY ale, except when conducting an actual second fermentation, such as adding fruit or souring. Racking to prevent autolysis is not necessary, and therefore the risk of oxidation is completely avoidable. Even lagers do not require racking to a second fermenter before lagering. With the right pitching rate, using fresh healthy yeast, and proper aeration of the wort prior to pitching, the fermentation of the beer will be complete within 3-8 days (bigger = longer). This time period includes the secondary or conditioning phase of fermentation when the yeast clean up acetaldehyde and diacetyl. The real purpose of lagering a beer is to use the colder temperatures to encourage the yeast to flocculate and promote the precipitation and sedimentation of microparticles and haze.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 09:25:32 AM »
I'm an advocate of reyeasting big beers and beers aged for a long time as a cheap insurance policy that they will carbonate as expected. I'd hate to spend the time, effort and money on that kind of project and not have it turn out right over something as simple as carbonation.

Personally I would use one of the ale strains and let it bottle condition at room temperature.
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Offline mdbrew

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 10:05:31 AM »
John changed his mind about that a few years back...as have most homebrewers.  From the Ask the Experts section of this forum...

Thanks Denny!  I guess I need to review some of the more up-to-date literature on the subject.  I know that most people agree that racking to a secondary for ales is not necessary any more, but I somehow missed the recommendation for lagers.
Primary: n/a
Secondary: English Bitter
Bottled: Rogue Dead Guy Clone, Honey Bee Ale, Cream Ale, Octoberfest
Next up: Doppelbock

Offline mdbrew

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 10:07:33 AM »
I'm an advocate of reyeasting big beers and beers aged for a long time as a cheap insurance policy that they will carbonate as expected. I'd hate to spend the time, effort and money on that kind of project and not have it turn out right over something as simple as carbonation.

Personally I would use one of the ale strains and let it bottle condition at room temperature.

Thanks - I think I'll add half a package of the Muntons when I bottle, for insurance purposes.  I don't want to end up with something that's not drinkable.
Primary: n/a
Secondary: English Bitter
Bottled: Rogue Dead Guy Clone, Honey Bee Ale, Cream Ale, Octoberfest
Next up: Doppelbock

Offline denny

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 10:25:07 AM »
John changed his mind about that a few years back...as have most homebrewers.  From the Ask the Experts section of this forum...

Thanks Denny!  I guess I need to review some of the more up-to-date literature on the subject.  I know that most people agree that racking to a secondary for ales is not necessary any more, but I somehow missed the recommendation for lagers.

I never use a secondary for lagers any more.  Just a nice long primary, a d rest if necessary (almost never is with the long primary), then bottle or keg.  If I keg, I lager in the keg.  If I bottle, I lager before bottling.   I have never needed extra yeast when bottling.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Additional Yeast for Lager?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 04:39:47 PM »
Autolysis is really more of a problem for big breweries due to pressure. But even then, if cold, you may have a lot mroe leeway than you think.

As far as bottle conditioning goes, always best to add a little more yeast. You can probably use any yeast you want since there will be little or no flavor characteristic but I'd probably go with the saf lager strain since it is cheap and easy and the strain you used initially. But it won't really matter most likely.

I'd go with half packet. Probably best to rehydrate because of alcohol.