Author Topic: What makes a lager a lager?  (Read 4909 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2015, 08:54:13 PM »
Well, but... lets take a ridiculous extreme. If I ferment with trapist yeast but cold store for a couple months, it ain't going to taste lagery. So my money is on lager yeast. But final product taste is really all that matters.

Offline Iliff Ave Brewhouse

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2015, 08:56:38 PM »
Well, but... lets take a ridiculous extreme. If I ferment with trapist yeast but cold store for a couple months, it ain't going to taste lagery. So my money is on lager yeast. But final product taste is really all that matters.

For sure. When I say 'ale' yeast, I am referring to something like 1007, 1056, US05, etc...
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2015, 09:21:49 PM »
A lager is any beer fermented with a descendant of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccharomyces_eubayanus
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2015, 09:37:05 PM »
Well, but... lets take a ridiculous extreme. If I ferment with trapist yeast but cold store for a couple months, it ain't going to taste lagery. So my money is on lager yeast. But final product taste is really all that matters.

For sure. When I say 'ale' yeast, I am referring to something like 1007, 1056, US05, etc...
Precisely. Id even add Wyeast 1728 Scottish. Those guys will ferment nice n clean way down low, like 50F, and pretty cleanly.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2015, 09:38:33 PM »
For sure. When I say 'ale' yeast, I am referring to something like 1007, 1056, US05, etc...

You know, regardless of whatever label we put on a lager type beer made with these yeasts, I've made 'lagerlike' beers with these yeasts that have fooled lager lovers. At the end of the day, a good beer is a good beer.
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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2015, 09:41:26 PM »
Actually, genomics are showing us that many of the strains that have been used to produce lager beer have no S. bayanus bayanus (a.k.a. S. uvarum) genetic admixture (S. eubayanus can be seen as a unique S. bayanus bayanus species).  In fact, these strains are genetically 100% S. cerevisiae.  Ballantine used Bry 96 (a.k.a. "Chico," Wyeast 1056, White Labs WLP001, and Fermentis US-05) in its lager brewery for decades.   That's why the strain is more cold tolerant than most ale strains.  The old ACME Brewery in San Franciso used a cold tolerant S. cerevisiae strain to produce lager beer.  There are many other known lager strains that are 100% S. cerevisiae.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2015, 09:53:43 PM »
Precisely. Id even add Wyeast 1728 Scottish. Those guys will ferment nice n clean way down low, like 50F, and pretty cleanly.

No true Scotsman will brew or drink a lager.
Frank P.

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2015, 11:16:51 PM »


Precisely. Id even add Wyeast 1728 Scottish. Those guys will ferment nice n clean way down low, like 50F, and pretty cleanly.

No true Scotsman will brew or drink a lager.

Good to know

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2015, 11:18:31 PM »
Actually, genomics are showing us that many of the strains that have been used to produce lager beer have no S. bayanus bayanus (a.k.a. S. uvarum) genetic admixture (S. eubayanus can be seen as a unique S. bayanus bayanus species).  In fact, these strains are genetically 100% S. cerevisiae.  Ballantine used Bry 96 (a.k.a. "Chico," Wyeast 1056, White Labs WLP001, and Fermentis US-05) in its lager brewery for decades.   That's why the strain is more cold tolerant than most ale strains.  The old ACME Brewery in San Franciso used a cold tolerant S. cerevisiae strain to produce lager beer.  There are many other known lager strains that are 100% S. cerevisiae.
Ouch! Another brewing dogma shipwrecked on the rocks of fact.

Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2015, 11:31:57 PM »
For sure. When I say 'ale' yeast, I am referring to something like 1007, 1056, US05, etc...

You know, regardless of whatever label we put on a lager type beer made with these yeasts, I've made 'lagerlike' beers with these yeasts that have fooled lager lovers. At the end of the day, a good beer is a good beer.

Amen, brother!
Frank C.

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heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2015, 01:32:38 AM »
Interesting topic.

Yeast will change it's fermentation characteristics and taste on multiple factors.

Shape of the vessel,
Open vs close vessel,
Depth of the vessel.
Temperature of fermentation.
Pitching rate.

I use the same yeast all the time.

if I want to get lager (clean) characteristics I pitch more yeast and ferment cooler.

If I want to get more ale (eatery) characteristics I pitch less yeast and ferment warmer.

It is all about the taste and not about definition in my opinion. Grab a yeast strain that can do both, learn it and use it to your advantage.
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Offline beersk

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2015, 03:55:59 AM »
Interesting topic.

Yeast will change it's fermentation characteristics and taste on multiple factors.

Shape of the vessel,
Open vs close vessel,
Depth of the vessel.
Temperature of fermentation.
Pitching rate.

I use the same yeast all the time.

if I want to get lager (clean) characteristics I pitch more yeast and ferment cooler.

If I want to get more ale (eatery) characteristics I pitch less yeast and ferment warmer.

It is all about the taste and not about definition in my opinion. Grab a yeast strain that can do both, learn it and use it to your advantage.


To me, the perfect yeast strain for this is Wy2124 (Saflager 34/70). Good points everyone.  Not sure about the true Scotsman point, but alright!

I think what makes a lager a lager is the yeast. It's what makes a Trappist a Trappist, a Belgian Strong a Belgian strong, a hefeweizen a hefeweizen, is it not? You wouldn't use a neutral ale yeast in a hefe wort and call it a hefe? Well, I suppose you could, but it sure wouldn't taste the same. Maybe it's a little more subtle with lagers vs clean ale yeast, but still, I think you see what I'm getting at...


EDIT: dang it, my post went in just shy of 10:56. Such a magical time, isn't it?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2015, 05:58:11 AM »
You wouldn't use a neutral ale yeast in a hefe wort and call it a hefe?

You would if you are Widmer Brewing.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2015, 02:30:25 PM »

You wouldn't use a neutral ale yeast in a hefe wort and call it a hefe?

You would if you are Widmer Brewing.
You are the brewer you decide what you want. Sometimes we just get hung up on stereotypes. 
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Offline leejoreilly

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Re: What makes a lager a lager?
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2015, 02:41:28 PM »

You wouldn't use a neutral ale yeast in a hefe wort and call it a hefe?

You would if you are Widmer Brewing.
You are the brewer you decide what you want. Sometimes we just get hung up on stereotypes.

I agree; it's your beer, call it what you want. But to be TECHNICALLY correct, I'd say a lager has to be fermented with a lager yeast. You can certainly brew a "lager-like" ale, but it's not technically a lager. Heck, you can call it a Chardonnay, if you like.

I have now split my limit of hairs for the day...