Author Topic: Lager Pitch Temperature  (Read 2944 times)

Offline kcjaz

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Lager Pitch Temperature
« on: February 05, 2011, 11:37:45 AM »
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?
Jason Zoller

Offline denny

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 01:15:00 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.
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Offline tom

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 08:16:34 PM »
kcjaz, thanks a lot for the info.

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

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 08:33:49 PM »
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

Offline bluesman

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2011, 08:41:43 PM »
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.
Ron Price

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2011, 03:43:33 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.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2011, 07:21:34 AM »
I've never had a beer that tasted like a sweater, thank God!  :D
Cowboy. Pirate. Brewer.

Offline Mark G

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2011, 07:33:31 AM »
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.
Mark Gres

Offline denny

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2011, 07:49:42 AM »
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
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Offline spowlison

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2011, 06:35:09 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...

Offline tygo

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 09:06:48 PM »
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.
Clint
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2011, 06:17:55 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...
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?
Mark Gres

Offline spowlison

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2011, 07:42:57 AM »
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...

Offline denny

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2011, 08:33:57 AM »
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.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Lager Pitch Temperature
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 09:51:53 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"
Joe