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Lager Yeast Questions

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:51 pm
by GuitarLord5000
Ok, guys. It's about that time of the year to get my Oktoberfest brewed, so I can get a decent amount of lagering time in before late September/early October. I would very much like to use WLP838 Southern German Lager Yeast to make this beer, but with my job I just won't have the time to build up two gallons worth of starter, chill, and decant before pitching. Add to that the fact the every time I get a tube of White Labs yeast during the summer months, viability is always either extremely low, or nonexistant. (Yes, I've purchased at least 4 tubes of White Labs yeast that never got started.)
So, the choices seem to be either 1. Spend lots of $$$ and get several tubes of possibly dead yeast (not gonna happen) or 2. Use a dry lager yeast this year, and prepare better for next year.
With that in mind, my choices for dry lager yeast are limited, so I want to know what you folks that have used them think about each of these:

Saflager W-34/70 - This famous yeast strain is from Weihenstephan, Germany and is used world-wide within the brewing industry. Because of its properties, W-34/70 has become the most popular strain for lager brewing. It is used both by industrial breweries and homebrewers around the globe.

Sedimentation: High
Final Gravity: Medium
Ideal Fermentation Temperature: 48-59 F

Saflager S-23 - This bottom fermenting yeast is used by Western European commercial breweries and has been reported to produce lagers with some fruity and estery notes.

Flocculation: Medium/High
Attenuation: 80%
Ideal Fermentation Temperature: 48-59 F

Saflager S-189 Swiss Lager - Originating from the Hurlimann brewery in Switzerland, this very popular strain is used by a large number of commercial breweries. Selected for its fairly neutral flavour development, this yeast is recommended for a wide range of lager and pilsen beers.

Flocculation: High
Attenuation: Medium
Ideal Fermentation Temperature: 48-59 F

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:11 am
by yeastmeister
I've used both the S-23 and the W-34/70. I personally find that I like the W-34/70 better because it seems to finish faster when I ferment at 50F. If you ferment warmer than that, or an extra week of fermentation time really isn't an issue, then either one of those would do.

I've never used the S-189.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:15 am
by aleguy
Gee, I thought that was what the yeast library was for, so we could get viable starters when we need them. I was under the impression we had the entire White Labs selection except for blends and special offerings.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:37 am
by GuitarLord5000
aleguy wrote:Gee, I thought that was what the yeast library was for, so we could get viable starters when we need them.

Honestly, most of the time I don't even remember that. My brewing schedule revolves around my 24 hour call work schedule, and tends to be erratic and spur of the moment most of the time. I can't usually give Gene enough time to prepare a starter, so it doesn't occur to me that we have that available to us for the few times a year when I actually plan a brew.

Gene, as far as the S-23 goes, did you notice any of the fruity esters that Fermentis talks about? The description kinda scared me away from that yeast, as I want a very clean and malty beer. Esters I can get with an Ale yeast. I certainly wouldn't want to invest 2 months into lagering a beer that tastes like an ale. :shock:

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:16 pm
by Imakewort
we should have almost all the white labs yeast in our library, maybe would make a nice permanent thread in members section showing what we have in stock