San Francisco Lager yeast above 65F?

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San Francisco Lager yeast above 65F?

Postby sabolish » Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:20 pm

I currently don't have the facilities to lager, so thus far I've only brewed ales. SF Lager yeast by white labs can supposedly produce lager-like results at up to 65F. Has anyone used SF Lager yeast above 65F? I'm wondering what will happen if I ferment at 70-72 with this yeast? Comments please!
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San Fran Lager Yeast

Postby bearthebrewer » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:36 am

I've used the Wyeast version (California Lager Yeast) in a 1554 Clone that I made and it turned out quite well. My fermentation temp varied between 68 and 72 degrees and it is still very smooth (and rich!).

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i tried it...

Postby sabolish » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:29 pm

I went ahead and pitched the SF Lager yeast at about 70 deg. I then put a bucket of ice water next to the fermenter and closed the closet door.. Within 24 hours fermentation had begun and my closet was in the low 60s. After 3 days of replacing the ice water I had my closet down to 58 deg. I let it ferment for a week in the 58deg closet, then stopped replacing the ice and racked to secondary. A few days later my closet got back to mid 60s. Racked a third time and tasted and it was nice and clean!

My thinking was that I would keep the fermenter cold during the first week when most of the fermentation occurs. After most of the sugars are fermented I don't have to worry about temp as much because significantly fewer yeast will be active and therefore the overall production of flavor chemicals during fermentation will be lower.

Does that make sense or am I silly for going to the trouble of keeping it cool during the first week to make it more lager-like?

I'm also wondering if there is some difference between lager yeasts and ale yeasts at higher temperatures (70ish, ale temps). Do lager yeasts perform more poorly in ale conditions than ale strains at ale conditions? If I brew a lager strain at 70deg will it be terrible or just be ale-like?
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Postby Benjamin1c » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:59 am

For some reason, the two times I used San Fran Lager (the white labs liquid version) the results were absolutely horrible. These were the only times I had ruined batches.
Both times, I let my california common recipe sit in my 58 degree basement for a full three weeks, primary only. A bit long maybe, but I left it to ensure fermentation was complete at the low temperature, plus I figure this is technically 'lager' after all, which by definition means somewhat longer, slower fermentation that helps to clean up off-flavors.
I still can't exactly identify the striking terrible flavor I detected both time upon bottling: rubbery, astringent, sulphurous... maybe all.

I couldn't bring myself to dump it all, so a bit sadly I simply primed and bottled my preciously-cared-for brew, and let it sit for a solid month. Each time, I went ahead and cracked a couple of bottles just for the hell of it and... I believe the terrible flavor had markedly decreased.
The lesson: possibly a lengthy secondary would have helped... however I don't know if this is necessarily called for, in most recipes.
From now on, I'll steer clear of this yeast, but for anyonw else who want to give it a go, good luck, as well made california common is a delicious thing.
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Postby Benjamin1c » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:15 am

Oh, I guess I forgot to add in my above post, how my misadventure may relate to your original question, on temperature.
I'm still not sure what, if anthing, I did wrong. Some infection is possible, but I don't think likely: first, I am thorough with sanitizing, and second, the same infection both times (with other brews between, same equipment, that were fine?)

So, a pet theory is that the temp for me was slightly too LOW, high fifties rather than mid 60's. I'd never really heard of temps too low producing funky flavor, as happens when too high. However, this is still lager yeast, and lager yeast is known for producing various sulphurous odors and flavors; as I understand this is why longer fermentation is good with lager, as the slower colder action has time to clean up.

This is just an educated guess, that San Fran yeast probably works faster to clean up at a higher temp than I was at... or could just be I screwed up somewhere. In any case, might be better to err on too high rather than too low temperature.
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SF lager yeast

Postby robininski » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:45 pm

We too had a bad expierance with SanFran Lager exactly as you.
We brewed a 10 gallon recipe 09/04/2010. 5gal. we added Kolsch yeast & 5gallons we added SanFran Lager yeast.

The both fermented normally. We racked to a secondary 09/15/2010 (both). The Kolsch cleared rather nicely, but the SanFranLager never did.

We racked both to kegs to be carbonated (forced) 10/10/2010 and the Kolsch is good, but the SanFranLager is terrible.
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