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1st lager, what do you recommend?

Per the subject, I am about to brew my first lager. Is there an easy yeast to work with (thinking ease of s05 for ales). Is there a more forgiving style that people start with? Should I just say screw it and stick to ales.

Do you have a way to cool your wort down to 50F or lower and then keep the beer at that temp throughout fermentation… about 3 weeks? And then it needs to lager around 35F for another 4-12 weeks. If so, go for it. Lagers are great. Why not make an Oktoberfest? Ferment in July. Lager during August/September. Drink in October. Use an Oktoberfest yeast from either White Labs or Wyeast.

I brew more lagers than ales. My favorite yeast is WY2206. Besides cooling as dobe12 said, just make sure you make a large enough starter…3-4 liters seems to work best for 1.050-1.070 gravity lagers IME.


I’m thinking that the best bet would be a pseudo-style that has wide guidelines like “Amber Lager” or something. What style of lager would yu LIKE to make? The bottom line is that you have to have stable and consistent cool conditions like a fridge or freezer and you really need to pitch into cool/cold wort as well. There are a bunch of lager recipes on my site (link below) as well as a lager page which spells out some of the stuff. I too make more lagers than ales, generally. Cheers.

LOL. Ken, your recipes are why I make more lagers than ales: on on tap, one in the fridge, and one on deck.


Just inherited a chest freezer and a temp controller, so good there. My well water comes in at ~50 year round, sounds great until you have to handle it in the winter. I figure that and an ice bath will do the trick. I love blue points toasted lager. I have searched kens website many times and everything looks tasty. I guess I was looking for a clutch yeast more than anything.

So many choices for yeast.

I would say that if Ken has posted a recipe, he feels the yeast is a great performer.

Blue Point stole my Corner Tap Lager recipe for their Toasted Lager. Just Kidding! But they are quite similar. I went to visit some buds on Long Island awhile back and asked them to hook me up with some beer I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get my hands on. As soon as I tasted that beer I thought it tasted very close to my Pub Lager recipe.

As for the yeast, here’s a primer and I’m pasting this from one of my posts on a different board:

Light/gold beers could be made with almost anything but my choice would be one of the pilsner strains like 800, 830, 2124, 2000, 2001, 2278, 940 and actual pilsners would be the same (just different grain & hop bill). Beers in the Festbier/Marzen Category would be best with 2308, 2206, 2633, 820, 833, 838 and possibly 2124. Category 4 and 5 could also be made with those same strains. It’s so hard to describe the character of these strains to someone who hasn’t brewed with them. The first group of yeasts I listed are ‘cleaner, brighter and more refreshing’ and the second list seems a little more ‘substantial, heavy and with more depth’. It would be easy to poke holes in those descriptions but I can’t describe things any better than that. There are commercial examples of beers I try where as soon as I take a sip, I say “2308!” or “2206!” and that’s because these yeasts have very distinct profiles. Maybe the commercial beers are made with some private yeast but it’s close or exact to 2308, 2206, etc. The pilsner strains are very similar to each other and would be tougher to pick out but they each have their own differences. Some seem to allow hops to come through better (2278) and some seem to produce maltier beers (2124). You just won’t know until you use some of them but I think you’ll have a good time with this.

The bottom line here is to choose a style. Something along the lines of a German or Czech Lager? 800, 802, 830, 2278, 2124, 2000, 2001. Something along the lines of a Festbier? 2308, 2206, 820, 833, 838. These are just suggestions as they shoot out of my brain. If you pick a style, I would be able to narrow down the best yeast choices. For a quick, down-and-dirty suggestion… I happen to love 2124 for its versatility and overall character. It’s very forgiving and versatile and lends a great profile to almost any lager. I can use it for a wimpy, American-style lawnmower beer, then make a Vienna with it, then a Czech or German Lager and then turn around a make a killer Festbier with it. Cheers.

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