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Pitch rate for a lager

All the recent discussion of lagers has given me a thirst to make a true lager, so I’m going to give it a try this coming weekend. The last lager-ish beer I made was a Kolsch, so I’m stepping into some unfamiliar territory.

Using the Brewer’s Friend calculator, for 5-gallons of 1.06 wort, it’s predicting I need 419B cells with the pro brewer 1.5 setting. I’ve ordered 2 packets of W34/70 yeast, so I’m assuming I’ll have 400B cells after rehydrating.

Should I be using the 1.75 or 2.0 setting for this? How much of an underpitch would this be?

With a OG of 1.060 and it being a lager I would pitch at least 3 packs if not 4. I pitched 2 rehydrated packs of 34/70 into a 1.050 pilsner and it was an underpitch as the lag time was around 72 hours. I think you’ll be safe with 3 packs.

Thanks for the feedback!

Based on this, I think I’ll switch up my brew schedule. This was originally going to be an Oktoberfest with harvested Kolsch yeast, but with the cold temperatures I wanted to try something different. Originally I was going to make a 3-gallon pilsner at 1.052 to grow up the yeast for the 5-gallon batch of dunkel, so I’ll ditch the Kolsch idea, push back the Oktoberfest, and just go with the pilsner to grow up the yeast cake for later use with the Oktoberfest and dunkel.

Looks like 2 packets would be fine for 3-gallons of 1.052 wort??

I would think so.

[quote=“porkchop”]Thanks for the feedback!

Based on this, I think I’ll switch up my brew schedule. This was originally going to be an Oktoberfest with harvested Kolsch yeast, but with the cold temperatures I wanted to try something different. Originally I was going to make a 3-gallon pilsner at 1.052 to grow up the yeast for the 5-gallon batch of dunkel, so I’ll ditch the Kolsch idea, push back the Oktoberfest, and just go with the pilsner to grow up the yeast cake for later use with the Oktoberfest and dunkel.

Looks like 2 packets would be fine for 3-gallons of 1.052 wort??[/quote]

Not only correct its the smart way if growing yeast. Its win win. You get more yeast and beer.

For some reason I had a major brain fart a couple years ago and would make 5L starters… that’s almost a gallon and a half. And it went down the drain…

Now I do 3 gal test batches to grow my yeast. So like you, in March when I brewed my ofest I brewed a test pilsner to grow the yeast.

Well that settles it, I’ll go with the 3 gallon batch to build up the yeast for later batches.

Now I’m going to be a complete jerk and attempt a decoction mash on this. :mrgreen:

Decoctions aren’t difficult- just long. With my lagers and altbiers, I’ve been mashing in at 147, then taking a thick decoction after 10 minutes. Heat that to 157 for 10 minutes then boil for 10 minutes, before adding back to the main mash for 20 minutes.
Increases the whole mash process from my usual 60 minutes to around 75. Worth it? I don’t know. I think I do get some extra malty character, but that might be my imagination. I do it mostly because my initial mashin tends to take up all the space in my 5G mashtun. So if I want to do a step mash I decoct. With most of my ales, I do a single step.

Jim, so you’re basically just skipping the protein rest and hitting the other rest temperatures via decoction? That sounds easy enough. I usually mash for around 90 minutes anyways because I’m lazy, so this sounds like a really good idea.

I would think so.[/quote]

I did a three gallon batch of 1.049 pilsner with one pack of 34/70 sprinkled on the wort that was fermenting nicely the next morning and ended at 1.007.

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