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Saflager S-23 Dry Lager Yeast Question

I ordered a Genesee Cream Ale kit online and it comes with the yeast in the subject line.
I was curious why an ale kit contained lager yeast, but im sure its for flavor, or there is a good reason for it.
Anyway, im curious as to what temp I should ferment at. The following link is the data sheet for the yeast and the high end is 71.6 F. ... FG_S23.pdf

Does anyone know if I will have issues or off flavors if I ferment on that high end, or should I be on the low end and keep it in the 50’s?

I have a temp controller and spare fridge, so maintaining a solid temp shouldnt be an issue. Should I do a diacetyl rest? If so, what are your recommendations on it, like when to start it and what temps to bring it to and for how long?

Thanks for the help!

If I remember from when I was a kid and drank that swill gennesee cream ale was actually a lager. So If the provider of that kit is trying for a clone then lager yeast would be correct. Most lager brewers seem to shy away from s-23 and instead use 34/70 or if you can find it s-189. s-23 seems to like fermentation temps in the mid to upper 50’s.

I have used S-23 quite a bit, and have had mixed results with it. A lot of members on the forum hate it for specific reasons, but that does not mean you should not give it a try.

I actually think it is better suited to something like a cream ale than for an actual lager. It is bottom fermenting, but works better at slightly higher temps and produces some flavor components which are not usually characteristic of lager - slightly fruity esters.

If I were to use it for a cream ale, I’d probably shoot for something like 15*C, but that is just me.

I don’t think a diacetyl rest is usually needed for this yeast - especially if you are slightly higher temps.

Thanks for the responses. I will give the S-23 a try. If it doesn’t work out to my liking then it gives me a reason to brew more and try a different yeast.

If memory serves, S-23 is actually like a steam beer yeast, i.e., a lager yeast that performs well/better at warm temperatures. The cream ale style is considered one of the hybrid styles where you can use ale yeast at cool temperatures or lager yeast at warm temperatures. Hence, that’s probably the reason for that yeast selection. Try it and see how it turns out. Or if you’re concerned, use any ale yeast at ~60 F.

Well, my first and only time trying a Lager was a disaster. Really bad off flavors. I couldnt even drink it. At that time I used a plastic bin and 1 gallon water jugs frozen to TRY to maintain a lager temp. It didnt work out well.

Now I have a spare full size fridge and a temp controller. I think things will go alot better this time. I still have some questions though if anyone cares to help.

Ill forget about my first lager attempt and act as if it never happened.
Once I brew the beer and add it to the primary fermentor, what temp should I pitch a lager yeast?

Once pitched, how long should I wait until I lower the temp to fermenting temperature?

How long should I let it ferment in primary? I always take gravity readings and I know lagers take longer, so what kind of time frame am I looking at?

One primary fermentation is complete I will transfer to secondary and bring it to a lager temp around 35-40, is that right? And for how long?

I built a keezer and this will be the first beer I keg so I hope it comes out great. Any help you all can give is very much appreciated.

s-23 ferments better at higher than normal lager temps, I’d try about 55f. pitch and ferment at same 55f temp no need to change temp.

Let it ferment till done. No one can tell you when it will be done. I just let it go for 2 weeks then I check gravity, then check again 2 days latter. If readings are the same fermentation is complete. If you want you could raise the temp about 5 degrees toward the end of fermentation to get the lowest possible attenuation and D-rest.

No need to transfer to secondary just lower temp to close to freezing for 4 week lager stage.

good luck

As pointed out s-23 almost works like an ale yeast. I personnaly would treat it as such, and not really considder this a lager fermentation.

You can go either way though.

If lager fermenting, you would need at least 2-3 weeks in primary ( and as pointed out, use hydrometer to tell you when it is done).

You likely would not need a diacetyl rest but woth a tast check anyway.

Always best to cool wort below fermentation temp (say 4-5*) before pitching, then bring up. Not the other way around. :!:

WARNING: I have heard that cooler fermentations can produce MORE of the fruity esters than warmer temps with this yeast(weird, I know). I have never fermented lower than 15C with it, so I cannot verrify this claim.

You should ALWAYS pitch at or slightly below your intended fermentation temp.

OK, I know I have said I will never use s-23 again, once I had tried 34/70. But this post has given me that craving for the “je ne sais quoi” tha only s-23 can provide.

It is one of the first yeasts I ever used and had always attributed it’s profile to the recipe and not the yeast. And you kind of grow to like it (even though it is not in style with pretty much anything). And when you stop using s-23 you kind of miss it.

In the spirit of comradery, I will make a beer this weekend with s-23, fermented at, mmmmm, let’s say 15C as I had suggested. See how she goes.

We can check back in a month and compare notes.


Sounds like a plan. Ill keep track of mine and let you know how it comes out.

Ok, I will ferment at 59F in my chest freezer to maintain the temp.
I just installed a temp controller yesterday and got it up and running.
Do any of you have a good set of settings for the Johnson Controls A419
for maintaining the 59F temp in the chamber? (I need to know the best Dif and ASD settings).

I am actually fermenting mine a little cooler than planned. My basement has been nice and cool, and in my swamp cooler without any ice bottles added, my temps are sticking really steady between 12-13C (54-55).

This is actually the coolest I have ever used this yeast, so it will be a good test for me to see if I notice any more of the fruity components at lower temps - or whether that is a load of BS.

Ok, so I am all brewed up and fermenting. Temp I am using with this yeast is 56-57 F.
Here are some photos.

These photos was taken 6 hours after brewing. I am fermenting in the kegerator and the temp controller is set to 56F and its hovering between 56 and 57 but holding at those temps.

As I am new to Lagers, does that first picture look normal?

from the little I can see, it looks fine.

Ok, I have 2 more photos. I know one is hard to see, and I will try to get another later tonight or tomorrow. I am used to seeing Ale yeast working but not Lager so this just looks different to me. That weird spot in the middle seems odd, but that’s where I put the yeast in so maybe its doing its thing there at the top and hasn’t fallen yet. With these close up photos can anyone of you tell me if this looks good?

You worry too much. Everything is completely fine. No worries.

I think you are right. I woke up this morning to find this!!!

Looks good if I say so myself. Now, as long as I don’t get those fruity flavors I keep hearing about with this yeast I will be in luck.

Worst. yeast. ever.

I’ve been waiting for Denny to say that. :lol:

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