Starter Beers and Lager Yeasts

As a newish lager brewer, I am curious as to a few things:

-In several podcasts, Jamil talks about being able to use one lager strain across multiple styles. So despite the facts that our friends at WL and WY want to sell us more vials/seemingly-annoying-only-to-me smack packs, according to Jamil at least, saccharomyces pastorianus is saccharomyces pastorianus. Is anyone able to refute this from experience? Does Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager REALLY not work well in a classic american pilsner?

-What are some yeast strains that work well to do this?

-What are some styles of ale/hybrid that work well to grow up a nice pitch of lager yeast? The Brewing TV guys were saying that many commercial breweries were reporting good results of using lager yeasts at ale temperatures to get a clean yeast profile. Is it just the ‘hybrid’ styles under BJCP (cream ale, blonde ale kolsch, Am Wheat/Rye, Alts and steams)?

Then again, I hear of guys in my LHBS telling new brewers that they can make a Mexican Lager without temp control and can make a Miller Lite clone with an ale yeast and a bunch of other nonsense and oh no I’ve gone crosseyed!

I make a 5 gallon starter Lager with 2 packs of rehydrated 34/70 & then pitch a pint of slurry into 4-6 subsequent 10 gallon batches. 34/70 works pretty good for a lot of Lagers IMO… Cheers!!!

I guess one thing I should specify is that I didn’t want to properly ‘lager’ the starter beer. I wanted some styles that would be ready to drink quickly, and could grow up a decent pitch of lager yeast.

Maybe give Wyeast 2112 a shot. It’s the California Lager yeast, which is supposed to provide lager like characteristics up in to the mid 60s. At those temps, a huge pitch is not nearly as necessary.

I guess one thing I should specify is that I didn’t want to properly ‘lager’ the starter beer. I wanted some styles that would be ready to drink quickly, and could grow up a decent pitch of lager yeast.[/quote]
I just did the same thing. Being too lazy to make the required stepped up starters for my first lager, I just made a beer using a CAP recipe, pitched 1 pkg of Wyeast 2007 and fermented at ale temps. I’ll harvest that yeast and that single pkg of lager yeast will make all my lagers this winter.

WY2007 is a nice, neutral, very clean-fermenting lager yeast. It’s a bit slow so pitching large slurries when making lagers is almost a requirement. It’s now my house lager yeast.

I’ve also had good luck with WLP830 and 34/70 (same strain, I think).

Go with 34/70 and just repitch slurry. No problems encountered with that approach. Rehydrate the dry yeast on the initial pitch and use it in a lighter lager for the first batch. I have more than enough yeast going this route. Sometimes I will run 2 different strains (like 800 as the complementary yeast to 34/70). The differences seem pretty minor, but there is a difference in the various strains from one manufacturer (some are nearly the same as between 2 manufacturers). 34/70 is the Weihenstaphener yeast from Germany.

Isn’t the 34/70 the yeast Denny insists NOT to use?

34/70 is WLP830 or 2124, the most commonly used lager yeast on the planet.

s 23 is the dry lager yeast that I hear a lot of people dont like. And I would agree. I used it to make a maibock that was very fruity and underattenuated. It does say that it ferments clean up to the low 60s I used it at around 54. maybe its better warmer but ill probably never try it again.

34/70 is pretty clean a bit malty. but ime it likes traditional lager temps not hybrid temps.

pitching rates for lagers and hybrids was and is the biggest pita for me. 34/70 eliminated that problem just pitch a few packs. but you still have to ferment cool. and cold condition for several weeks.

you can do this with a clean ale yeast also, but pitch at a hybrid rate ferment cool for the strain and cold condition. it will produce a beer that resmebles a lager.

Truth. A German Pilsner of mine (fermented with 1007 around 58F) took gold in a pretty big competition doing just that. Honestly, even 1056 is not that much less clean than most lager yeasts, if you brew and ferment the beer with care.