Tips for professionals - Oktoberfest and
By JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson
White Labs Inc.
It might be summer but since many brewers are already
dreaming about Oktoberfest we felt it was appropriate to start
discussing lagering. Lager yeast strains are unique, because they
ferment beer wort at temperatures between 45°F and 55° F. Even though
they can ferment at these temperatures, they work slower than ales
fermented around 68°F. When fermenting lagers at true lager
temperatures, you will need to pitch 2 to 3 times more cells than you
would when fermenting ales. White Labs lager strains are supplied in the
same pitching rate as our ale strains.
1. Order two times the amount.
Order twice the amount (i.e. 15 Bbl. For 7Bbl) and
start at your desired fermentation temperature.
2. Start fermentation at ale temperatures.
Order the corresponding barrel size for your system
(i.e. 7 Bbl for a 7Bbl system). Maintain fermenting wort temperature at
ale temps (about 68°F) until signs of fermentation are evident (i.e.
CO2 evolution). Begin to lower temperatures to desired fermentation
temperature. Lower 10°F over each 12-hour period until temperature is
reached. For each succeeding generation, repitch as per #4. Flavor
effects of this method vary with yeast strain, recipe, and palette. Most
of our customers report little or no flavor effects of starting
fermentation at higher temperatures.
3. Propagate yeast 2-3 days before using.
This cannot be done the same way as for ales. For a
14 bbl brew, purchase at least a 7 bbl pitching rate from White Labs.
Grow this in 2 bbl’s of wort that closely approximates the wort that
will be used for the lager. Maintain temperature of propagation at the
same temperature of desired lager fermentation. After 50% attenuation
(2-3 days), top off fermentor to 14 bbl.
4. Repitch with 2 to 3 times ale pitching rates.
Once the yeast is in the brewery, high pitching rates
can be accomplished with repitching. Collect 2-3 times the normal slurry
from a completed fermentation and use to repitch the next batch. Cell
counts should be about 30 million cells per ml of wort.
White Labs offers many different lager strains,
including our newest lager strain - WLP833- German Bock. This strain is
From the Alps of southern Bavaria. This yeast produces a beer that is
well-balanced between malt and hop character. The excellent malt profile
makes it well suited for Bocks, Dopplebocks, and Oktoberfest style
beers. A very versatile lager yeast; it is so well-balanced that it has
gained tremendous popularity for use in Classic American style Pilsners.
Also good for Helles style lager beer. Attenuation: 70-76% Flocculation:
Medium Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 48-55°F
For a complete list of lager strains, or to discuss a custom blended
lager strain, please contact our sales office at firstname.lastname@example.org or