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Q&A
From the staff of White Labs

Can you brew with a lager yeast at ale temperatures?

Yes, lager yeast will ferment at ale temperatures.

True lagers are fermented cold, 50 to 55 degrees, which results in a crisp, clean flavor. When fermented warm, the lager characteristics are minimized and the ester levels are higher (ale-like). Homebrewers can still use lager yeast at ale temperatures, which results in unique beers. California common is produced with lager yeast at ale temperatures, and it tastes more like an ale than a lager.

What is yeast nutrient?

Beer wort has all of the essential nutrients yeast need for complete fermentation. However, additional nutrients in the form of nitrogen, vitamins, and cofactors can increase the health of the yeast and prolong its usefulness. The addition of nutrients can increase the speed of fermentation. This is especially useful with high gravity beers, first generation yeast cultures, and stuck fermentations.

How can I create a high gravity beer?

Add nutrient to the later stages of fermentation. Over-pitch the yeast. Add yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance.

Why should I use liquid yeast instead of dry yeast?

Dry yeast can have a higher level of contamination because the drying process is not sterile. Fewer varieties of yeast strains are available in the dry form. Liquid yeast strains usually produce beers with cleaner and more distinct flavors.

These tips were originally published in First Quarter 2000.