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Yest Review SafLager W-34/70 Dry

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

An excellent property of dry brewing yeast is that they have a very high cell count, they store well (years) and the yeast are packed with nutrient reserves which allow for fast starts. When brewing lagers, the vast majority of yeast strains are liquid yeast strains, requiring large starters for lager beers. Liquid yeasts contain a much lower cell count and lack the nutrient reserves that the dried yeast strains hold. For this reason it is nice that there are a few dried lager yeasts available to home brewers. Here is a review of Saflager W-34/70, a very popular (worldwide) German lager yeast strain.

  • Starter recommended?: YES and NO **see commentary below.
  • Starter size (for 5 gallons): 3L
  • Starter OG: 1.040 – 1.050
  • Starter incubation time: 24-48 hours
  • Blow off recommended?: NO
  • Optimum fermentation temperature: 48F-59F
  • Suggested ambient air temp during first 24 hours of fermentation: 53F
  • Suggested ambient air temperature after 24 hours of fermentation: 53F
  • Scent during fermentation: Sulfur
  • Flavor profile: Very malty and clean, great for German lagers and pilsners, low diacetyl
  • Flocculation: Medium
  • Attenuation: 73%-77%

**Being that W-34/70 is a dry lager yeast, a yeast starter is not necessary under one condition… you pitch enough of the re hydrated dry yeast to properly inoculate the wort.  www.MrMalty.com contains a yeast pitching calculator which will guide you as to how much dry yeast you will have to pitch in your lager.

**A lager with an OG of approximately 1.050 will require (2) 11g dry yeast packets, OR a 3 liter starter. In this case I would prefer to pitch (2) packets of re hydrated yeast and forgo the starter, here is why. The dried yeast is ready to ferment, it is packed with nutrients, and while using (2) packets you will meet or slightly exceed the required yeast count for your wort. Even a 3 liter yeast starter, though still meeting the required yeast count for your wort, will have burned up much of the stored nutrient reserves that were in the dry yeast prior to creating the starter.

Pitching the re hydrated dry yeast will give you a faster start for this reason. Two packets of W-34/70 will cost you about $6.00, . If you prefer to create a starter while using W-34/70, see how to make a yeast starter at brewersfriend.com.

When pitching lager yeasts, there are two methods by which to do it, pitching warm or pitching cold. A warm pitch will take place at a temperature of 65-70F, then the temperature is slowly lowered to the ideal fermentation temperature of 48-59F. This is done by some brewers to accelerate the start of the fermentation and lessen the lag time, it will also require a slightly lower pitching rate for these reasons.  There are concerns however of off flavors being produced from the limited time at warm temperatures, but the yeast can clean this up with a diacetyl rest after primary fermentation.

Pitching cold is simply the process of pitching yeast at fermentation temperatures ranging from 48-59F. This will result in a slightly longer lag time and require a healthier yeast count to get fermentation started in a timely manner. This is preferred however by many lager brewers to avoid any possibility of off flavors that can be created during a warm pitch.

Considering the high quality of this yeast strain, the ease of use as a dry yeast and its popularity in brewing circles around the world, it is a must try both for the novice and advanced lager brewer. Buy (2) packets, rehydrate them and pitch straight into your wort.

The beer turned out very clean, slightly malty, it was a great example of a German Pils. I am enjoying it thoroughly after about 2 months of lagering. Enjoy!

  1. One Response to “Yest Review SafLager W-34/70 Dry”

  2. Thanks for this one. I’ve got to get a temperature controller for my free freezer find, then I want to do a lager. After reading this, I may try the dry yeast.

    By Scott on Dec 9, 2009

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