Pressure Fermenting a German Pils

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Nola_Brew, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    Just as the title says. I have only brewed a handful of lagers over the years so this is somewhat unchartered territory for me.
    Yeast: Yeast 2124
    Grain: German Pils Malt and maybe a touch of Victory

    Hops: Hallertau Mit all added during the boil and WP. No dry hops.

    Fermenter: All Rounder under pressure

    What is the ideal pressure to ferment?

    What temp to ferment? Kinda thinking 65-68

    Yeast starter- the yeast I have was harvested from a starter I made during the winter so it's about 6 months old. Since I want to ferment at ale temps would I calculate the starter size based an ale?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you're doing it with a "true" lager strain, ferment around 50 degrees F. Victory is out of place if you're brewing to style, if you're brewing for you, go for it. I ferment my pilsners at whatever ambient pressure is here, around 80% of sea-level. Again, stylistically, if you ferment at ale temps with pilsner yeast you'll get a basic blonde ale with this recipe. Since the purpose of pressure-fermentation is to keep oxygen out, any amount of overpressure should do. Say 5 psi but then, that's not my area of expertise. For six month old yeast, do a starter. If you're going to do the ale-temp thing, a liter starter should do to wake the yeast up. If you go for lager temps, you'll need a larger pitch and starter, say around 2.5 liters.
     
  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I pressure ferment at 46-48 with 2124. 7.5 psi. Incredibly clean. I pitch at 2-2.5.

    Most people who pressure ferment do it at elevated temperatures, 62-68. As the temperature increases the pressure increases. 15 psi is as high as I would go. The higher temperatures will also reduce the amount of yeast you need. So a 1-1.25 pitch would work nice. Esters will be suppressed by the pressure and sulfur will be suppressed by temperature. So the beer will resemble an American style lager with a low sulfur profile.

    2124 works really well under pressure, especially at 46-48F. I haven’t tried it at +62F, but people have reported great results. The yeast is old, so if it were me I would start with a 1/2 liter starter and then decant and pitch it in a 2 -2.5 liter starter for a warmer fermentation. For a tradition lager fermentation I would finish with a 3-3.5 liter starter.

    Good luck, looking forward to hearing your results.
     
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  4. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I was trying to avoid making a step starter which is part of the reason I wanted to ferment warmer than normal.
    I don't use lager yeast much so I don't want to buy any.
    I guess I could do a small starter then up that to 2l. That's about all I can do.
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    You're probably at or even below sea level where you are, but i ferment right about 17 psi. I'm also over 5000 above sea level if that matters.
     
  6. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    2L starter should be fine with an Ale yeast, if you want to keep it clean just ferment cooler and the esters are lessened. Really though you won't know until you try it so why not take a run at it and let er buck.
     
  7. The Beerery

    The Beerery Active Member

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    Again, I am going to be that guy..
    But pressure fermenting with a head-pressure, does not equal hydro static pressures seen in commercial vessels. I would also argue that there is little to nothing to be gained from doing so, and most commercials try and come up with ways to mitigate hydro-static pressures ( shallow open fermenters anyone). If you want to do it fine, but I'm not sure what you are after.
     
  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #8 HighVoltageMan!, Jun 24, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
    Sorry to disagree with Bryan, but I have never been able to ferment beers this clean, ever. The first Pilsner I brewed with this method won 2nd BOS in Milwaukee this year. The beer was my best pilsner ever. It doesn’t work work with all yeasts, but 2124, 34/70, and 830 yeast preform beautifully under pressure. Hydrostatic pressure and pneumatic pressure both present hydraulic pressure to the yeast. The only difference is that the yeast will churn in tall conical fermenter, going from higher pressure on the bottom to lower pressures up top. They do respond to this pressure, but not all yeast do well. Tall fermenters do suppress esters, that has been established. Belgian brewers struggled with conical fermenters because of lack of esters.

    I avoided 830 and 2124 because of a fruitless that would rear its ugly head and it varied from batch to batch. It so predictable now, the I never have to worry a fruity lager. I don’t ferment warm, I still ferment at 46-48 and pitch a very large amount of yeast. Warmer fermentation doesn’t produce very much sulfur, so I keep them cold. My AA has hit as high as 86-88%, beers are crisp and clean.

    Don’t know what else to say, but it works.
     
  9. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    I'm at or below sea level as you stated. I'm not sure what I'll do just yet. Probably will not brew until next Friday so have some time to plan.
     
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  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    #10 thunderwagn, Jun 24, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
    I'm not a commercial brewer but a homebrewer so there's that, there is also in my experience very little chance of oxidation after my fermenter is filled and all the way to transferring to keg as it's all done with pressure. There's also the benefit of my beer being completely carbonated and basically ready to serve once it hits the keg. I've also found my beers ferment out much cleaner and just seem much more fresh and a creamyness/head that also seems better. I'm just saying what works for me as a homebrewer who's not trying to emulate or be a commercial brewer at home, but still make great beer. Which I feel I've achieved.
     
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  11. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'm leaning to just ferment in the low 50's and maybe 5-10 psi if I can step up my starter. I may start that Saturday and let it go for two days then make a 2l starter for my brew. Just want to try pressure Fermenting to see if I notice any difference.
     
  12. The Beerery

    The Beerery Active Member

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    Thats ok we can disagree, its all good!

    I notice you keep mentioning "clean" over and over. I agree on the fruity with the W 34/70 variants, which is why I don't use it.

    However, I use a sulfury German strain, because I want sulfur for quite a few reasons. One the antioxidant power, and Two, slight matchstick sulfur is true to style, to name a few. I want my beers to have that tank flavor, those who have had beer out the lagering tank on tours of the German big boys will know what I mean.

    I don't want to get on the how the BJCP knows nothing about German beer train, so I will stop there.

    Because of this, this is my house strain:
    https://www.hefebank-weihenstephan.de/en/products/yeast/bierhefen-untergaerig-bruchhefe/w-109/

    Anyways, Wayne, obviously I have had your beer, and its fantastic! So you do you.
     
  13. The Beerery

    The Beerery Active Member

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    Cool, yea, spunding works in the same kind of vain for the transfer, and oxidation "protection", but allows people who can't pressure ferment some of the same benefits. Yeast under pressure excrete glycerol, which is body and foam enhancing, so it is very much a real thing you are seeing.
    I am a huge proponent of spunding and cold side oxidation mitigation.
     
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  14. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I have tasted yours as well and it was awesome, so you know what your talking about.

    The sulfur contain in 2124/830 is decent, it can get to be like farts sometimes. Both are presumed to be a Weihenstaphan strains and so is 34/70, but they all act differently. The sulfur is slightly restrained under pressure, but since the beer is spunded it doesn’t vent as much sulfur as when the beer gets degassed at atmosphere. The sulfur level is good for me. With out it, the beer falls flat and doesn’t come across as “German”. Of the strains, 2124 is the best.
     
  15. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I fermented last run of Lagers 18c 10psi using S-189 yeast pitch was ale pitch amount.

    One thing I've found with my Lagers fermenting under pressure is more sulphur than when at atmospheric pressure. My theory is any sulphur produced during fermentation is retained and escapes less and is dissolved back into the beer as it carbonates under pressure.
    I've been thinking of just running a more normal lager fermentation 0psi then as I see krausen dropping set butterfly valve to 10-15 psi and let the last few point build up pressure as well as setting the temp controller up to 18-20c to finish off fermentation.

    I sure don't know the science behind pressure fermenting but I've found my hoppy beers more hoppy and I love being able drink my beers pretty much straight away as soon as fermentations done. Its a great way to reduce oxygen ingress in the final stages of the beer.
     
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  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Gasses are more soluble under pressure. The sulfur compounds are gasses so more would remain in the beer if pressurized.

    No research to back it up but pressure is pressure. When you pressurize to 14.7 PSI overpressure, it's the same as having a 32-foot depth of wort over the surface. So your yeast would have the same pressure on them as in a damned huge craft brewery tank. Also, if you have a positive pressure on the tank, there's no possibility of oxygen ingress. I'd think, if the difference you mentioned can be shown to be real (do some triangle testing of pressurized vs. unpressurized fermented beers, I'd love to see the results!), I would research the effects of pressure and the dissolved oxygen content of the finished beer.
     
  17. The Beerery

    The Beerery Active Member

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    Gah, again, I gotta be this guy...

    Not true, the Ideal gas laws say different. Daltons and Ficks are pertinent here.
    If you want a real doom and gloom read, I have a blog post about it here.

    http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/brewing-methods/beer-serving-oxygen-ingress/
     
  18. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately that is not true, I wish it were true, things would be easier. Oxygen can seep through seals and plastic even with positive pressure in the keg, bottle or what ever. Glass, SS, aluminum do not have this problem. Nitrile and silicon allow oxygen to pass through and unfortunately for me, my favorite seal material, silicon is the worst. That being said, most homebrewers usually drink the beer rather quickly, so it's not a huge problem. Beers are always better fresh for a lot of reasons.
    I have seen the opposite, but I'm guessing it may be the differences in way each of us ferment the beer. I had trouble in the past with fart beers, but not so much anymore after pressurizing. The sulfur is still there, but it blends in really nice with the malt and hops. I haven't tried anything but Weihenstaphan yeasts and once with S23.

    Some lager yeast hardly produce any sulfur, S23 doesn't produce much, if any. S23 is also one of those yeasts that does not do very well under pressure. The beer was less fruity, tasted a lot like a Budweiser, but had a weird, sort of metallic finish. I also had trouble with S04 not attenuating. So I stopped fermenting under pressure with everything but lagers.

    The one thing I do with hoppy beers is spund after dry hopping. I add 4-6 ounces of a simple sugar solution with the dry hop charge. I do this to reactivate the yeast to help reduce the oxygen introduced by the hops and to carb the beer. Since I'm spunding, I don't have to worry about getting the priming sugar perfect, just set the regulator to 25psi or so and vent the excess co2. Like you mentioned in your post, it's pretty cool to taste and drink a beer fully carb'd 7-9 days after pitching the yeast.
     

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