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Fermentis Saflager W34/70 Dry Yeast – Death, Taxes, And Fermentation

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Few things are certain in life, and two of them are death and taxes. Thanks to Saflager W34/70 dry yeast from Fermentis, there is a third one. For me, this yeast never failed to show signs of fermentation within 24 hrs. I have directly pitched it and rehydrated it, and it always performed quickly and vigorously.

It is a Weihenstephan strain with an ideal fermentation temperature range from 53F to 59F, high flocculation and medium alcohol tolerance. I would recommend it primarily for malty European lagers. but there is one caveat:

Direct pitching makes using this yeast very easy, but it likes to be pitched warm 73F +/- 6F. If you want to cool the wort first and then bring it up to fermentation temperature, I would rehydrate the yeast. I did that when brewing my Traditional Bock, and the yeast started within 24hrs, but fermented not as vigorous as I have seen before.

It produces a very malty, clean flavor that you want in a European Lager. Use Mr Malty’s pitch calculator to determine how many 11.5 sachets need to be pitched.

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The Trouble With Trub

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Many homebrewers know this scenario:

The wort is in the settling tank and solids are precipitating out and sinking to the bottom. The layer on the bottom becomes thicker and thicker and one starts to calculate how much product will be lost when the wort is transferred.

And then then the spout is opened and the  liquid level drops and drops until it reaches the layer and the wort becomes cloudy. Yet it takes some self discipline to close the spout and leave the rest of the wort in the settling tank.

Enter the Sediment Blocker Spigot (bought at www.morebeer.com). It’s inlet screw has a half moon opening. The lower (closed) half is supposed to hold back the trub and only the clear liquid passes through the (open) upper half. So far the theory.

 

How does it perform?

I used the Sediment Blocker Spigot recently when I brewed my Traditional Bock. The sediment layer was 1.5 inches thick and I was curious how far I would be able to to decant the wort off the trub.

Installation was a breeze. The spout uses the standard bucket holes. Caveat –  it only comes with one rubber grommet. I was not quite clear if I should install it on the inside or outside, so I poached a grommet off another spout and installed one inside and one outside.

The spigot performed beautifully.

I decanted the wort off the sediment until only an imperceptible layer above the trub was left. The wort stayed clear until almost the very end. However, I could imagine that the performance depends on the thickness of the trub layer –  the thicker the trub, the more useful the spigot should be.

WLP802 Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast – Slow Does The Trick

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White Labs produces Lager yeasts with nice malty profiles and WLP802 Czech Budejovice is one of them. As you can probably suspect from the name, it is best suited for Czech lagers. According to White Labs’ webpage, the yeast attenuates at 75-80% and ranks medium in both, flocculation and alcohol tolerance. The optimum fermentation temperature is between 50F and 55F (http://www.whitelabs.com/yeast/wlp802-czech-budejovice-lager-yeast)

The Good

This yeast has never failed me. It tears through a wort in roughly a week and leaves behind a fairly clean, very malty lager. Even without a starter, it never failed to eat the sugars I threw at it.

The Bad

Without a starter, it can be a bit nerve wrecking, because WLP802 takes it own sweet time to get things going. I am averaging between 48 and 60 hrs before I see activity in the fermenter.

Conclusion

For a malty Bohemian lager I can recommend WLP802 any time. Just remind yourself  that Czech Budejovice is a workhorse, but not a race horse.

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