Best yeasts to use when brewing lager beers

Saturday, April 15, 2023
The production of lager beer requires the use of specific yeast strains that can tolerate low temperatures and produce a clean, crisp fermentation profile. 

The most commonly used lager yeast strains are Saccharomyces pastorianus and Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, which are often used interchangeably in brewing.

lager yeasts for brewing

What are the recommended yeasts to use for brewing lager beers?

  • W-34/70: This is a popular lager yeast strain known for its clean and crisp fermentation profile and its ability to ferment at low temperatures. It is often used in commercial brewing and is available from several yeast manufacturers.
  • S-23: This is another popular lager yeast strain that is known for its ability to ferment at low temperatures and produce a clean and crisp beer. It is available from several yeast manufacturers.
  • S-189: This lager yeast strain is known for its ability to produce a malty and clean beer with a balanced bitterness. It is a popular choice for brewing traditional European lagers and is available from several yeast manufacturers.
  • WLP830: This lager yeast strain is a popular choice for brewing German-style lagers, such as Oktoberfest or Maibock. It is known for producing a clean and malty beer with a balanced bitterness and is available from several yeast manufacturers.
  • Saflager W-34/70: This is a popular lager yeast strain from Fermentis that is known for its ability to produce a clean and crisp beer with a neutral flavor profile. It is a popular choice for brewing a wide range of lagers and is available in both dry and liquid forms.

Compared to ale yeasts, lager yeasts tend to produce fewer fruity esters and more sulfur compounds. 

This can result in a cleaner and more crisp beer, but also requires a more careful fermentation process (and is why we recommend newcomers to brewing start brewing with ales and stouts as it's easier to mask sub-optimal outcomes). 

It is important to use a sufficient amount of yeast when brewing a lager, as the lower fermentation temperature can result in a slower and less vigorous fermentation than with ale yeasts. A healthy and active yeast culture is essential for a successful lager fermentation, so it is important to use fresh and properly stored yeast.

The fermentation process for lagers is typically longer than for ales, with most lagers requiring several weeks or even months of cold conditioning after primary fermentation is complete. Proper pitching of the yeast at the correct temperature, appropriate oxygenation and nutrient levels, and careful temperature control throughout the fermentation process are all crucial factors for producing a high-quality lager.


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