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S-23 Dry Lager yeast: What are your results with it?

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#1 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:08 AM

I didn't want to go OT on the BRY-97 thread, so I started this one in response to Ken's results with this yeast. I honestly didn't know how to handle this yeast after reading that it was fruity when pitched cold, fruity when pitched warm/vice-versa for clean when pitched cold/warm. I usually handle yeast by pitching/fermenting at the correct temps but I used the pitch warm and drop temp method for this one and am happy with the results.What are your experiences with this maligned yeast?

Yes, and it was crazy. I was making an English Summer Ale and was going to use 1028 which was at the bottom of another primary. I went to rack that beer out of primary and it smelled like a sewer. Whoops, I can't use that yeast so what do I do? I looked in my stash of emergency yeast and found US05 and S23, as usual. I could've totally made it with US05 but thought the S23 would be more interesting. It was Maris Otter, English hops like EKG, Styrian Goldings, etc. and then I fermented it cool w/S23 and it was quite nice. I'm pretty sure I posted it here somewhere.HERE IT IS.

I just did a set of three beers with it--a CAP fermented at 56F, a Bopils fermented at 50F, and a hoppy amber fermented at 57F. The CAP finished smelling and tasting like juicy fruit gum, but it aged out after lagering/gelling and has become quite good with minimal fruitiness, the hoppy amber is delicious with clean character and "in your face" hop aroma/flavor, and the bopils is still bottle carbing but tasted pretty good at bottling.I read on HBT that Denny did one with it that was horrible, so I didn't have high hopes for it, but just wanted the cake. The CAP was the experiment--pitched one pack at 60F and let it start, then dropped temp down to 56F after it started. The other two were a split of the cake on a double brewdayand pitched/fermented at their proper temps the next day after they had cooled.After all the horror stories I read about it, I'm quite pleased with it.
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#2 ER Pemberton

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:42 AM

This one time was my only experience with it and I do not reuse dry yeast. Again, I only used it as a fallback because the yeast I planned to use was bad. Maybe my memory of it is fogged because I was just happy that I saved the beer with the S23. I rehydrated it in cooled wort and pitched it into wort that would have been around 50° and it fermented in my lager primary fridge which is set to about 47°. It would've been fermented, d-rested, racked to secondary w/gel solution, lagered at 35° for 3-4 weeks and then kegged where it may have sat for a couple weeks longer. I thought I heard somewhere that S23 was a dry version of 830. Not sure on that but it did save my beer! Cheers.
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#3 miccullen

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:58 AM

I have had mixed results, from wow, to ewww Passion Fruit Wine Cooler, with most being in the good category, it seemed to do best in drier pilsners for me, the Passion Fruit Wine Cooler result was likely due to me not understanding pitching rates at the time and trying to make an Impy Pils with on 11 gram sachet
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#4 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:05 AM

This one time was my only experience with it and I do not reuse dry yeast. Again, I only used it as a fallback because the yeast I planned to use was bad. Maybe my memory of it is fogged because I was just happy that I saved the beer with the S23. I rehydrated it in cooled wort and pitched it into wort that would have been around 50° and it fermented in my lager primary fridge which is set to about 47°. It would've been fermented, d-rested, racked to secondary w/gel solution, lagered at 35° for 3-4 weeks and then kegged where it may have sat for a couple weeks longer. I thought I heard somewhere that S23 was a dry version of 830. Not sure on that but it did save my beer! Cheers.

I've seen a bunch of claims of W34/70 being the dry equivalent of WLP830. Some people say S-23 is too fruity and is more like Wyeast 2565 Kolsch or WLP820 o'fest.I've used W34/70 on a bunch of lagers and really like it. It's very clean.Here's Denny's experience with it via HBT: Although a few people have good experiences with S-23, for me and many others it's made the worst beer I've ever made. So bad I sent some to John Palmer to see if he could identify the disgusting flavor. He likened it to passion fruit wine coolers! IF you decide to use it, ferment it at 60-62 F to minimize that flavor.Reading that scared the crap out of me but I had the yeast and decided--what the heck.
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#5 BlKtRe

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:06 AM

Your review still makes me hesitant to use it.....Seems its a little finicky and inconsistent.
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#6 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:54 AM

I have had mixed results, from wow, to ewww Passion Fruit Wine Cooler, with most being in the good category, it seemed to do best in drier pilsners for me, the Passion Fruit Wine Cooler result was likely due to me not understanding pitching rates at the time and trying to make an Impy Pils with on 11 gram sachet

I read this experience several times when I was trying to decide how to handle this yeast WRT pitching/ferm temps.

Your review still makes me hesitant to use it.....Seems its a little finicky and inconsistent.

I agree. I think you could get anything from juicy fruit to a clean beer from it. Believe me, when it came to the day when I had 2 batches of wort waiting for the yeast and the one sitting on the yeast tasted like juicy fruit--I almost drove to town after some w-34/70 for the bopils and S-05 for the hoppy amber.After pitching I facepalmed "What the hell did I just do?"
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#7 BlKtRe

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:59 AM

I agree. I think you could get anything from juicy fruit to a clean beer from it. Believe me, when it came to the day when I had 2 batches of wort waiting for the yeast and the one sitting on the yeast tasted like juicy fruit--I almost drove to town after some w-34/70 for the bopils and BRY-97 for the hoppy amber.After pitching I facepalmed "What the hell did I just do?"

FTFY.....Thanks again for your review. It is helpful.
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#8 miccullen

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:00 AM

I read this experience several times when I was trying to decide how to handle this yeast WRT pitching/ferm temps.I agree. I think you could get anything from juicy fruit to a clean beer from it. Believe me, when it came to the day when I had 2 batches of wort waiting for the yeast and the one sitting on the yeast tasted like juicy fruit--I almost drove to town after some w-34/70 for the bopils and S-05 for the hoppy amber.After pitching I facepalmed "What the hell did I just do?"

good to hear it worked out for you
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#9 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:12 AM

FTFY.....Thanks again for your review. It is helpful.

Really curious to hear the results with BRY-97. I'm not a huge fanboy of S-05. It gets the job done, but kinda weak on flavor/floccing.

Edited by chils, 05 September 2012 - 08:13 AM.

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#10 ER Pemberton

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:37 AM

I once used US05 and either used it cooler than I should have or warmer and got a bit of this passionfruit/peachy/tropical thing. This is one reason that I typically bypass dry yeast because I feel like it can be so inconsistent.
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#11 miccullen

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:43 AM

I once used US05 and either used it cooler than I should have or warmer and got a bit of this passionfruit/peachy/tropical thing. This is one reason that I typically bypass dry yeast because I feel like it can be so inconsistent.

I have gotten the peachy ester from 05 but I kinda like itthe mos consistent dry yeasts for me are still S-04 and Nottingham
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#12 denny

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:20 AM

Not being smart enough to be a fast learner, I tried S-23 3 times. Same results each time.
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#13 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:40 AM

Not being smart enough to be a fast learner, I tried S-23 3 times. Same results each time.

You're making me wonder if my palate doesn't just suck :)What types of recipes, what pitching temp, and how much did you use?
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#14 denny

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:16 AM

German pils all 3 times. IIRC, I pitched 2 packs per 5 gal. Maybe overpitched, which would create esters. I've had beers made with it by other club members and they were pretty good. Maybe it's me....
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#15 Steve Urquell

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:46 AM

German pils all 3 times. IIRC, I pitched 2 packs per 5 gal. Maybe overpitched, which would create esters. I've had beers made with it by other club members and they were pretty good. Maybe it's me....

That is odd. Mr Malty shows 1.7 packs for a 5 gal lager. You should have been fine. Reported results for this yeast are all over the map though.I thought my 1st batch was a goner after tasting immediately post-ferm. I never, never, never pitch above ferm temps but did on this one b/c of all the reports that it ferments cleaner warmer. B/c I was pitching warmer(60F) I just used 1 pack. When it started to show airlock activity, I dropped the temp down.It's probably just a finicky darned yeast.

Edited by chils, 05 September 2012 - 11:47 AM.

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