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Yeast Comparison: Saflager W-34/70 vs. Saflager S-189

Yeast Comparison: Saflager W-34/70 vs. Saflager S-189
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by Marshall Schott  via Brulosophy

In general, lager beer is known for emphasizing malt and occasionally even hops while any yeast derived character is kept to a minimum. Over the years, various lager strains have been made commercially available to brewers, affording us the ability to tweak our beers to the specs we so desire. Noted by Fermentis as being the most popular lager strain in the world sourced from the famed Weihenstephaner Institute, Saflager W-34/70 is used by breweries the world over to craft delicious lager styles. It’s a strain I’ve developed quite a fondness for over the last few years, finding it to be incredibly versatile and easy to use. Perhaps due my affection for W-34/70 and otherwise biased tendency toward liquid yeast, I only recently heard of another dry lager yeast offering from Fermentis that goes by Saflager S-189.

According to the manufacturer, S-189 was sourced from the Hürlimann Brewery out of Zürich, Switzerland. Brewing a wide array of classic lager styles such as Helles, Festbier, and Bock, Hürlimann was founded in 1836 by Albert Hürlimann who, at least according to a mostly reliable source, led the world in the scientific study of yeast, a fact that made using S-189 all the more interesting to me. Would yeasts from different sources used to make similar styles of beer in different regions demonstrate differences in fermentation characteristics or potentially produce their own unique character?

PURPOSE

To evaluate the differences between Saflager W-34/70 and Saflager S-189 lager yeasts when used to ferment a split batch of the same wort.

METHODS

Since these were lager strains and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of the character each might impart, I decided to brew my simple Vienna Lager for this xBmt.

My Simple Vienna Lager

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 22.2 IBUs 9.7 SRM 1.053 1.012 5.3 %
Actuals 1.053 1.01 5.6 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Vienna Lager 7 A 1.048 – 1.055 1.01 – 1.014 18 – 30 9 – 15 2.5 – 3 4.7 – 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Vienna Malt (Weyermann) 10 lbs 96.97
Pale Chocolate Malt 5 oz 3.03

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Hallertauer Mittelfrueh 43 g 60 min Boil Pellet 3.7
Hallertauer Mittelfrueh 15 g 15 min Boil Pellet 3.7

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
SafLager German Lager (S-189) DCL/Fermentis 73% 48°F – 56°F
Saflager Lager (W-34/70) DCL/Fermentis 75% 48°F – 59°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 150°F 60 min

Notes

Water Profile: Ca 75 | Mg 1 | Na 10 | SO4 84 | Cl 70 | pH 5.5

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