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Yeast pitch rates and Lagering approach


May 7, 2013
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With the holiday period in full swing I thought its time to review a few of my techniques. Any comments are much appreciated.

1) Pitching rates for a Lager.
I typically use dry yeast saflager w-34/70 11 gram packet without hydration or a starter. Into the fermenter goes 40 litres at 1055 OG and followed by 3 packets of yeast. Most times the FG hits 1010-12 after a few weeks and then I lager for another 4 weeks. Im concerned I under pitch the amount of yeast and don't produce a great beer. Beersmith suggests 5-6 packets depending on the packet age but I think thats excessive. (i'm not expert!). Maybe 4 packets at 150billion cells/packets is more appropriate??????????

2) Lagering vessel (fermenter or keg)
After achieving FG, I syphon into the 2 - 19 litre korny kegs; put in some CO2 and put them in the fridge at 3-4 degrees C. Then wait 30 days.
However Lagering in a keg that has no head space and that cold may not allow off flavours etc to escape. So I though about another technique but I'm hesitant to try and possibly loose the whole brew.
The approach is the leave the fermented wort in the fermenter with the yeast and "junk" at the bottom for the next 30 days at 18C. My thinking is there's plenty of space for the "off flavours" to escape ??????????


Grandmaster Brewer
Dec 17, 2016
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Fallon, NV
If you're fermenting at lager temperatures, the proper pitch would be ~810 billion cells for 40 liters of 1.055 wort. That would be 5.4, 11-gram packets @ 150grams/packet.

You can ferment a very clean lager in the 16 C range using W-34/70 and pitch about 1/3 less yeast.


Grandmaster Brewer
Apr 7, 2017
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Your method of transferring to a keg and letting it lager cold for 30 days is fine. There really is no need to worry about headspace in the keg or letting off flavors escape as that happens during fermentation. The lager stage is to let particulates settle out and the beer clear up.