It was a dark and
with all the clarity of
But as I sat and pondered the world before me and the passing
of yet another summer, I wondered: is this it? Are these big,
fruited bombs all that's left to life? What will I do now as the
mercury dips down past those valued fermentation temps?
The answer lies in the oft ignored, slightly impractical world
of lagers, of course! Let's stroll through our newly arrived
cold sable nights with beers to match.
freshly poured Imperial Stout.
A Darkness More than Lager
By Drew Beechum
ZYMURGY	 November/December	2009
DREW'S LAGER RULES
For	 years,	 I've	 proclaimed	 loudly	 from
atop	my	 yeast	 box,	 "As	 goes	 your	 yeast,
so	goes	your	beer!"	With	lagers,	this	liter-
ally	stands	as	a	doubly	truthful	testament.
Slower	metabolic	processes	prevent	quick
yeast	 reproduction	 from	 taking	 up	 your
slack.	Practical	 experience	bears	out	 that
lagers	 turn	out	best	when	hit	with	more
than	 twice	 the	 yeast	 required	 for	 ales.
Optimum	pitching	rates	are	6-10	million
cells/ml	for	ales	and	more	than	10-15	mil-
lion	for	lagers.	You	can	grow	your	starter
at	 room	 temperature,	 but	 give	 it	 a	 day
below	60	F	before	pitching.
If	 you	make	 a	 large	 starter	 (3	 to	 4	 liters
for	 normal	 gravities,	 and	 7+	 liters	 for
"mega"	 gravities),	 	 you	 can	 stop	 the	 bad
techniques.	No	more	pitching	your	lagers
above	60	F	(15	C)	to	encourage	growth
before	 chilling	 the	beer	 down!	Now	you
can	go	cold,	pitching	closer	 to	 fermenta-
tion	 temperature	 and	 avoiding	 excess
ester	 formation.	Build	 in	an	extra	day	or
two	 to	 your	 starter	 regimen	 for	 chilling
and	 settling	 the	 yeast.	 Decant	 the	 mass
of	 spent	wort	before	pitching	unless	you
want	estery	oxidized	starter	blending	with
your	precious	newborn.
Don't	be	horrified	if	 it	 takes	two	days	for
krusen	 to	 form	 at	 50	 F	 (10	 C),	 and
two-plus	 week	 prim