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Yeast Selection for Oktoberfests


Even though it’s midsummer, it’s not too soon to start planning fall seasonals – for many, this might mean something with pumpkin, but for traditionalists it’s a classic Oktoberfest.

Like other Bavarian lagers, the ingredients for an O-fest are fairly straightforward – a good base of Vienna, or a mix of Pils/Munich; noble hops to balance – the devil is in the details, and fermentation is a big detail for this style. Here is a quick overview of our lager strain selection to help you select the best strain for the job:

SafLager™ W 34/70 – This venerable strain from Weihenstephan is the most widely-used lager strain in the world, and justifiably so. It’s a terrific all-rounder, with good brewhouse characteristics, reliably attenuative and flocculent, with a clean, malt-accenting finish. Incorporating a diacetyl rest is often a good idea with this yeast.

SafLager™ S-189 – Sourced from Hürlimann in Switzerland, this strain is famously used for strong lager, but it’s right at home in other continental styles. Plus, given the ubiquity of W 34/70, a slight tweak to yeast selection can help differentiate product. With a very high rate of attenuation and bright, clean finish it makes for a nice, dry and crisp interpretation. We have found S-189 to be adaptable to a variety of wort parameters and conditions, low in SO2 production, and a very good flocculator.

SafLager™ S-23 – From the VLB in Berlin, S-23 is less attenuative than the previous two strains, making it a good option for a plusher beer with bigger finish. It can exhibit some ester production at higher OGs, but at a typical Oktoberfest range of 13-14°P or so this shouldn’t be a concern.

For more information or assistance in planning your fall lagers, please contact your sales manager.

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