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WLP833 vs. S-23 in a Traditional Bock

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by hopsandmalt, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (400) Michigan Dec 14, 2006 Verified

    I'm brewing a traditional bock next and the recipe I have calls for WLP833 German bock lager yeast. I really don't feel like making a huge starter. Am I going to loose anything by subbing in a few packets of S-23? Here is the recipe:

    10 gal. O.G. 1.072

    20# Munich
    5# Pilsner
    1# Crystal 120
    .5# Melanoidin
    .5# Special B

    1.15oz. Nugget 60 Min.

    Single infusion mash 60 min. @155F

    Ferment 2 weeks @ 50F
    Lager 6 weeks @ 35F
  2. BigAB

    BigAB Aficionado (150) Iowa Aug 4, 2008

    I have never used S-23. I've heard, however, that it may benefit from slightly warmer temps as some people claim a number of not-so-great byproducts.

    S-23 would make a very different beer than WLP833 (the Ayinger yeast strain, very distinctive IMO). I love the this strain, and though the S-23 could probably make a decent beer, it would not be the same as what WLP833 would produce.
  3. I've used both strains, and I really like the WLP833. S23 will make a fine beer, but it is a bit fruitier, and it doesn't accentuate the maltiness quite as much. Maybe a blend of the two, just pitch a small starter of the White Labs vial along with a pack of S23 to get your cell count where it need to be?

    As an aside, I also really like Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal in my strong bocks. I’ve got one lagering now (WLP833 fermented) that spend a few in a five gallon malt whisky barrel. It adds a more complex dark fruit than Special B, and just a hint of coffee. Really looking forward to that one!

    Good luck either way.
  4. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    If you're going to through the all effort to make 10 gallons of lager, take the extra 1/2 hour a few days prior and make a starter. WLP833 is my favorite all-time lager yeast which makes spectacular bocks and doppelbocks.
  5. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (400) Michigan Dec 14, 2006 Verified

    Yeah I was thinking about mixing the two strains just to up my cell count or possibly using one strain in one carboy and the other in the second.

    So you suggest swapping out the Special B for Simpsons extra dark crystal pound for pound?

    Also do you know it's lovibond rating? How dark is "Extra dark"?
  6. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (400) Michigan Dec 14, 2006 Verified

    Making one starter wouldn't be a problem, I make a starter for every beer I make. However making two starters (one for each carboy) and decanting/stepping them up multiple times when I only have one 2000ml flask, one stir plate and limited refrigeration space is a problem.
  7. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (350) Michigan Mar 21, 2009

    Use the WLP833. Don't scrimp on the yeast for this beer.
    Pegli likes this.
  8. I think doing a split batch sounds like a fun idea, see for yourself the difference the lager yeast can make. In the future you could always do a 5 gallon batch of dunkel to produce enough yeast for your bigger batches of bock.

    The Simpsons Extra Dark is ~155 L. I’d probably swap it out pound for pound for the Special B and C120, but I don’t mind a deep leathery colored bock. I stole the idea from The Livery (they use it in their Wheat Trippelbock).
  9. pweis909

    pweis909 Champion (750) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005 Verified

    I have used S-23 and found it to make a slightly fruity lager. Not excessively so, but still detectably so. It does seem to prefer warmer lager temps, which may be the cause of the fruitiness.I've used S-23, S-W34/70, and liquid yeasts in pilsners. They all made drinkable beers, but the liquid was best, but I was also fond of S-W34/70. If you can get your hands on Saflager it, I think you will find it a more suitable dry yeast than S-23, at least for a bock.

  10. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2007

    I've used S-23 in a Baltic Porter and it was a bit too fruity for my tastes. Still a fine beer, but I don't dig the fruitiness of this beer.
  11. pweis909

    pweis909 Champion (750) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005 Verified

  12. Since you're curious, this is an ideal way to answer your own question. Both will likely make excellent beers, so there's no real risk and, indeed, you may even decide that you prefer S-23 in a Bock or, perhaps, get an idea of a style in which it might be better suited. In the end, you'll know more than you know now. And you'll have one more tool in your arsenal.
    hopsandmalt likes this.