SafLager S-189?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jokelahoma, Jan 12, 2013.

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  1. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Getting ready to brew a maibock soon. Due to timing issues, and kind of being forced into a "I think I'll brew it today" situation, I decided to go with dry yeast. I passed on the S-23 idea, because of bad reviews and not wanting a lot of fruity esters in the brew. I ordered 34/70, but then saw information about S-189, which I'm embarrassed to admit I'd not even heard of before a couple days ago. The reviews were great, but they were also a few years old. I dug around until I found someplace offering 11.5g packages and went ahead and ordered some of it as well, but based on what I'm reading, it seems like the 11.5g packs I'm getting are likely repackaged from a 500g brick.

    Anyway, the questions are these: Has anyone here used S-189 before? What are your thoughts? How does it compare to 34/70? Any quirks or anomalies I should be aware of with either?

    As always, thanks for any input!
  2. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2006 Iowa

    I've used both quite a few times. I like 34/70 in Helles and pilsners a lot. I've been unable to find S189 lately but I liked it the 3 times I used it. IIRC, it was Vienna, Octoberfest, IPL. It was more malty IMO than 34/70 which is a little more crisp and balanced.

    Edit: I think it would work well in a Maibock.
  3. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    FYI our buying club just got quoted in dry yeast (we didn't ask) and S-189 was only available in 500 gram blocks.
  4. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Yeah, that's all I'm seeing it from Fermentis, so I figured this place is repackaging. So long as they're sanitary about it, that's okay by me. I'd be doing roughly the same thing if I had a block myself.
  5. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,599) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I would trust myself to be sanitary with this, without take extraordinary precautions. I would trust a homebrew supplier to do this satisfactorily, unless I had prior cause to believe they lacked competence.
  6. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Exactly. And one would think that were they not, word would get around about not using that particular yeast for that reason. I've heard none of that, so I'm not too worried about the packaging. I'm actually looking forward to trying this yeast.
    pweis909 likes this.
  7. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    FYI, not that anyone cares, but I received this today and it id definitely repackaged. Nicely done and professional looking, but definitely repackaged.
  8. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2006 Iowa

    Where did you get it? I've been unable to source and and would like to use it again. Any chance they can package more that 11g at a time?
  9. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    I got mine from American Brewmaster in North Carolina, at this link . It's probably available at a few other places as well. As for other sizes, you'd have to ask, but since they already have the capability to repackage, I'd be surprised if they couldn't.

    I should add that with the price of the yeast plus shipping, I do believe I'm going to make my first attempt at yeast washing on this one as well. I know using a yeast after a 1.070 beer isn't ideal, but I'm willing to risk it.
  10. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Apologies for bringing up an old thread, but I wanted to update this in case anyone was even remotely interested in the S-189.

    I just kegged the maibock I made with this (brewed on January 17). It was an unbelievably slow starter. I always pitch colder than necessary and warm the beer back to primary temps (e.g. pitch at ~48 and let it come back to 52), but even with doing that, I see activity within 24 hours or so with most lager yeasts. This one was easily 40+ hours, even with 22 grams of rehydrated yeast into a 5 gallon batch of 1.069 wort. Once it got going, it continued to move slowly. After 7 days, I pulled the beer out of the cooler for a diacetyl rest, and within a day it took off, finishing up in another 3 days or so. So, if you use this, don't be surprised if it takes a long while to start.

    As for how it finished, man did it ever attenuate. It dropped this brew from 1.069 to 1.010, or just under 85% apparent attenuation. That was unexpected, to say the least. The recipe was just pilsner and Munich malt, and I did oxygenate with O2, but still, I was planning on ~75% AA. Not a big deal. Just a bit thinner and bigger beer than I wanted.

    And as for the beer itself? Crystal clear after 44 days of lagering at 34 degrees, with a completely neutral aroma. I get almost no fruitiness or bready aroma from this at all, unlike the occasional complaints about S-23 or W34-70. Even after kegging the beer and sticking my nose in the Better Bottle when only yeast was left, I still got nothing overpowering as far as estery aromas. Easily one of the cleanest if not the cleanest yeast I've ever used. Even uncarbonated from the hydrometer sample the beer tasted clean and bright, with no flavors other than grain.

    So in the end, I'm going to say this one passed the test. I'll use it again. Glad I decided to try my hand at yeast washing with this, so I have more to use. I will be making a red lager next, but even with the caramel malts in the recipe you can bet I'll be mashing higher and adding some of the dreaded carapils to try to keep some residual sugars in it this time.
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