A Unique Beer Flavor Profile: Saflager S-23 yeast

I bottled a Pilsner last weekend that I brewed a few months ago. It was the first time I used the Saflager S-23 German Lager yeast by Fermentis and the results are shaping up nicely. I had to use this yeast because of its ability to tolerate some temperature swings during primary fermentation. Why? Because I don’t have strict temperature control during fermentation, I just use my basement! Old school, I know!
 Granted, my basement’s temperature stays pretty constant but as I discussed in my California Common review video, but slight variations in temperature during fermentation can wreck most lager based homebrews. This is not the case with Saflager S-23.

Sampling the Pilsner

I usually bottle condition my brews and I do take samples over the course of conditioning. Last night I took two samples, one from the first set and one from the last set of bottles that were bottled. I do this to check if there is some consistency from beginning to end. Right before the conditioning period is over, I take another random sample.

Overall the results are turning out better than I hoped. The Pilsner is rapidly developing carbonation and a head. Head retention isn’t there yet but another week of conditioning will help.

Flavor Profile

Now…the surprise!

This Pilsner has a very unique flavor profile that I couldn’t have fully imagined when I started brewing it. I read how this yeast generates some fruity esters and has a long palette because of the low attenuation. The mouth feel is definitely a Pils but the aroma and palette remind me of a Belgian Tripel. Not quite a full blown Tripel but just a hint. That’s because the yeast imparts a reasonable amount of fruity esters during fermentation that really comes out in the bottle.

Give it Try

I shared my Pilsner recipe here (BeerXML format) and you can pick up some Saflager S-23 yeast here. I’ll be brewing at least two more batches in the winter months when basement is at the 56F.

As always, brew your own and raise a pint!

Originally published at Yeast Head.