So I went to my local homebrew store to purchase a an "Aussie honey lager" extract kit but they were out of stock. The friendly man behind the counter helped me to re-create this kit by checking their files for what came in this kit. This is what I got:

  • "Beermakers" lager extract kit 1.7kg tin
  • "Beer kit converter" pack for making lagers, consisting of a 1kg bag of powder (a mix of maltose, dextrose, maltodextrin, malted barley) and a 10g packet of Golden Cluster hop pellets
  • SAFLAGER S-23 yeast 11.5g packet, refrigerated
  • 25g packet of Citra hop pellets for dry-hopping
  • 500g of pure honey (of which I only used 250g)

The problem is, because I didn't buy the kit as a whole, I didn't get the specific instructions for this recipe kit. Instead I had multiple sets of instructions (the "beer kit converter" pack came with some instructions, the tin of extract had instructions on it, and the yeast also had some guidelines as to temperatures etc, and lastly I had a look at some extract kit recipes online that use honey to figure out at what point to add the honey). This is what I ended up doing:

Heated 3L of water in 7L pot on gas stove. Dissolved 1 kg "Beer kit converter" powder, followed by 250ml honey and 2 tsp cinnamon powder for a hint of spice. Brought to boiling point as per instructions that came with "beer kit converter", added 10g Golden Cluster hop pellets and boiled for 2-3 minutes. Left pot for 15 minutes in kitchen sink in cold water to bring temperature down a bit.

Heated up can of Beermakers lager extract, emptied into fermenter. Rinsed can with boiled water. Added wort from pot to fermenter, stirred vigorously. Added can of hot water with remaining extract and stirred vigorously. Topped up with room temperature water to 21L mark, and stirred thoroughly. Pitched 11.5g of Saflager S-23 yeast at 24-26 degrees C. The OG reading was 1046.

Here's my problem: I've struggled to keep the temperature consistently low (the yeast pack recommended 12-15 degreees C but I've had it fluctuating between 18 and 22 degrees C). The packet did specify that you can pitch and ferment at room temperature when using a single packet, or at the cooler temperature when using two packets. It started bubbling away nicely fairly soon, but within 24 hours it started to emit a "rotten eggs" smell which I believe is sulphur hydroxide or something. It wasn't very bad at first, and I read on reddit homebrewing that this is often a normal by-product of fermentation, but it's been more than 72 hours since I pitched the yeast and it is still producing a LOT of stinky gas. So much so that I've moved it to my garage as it was getting pretty bad! This is also not good for keeping temperature consistent (early summer in Melbourne, Australia - not too hot yet but will get hot soon). I've also noticed that there's a very small layer of foam/krausen on top, no more than 1-1.5cm. My previous extract brew produced a few inches of froth/krausen.

So, is the rotten eggs smell something to worry about? And can someone tell me, am I brewing a lager (hence should I properly lager this brew at low temperatures for a long time) or am I brewing a lager-style ale which can ferment and condition at more mild temperatures (18 - 22 degrees C)?

Please help - really want to know how to make the most of this brew! Thanks!

2 Answers 2


You're making a real lager, so try to keep the temps as low as possible - around 50F/10C would be about ideal. (The fermentation will raise temperature this by about 6F/3C.) But if you don't and let it warm up, it will still be a lager - it's because of the yeast - S-23 is a true lager strain (Saccaromyces pastorianus).

Lager yeast tend to produce sulphur - and you're getting a lot of sulphur because of the high fermentation temps - it is expected and will dissipate eventually.

Lager yeasts are bottom fermenting - which is a old-fashioned way of saying they are less active, and so they don't always produce a krausen, or a small one at higher temperatures.

Stick with the batch, sounds like you're doing fine so far.

  • Thanks for your comment and encouragement. I have since bought myself a great second hand fridge on Gumtree which is big enough to use for both cold crashing and/or lagering a full 23L/5G batch in my fermenter. It is in my garage now so no need to worry about sulphur smells making my housemates angry! Thanks for explaining "bottom fermenting" to me, good to know! Nov 21, 2013 at 8:18

Saflager S-23 is a lager yeast. http://www.fermentis.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/SFG_S23.pdf

9-22°C as it ferments 12-15°C when you lager the beer.

http://billybrew.com/swamp-cooler-homebrew try doing swamp cooler to get that temp down and under control.

Lager not recommended for someone starting out. If you can't control fermantion temperature then you will end up with some off flavors.

I haven't used this yeast. But I know other give off sulfur smell. 72 hours isn't that long give it more time.

Ale yeast is more forgiving and recommended for people that don't have a way to control temperature.

Don't give up brewing. My first batch was no better than pee water. I spent little more time reading up and watching videos and 2nd and 3rd batches were hits. Joining a brewing club or finding out if your local brew shop has a class on brewing.

  • Thanks for your answer! I was thinking of the swamp cooler method but then found a (huge) cheap old fridge on gumtree which I will be using for lagering and cold crashing. I know lagering is a bit more advanced, and to be honest I set out to make a "lager style" brew using a kit (perfect for a noob like me!) but as explained in my original post, the kit I wanted wasn't in stock so we had to improvise. I will stick to simpler kits for now, and hope to do a BIAB ale soon. Definitely looking into tutorials/demos at my LHBS - found one that has them every second Saturday! Thanks again. Nov 21, 2013 at 8:20

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