I plan on brewing a porter next week that calls for a American Ale yeast. But my basement temperature would be perfect for using a California Lager yeast (aka Anchor Steam yeast). I've seen some Baltic Porter recipes that look good and that use the California Lager yeast, so I'm tempted to swap the yeast. Generally speaking, what changes are recommended (if any) if I were to make such a switch.

FYI, this is the yeast pack I have:


Says 100 billion cells...wow these things have come a long way since I used to dabble in home breweing years ago!

1 Answer 1


Nothing at all! Just switch the yeast and see how you like it. Changing the yeast WILL change the character of the finished beer, but you can go back and adjust based on what you taste.

Note that when you do this you will most likely need to calculate the proper pitching rate for the new yeast in this recipe. Also due to the lower temps you can expect a longer fermentation. This goes doubly so if you want to perform true lagering where you age the beer very cold for a significant period or time (several weeks to several months). Another addition to the process you will likely want to perform is a Diacetyl rest (a few days at higher temps) near the end of fermentation (see http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/Diacetyl_Time_Line.pdf for more details)

  • The time it would take for the yeast to complete fermentation would be longer I assume due to the cooler temps?
    – tcarvin
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 17:45
  • 3
    Yes, it likely will, but that's not a recipe change. And keep in mind that for lagers you need a starter roughly twice as large as for an ale.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 18:15
  • Denny makes an excellent point, refer to MrMalty.com or another Pitching Rate Calculator to figure out the proper pitching rate for the beer! Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 20:08
  • The California Lager yeast is one of those hybrids that ferments at 60-65 degrees. Is a diacetyl rest needed in this case?
    – tcarvin
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:46
  • 1
    To be safe I would probably taste your sample when you think it's done, if there's a hint of diacetyl, do a rest around 68F, otherwise, you're good to go for the rest of your fermentation/aging/lagering schedule. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 21:54

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