Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Narziss Fermentation

I have been conducting a little research into brewing lagers lately.  It’s a goal of mine to get the first lager out of the way (Have you taken the poll yet?)  before the end of the year and finally fulfill a long standing Brew Year’s Resolution.

I was reading Brewing Classic Styles last night and it stated that for all the lager recipes that the followed the Narziss Fermentation procedure.

From what I read, this method calls for pitching the yeast into wort that is colder than the optimal fermentation temperature (44°F).  Then, you should let the fermentation vessel warm up slowly during the first 36 to 48 hours to the optimal temperature ( 50°F) and hold it there for the rest of fermentation.

The Narziss fermentation procedure is followed to keep fruity esters and diacetyl at bay as these characteristics are not welcome in lager styles.  Following this method, there would be no diacetyl rest

Just wondering what our readers thought about the Narziss Fermentation method/procedure.

A guy named Ludwig wouldn’t steer your wrong…or a guy named Jamil.


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  1. JSKC

    It’s also encouraged to rack the beer off of the cold break before pitching yeast.

  2. dan

    That’s sort of how I do it….I’ve tried pitching above fermentation temp twice and had bad results…pitched 56-60 and ferment 50-52. Now, I usually don’t get down to 44, but I do get to 46-48 and ferment 48-50. This has worked quite well & produced super clean beers. Big starters and lots of 02 helps too.

  3. Chris

    I’ve only brewed 2 lagers, and am doing my 3rd this weekend. The first time, I chilled my wort to 70 F and pitched my yeast, just like I do for ales, then stuck the carboy in the lagering fridge. That one needed 3 days for a diacetyl rest, and still was a little rough tasting after 6 weeks lagering. My second one, I chilled down to fermentation temp then pitched my yeast. No diacetyl rest needed but a little fruity ester was present after 4 weeks lagering. This time I plan on using the Narziss Fermentation procedure and will let you know how it goes. Oh, and huge starters are a must.

  4. Ted

    I do try to get the wort to about 45*F at pitching. Then as the fermentation picks up, it naturally raises to about 50*F. And then holding it there or a few below is good. I still will raise the temp in towards the end of the 2-3rd week closer to 60 to finish it off before racking.

  5. Stephen

    Appreciate your comments here. I googled this having read Brewing Classic Styles too. I must admit, I am novice at homebrewing and am a little lost on the comment, “It’s also encouraged to rack the beer off of the cold break before pitching yeast.” What does this mean? I know what racking is, siphoning to another container for clarity. I am going to use a 2 stage fermentation process so planning on doing this anyway, but prior to pitching the yeast? I’m lost. Once I chill my wort down to 44-45, I don’t want to rack it off the trub/sludge, do I? Doesn’t this contain all of the “food” for the yeast? Can someone break this down for me in step by step detail since I seem to not be able to conjure up what the authors are recommending? Sorry for being a dolt. Appreciate the assist.

  6. Hi Stephen,

    No need to call yourself a dolt. You do want to rack the beer off the sludge/trub/cold break material from your kettle into your fermenter. The wort will have enough food for the yeast to do their thing.

    You are encouraged to do this to help with clarity. Now, if you get a little sludge in your fermenter – it’s not the end of the world. I think you should try to get as little as possible into your fermenter.

    I think maybe you were confused with the timing of this step. This step would come in right after the boil is done and your wort is cooled to fermentation temperature. This racking is from kettle to fermenter and not fermenter to lagering vessel.

    Hope that helps.

  7. Stephen

    Thanks John. Got it. 2 weeks into fermenting my first lager. Will report back when done! Using the Narziss process.

  8. Mark

    I found this in an old Brewing Techniques article by George Fix on Diacetyl reduction:

    “One alternative is the so-called Narziss fermentation. In this procedure the first two-thirds of the fermentation is done at 8-10 degrees C (46-50 degrees F). During the final third of fermentation, the temperature is allowed to increase to 20 degrees C (68 degrees F), after which the beer is transferred to cold storage.”

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