Originally Posted by alelover
Actually 55ºF is ideal lager temp for fermenting. It then gets lowered to 34ºF for lagering.
It really depends on the strain. Most standard lager yeasts work best around 50F. The issue is quite subtle. It isn't whether the yeast like it up higher -- they DO,
it's around the flavor profile produced. Most beer yeasts will chug away happily all the way up at 90F, but the end product will taste awful (certain belgian yeasts excluded -- always exceptions :-) .
They tend to throw more esters as the temp gets higher. In my experience, 55 is pushing it and 57 is just plain high for most common lager strains.
The California Common strain is used at those temps because even though it is a lager strain, it has been mutated over the years to be comparitively clean up there around 57-60F. Certain ale yeast strains like Cal Ale or Nottingham will work well at 57 but that's really close to the edge of where they want to flocculate out and go dormant, but God they ferment clean there if you can get them to stay active! I love the end product when brewing many of the American Ale styles and IPAs down around 58-60F. You can really taste the difference.
I see that morebeer recommends either the dry SafLager-23, or the White Labs or Wyeast Czech strains for their pilsner kits. I've never used this dry yeast before but I've used the other two, and both will get fruity as the temp gets higher.