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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: kylekohlmorgen on January 25, 2013, 12:33:40 PM

Title: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on January 25, 2013, 12:33:40 PM
All you commercial brewers (or aspiring commercial brewers) out there,

What did you decide on for your "house" yeast strain? How did you choose? Did you just use the one you were most familiar with?

I'd like to think my homebrew recipes will eventually turn into commercial brews, so its something I'd like to start giving thought to...
Title: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: majorvices on January 25, 2013, 01:19:30 PM
I have two strains and two different flagship beers. I make about 80% of the rest of my beers with those yeast. One is a belgian strain I use for my Wit and the other a German ale strain I use for our "schwarzbier" (made w/ale yeast.)

Basically, to answer your question, I chose the yeast that works best for my flagship beers and the styles of beers I want to brew. It is not without problems, for instance while the strain I use for the Wit works perfectly IMO for that style but it is a pain to clear in the Tripel, Dubbel and Quad.

It's hard to deal with other strains because I don't have any means to propagate yeast aside from the fermentor so if I am going to brew one 15 bbl of 1.090 quad I need to start w/an existing slurry and it's not just as easy as deciding to throw in another style to grow up yeast because you need tap handles and/or labels for that beer and I don't want to waste an entire brewday making up a yeast starter.

So, if I want to add a different strain I need to either add a new flagship beer or a yeast propagation set up. For my Belgians I am actually considering adding a belgian Pale ale so that I can change the strain to what I prefer in my higher gravity Belgians.

At some point perhaps I will contact White Labs or Wyeast or BSI and see if they can suggest or "design" me a proprietary strain but I can't afford that just yet.

If you are brewing on a large scale it isn;t the same as just bringing over your old homebrew recipes. In fact, here's another problem. I get most of my grain from Country Malts and they don't even carry some of the malts I would like to use (though they do carry most of it) but to order the couple of sacks I want that CM doesn't carry I'd have to order a pallet from Brewer's Supply Group.

And don't even get me started about hops! ;)
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: anthony on January 25, 2013, 03:19:08 PM
We've only brewed a half dozen batches, so for whatever its worth... but I used BRY-97 for all of our initial beers. Coming to a new system, a new scale, at times new ingredients, etc. I wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible, so the ease of using dry yeast was hard to pass up. For our British/session beers, we are using the Timothy Taylor yeast from BSI.

I'm subject to the same limitations that majorvices mentioned. I could decide to just brew something using a random yeast but a pitch of yeast isn't cheap so it has to be used on an entire series of beers to really fit into the budget. One brick of BRY-97 was about $150 and had enough yeast to be directly pitched into two batches (one 12P, one 17P). The only way to make that more economical is to re-use the yeast.

Keeping a pitchable quantity of the yeast in good condition is another trick. If you switch yeasts mid-stream, your original yeast may sit around for a week or two and lose viability. Right now, I don't really have a good setup for a yeast brink and so I've just been trying to keep the yeast going with new batches of beer.

I will likely switch away from BRY-97 once I have a good handle on all the other things there are to worry about. Ultimately, if you're starting out with fewer than 3 or 4 fermenters, you will need to pick a yeast that is versatile. Something that will flocculate out either with or without some fining encouragement.

I don't know that specifically being familiar with a strain is a pre-requisite as long as the strain is consistently well-reviewed. You will become familiar with the strain within a couple batches as long as you keep decent notes, follow the same temperature regimen, etc.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 25, 2013, 03:48:49 PM
The local lager brewery was using WLP 833 and WLP 940.  They brew more with 940, and may drop the 833, as they have to spent time keeping it viable.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: tschmidlin on January 25, 2013, 05:25:36 PM
I am fortunate to live in an area with a lot of great breweries - I can drop off a clean/sani corny and come back in a few days to more yeast than I need.  So I don't have a house strain, it tends to be the house strain of whoever I am bumming yeast off of that week. ;)
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: a10t2 on January 25, 2013, 07:16:41 PM
Once you pick the broad category you want, I'd try to narrow it down based on the strains' specs (attenuation, flocculation, alcohol tolerance). Flocculation is a big one if you aren't filtering. If you can narrow it down to two or three, then you can start splitting batches of your house recipes.

Equipment limitations could also be a factor. In one brewery, I had to switch to a top-cropping strain (1332) because there was no way to reliably harvest yeast from the dish-bottom fermenters.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: anthony on January 25, 2013, 08:08:25 PM
Equipment limitations could also be a factor. In one brewery, I had to switch to a top-cropping strain (1332) because there was no way to reliably harvest yeast from the dish-bottom fermenters.

Was there a manway on the top?
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on January 25, 2013, 08:17:59 PM
It's hard to deal with other strains because I don't have any means to propagate yeast aside from the fermentor so if I am going to brew one 15 bbl of 1.090 quad I need to start w/an existing slurry and it's not just as easy as deciding to throw in another style to grow up yeast because you need tap handles and/or labels for that beer and I don't want to waste an entire brewday making up a yeast starter.

So, if I want to add a different strain I need to either add a new flagship beer or a yeast propagation set up. For my Belgians I am actually considering adding a belgian Pale ale so that I can change the strain to what I prefer in my higher gravity Belgians.

Makes a lot of sense, and a hurdle that might be present for most new breweries. Why buy a prop. vessel when that money could go towards another fermentor/more kegs/etc.?
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: a10t2 on January 25, 2013, 08:35:10 PM
Was there a manway on the top?

No, I blew off into a bucket of water acidified to pH 4.0 with phosphoric acid, with the lid drilled to fit the blowoff hose. Did counts and harvested from the bucket.

Before I got there they were pitching fresh yeast for every batch. :o
Title: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: majorvices on January 25, 2013, 08:55:12 PM
It's hard to deal with other strains because I don't have any means to propagate yeast aside from the fermentor so if I am going to brew one 15 bbl of 1.090 quad I need to start w/an existing slurry and it's not just as easy as deciding to throw in another style to grow up yeast because you need tap handles and/or labels for that beer and I don't want to waste an entire brewday making up a yeast starter.

So, if I want to add a different strain I need to either add a new flagship beer or a yeast propagation set up. For my Belgians I am actually considering adding a belgian Pale ale so that I can change the strain to what I prefer in my higher gravity Belgians.

Makes a lot of sense, and a hurdle that might be present for most new breweries. Why buy a prop. vessel when that money could go towards another fermentor/more kegs/etc.?

Plus there's the extra work of adding a brewday or at least collecting and boiling the left over runnings.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 26, 2013, 03:11:44 AM
I tested a several (4) different yeast strains before I decided which one I want to use.
I brew mostly lagers so I go around what I can brew with it.

Recently I made an Alt beer that I fermented with my yeast at 60F. Fermentation was great. Smell was wonderful but I am a little bit disappointed with final result. Over all fermentation results are fine just the hop selection is not what I was anticipated.

What I want to say is: Learn your yeast and try different temperatures. Learn how to harvest and handle your yeast with your equipment.
Title: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on January 27, 2013, 03:44:29 AM
I'm on a quest to figure out the strains we will use right now. So far, it's wlp833 German bock lager, Wyeast 2112 California lager, and Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite 50.

Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: garc_mall on January 27, 2013, 07:28:35 AM
Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!

Me too. But that is just to drink your beer.
Title: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: majorvices on January 27, 2013, 09:49:26 AM
Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!

Me too. But that is just to drink your beer.

Me too! For both! :)
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 27, 2013, 04:06:58 PM
Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!

Me too. But that is just to drink your beer.

Me too! For both! :)
Do I see a stampede coming? :)
Just let me know when.

Just as a thought. You can ferment lager yeast at ale temp. That what Cry Havoc is doing.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on January 28, 2013, 02:54:04 PM
What I want to say is: Learn your yeast and try different temperatures. Learn how to harvest and handle your yeast with your equipment.

I've heard this advice many times before. For the most part, I've stopped experimenting with new yeast and stuck to repeatedly using 3 or 4 strains (1056, 1214, 1968, and 3711, if you're interested).

I LOVE 1056 because its damn-near bullet proof and can be repitched several times, but it is a PITA to get clear (usually I get one or two 'brilliant' pints before the keg kicks).

OTOH I love 1968 for its ester production in milds/bitters, but I haven't experimented with it enough to find its limits (performance at lower temps, performance after multiple pitches). Not so much concerned with ester profile in pale/IPA/browns, since FW uses it throughout their lineup.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: boulderbrewer on January 31, 2013, 05:56:04 AM
Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!

Me too. But that is just to drink your beer.

Me too! For both! :)

Give yourself a day or two more and stop by Tribute and a trip to Oso, Redeye and
Bull Falls.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: boulderbrewer on January 31, 2013, 06:08:47 AM
You can bank you propierty yeast a wyeast for a small fee and they will grow it for you to a pitchable dose. This all costs some money but they clean up the yeast and store it for you so it my work for you.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: garc_mall on January 31, 2013, 06:32:43 AM
Leos, I need to visit your taproom soon. Need to discuss lager brewing!

Me too. But that is just to drink your beer.

Me too! For both! :)

Give yourself a day or two more and stop by Tribute and a trip to Oso, Redeye and
Bull Falls.

My rough plan is to hit up both Lazy Monk and Tribute when I go out to MN to visit my wife's family.
Title: Re: "House" Yeast Strain
Post by: boulderbrewer on January 31, 2013, 06:57:39 AM
Let me know maybe we can save you a few bucks by being the hotel. You got to milk the gots and feed the chickens and ducks. Part of the plan. free beer though.