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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: 69franx on April 16, 2014, 05:21:44 PM

Title: Another Starter Question
Post by: 69franx on April 16, 2014, 05:21:44 PM
From everything I have read here, and in my own limited experience, starters are beneficial for fermentation. I am wondering why LHBS store owners and employees still question the need for starters. I have been to 2 different shops and received the same blah response about starters. In one store, I was told that 1056 is a crazy good yeast that will get through almost any 5 gallon batch... I could understand if they were pushing for the purchase of another smack pack, but they keep saying the one pack is plenty. General opinion here is pitch according to wort needs( I am aided by beersmith for the appropriate size to pitch) and I just wonder if anyone else sees the same issues at LHBS. At both stores, the employee or owner in question is also a brewer with good reputation in the area. I do not plan to stop using starters, as i have seen great results pitching properly, I just dont understand why the people out there selling the product dont understand its limitations and best handling procedures. Any thoughts folks?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: a10t2 on April 16, 2014, 05:32:42 PM
I was told that 1056 is a crazy good yeast that will get through almost any 5 gallon batch...

This is undeniably true. If "getting through" fermentation is your foremost concern – if, for example, you were a new brewer with questionable sanitation and a limited budget – then pitching one pack is the cheapest and easiest way to ensure you'll make beer.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Alewyfe on April 16, 2014, 05:37:50 PM
Overworked, lazy or contrary....who knows. We experienced the same thing here until our club came into being, local brewers started getting good information and went shopping armed with that knowledge. The LHBS have had to up their game. They've increased refrigerated storage, increased their inventory and are listening. The two local stores are also members and now support our club. There is strength in numbers Frank. Join that local homebrew club. Discuss this issue. Make it clear you want to do business locally, but won't hesitate to go elsewhere if they can not provide the goods or the expertise you expect.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Jimmy K on April 16, 2014, 05:56:40 PM
I think shops are in the same predicament as the yeast companies. They want to sell an easy product. To a beginner, saying 'This yeast is good but you'll need a starter' might sound like 'This is an incomplete product'. It makes the yeast sound like it's not up for the job and it makes the process more complicated when they're trying to convince you that their product is simple. Add to that - some shop employees may live and breath homebrewing, but are so familiar with it that they haven't learned anything new in 10 years. This is similar to them selling beginner kits with secondary fermenters. And ingredient kits with secondary fermentation steps. And BeerSmith has two-step fermentation as it's default. And ...
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: 69franx on April 16, 2014, 06:28:55 PM
Thanks all. I think I am just frustrated thinking back about my first 3 batches from kits from the 2 stores. All came with only 1 pack of yeast, even the Pliny Clone. Was never really happy with any of those 3, am plan on revisiting with all the knowledge I have gleaned from this forum!
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 16, 2014, 07:23:17 PM
I dunno.  I like my LHBS and the people there seem really nice.  But the couple of times I've had questions (one was about the Belle Saison yeast, I think) they haven't been particularly knowledgeable.  I've come to the realization that I probably have more brewing experience than they do. 

Of course, their largest customer base is also new brewers, so simple easy answers are probably the best way to go.

That said, they're probably fed up with know-it-all douches coming in and acting like they know everything.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 17, 2014, 01:18:26 AM
This is similar to them selling beginner kits with secondary fermenters. And ingredient kits with secondary fermentation steps. And BeerSmith has two-step fermentation as it's default. And ...

It looks like someone has been spending too much time on Home Brew Talk. 

Fact #1 - The cell death clock starts the moment that the yeast cells enter the stationary phase during fermentation.  From that point forward, it's only a matter of time before the cells consume their glycogen reserves and lyse.  Cool storage temperatures slow yeast metabolism, but the cells will eventually lyse.  The delta between the time that the culture enters the stationary phase and the time that autolysis begins is strain dependent.

Fact #2 - There are advantages to separating the green beer from the break and other organic material at the end of fermentation.  Trub stimulates yeast metabolism, which, in turn, shortens the time delta between the end of active fermentation and autolysis.

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 17, 2014, 02:12:15 AM
Go ahead and transfer if that's what you want to do.

I've yet to observe off flavors from autolysis and I haven't used a secondary in years.

So, in my experience your facts are irrelevant.  They may still be facts but not ones  concerned with.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 17, 2014, 05:20:41 AM
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

With that said, I do not always use a secondary fermentation vessel.   I only use a secondary if I will not have keg space within a week after the end of active fermentation.  Sometimes, I will let green beer sit on the trub for up to ten days because I have other obligations.  However, I am under no illusion that the beer is getting better by remaining with the trub. 

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 17, 2014, 11:14:56 AM
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

With that said, I do not always use a secondary fermentation vessel.   I only use a secondary if I will not have keg space within a week after the end of active fermentation.  Sometimes, I will let green beer sit on the trub for up to ten days because I have other obligations.  However, I am under no illusion that the beer is getting better by remaining with the trub. 



As recently as last year, I espoused the set it and forget it regimen for beer fermentation, but with larger re-pitching recently, I have gone to racking to keg as a bright tank shortly after reaching terminal gravity and then later pushing by CO2 to the serving keg, more like the pros do.  The beers seem at least as good, so maybe terminal gravity plus a few days is all that is needed.  Merely hitting terminal gravity is a crap shoot, so now I have to check more to be comfortable that the beer is truly done, but taking a thief of beer a couple three times in three days is not exposing it to too much of an additional oxygen risk I hope.  Smaller ales go right to serving keg, typically in three weeks.  Plus, this way the re-harvested yeast is beastly healthy!
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 17, 2014, 12:48:39 PM

The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

I do not thing that fermentation fundamentals have changed at all. To my opinion using pressure vessels to finish fermentation was done due carbonation.

There is more ways how to make beer. If you like using another vessel when you reach FG, more Power to you.


Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 17, 2014, 01:03:08 PM
IMO oxidation is a much more real ,tangible risk at the home level than any theoretical risk of autolysis. Brewers who aren't very careful while racking to secondary might (and eventually will) have to dump oxidized beer. Autolysis just isn't an issue at home, unless you leave the beer on the yeast for a very long time.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: rabeb25 on April 17, 2014, 02:29:18 PM
This is merely a guess, but maybe its not an issue to homebrewers because of the size of our fermentation vessels.  5 gallons of beers has a lot less pressure at the bottom of the tank then say 3-5bbls to 100bbls. would that pressure rupture dead cells?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 17, 2014, 02:29:29 PM
the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

I think you're drawing bright lines where reality is a continuum.  Rather than go by "rules" I will follow my experience.

My beers typically sit in the fermenter for up to a month.  I have not experienced autolysis.  Perhaps, as you say, my beers are not getting better by being exposed to the trub but experience tells me they are not getting worse.  I'm sure there is an outside date at which this would change, but I haven't hit it yet (not that I am trying to or tempting fate).  I do my aging in cornies, so for anything that will get extended aging it comes off the yeast.

Bottom line is you should try it both ways and do whichever you prefer.  But I don't think anyone is well served by being alarmed at bugaboos that may not be relevant at the home level.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 17, 2014, 02:31:53 PM
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

All the "scientific data" I need is to taste the beer.  What other measure matters?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 17, 2014, 02:32:41 PM
This is merely a guess, but maybe its not an issue to homebrewers because of the size of our fermentation vessels.  5 gallons of beers has a lot less pressure at the bottom of the tank then say 3-5bbls to 100bbls. would that pressure rupture dead cells?

Yes.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: a10t2 on April 17, 2014, 02:48:56 PM
Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

Nor have you supporting yours.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 17, 2014, 02:52:01 PM
Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

Nor have you supporting yours.

But...but...it's science!  ;)
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 17, 2014, 05:35:19 PM
Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

Nor have you supporting yours.

I do not have to prove my claim.  There is ample peer reviewed scientific data available that shows that leaving beer with the trub is not beneficial to flavor.  It is those who are making claims against this body of evidence that have to support their claim via peer reviewed data from scientifically-executed experiments.

If performed correctly, there is little to no oxygen pickup during racking.  Dissolved CO2 is off-gassing during the racking operation.  CO2 is heavier than air; hence, off-gassed CO2 forms a protective barrier between the surface of the green beer and the air in the secondary fermentation vessel.   Additionally, any oxygen picked up during the transfer will be consumed by the yeast culture and used for respirative reproduction via a phenomenon known as diauxic shift.  Oxidation really only becomes a problem when the yeast culture is in bad health or has been filtered out of the beer.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: morticaixavier on April 17, 2014, 05:58:51 PM
Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

Nor have you supporting yours.

I do not have to prove my claim.  There is ample peer reviewed scientific data available that shows that leaving beer with the trub is not beneficial to flavor.  It is those who are making claims against this body of evidence that have to support their claim via peer reviewed data from scientifically-executed experiments.

If performed correctly, there is little to no oxygen pickup during racking.  Dissolved CO2 is off-gassing during the racking operation.  CO2 is heavier than air; hence, off-gassed CO2 forms a protective barrier between the surface of the green beer and the air in the secondary fermentation vessel.   Additionally, any oxygen picked up during the transfer will be consumed by the yeast culture and used for respirative reproduction via a phenomenon known as diauxic shift.  Oxidation really only becomes a problem when the yeast culture is in bad health or has been filtered out of the beer.

I don't see anyone claiming NOT using a secondary is beneficial, just that USING one doesn't seem to be beneficial either. You assume racking is done correctly which is not a safe assumption in my experience. you also assume that most brewers, especially new brewers, are able to accurately determine when their beer has reached final gravity, this is also not a safe assumption. The main reason I advise against transfer to secondary is because so many brewers complain about slow or stuck fermentation after racking to secondary on day 3 or 4 because the recipe and instructions said to do it. Combined with under pitching prematurely removing the beer from the YEAST cake (not so much the trub) tends to negatively impact a lot of brews. The protective blanket of co2 argument is not accurate as in a dynamic situation like racking there will be significant mixing of gases in the head space. and remember that often the yeast culture is in less than optimal health in a homebrew situation. Like so many things, we are working with sub optimal equipment, knowledge, and facilities in the homebrew world and we have to take that into account when deciding how we are going to brew and how we are going to advise new brewers with questions.

I am not trying to discourage you from contributing to this conversation because I think that your perspective is important but you can't assume optimal conditions and draw conclusions about best practices from that when the real world situation is not optimal.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: a10t2 on April 17, 2014, 06:08:23 PM
I do not have to prove my claim.  There is ample peer reviewed scientific data available that shows that leaving beer with the trub is not beneficial to flavor.  It is those who are making claims against this body of evidence that have to support their claim via peer reviewed data from scientifically-executed experiments.

Saying that there's evidence to support your position isn't the same as citing your sources. Neither you nor the putative opposition in this debate that you really, really seem to want to have has presented any evidence.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 17, 2014, 06:31:17 PM
Saying that there's evidence to support your position isn't the same as citing your sources. Neither you nor the putative opposition in this debate that you really, really seem to want to have has presented any evidence.

The best evidence I have is the way my beer tastes by not using a secondary.  It's no different from when I use a secondary.  Beyond that, all the scientific evidence in the world doesn't matter to me.  I've proven it to myself.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 17, 2014, 08:20:59 PM
The main reason I advise against transfer to secondary is because so many brewers complain about slow or stuck fermentation after racking to secondary on day 3 or 4 because the recipe and instructions said to do it.

I agree that racking after an arbitrary number of days is a poor practice.  Many poor practices are preached in amateur brewing like they are gospel (e.g., rinsing yeast with boiled tap water).

Quote
The protective blanket of co2 argument is not accurate as in a dynamic situation like racking there will be significant mixing of gases in the head space.

However, the oxidation while racking non-filtered green beer argument holds water no better than the hot-side aeration in a small brewery argument.  Unless the yeast culture is in absolutely horrendous shape, any oxygen that is introduced while racking will be scrubbed by the viable cells, even if terminal gravity has been reached.  Yeast cells do not need a carbohydrate source to use oxygen.  Yeast cells will happily utilize ethanol as their carbon source in the presence of oxygen via diauxic shift.



Quote
I am not trying to discourage you from contributing to this conversation because I think that your perspective is important but you can't assume optimal conditions and draw conclusions about best practices from that when the real world situation is not optimal.

I am not discouraged in the least.  I do not mind being the underdog in a discussion. 
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: jeffy on April 17, 2014, 08:34:04 PM
The main reason I advise against transfer to secondary is because so many brewers complain about slow or stuck fermentation after racking to secondary on day 3 or 4 because the recipe and instructions said to do it.

I agree that racking after an arbitrary number of days is a poor practice.  Many poor practices are preached in amateur brewing like they are gospel (e.g., rinsing yeast with boiled tap water).

Quote
The protective blanket of co2 argument is not accurate as in a dynamic situation like racking there will be significant mixing of gases in the head space.

However, the oxidation while racking non-filtered green beer argument holds water no better than the hot-side aeration in a small brewery argument.  Unless the yeast culture is in absolutely horrendous shape, any oxygen that is introduced while racking will be scrubbed by the viable cells, even if terminal gravity has been reached.  Yeast cells do not need a carbohydrate source to use oxygen.  Yeast cells will happily utilize ethanol as their carbon source in the presence of oxygen via diauxic shift.



Quote
I am not trying to discourage you from contributing to this conversation because I think that your perspective is important but you can't assume optimal conditions and draw conclusions about best practices from that when the real world situation is not optimal.

I am not discouraged in the least.  I do not mind being the underdog in a discussion.

I am learning quite a bit through this discussion also.  Keep it up.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 17, 2014, 09:03:43 PM
I've always been curious what peer review really means. If it means what it sounds like it means, as someone who understands what evidence is, I don't think peer review is evidence.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 17, 2014, 09:26:39 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the review of this group of peers is that not transferring to secondary is just fine.

I'm sure there's valid science in SC's arguments, but scientific inquiry and brewing practice are not the same thing.  I don't need peer reviewed data to come to my conclusions because I'm a home brewer.  My own personal observations and the consensus of others I trust are sufficient for me. 

But, like I said before, if you really want to go ahead and transfer there's nothing stopping you.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: morticaixavier on April 17, 2014, 09:32:25 PM
I've always been curious what peer review really means. If it means what it sounds like it means, as someone who understands what evidence is, I don't think peer review is evidence.

peer review is the process in which another (or more than one other) expert in the subject matter reviews the procedures and results of a study or experiment for validity. sometimes it will go so far as to mean that another person or persons expert in the same subject matter have validated the results through independent experimentation or study. not perfect but that's the scientific scholarly method for you.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Jimmy K on April 17, 2014, 09:36:27 PM
I've always been curious what peer review really means. If it means what it sounds like it means, as someone who understands what evidence is, I don't think peer review is evidence.
Researchers publish articles in peer-reviewed journals, which means that the journal editor will send copies of the article to several third-party reviewers. The reviewers are experts in the subject that the research addresses. They look at the article, research methods, results, statistics, and conclusions to make sure that it all makes sense. That the methods are appropriate, results support conclusions, nothing is missing, etc. Peer-reviewed research is evidence, however, most research articles are limited in scope - examining a simplified version of the real world. So drawing too much from a single article is risky (media loves to do this). To really know what's going on in the world, you need to look at lots of related research and see what general direction it all points in.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 17, 2014, 09:41:10 PM
+1 .  Also, in the case of hoppy beers like IPA, I totally disagree that oxygen contact from racking makes no difference to the beer quality. There is a reason hop aromas remain stronger for longer in beers that are carefully racked into purged kegs - reduction of contact with oxygen. I've brewed a lot of hoppy beers (understatement) and the batches that were racked less than extremely carefully or racked into non-purged kegs are the ones that have noticeably less hop aroma. Beer need not be oxidized to the point of the wet cardboard flavor/aroma to impact hop aromas. Noticed it for 20 years.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Jimmy K on April 17, 2014, 09:46:31 PM
Quote
The protective blanket of co2 argument is not accurate as in a dynamic situation like racking there will be significant mixing of gases in the head space.

However, the oxidation while racking non-filtered green beer argument holds water no better than the hot-side aeration in a small brewery argument.  Unless the yeast culture is in absolutely horrendous shape, any oxygen that is introduced while racking will be scrubbed by the viable cells, even if terminal gravity has been reached.  Yeast cells do not need a carbohydrate source to use oxygen.  Yeast cells will happily utilize ethanol as their carbon source in the presence of oxygen via diauxic shift.

So now I'm curious and I suspect you might know. When yeast metabolize ethanol in the presence of oxygen, what do they produce and does it affect flavor?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 18, 2014, 01:54:25 PM
My random guess would be nonenol, and produces a stale cardboard aroma and flavor at high enough concentration
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Stevie on April 18, 2014, 03:05:56 PM
...stale cardboard aroma and flavor

Personally, I like my cardboard fresh.   :P
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 18, 2014, 03:46:36 PM
Me too but I'm curious if I'm right. If I am that's rather scary
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: a10t2 on April 18, 2014, 05:17:30 PM
So now I'm curious and I suspect you might know. When yeast metabolize ethanol in the presence of oxygen, what do they produce and does it affect flavor?

Acetaldehyde, and then acetic acid if they continue to oxidize the acetaldehyde. I'd imagine how much of each depends on the oxygen available, and probably on the strain as well.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 18, 2014, 06:05:32 PM
So now I'm curious and I suspect you might know. When yeast metabolize ethanol in the presence of oxygen, what do they produce and does it affect flavor?

Yeast cells basically reverse the acetaldehyde to ethanol process. 

The following reduction occurs:

Ethanol -> Acetaldehyde -> Acetate -> Acetyl-CoA

Acetyl-CoA is used as an energy source via the Krebs Cycle (a.k.a. the TCA Cycle).  As with glycolysis, incomplete utilization of ethanol as a carbon source can result in acetaldehyde and/or ester production.

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 18, 2014, 08:29:54 PM
Many poor practices are preached in amateur brewing like they are gospel (e.g., rinsing yeast with boiled tap water).

I don't reuse yeast very often, but when I do I follow the procedure outlined in Yeast.

Is there a bettter method I should investigate?

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 19, 2014, 01:25:53 AM
Like so many things, we are working with sub optimal equipment, knowledge, and facilities in the homebrew world

Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 19, 2014, 02:32:47 AM
Like so many things, we are working with sub optimal equipment, knowledge, and facilities in the homebrew world

Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.

^^THIS^^

I appreciate and absorb every oz of info that I can get my hands on from commercial brewing.  Then I filter it to determine if it's something I can use at home, in some fashion. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But I don't feel I've failed as a brewer if I can't. It just didn't work for me.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 02:50:14 AM
Like so many things, we are working with sub optimal equipment, knowledge, and facilities in the homebrew world

Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.
To rephrase something Forest Gump said, maybe both is true at the same time. I love what both said. I wonder what homebrewers said to the first guy who sold a beer.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: morticaixavier on April 19, 2014, 03:19:35 AM
Like so many things, we are working with sub optimal equipment, knowledge, and facilities in the homebrew world

Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.
To rephrase something Forest Gump said, maybe both is true at the same time. I love what both said. I wonder what homebrewers said to the first guy who sold a beer.

it was probably a gal rather than a guy.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 04:07:52 AM
Good point
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 19, 2014, 02:22:46 PM
Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.

Prey tell?   
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: tommymorris on April 19, 2014, 04:13:55 PM

Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.

Prey tell?

Is that a pun intentionally indicating you are waiting to strike or did you mean "pray" tell? ;)
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 19, 2014, 04:37:45 PM
I don't reuse yeast very often, but when I do I follow the procedure outlined in Yeast.

Is there a bettter method I should investigate?

The best way to crop is to "top crop" at high krausen.  However, top-cropping requires one to use a true top-cropping strain.   Top-cropping naturally purifies a culture because wild yeast and bacteria do not floc to the top.  Top-cropped yeast can be repitched almost indefinitely.

When using a non-top-cropping yeast strain, I usually leave enough liquid behind after racking to be able to swirl the solids back into suspension (my primary volume is 1/3 to 1/2  gallon larger than the volume  I expect to rack).  Swirling the solids back into solution using green beer, waiting a few minutes for the heaviest fraction to settle, and then decanting the liquid fraction has the same effect as rinsing with boiled water; however, it keeps the low pH, ethanol laden environment intact.   If one wants to attempt to rid the culture of mutants, one can perform a second decant as soon as a creamy layer of yeast forms in the first decant. 

One of the first things that a yeast culture does when pitched into a batch of wort is to lower the pH from around 5.2 to around 4.1.  One has heard that pathogens do not grow in beer.  One of the reasons why pathogens do not grow in beer is due to its relatively low pH.  Clostridium botulin growth is inhibited below pH 4.6. 

Contrary to what was written in early amateur brewing books such as Brewing Lager Beer, brewing yeast cultures do not respire in wort due to a phenomenon known as the Crabtree effect.  Hence, brewing yeasts do not go through a period of resparitive (aerobic) growth before they start to reproduce fermentatively (anaerobic growth).  In the presence of glucose levels above the Crabtree threshold, all reproduction is fermentative.  As you probably noticed while reading Yeast, yeast cultures use dissolved oxygen to  build ergosterol and unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) reserves (these reserves are shared with with all of the daughter cells).  Yeast perform this feat by shunting oxygen to the respirative (aerobic) metabolic pathway while simultaneously metabolizing the carbon source via the fermentative (anaerobic) metabolic pathway.

What this preference to reproduce fermentatively means to a brewer is that yeast cells pretty much start producing ethanol as soon as they are pitched into a batch of wort.  While ethanol has a limiting effect on the viability of a yeast culture, it also protects the culture from infection.  Boiled water is not truly sterile.  Boiled tap water also tends to have a pH of at least 7.0; therefore, it raises the pH of the culture.

With the above said, most experienced amateur brewers eventually reach the conclusion that one can just crop and repitch without doing anything to separate the viable cells from the dead cells and break material, especially if they leave most of the break and hop material in the kettle.   Less is definitely more when cropping yeast.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 19, 2014, 04:44:05 PM
Is that a pun intentionally indicating you are waiting to strike or did you mean "pray" tell? ;)

Yes, it was a pun. 
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 19, 2014, 11:22:52 PM
Thanks for all the info, I'll have to give top cropping a try. 

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 20, 2014, 11:00:43 PM
Commercial brewing is the bastardization of homebrewing, not the other way around.  I really feel that they are the ones in the sub-optimal position.

Prey tell?

This is just my personal opinion, but if I had to choose which of the two options below is more conducive to experimentation, more likely to advance the art (but admittedly perhaps not the science) of brewing, and generally be more enjoyable, I’d go with the first one.

     Brewing small batches without regard for mass appeal, marketability or cost of ingredients

     Brewing the same recipes over and over, thousands of gallons at a time in a profit-motivated enterprise.

Also, while I understand that this was not always the case, I think homebrewers today have access to the equipment, knowledge (just look at how many brewing texts geared towards the hobbyist have been published in the last 5 years) and ingredients necessary to produce beer that rivals (and in some instances exceeds) that being produced commercially.  I just don’t see a whole lot being done on a commercial scale that can’t be replicated, if not improved upon, by homebrewers (though there are of course exceptions).
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 21, 2014, 02:11:00 AM
You can not compare commercial brewing and home brewing.

When you brew commercially you have to brew to meet the expectations. When you are home brewing you brew at will.

Not good or bad. Just different.


Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 21, 2014, 03:17:38 PM
You can not compare commercial brewing and home brewing.

When you brew commercially you have to brew to meet the expectations. When you are home brewing you brew at will.

Not good or bad. Just different.

THIS^^^^.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 21, 2014, 05:40:30 PM
You can not compare commercial brewing and home brewing.

When you brew commercially you have to brew to meet the expectations. When you are home brewing you brew at will.

Not good or bad. Just different.

+10,000

It is darn near impossible for an amateur brewer working in a typical home-based brewery to reach the level of consistency that commercial brewers achieve, especially the megas.   One does not have to enjoy the product that the megas make in order to acknowledge the level of skill that it takes to produce.  American lager is a style of beer that highlights every process flaw and subpar ingredient.  Now, add in the fact that many megas ferment at high gravity and dilute to desired packaged gravity, and one cannot help but be amazed at what they are able to accomplish with a level of repeatability that no amateur brewer could hope to achieve. 

Amateur brewing, while creative, is hit or miss.  What the hobby offers in flexibility is offset by the primitive conditions under which the average amateur brewer has to work.  We do not have full service quality labs at our disposal that we can use to analyze our raw ingredients in addition to monitoring the health of our breweries.  We have to work with ingredients that we can acquire through the home brew trade (which are often ingredients that were rejected by large commercial brewers).  We also have to assume that the information given to us by our suppliers is accurate.  The fact that a small proper subset of the amateur brewing community is able to produce good beer most of the time is a testament to the level of dedication that is found in this select group. 

With that said, amateur brewers have it much better than most mom-and-pop craft breweries.  An undercapitalized startup brewery is the worst of both worlds.  A startup brewery has to produce a consistent product that sells well without the aid of a quality lab, often brewing in a less than conducive space using hand-me-down or re-purposed equipment.   I do not envy anyone who is starting up his/her own brewery.  It is truly a labor of love.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2014, 05:55:36 PM
I like to compare the two like the difference between a home studio artist and a poster printing factory. There's a lot of cheesy home paintings out there. But a few are breath taking and way more impressive than a poster you can buy at Walmart.  But even the best home artist could never reproduce them perfectly and make a living selling them for a dollar a piece.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 21, 2014, 06:35:45 PM
Home brewers also have very different goals and constraints than commercial brewers.  we don't have to worry about if the beer will sell, only if we like it.  We can brew what we want to brew without worrying about whether the market will accept it.  Many of us brew as much because we enjoy the process as the product.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 21, 2014, 07:42:41 PM
Now, add in the fact that many megas ferment at high gravity and dilute to desired packaged gravity, and one cannot help but be amazed at what they are able to accomplish with a level of repeatability that no amateur brewer could hope to achieve.

The fact that Bud Light tastes the same regardless of which AB facility worldwide it was brewed in is pretty insane.  I read the execs regularly have samples shipped in from around the world to evaluate uniformity.  I wonder if they ever come across a sample that tastes slightly different.

We have to work with ingredients that we can acquire through the home brew trade (which are often ingredients that were rejected by large commercial brewers).

This is something I have not heard before, can you elaborate?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2014, 09:08:20 PM
Ive heard this too. Apparently the people who drop thousands of dollars get preference over those of us who only spend hundreds.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 21, 2014, 09:44:10 PM
This is something I have not heard before, can you elaborate?

It's simple economics.  Due to their buying power, the megas are the customers of choice for pretty much all of the commodities used in brewing. The megas are followed by regional and large-scale craft breweries.  Small-scale craft breweries and amateur brewers at the bottom of the pecking order.   Small-scale craft breweries and amateur brewers get the commodities that the brokers could not sell or were surplus to the needs of larger breweries.  One could even go as far to say that amateur brewers get the commodities that even small-scale brewers reject.   If you want to see this dynamic in action, check out Hops Direct's website at harvest time.  They will often post a harvest date for a cultivar followed by a message stating that no hops from the harvest will be available for sale on the site.   Guess what happened?
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: narcout on April 21, 2014, 10:25:16 PM
This is something I have not heard before, can you elaborate?

It's simple economics.  Due to their buying power, the megas are the customers of choice for pretty much all of the commodities used in brewing. The megas are followed by regional and large-scale craft breweries.  Small-scale craft breweries and amateur brewers at the bottom of the pecking order.   Small-scale craft breweries and amateur brewers get the commodities that the brokers could not sell or were surplus to the needs of larger breweries.  One could even go as far to say that amateur brewers get the commodities that even small-scale brewers reject.   If you want to see this dynamic in action, check out Hops Direct's website at harvest time.  They will often post a harvest date for a cultivar followed by a message stating that no hops from the harvest will be available for sale on the site.   Guess what happened?

That makes sense.  I assumed it was more surplus commodities and less ones that had been rejected.  I wonder if the larger homebrew supply players (like Northern Brewer) have any priority?  I really don't have any sense of how much inventory they go through or how they handle their contracting.

As long as my hops don't arrive full of maggots, I guess I won't worry about it.

It seems like even rejected commodities can make pretty excellent beer.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: ranchovillabrew on April 21, 2014, 10:29:52 PM
It may not be so much rejected as it is the last lots chosen.  The biggest contacts get first crack then the midsized then the little guys. 

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 21, 2014, 11:15:06 PM
Ive heard this too. Apparently the people who drop thousands of dollars get preference over those of us who only spend hundreds.
They also can reject a shipment if it does not meet specs laid out by the brewery. Large breweries run tests on the malt shipment. Where do the rejects go?

Hops? If you have read enough about the hops farmers, many of them have relationships with brewers that go to Yakima, inspect and smell the hops, and select the samples that represent the specific fields. I read once that a hop farmer said that the same brewer always selected Cascade from the same field in blind selections.

In many ways Homebrewers are the bottom feeders in the supply chain.
Title: Another Starter Question
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 22, 2014, 12:11:42 AM
I do not agree that homebrewers or small brewers get inferior raw material. Quality is very good over all.

Where the large portion of not consistent batches in homebrewing come from is one homebrewers shop have Weyernmann Munich and the other one has Briess Munich.... Homebrewers are not maltster specific and buy their raw material from different shops.

There are exception but large majority just want Munich malt or pilsner malt and do not care who made it.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: a10t2 on April 22, 2014, 01:15:11 AM
I do not agree that homebrewers or small brewers get inferior raw material. Quality is very good over all.

I definitely don't think it's inferior, but what undeniably does happen is that the large breweries dictate the specs for the suppliers. We small/home brewers get the diastatic power, alpha acids, etc. that the big boys want, whether we want that or not.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: S. cerevisiae on April 22, 2014, 02:24:12 AM
We also get their rejected malt.  The megas have tight tolerances for malt.  Anything that falls outside of those tolerances gets rejected.  Rejected malt finds its way into less demanding distribution channels. 

Speaking of Briess, Briess 2-Row is one of the most inconsistent malts in the homebrew trade.  Some bags make great beer.  Other bags produce beer that is not so great.  I seriously doubt that AB Inbev accepts the latter type of malt from Briess when they purchase 2-Row.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 22, 2014, 02:28:51 AM

I do not agree that homebrewers or small brewers get inferior raw material. Quality is very good over all.

I definitely don't think it's inferior, but what undeniably does happen is that the large breweries dictate the specs for the suppliers. We small/home brewers get the diastatic power, alpha acids, etc. that the big boys want, whether we want that or not.
Yes. I agree.


Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 22, 2014, 02:36:40 AM
The young guy I judged Cat 10 last Sat was from a large well known brewery in Chicago. He said the Cascade they get is super ark.atic coated to what we get. Not saying what we get is bad, but the big brewers take the Prime Cuts.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 22, 2014, 03:06:57 PM
I do not agree that homebrewers or small brewers get inferior raw material. Quality is very good over all.

I agree.  When I buy malt, it comes from the same lots that the major breweries get.
Title: Re: Another Starter Question
Post by: denny on April 22, 2014, 03:09:11 PM
The young guy I judged Cat 10 last Sat was from a large well known brewery in Chicago. He said the Cascade they get is super ark.atic coated to what we get. Not saying what we get is bad, but the big brewers take the Prime Cuts.

OTOH, I know for a fact that a lot of those prime cuts are available to homebrewers if they have the right source.