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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: bigfatjoey on December 14, 2009, 07:39:18 pm

Title: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: bigfatjoey on December 14, 2009, 07:39:18 pm
Is yeast nutrient really necessary?

I'm about a year into brewing someone at my LHBS recommended it to me for the first time. I asked myself, "if this is important why hasn't anyone mentioned it to me before?"

What does it actually do?
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: redbeerman on December 15, 2009, 07:46:01 am
Yeast nutrient is useful in making starters because they are low gravity and lower in the nutrients yeast need to multiply and start working.  I don't see the need for it in a normal gravity beer though.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: karlh on December 15, 2009, 08:45:14 am
I have heard that so called cidery flavors in extract beers can sometimes be related to lower levels nitrogen (FAN) in extract that has aged.  Yeast nutrient added to an extract beer could be a good way to ensure that you do not get a cidery flavor, in case there has been any decrease in FAN levels during storage or transport of extract. 

A friend who has recently begun homebrewing was complaining of cidery flavors in his (extract beer kits), so I recommended that he try using a yeast nutrient in his brewing and the problem went away.  Although I cannot say that this "cured" his problem, as there was no side by side test, it was a relatively cheap fix when compared to the price of having a bad batch.  I do not usually use any sort of yeast nutrient myself unless it is a very high gravity beer.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: denny on December 15, 2009, 10:25:13 am
I've used yeast nutrient in starters for years.  All that time, I didn't add it to batches, based on the thinking that an AG wort should have all the nutrients it needs.  About a year ago, I started thinking that I was kinda disappointed in a lot of the beers I was making and went looking for things that might improve them.  One of the things I tried was adding yeast nutrient to the beers I was making.  I have no empirical evidence, but I swear my beers have been better (flavor and attenuation) since I started using it.  At NHC last summer, I attended a talk by Dr. Matthias Fischborn of Lallemand on the effect of nutrients in wort, especially zinc.  The nutrient I use contains zinc, and his explanations described my experiences since I started using nutrients.  I'll continue using nutrient because it's cheap, easy insurance.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: tygo on December 15, 2009, 10:33:03 am
I'll continue using nutrient because it's cheap, easy insurance.

That's the way I feel about it.  Maybe it doesn't help very much but maybe it does and adding a teaspoon of nutrient to the boil when I throw in the whirlfloc is no effort at all and very little cost.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: bo_gator on December 15, 2009, 02:33:10 pm
I've used yeast nutrient in starters for years.  All that time, I didn't add it to batches, based on the thinking that an AG wort should have all the nutrients it needs.  About a year ago, I started thinking that I was kinda disappointed in a lot of the beers I was making and went looking for things that might improve them.  One of the things I tried was adding yeast nutrient to the beers I was making.  I have no empirical evidence, but I swear my beers have been better (flavor and attenuation) since I started using it.  At NHC last summer, I attended a talk by Dr. Matthias Fischborn of Lallemand on the effect of nutrients in wort, especially zinc.  The nutrient I use contains zinc, and his explanations described my experiences since I started using nutrients.  I'll continue using nutrient because it's cheap, easy insurance.

I too started using Fermax yeast nutrient in all of my batches for the last 6-8 months, and have seen better results also. ;D
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: tubercle on December 15, 2009, 02:44:44 pm
Tubercle crushes up a one-a-day vitamin and throws it in the boil.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: denny on December 15, 2009, 03:18:46 pm
Years ago, after reading about the necessity of zinc on HBD, I tried the suggestion someone had of adding a zinc supplement tab to the beer.  I ended up with several batches that had a decidedly weird flavor and gave it up.  I guessed that it was a too high dose of zinc, but I was never really sure.  I decided that nutrient would give me the correct dosage and it's so cheap it was a no brainer for me.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: lupy on December 15, 2009, 04:52:47 pm
Is 1 tsp. nutrient per 5 gal. batch an adequate ratio?
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: ndcube on December 15, 2009, 05:43:27 pm
For big beers I like to add half to the boil and wait a day or so after fermentation to add the rest.  Maybe it helps keep the fermentation from going crazy, I don't know.  That's the way it works when I do mead (sort of) so I kind of adopted that for beer too.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: bo_gator on December 15, 2009, 09:19:34 pm
Is 1 tsp. nutrient per 5 gal. batch an adequate ratio?

That is about what I use for the last 10 minutes of the boil
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: denny on December 16, 2009, 09:58:40 am
Is 1 tsp. nutrient per 5 gal. batch an adequate ratio?

The Wyeast nutrient I use recommends 1/2 tsp. per 5 gal.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: bluesman on December 16, 2009, 10:24:07 am
I have never used yeast nutrient and really can't comment on it's effect on the beer, but would imagine it's benefit on big beers where the yeast struggles to finish. I should give it a try sometime.
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: redbeerman on December 17, 2009, 01:45:07 pm
I guess it couldn't hurt, might even help. :-\
Title: Re: Yeast Nutrient
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 17, 2009, 01:56:56 pm
I have been using 1/2 a tablet of a zinc diet supplement in a 10 gallon batch.  This is just about right when compared to what was discussed in the BYO yeast articles this summer.   A little Mg is good for yeast health, also, so there is some Epsom salt in my RO water adjustments.