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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Tristan on June 14, 2011, 04:45:35 pm

Title: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Tristan on June 14, 2011, 04:45:35 pm
First off, thanks for bearing with while I work this out.  Maybe this post is just so one of you can come in here and calm me down and tell me to RDWHAHB.  Apologies in advance for my verbose nature.

Drauflassen, anyone use this technique?  Basically, part of the wort is inoculated with yeast then after 24 hours the remainder of the wort is "poured onto" the first part.  Kai explains this method very well on his website. 


The reason I did this; I did not have time to make a proper starter and had the opportunity to brew on Sunday.  I've used this technique in the past several times and while the beer wasn't quite the same as making an ideal progression of starters, it was within the acceptable range IMHO.

However, I would typically do this with fresh yeast.  I have a unique situation.  I brewed a Czech Pilsner, 5.25 gallons, OG 1.055.  I pitched a pack of yeast (Wyeast Urquell 2001 - Lager Strain) onto 4L of wort which was chilled to 47 degrees.  Fridge set to 50 degrees.  After 24 hours I pitched this into the remainder of a 5.25 gallon batch, which was also at 49 degrees at the time.  I've done this before with great success.  However, I noticed the yeast was manufactured February 1st of this year right before pitching.  If I had caught this when I bought the yeast I would have not brewed at all, made a 2L starter, then decanted and added another 4L of wort, etc. 

I'm not sure that there is a problem yet, but if there is I'd like to be prepared to implement a solution if necessary. My sanitation is above average.  I would say it couldn't be much better without going to extremes.  What's the realistic time frame for wort to spoil?  I don't want to rush into fixing something that isn't broken.  If fermentation does not begin normally, can I realistically wait to do a proper starter of the optimal yeast strain? I would really like to pursue that option if necessary.  With the clock ticking on the wort spoiling I feel a pressure to make a move now.

I might find that fermentation starts as expected 24-48 hours after inoculating the total volume.  I might find no fermentation activity has take place within this time frame.  I'd like a contingency in place for this possibility.  Any options or feedback at this point would be appreciated.  These are the options I'm considering:

1)  Knowing that I've underpitched, preemptively purchase a fresher pitch of yeast, make a 2L starter and pitch into the entire volume of beer at the height of activity.

2)  Do nothing, wait to see if fermentation kicks up.  If it does not, pitch more yeast.  In this case, either purchase two packs of Saflager w34/70, propeprly hydrate and pitch or purchase the same strain as originally intended and make a proper starter.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: hoser on June 14, 2011, 04:57:45 pm
You will be fine, RDWHAB.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on June 14, 2011, 06:20:09 pm
I usually keep 2 packets of W34/70 (and S-04 for ales) on-hand just for something like this.  I rarely use them for something like this but then I just make a batch of beer with the packets (before they get too old) and buy 2 more.

You've grossly underpitched, even if it were to start I'd try to salvage it by going the W34/70 route.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 14, 2011, 08:46:47 pm
I, too, keep a stash of dry yeast for just such instances.

It's also handy for spur-of-the-moment brewing which, alas, does not happen too often.

For the few dollars it costs, it's great insurance.  I'd toss some dry yeast in and then relax, don't worry...
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Tristan on June 15, 2011, 12:10:34 pm
Thanks for the advice on the W34/70 route.  I oxygenated the wort and pitched two properly rehydrated packets last night.  This morning I can see the liquid has moved to the other side of the airlock, positive pressure, which is a good sign.  When I opened the airlock to aerate the wort still smelled fantastic.  Seems as though this beer should turn our great despite my efforts of sabotage!
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: seajellie on June 16, 2011, 12:46:15 am
Glad to hear that things are progressing well. FWIW I used a modified drauflassen technique for a couple years without ever realizing it was an official technique by German pros, and those beers turned out great. Yours probably would've been fine without the extra yeast, but heh, nothing wrong with insurance.

The drauflassen technique works well in certain conditions and for certain mind sets. I used to hate to make yeast starters,  routinely made 3 gallon batches, and was paranoid about letting any break material or trub get into the primary. Those last two factors in particular led me to filter up to half my batch at times, or else face the prospect of tossing a high percent of wort down the drain.

The filtered wort would usually not be ready until the day after brewing and the initial yeast pitch, so I would pasteurize this second addition and add it to the primary. voila, drauflassen!

If you reuse yeast and start the series with a low volume and low gravity beer, it still makes sense. In fact, after a few years of spending time making yeast starters.... I'm started to reflect on the goodness of the old simpler days and planning to resurrect this technique at least one more time.

The great thing about home brewing is you do something that you've never heard of before and think you've invented the wheel, only to find out that it's not only been done before but that pros somewhere do it.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Tristan on July 12, 2011, 12:27:57 am
Okay, this pils started at 1.056 and finished at 1.009.  Really dry and bitter in a bad way.  Despite fermenting at 48-50 and doing a proper diacetyl rest it tastes like my fermentation went terribly wrong.  Oddly enough, despite super flavor and aroma hop additions there is little to no hop flavor/aroma as the predominant aroma and flavor is slack malt and fusel.  A bit too much fusel for my taste.  It's only been lagering for two weeks so it could turn around I suppose, but I'm really doubting if it can change enough for me to want to drink the beer.  I'm wondering at this point if it is destined for the drain.  I'll be really bummed if I have to dump it, but s*** happens, and I haven't had to dump a beer in years.  t

The beer doesn't taste infected.  If lagering doesn't make this worthy of quaffing does anyone have suggestions on salvaging this beer?  A little dextrose maybe to add a bit of sweetness?  Maybe dosing it with a calcium chloride solution to mute the harsh bitterness?  I'm going to sit on this for another 4-6 weeks and taste it again.  I have plenty of kegs and space in the fridge and don't want to dump it too soon, but I will if it doesn't meet minimum standards.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 12, 2011, 12:00:16 pm
Lager it for 6 more weeks.  You want to taste it when it has dropped bright brilliant.  Yeast and hop particles in suspension can mask the taste you want, and the yeast will be "bitter in a bad way" as the bitter hop resins stick to the yeast.

Lagers require patience.  

Edit - what were the hops additions?  Curious is all.

Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: denny on July 12, 2011, 03:43:22 pm
I put a German pils into the fridge for lagering last Feb.  At that point, I wasn't expecting much from it.  It tasted kinda fruity and "off".  Last weekend, after 5 months, I decided to pull it out and try it.  I figured at least I could dump it and reclaim the keg.  I was amazed to find it was one of the best German pils I've ever made.  Don't dump anything until you've given it plenty of time to "find itself".
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Tristan on July 12, 2011, 07:54:54 pm
I'll give it time and give it a taste!  I brew a lot of lagers and most are great even before lagering time so I'm just hoping time will help!  Here is the complete recipe:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Bastage Polish Ambassador
Brewer: Bastage!
Asst Brewer:
Style: Bohemian Pilsner
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.25 gal     
Boil Size: 6.97 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 3.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 47.5 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 82.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU     
9 lbs         Best Malz Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)   Grain        100.00 %     
1.74 oz       Lublin [4.10 %]  (60 min)                 Hops         24.9 IBU     
1.24 oz       Lublin [4.10 %]  (30 min)                 Hops         13.6 IBU     
1.74 oz       Lublin [4.10 %]  (10 min)                 Hops         9.0 IBU       
1.50 oz       Lublin [4.10 %]  (0 min)                  Hops          -           
3.00 gm       Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 min)          Misc                       
3.00 gm       Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min)  Misc                       
4.00 gal      Wausau                                    Water                     
7.00 gal      Distilled Water                           Water                     
1 Pkgs        Urquell Lager - Drauflassen into 4L of worYeast-Lager               
2 Pkgs        Saflager W34/70 (DCL Yeast #W34/70)       Yeast-Lager               

Mash Schedule: Decoction Mash, Double
Total Grain Weight: 9.00 lb
Decoction Mash, Double
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
90 min        Beta Rest          Add 13.50 qt of water at 163.6 F    148.0 F       
60 min        Alpha Rest         Decoct 2.74 qt of mash and boil it  158.0 F       
20 min        Mash Out Decoction Decoct 3.25 qt of mash and boil it  168.0 F       

Forgot Kettle finings.  Wort is pretty cloudy.  I will see how the beer clears after fermentation, using gelatin as necessary.

Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 13, 2011, 12:00:23 am
That looks like plenty of hops.  Should be a nice beer, from the looks of it.

Think about craft brewers that have conicals that are from 4 to 8 times the brewhouse size (Sierra Nevada, Bells).  They put a batch from the bewhouse in, add the yeast, then brew more batches to fill the conical.  The yeast can start its job, then more wort is pumped in.  Makes more sense than filling the conical then adding yeast.

Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Kirk on July 14, 2011, 06:34:03 pm
+1 to Denny's thoughts.  I had a Maibock that was overhopped, not anyone's favorite, saved a couple of bottles, tried them 2-3 months later, and thought I could have won a contest with them.
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Mark G on July 14, 2011, 07:43:06 pm
Hey Tristan, where did you find the Lublin hops?
Title: Re: Drauflassen/Underpitching
Post by: Tristan on July 17, 2011, 06:33:09 pm
Hey Tristan, where did you find the Lublin hops?

There is a seller from the Czech on EBay that I bought them from.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy another pound, they were fantastic when I got them.  Upon opening there was no yellowing of the pellets nor was there a cheesy aroma.  The hops were as fragrant and floral as I've ever experienced.  The drawback is that it takes several weeks to get them.  I would recommend waiting until the weather is cooler; as I'd be worried about hot temperatures during the long transit time.