Author Topic: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation  (Read 1362 times)

Offline Bevilaquafoto

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How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« on: November 18, 2014, 04:56:16 PM »
I've been studying Charlie Papazian's book, specifically the three stages of fermentation: Respiration, fermentation and sedimentation. I have had a couple of partial mash batches that were less than stellar, and seemed to not attenuate fully. It seems clear now that I need to REALLY shake up the ale pail to both mix the water and mash, and also to provide greater oxygenation. My question is this: do you shake up your wort, pitch the yeast, and close the cover, or do you pitch and then shake it all up? What is the best way to pitch the yeast? I have been pitching it on top, and leaving it. Is this incorrect? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2014, 05:08:44 PM »
it doesn't really matter much which order you do that in. The amount of aeration is what's important. Try getting a standard kitchen Stainless Steel balloon whisk and whisking the wort until there is a couple inches of froth on the top.

Alternately you can purchase a device called a mix-stir that attaches to a power drill/screw driver and will aerate your wort quickly and easily.

Some folks go so far as to use pure o2. I don't but that works well too.

Tell us a bit about your process, the kinds of beers you brew, the types of recipes you are using, etc. Perhaps we can offer more insight into your attenuation issues.

A couple of generalities:
Extract has a tendency to not attenuate as well as all grain anyway.
If you are using liquid yeast cultures but not using starters, or using only one packet of dry yeast on a very high gravity beer these can cause under attenuation as well.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2014, 05:13:14 PM »
I've been studying Charlie Papazian's book, specifically the three stages of fermentation: Respiration, fermentation and sedimentation. I have had a couple of partial mash batches that were less than stellar, and seemed to not attenuate fully. It seems clear now that I need to REALLY shake up the ale pail to both mix the water and mash, and also to provide greater oxygenation. My question is this: do you shake up your wort, pitch the yeast, and close the cover, or do you pitch and then shake it all up? What is the best way to pitch the yeast? I have been pitching it on top, and leaving it. Is this incorrect? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

1. I use a mix stir on my bucket until the foam is at the top :   http://www.amazon.com/NorthernBrewer-The-Stainless-Steel-Mix-Stir/dp/B0064OG79E

2. Pitch the yeast and stir it in.

3. Attach the lid and airlock.


The mix stir will aerate your wort properly, consistently.


EDIT -  +1 to Mort's comments.
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Offline Bevilaquafoto

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 05:25:09 PM »
Thank you for the quick responses! Up until yesterday, I have been doing 5 gallon partial mash brews. I seem to do best with IPAs, and brews with fewer adjuncts. I did a rye saison which tasted quite decent, but was a bit thick, and did not attenuate out fully. My most recent batch is an imperial pumpkin ale which, though fairly high ABV, did not quite reach the hydrometer readings in the recipe, is also VERY thick, and very sweet. I am using an ale pail, and have been vigorously stirring my wort with a stainless steel spoon, then pitching. Yesterday, I did my first all-grain 2.5 gallon batch. I picked up the ale pail shook the hell out of it, then pitched a smack pack of Wyeast American ale II. Fermentation started very quickly, and more vigorously. I have also found that accurate hydrometer readings are tough to get with partial mash because I don't think I am mixing the wort and the rest of the spring water enough. I am also brewing in a pot used for canning/jarring rather than a brew pot, and I am wondering if that is making any difference. Wide-mouth pot, and not a great heat or cooling conductor. Thank you very much for your comments. The last couple of batches have been discouraging. I am leaving the pumpkin ale to mature in the bottle for three weeks. I hope that helps it.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 05:26:52 PM by Bevilaquafoto »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 05:35:18 PM »
Keep an eye on that pumpkin ale. if it did not attenuate fully (all the sugars that the yeast you added are capable of fermenting were not fermented) it may become overcarbonated and potentially explode.

Assuming the gravity on your 2.5 gallon batch was in the 1.050 range 1 pack is just about right for that. for five gallons using liquid yeast I would recommend looking at mr malty http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html or another of the online pitching calculators to determine the correct pitching amount. It's not perfect but it's better than just pitching a single smack pack or tube into 5 gallons of 1.080 wort.

you want to make foam for sure when you aerate. a vigorous stir is not going to cut it unless you pitch A LOT of yeast and they don't need to reproduce much.
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Offline Bevilaquafoto

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 05:40:08 PM »
Thank you so much. This seems to be what my issue is. I'm not aerating anywhere close to getting foam. Will do that from now on.
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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2014, 06:28:18 PM »
I've been studying Charlie Papazian's book, specifically the three stages of fermentation: Respiration, fermentation and sedimentation.

FWIW, there are not separate respiration and fermentation stages.  They happen simultaneously.
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Offline pete b

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2014, 07:02:36 PM »
Thank you for the quick responses! Up until yesterday, I have been doing 5 gallon partial mash brews. I seem to do best with IPAs, and brews with fewer adjuncts. I did a rye saison which tasted quite decent, but was a bit thick, and did not attenuate out fully. My most recent batch is an imperial pumpkin ale which, though fairly high ABV, did not quite reach the hydrometer readings in the recipe, is also VERY thick, and very sweet. I am using an ale pail, and have been vigorously stirring my wort with a stainless steel spoon, then pitching. Yesterday, I did my first all-grain 2.5 gallon batch. I picked up the ale pail shook the hell out of it, then pitched a smack pack of Wyeast American ale II. Fermentation started very quickly, and more vigorously. I have also found that accurate hydrometer readings are tough to get with partial mash because I don't think I am mixing the wort and the rest of the spring water enough. I am also brewing in a pot used for canning/jarring rather than a brew pot, and I am wondering if that is making any difference. Wide-mouth pot, and not a great heat or cooling conductor. Thank you very much for your comments. The last couple of batches have been discouraging. I am leaving the pumpkin ale to mature in the bottle for three weeks. I hope that helps it.
The word "stirring" is not what comes to mind when I'm aerating. This may be semantics but I want to suggest that when aerating your not trying to just move the liquid around a lot in a whirlpool. That's better than nothing but to get more air mixed into your water you want to really get a lot of contact with the air by constantly changing directions and going side to side etc. If all you have are common household utensils a whisk or even a spatula that is slotted will be better than a spoon.
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Offline dcb

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 09:35:14 PM »
The word "stirring" is not what comes to mind when I'm aerating.

I aerated using a whisk for quite a while.  I thought of it more as whipping, just as if I were whipping cream by hand.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How to pitch yeast for optimal oxygenation
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 10:57:55 PM »
I use O2 and a sintered stone, so I can't comment much on how to whip up your wort.

However, I would comment that your IPAs might seem to be coming out better because the higher IBUs are masking the sweetness.

What are your starting and finishing gravities?  Are you giving the beer enough time?

O2 is particularly important, IME, in getting high gravity beers to ferment well but while it's beneficial for average and lower gravity beers I think you can get good attenuation without it, assuming you have pitched a good quantity of yeast.  I'm not saying don't do it, just that your problem may lie somewhere else.

What sort of extract are you using?  Is it dark extract?  How much?  In a bigger beer, you can sub regular sugar for some of the extract to get better attenuation.
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