Author Topic: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter  (Read 3828 times)

Offline brulosopher

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Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« on: April 21, 2015, 12:42:24 PM »
Of all the xBmt suggestions I receive, one of the most popular has to be comparing a beer fermented with a single vial of yeast vs. one fermented with a proper sized starter. Brü Crew member Ray Found was curious as well and put it to the test, the results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2015/04/20/yeast-pitch-rate-single-vial-vs-yeast-starter-exbeeriment-results/

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 01:08:55 PM »
Did these tasters have any sort of sensory training?

I have found significant differences in my own beer between making starters and direct pitching, so much so in fact that I will not make a beer if I don't have time for a starter.

When you say that only 9 of 20 could correctly identify something that I have identified in my own beer as a significant set of flaws (as well as other brewer's beers), it makes me wonder about the quality of their sensory analysis. For instance, could these people pick out a spiked beer from a triangle test, say if it was spiked with vodka or artificial butter?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 01:23:14 PM »
Interesting...just the simple fact that a starter eases the mind as well without dreading the evil lagtime.  I too start to get nervous if I don't see wort starting to ferment in a normal fashion.  I guess that's why I always make an appropriate starter when need be. 

Thanks for sharing your research. 

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 03:14:28 PM »
Did these tasters have any sort of sensory training?

I have found significant differences in my own beer between making starters and direct pitching, so much so in fact that I will not make a beer if I don't have time for a starter.

When you say that only 9 of 20 could correctly identify something that I have identified in my own beer as a significant set of flaws (as well as other brewer's beers), it makes me wonder about the quality of their sensory analysis. For instance, could these people pick out a spiked beer from a triangle test, say if it was spiked with vodka or artificial butter?

Amanda, you echoed my own thoughts!  But I have mixed feelings...if you need to be a trained taster to detect the difference, does the difference really matter?  I don't know.  I agree with you that my beers seems much better to me when I make a starter.  even when I've been pitching smack packs directly to the 2.5 gal. batches I've been making I still don't get the results I do when I use a starter.  But I've never actually done a triangle to confirm my tastings.
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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 03:15:21 PM »
Interesting...just the simple fact that a starter eases the mind as well without dreading the evil lagtime.  I too start to get nervous if I don't see wort starting to ferment in a normal fashion.  I guess that's why I always make an appropriate starter when need be. 

Thanks for sharing your research.

I feel like way too much is made of lag time.  IMO, if your sanitation is good, there's no difference in beer quality between a 4 hour lag and a 48 hour lag.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 03:25:39 PM »
Did these tasters have any sort of sensory training?

I have found significant differences in my own beer between making starters and direct pitching, so much so in fact that I will not make a beer if I don't have time for a starter.

When you say that only 9 of 20 could correctly identify something that I have identified in my own beer as a significant set of flaws (as well as other brewer's beers), it makes me wonder about the quality of their sensory analysis. For instance, could these people pick out a spiked beer from a triangle test, say if it was spiked with vodka or artificial butter?

Amanda, you echoed my own thoughts!  But I have mixed feelings...if you need to be a trained taster to detect the difference, does the difference really matter?  I don't know.  I agree with you that my beers seems much better to me when I make a starter.  even when I've been pitching smack packs directly to the 2.5 gal. batches I've been making I still don't get the results I do when I use a starter.  But I've never actually done a triangle to confirm my tastings.
I don't know.  A beer can have significant off flavors of things like diacetyl and acetaldehyde and many drinkers don't necessarily notice i've found.  If you're just use to throwing the beer down your throat you may or may not notice flavor differences so much.  Before I started brewing I really liked a local brewery here.  Once I started selectively evaluating what a beer actually tasted like I noticed many off flavors in those beers I used to enjoy.  I think there is a difference between just throwing them back (even though you enjoy the 'overall' flavor) and actually paying attention to the individual components of the beer.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 03:43:19 PM »
Did these tasters have any sort of sensory training?

I have found significant differences in my own beer between making starters and direct pitching, so much so in fact that I will not make a beer if I don't have time for a starter.

When you say that only 9 of 20 could correctly identify something that I have identified in my own beer as a significant set of flaws (as well as other brewer's beers), it makes me wonder about the quality of their sensory analysis. For instance, could these people pick out a spiked beer from a triangle test, say if it was spiked with vodka or artificial butter?

Amanda, you echoed my own thoughts!  But I have mixed feelings...if you need to be a trained taster to detect the difference, does the difference really matter?  I don't know.  I agree with you that my beers seems much better to me when I make a starter.  even when I've been pitching smack packs directly to the 2.5 gal. batches I've been making I still don't get the results I do when I use a starter.  But I've never actually done a triangle to confirm my tastings.
I don't know.  A beer can have significant off flavors of things like diacetyl and acetaldehyde and many drinkers don't necessarily notice i've found.  If you're just use to throwing the beer down your throat you may or may not notice flavor differences so much.  Before I started brewing I really liked a local brewery here.  Once I started selectively evaluating what a beer actually tasted like I noticed many off flavors in those beers I used to enjoy.  I think there is a difference between just throwing them back (even though you enjoy the 'overall' flavor) and actually paying attention to the individual components of the beer.

i've seen people i know drink a beer with crap tons of diacetyl and say "mmm, buttery malt flavor", while i'm like "puke, this is horrible".  for every beer there's a fan - not so different with food and vast differences in tastes and perceptions of whats good, bad, or most the preferred / desirable attributes.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 03:53:50 PM »
Amanda, you echoed my own thoughts!  But I have mixed feelings...if you need to be a trained taster to detect the difference, does the difference really matter?  I don't know.

I don't know either, especially since no information was given about the tasters (like they are in the AHA REF articles).

My concern is tasters like this...
i've seen people i know drink a beer with crap tons of diacetyl and say "mmm, buttery malt flavor", while i'm like "puke, this is horrible".
...being used in a controlled experiment.


Either way, I'm won't change my starter-makin' ways!  ;D
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2015, 03:57:06 PM »
Amanda, you echoed my own thoughts!  But I have mixed feelings...if you need to be a trained taster to detect the difference, does the difference really matter?  I don't know.

I don't know either, especially since no information was given about the tasters (like they are in the AHA REF articles).

My concern is tasters like this...
i've seen people i know drink a beer with crap tons of diacetyl and say "mmm, buttery malt flavor", while i'm like "puke, this is horrible".
...being used in a controlled experiment.


Either way, I'm won't change my starter-makin' ways!  ;D

im all about starters also..cant say at this point i will change.


Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

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Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 04:02:06 PM »
+2.  Gonna keep making starters for sure. I noticed a big jump in quality, all other things being equal, when I started making them. Not a big believer in steps backward.   ;)
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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2015, 04:40:35 PM »
I don't know.  A beer can have significant off flavors of things like diacetyl and acetaldehyde and many drinkers don't necessarily notice i've found.  If you're just use to throwing the beer down your throat you may or may not notice flavor differences so much.  Before I started brewing I really liked a local brewery here.  Once I started selectively evaluating what a beer actually tasted like I noticed many off flavors in those beers I used to enjoy.  I think there is a difference between just throwing them back (even though you enjoy the 'overall' flavor) and actually paying attention to the individual components of the beer.

Dan, I agree with you, but if the tasters don't detect a fault, does it matter?  Sure it might to some, and if we're talking absolute beer quality then those flaws are significant.  But if we're talking about the hedonistic enjoyment of a beer, do those faults matter if the tasters don't care?  Kinda like you, I used to be a really big fan of Moosehead.  If the bottles I got weren't skunky, I thought something was wrong.  Now, in an absolute sense, yes there were flaws that would make me avoid that beer now.  But back then I really enjoyed it.

Admittedly, I've gotten off track (again!).  In an experiment like Marshall's the deciding factor should be absolute quality and in that regard it's important to have trained tasters.  And if you look at the results, the tasters look like very experienced beer people.  To me, it comes down to beer enjoyment vs. beer analysis.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2015, 07:04:02 PM »
Interesting...just the simple fact that a starter eases the mind as well without dreading the evil lagtime.  I too start to get nervous if I don't see wort starting to ferment in a normal fashion.  I guess that's why I always make an appropriate starter when need be. 

Thanks for sharing your research.

I feel like way too much is made of lag time.  IMO, if your sanitation is good, there's no difference in beer quality between a 4 hour lag and a 48 hour lag.

Just the days of waiting for your precious hard work to begin its journey in becoming delicious beer and knowing that you are getting a good first step in the right direction of that process...   :)

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2015, 07:20:06 PM »
A lot of good points here, and many seem to echo my thoughts. If you're performing flavor analysis, then the results would be most applicable to the target audience that your tasting panel was pulled from. If your tasters are pulled from the typical craft beer fans, then your results can only be generalized to that level of specificity. If your panel are trained tasters (BJCP judges or something along those lines), then your results can only be generalized at that level. I do feel that I have trained my palate beyond the typical beer drinker, so I'd prefer to see tasting panels that use trained tasters. But either way, the results are just as valid.

Something else to consider here is that as brewers, we all tend to have a bias when going through the results of these. It's tough to be objective with these results when we all typically have some prior experience, and/or preconceived ideas regarding the experiment. Not to invalidate anyone's experience, but we all tend to try to find holes when results don't appear to match our own experiences.

The exBEERiments at brulosophy are rarely going to absolutely prove or disprove a hypothesis. That's nearly impossible just due to the subjectivity and variability of tasting, and also given the sample sizes. But they are still great experiments and are excellent discussion points. Several have certainly opened my eyes a bit regarding my own practices. If nothing else, the general lack of consensus on most the the experiments confirms to me that there are many paths to good beer.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2015, 07:22:59 PM »
He can, of course, respond himself but Marshall has stated that he makes no specific effort to seek out BJCP judges or trained tasters in his experiments. I assume this is also the case for Ray (down in Riverside) who performed this particular experiment and test. The sizes of the testing pools are small, but he makes an attempt at delivering statistically significant results when they show. We should take his experiments for what they are - anecdotal points of observation that generally generate a lot more questions than they answer, and an occasional statistically significant result that should be replicated and confirmed on a larger scale.

I like that they challenge some of the general community knowledge. If nothing else - the exercise in personal bias should be telling. I now ask trusted brewers/judges for review of a beer before I send it off to comps - and have gotten great (and sometimes painful) feedback - always finding something that I overlooked or am blind too.

FYI - Marshall is great at taking feedback. Expecting exhaustive testing and experimentation would be prohibitive to supporting a brewing blog while having a real life and job. Looking forward to when the AHA Research program is re-opened. I certainly expect more documentation and research behind the findings from those participants.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 07:24:37 PM by mchrispen »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2015, 07:25:03 PM »
If nothing else, the general lack of consensus on most the the experiments confirms to me that there are many paths to good beer.

Yep
Jon H.