Author Topic: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter  (Read 4549 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2015, 07:30:34 PM »
I rarely make starters anymore - if I don't have slurry available, I just brew a small batch and then step up in size from there incrementally to full size batches.  I have found Brulosopher to present pretty solid information, but admittedly not the same as a scientific methodology.  Some things I have adopted as standard practice, but under pitching is not something I will regularly do.  The lager schedule I follow regularly.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2015, 07:43:20 PM »
Interesting stuff. I know that my own unscientific experience lately shows that sticking to those precise numbers suggested by yeast calculators is not necessary. To me its not as much about how many billion cells as it is how healthy and fresh they are. I haven't tried pitching a vial, haven't used white labs at all. I suspect that if they used wyeast in this test, smacking the pack and letting it come to life and inflate, that the results would be even tighter.

Lately I've been doing my starters without stir plate, highly oxygenated 2 quarts in a gallon jug, crashed after high krausen and decanted. No concern for cell count. Great results. Im sticking with that.

But, I suspect that pitching a tube or smack pack into 1L of wort at the beginning of the brew day, and pitching the whole thing into the finished wort would produce decent results. Unless the yeast was so old that it didnt have some activity by then. On that note, age/viability of the yeast is another major factor in a no starter pitch.

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2015, 10:36:02 AM »
Sometimes a vial of yeast is getting a little long in the tooth before it gets from CA to ME after being shipped in who knows what conditions. So, I started making starters mostly to proof the yeast. The upside was more consistent results in the end. Is the beer better, I think so, but there's a lot of personal bias going on in that evaluation.
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Offline beersk

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2015, 04:36:11 PM »
Sometimes a vial of yeast is getting a little long in the tooth before it gets from CA to ME after being shipped in who knows what conditions. So, I started making starters mostly to proof the yeast. The upside was more consistent results in the end. Is the beer better, I think so, but there's a lot of personal bias going on in that evaluation.

I think this is one of the more important reasons for making starters, and like Jim said, yeast health. There are many paths to making good beer, but not as many to making great beer.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 09:22:55 PM »
I don't often make starters any longer except for lagers or if the yeast in not as fresh as I am comfortable with. I start with a beer whose gravity is lower than 1.050, aerate well and then just pitch the yeast. Then I harvest that yeast for whatever series of beers I have planned.

Offline gmac

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2015, 09:36:30 PM »
I agree completely with which ever side is ultimately proven correct.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2015, 10:54:55 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?

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 agree, Denny. I'm not interested in whether a highly trained taster can perceive a difference, but rather if the typical homebrewer and craft beer drinker is going to be able to. I can't tell you how many times I've thought I perceived a difference in a beer that I made where I changed some small variable, but I was never comparing them side-by-side. It was all based off of memory, which I've come to question the validity of quite a bit. If I've learned anything since starting this xBmt series, it's that subconscious bias runs rampant when it comes to sensory perception, we all want to believe that the things we do make a difference.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2015, 10:55:35 PM »

I agree completely with which ever side is ultimately proven correct.

I like your style.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2015, 10:55:39 PM »
I don't often make starters any longer except for lagers or if the yeast in not as fresh as I am comfortable with. I start with a beer whose gravity is lower than 1.050, aerate well and then just pitch the yeast. Then I harvest that yeast for whatever series of beers I have planned.
Cheater! Hey, I dont make starters either. Just a tiny batch of unhopped pale mild.

Offline brulosopher

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Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2015, 11:03:38 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

The tasting panel consisted of a homebrew shop owner, board members of a homebrew club, experienced beer drinking staff of Gambrinus Malting Co., and a bunch of experienced homebrewers. It's understandable, ludicrous as it may be, to want to blame results that don't confirm our practices on the participants. If you or anyone else is interested in participating, let me know, I'd be happy to send you samples to taste blind! Just ask Denny :)

And for record, I'm sticking with making starters too!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 11:32:13 PM by brulosopher »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 11:42:18 PM »
The tasting panel consisted of a homebrew shop owner, board members of a homebrew club, experienced beer drinking staff of Gambrinus Malting Co., and a bunch of experienced homebrewers. It's understandable, ludicrous as it may be, to want to blame results that don't confirm our practices on the participants. If you or anyone else is interested in participating, let me know, I'd be happy to send you samples to taste blind! Just ask Denny :)

And for record, I'm sticking with making starters too!

While I'm sticking with starters, too, I appreciate what you do. The xBmts are always interesting - they either reinforce my own observations or challenge them. Good either way. Keep up the good work !
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 11:47:12 PM »

The tasting panel consisted of a homebrew shop owner, board members of a homebrew club, experienced beer drinking staff of Gambrinus Malting Co., and a bunch of experienced homebrewers. It's understandable, ludicrous as it may be, to want to blame results that don't confirm our practices on the participants. If you or anyone else is interested in participating, let me know, I'd be happy to send you samples to taste blind! Just ask Denny :)

And for record, I'm sticking with making starters too!

While I'm sticking with starters, too, I appreciate what you do. The xBmts are always interesting - they either reinforce my own observations or challenge them. Good either way. Keep up the good work !

That's really cool to hear, I appreciate it! I think some people assume I do what I do in an attempt to prove something, when in actuality, I started this series to prove to myself that what I was doing really mattered. To say I've been surprised with some of the results, especially having tried the beers side by side, would be a massive understatement.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2015, 11:48:14 PM »

The tasting panel consisted of a homebrew shop owner, board members of a homebrew club, experienced beer drinking staff of Gambrinus Malting Co., and a bunch of experienced homebrewers. It's understandable, ludicrous as it may be, to want to blame results that don't confirm our practices on the participants. If you or anyone else is interested in participating, let me know, I'd be happy to send you samples to taste blind! Just ask Denny :)

And for record, I'm sticking with making starters too!

While I'm sticking with starters, too, I appreciate what you do. The xBmts are always interesting - they either reinforce my own observations or challenge them. Good either way. Keep up the good work !

+1.  Great stuff


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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2015, 03:55:19 AM »
Here's a funny anecdote - I went to a neighbor's house tonight to rack over a couple kegs I brewed with him to serving kegs (a keg to keg transfer) for a wedding this weekend.  We completed that - 2 Hearted Ale clone - and he asked me to judge an APA that he had on tap.  I gladly obliged - and it was fantastic, so I suggested that he take the third keg to the wedding for those who might enjoy a less hoppy beer and that I thought that the APA was really better than the IPA in my opinion.  It turned out that the APA was a beer that I had brewed back in January with him (I honestly did not know, because he said it was a beer he had brewed in November).  Long story short, I had remarked about the water profile being perfect for the style and that the water really made the difference. 

Just goes to show you that if you are open to honest feedback, the feedback will likely fit the beer.  Little did I know that the water that Martin's spreadsheet suggested would be so good!  I post this just to say that an Exbeeriment can come from the most unexpected places....
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: Yeast Pitch Rate exBEERiment: Single Vial vs. Yeast Starter
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2015, 04:14:29 AM »

Here's a funny anecdote - I went to a neighbor's house tonight to rack over a couple kegs I brewed with him to serving kegs (a keg to keg transfer) for a wedding this weekend.  We completed that - 2 Hearted Ale clone - and he asked me to judge an APA that he had on tap.  I gladly obliged - and it was fantastic, so I suggested that he take the third keg to the wedding for those who might enjoy a less hoppy beer and that I thought that the APA was really better than the IPA in my opinion.  It turned out that the APA was a beer that I had brewed back in January with him (I honestly did not know, because he said it was a beer he had brewed in November).  Long story short, I had remarked about the water profile being perfect for the style and that the water really made the difference. 

Just goes to show you that if you are open to honest feedback, the feedback will likely fit the beer.  Little did I know that the water that Martin's spreadsheet suggested would be so good!  I post this just to say that an Exbeeriment can come from the most unexpected places....

Cheers!