Author Topic: Conan vs Chico Experiment  (Read 1927 times)

Offline BrodyR

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Conan vs Chico Experiment
« on: May 13, 2015, 02:31:33 PM »
Even since my last trip to Vermont I've been fascinated with the Conan yeast strain. It's roots are from Greg Noonan of the Vermont Pub & Brewery and supposedly it has English roots. If you're not familiar it's supposed to kick off a bit of peach, essentially act as hop steroids, and is Heady Toppers claim to fame. I've loved the APAs I've brewed with it but it's tough to tell where the hops end and the yeast begins.

My last brew was an American IPA that I decided to split batch with the Yeast Bay's Vermont Ale (Conan) and S-05. I took inspiration from a local brewery and went 80% Pale, 10% white wheat, 10% flaked oats for the grain bill with a touch of acid malt for pH. The hops were Chinook, F7, Amarillo, & Cascade all added during a 170f hop stand or dry hopped. Bittering was from a single CTZ charge at 60m. The beer that I was inspired by (same grain bill and Conan) said they serve it up super fresh, 2 to 3 weeks from brew day. Going off of this I cold crashed after 14 days and served on day 21.

For the S-05 I simply added the packet to the wort. Vermont Ale was a 3rd generation mason jar of washed yeast boosted up with a starter.

At day 21 I hosted a little party and tapped the two. Overwhelmingly everyone preferred the Conan beer (10 Conan, 3 S-05) and it tasted like a completely different beer - although surprisingly the yeast character almost seemed more Belgium than English. However there was a major variable affecting the experiment - there was a touch of diacytel flavor in the S-05. I've never had this problem with S-05 before but I've also usually don't cold crash at 2 weeks and usually brew lower gravity beers.

So in the end the experiment was pretty flawed so I'll probably redo with a fresh vial of Vermont Ale and 1056 or something. But the takeaway was still that Conan adds a crap ton of flavor to an IPA and worth experimenting more with.
 

Offline yso191

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 03:11:03 PM »
Thanks for reporting.  I love this sort of experimentation.
Steve
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Offline toby

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 03:35:14 PM »
So in the end the experiment was pretty flawed so I'll probably redo with a fresh vial of Vermont Ale and 1056 or something. But the takeaway was still that Conan adds a crap ton of flavor to an IPA and worth experimenting more with.
Yeah, the pitch differences were your 'flaw'.  You definitely want to get a comparable pitch between the two.  With the diacetyl, the S-05 just didn't have the time and energy to clean it up.  A healthier pitch would have been a fairer comparison.  Kudos for experimenting, though.

Offline gman23

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 03:59:17 PM »
Interesting. I have heard so much about heady topper but can't get it.

I use US05 for a lot of APA/IPA type beers. I do like it for my purposes but have been looking for something that adds just a bit of something without getting in the way of the hops. I have been experimenting more with malts in these styles and tend to go a bit overboard and cover up the hops more than I should...
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2015, 04:46:28 PM »
So in the end the experiment was pretty flawed so I'll probably redo with a fresh vial of Vermont Ale and 1056 or something. But the takeaway was still that Conan adds a crap ton of flavor to an IPA and worth experimenting more with.
Yeah, the pitch differences were your 'flaw'.  You definitely want to get a comparable pitch between the two.  With the diacetyl, the S-05 just didn't have the time and energy to clean it up.  A healthier pitch would have been a fairer comparison.  Kudos for experimenting, though.

Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.

Normally when I use Chico it's S-05 without a starter. Since Vermont Ale is a bit expensive and has to be shipped I've been harvesting and reusing it so I figured I'd first tailor the experiment to how I'd use them personally. But I definitely want to redo with the same cell count liquid-to-liquid to have a better Conan Vs Chico comparison.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2015, 04:48:01 PM »
Interesting. I have heard so much about heady topper but can't get it.

I use US05 for a lot of APA/IPA type beers. I do like it for my purposes but have been looking for something that adds just a bit of something without getting in the way of the hops. I have been experimenting more with malts in these styles and tend to go a bit overboard and cover up the hops more than I should...

Definitely try it out, imo it compliments citrusy hops really well. The Yeast Bay sells it as Vermont Ale. East Coast Yeast has a version too but thats harder to come by.

Offline toby

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2015, 04:59:10 PM »
Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.
I expect that even rehydrating before pitching might have made a difference.  I don't think I've ever seen documented numbers, but conventional wisdom is that dumping dry yeast right into the fermenter can kill up to half the viable cells compared to rehydration.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2015, 07:29:32 PM »
Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.
I expect that even rehydrating before pitching might have made a difference.  I don't think I've ever seen documented numbers, but conventional wisdom is that dumping dry yeast right into the fermenter can kill up to half the viable cells compared to rehydration.

I rehydrate, but my recollection is that the consensus is it doesn't really matter.  You've got enough yeast even if sprinkling kills some cells.

It's an endless debate, though.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2015, 08:29:30 PM »
I rehydrate, but my recollection is that the consensus is it doesn't really matter.  You've got enough yeast even if sprinkling kills some cells.
Enough is going to vary, though.  Will you have enough to ferment?  Yeah, you should, but the health of the fermentation could be affected.  You might have a bit longer lag time, or the yeast cleaning up after itself may take longer.  I'm just saying that in an experiment like this, under a compressed time frame, it may have made a difference.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/rehydrating-dry-yeast/

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2015, 09:02:27 PM »
Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.
I expect that even rehydrating before pitching might have made a difference.  I don't think I've ever seen documented numbers, but conventional wisdom is that dumping dry yeast right into the fermenter can kill up to half the viable cells compared to rehydration.

I rehydrate, but my recollection is that the consensus is it doesn't really matter.  You've got enough yeast even if sprinkling kills some cells.

It's an endless debate, though.

That had been my understanding as well. I usually rehydrate but had read some stuff here and there about how it may not be needed. But you're definitely right that in an experiment and when looking for a quick turnaround at least rehydrating would have made sense. Using two fresh liquid vials may be the best approach.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2015, 11:12:53 PM »

I love this stuff, thank you for sharing your results! I did a similar xBmt comparing TYB Vermont Ale to my beloved WLP090 SDSY and my results matched yours-- blind tasters preferred the beer fermented with Vermont.

Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.
I expect that even rehydrating before pitching might have made a difference.  I don't think I've ever seen documented numbers, but conventional wisdom is that dumping dry yeast right into the fermenter can kill up to half the viable cells compared to rehydration.

I rehydrate, but my recollection is that the consensus is it doesn't really matter.  You've got enough yeast even if sprinkling kills some cells.

It's an endless debate, though.
I think it matters in certain situations (cool ferm temp, high OG) and doesn't matter so much in others. My xBmt on the topic suggested blind tasters weren't terribly good at distinguishing between the same beer fermented with dry yeast sprinkled on vs rehydrated.

http://brulosophy.com/2014/09/15/sprinkled-vs-rehydrated-dry-yeast-exbeeriment-results/

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2015, 01:26:36 AM »
At day 21 I hosted a little party and tapped the two. Overwhelmingly everyone preferred the Conan beer (10 Conan, 3 S-05) and it tasted like a completely different beer - although surprisingly the yeast character almost seemed more Belgium than English. However there was a major variable affecting the experiment - there was a touch of diacytel flavor in the S-05. I've never had this problem with S-05 before but I've also usually don't cold crash at 2 weeks and usually brew lower gravity beers.

If you read my "Just say no" thread, you will understand where the Belgian notes came from in the Conan batch.  Rinsing yeast with boiled water is the brewing equivalent of taping a sign that says "Kick Me" to one's back.  My recommendation is to avoid the practice in the future because yeast rinsing opens the culture up to wild yeast and bacteria infection.  Belgianesque flavors are often a sign of wild yeast infection.  Unlike British strains, most Belgian strains are not that far removed from their wild origins.   For example, the main Duvel strain groups closely with the Saccharomyces diastaticus strain NCYC 361 from a genetic point of view1.  Saccharomyces diastaticus is a wild beer spoilage species.


[1] Reconstruction of the genome origins and evolution of the hybrid lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus, http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2008/09/11/gr.076075.108.full.pdf

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2015, 02:35:01 PM »
At day 21 I hosted a little party and tapped the two. Overwhelmingly everyone preferred the Conan beer (10 Conan, 3 S-05) and it tasted like a completely different beer - although surprisingly the yeast character almost seemed more Belgium than English. However there was a major variable affecting the experiment - there was a touch of diacytel flavor in the S-05. I've never had this problem with S-05 before but I've also usually don't cold crash at 2 weeks and usually brew lower gravity beers.

If you read my "Just say no" thread, you will understand where the Belgian notes came from in the Conan batch.  Rinsing yeast with boiled water is the brewing equivalent of taping a sign that says "Kick Me" to one's back.  My recommendation is to avoid the practice in the future because yeast rinsing opens the culture up to wild yeast and bacteria infection.  Belgianesque flavors are often a sign of wild yeast infection.  Unlike British strains, most Belgian strains are not that far removed from their wild origins.   For example, the main Duvel strain groups closely with the Saccharomyces diastaticus strain NCYC 361 from a genetic point of view1.  Saccharomyces diastaticus is a wild beer spoilage species.


[1] Reconstruction of the genome origins and evolution of the hybrid lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus, http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2008/09/11/gr.076075.108.full.pdf

Hmm, interesting stuff! I'll dive into that post when I have some time - I had always read this was a good practice. That being said the belgium yeast like notes that could have been from a wild yeast caused by washing were awesome. Definitely another negative as far as experimentation goes but positive in the beer for sure.

What's your process for harvesting yeast?

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2015, 02:36:30 PM »

I love this stuff, thank you for sharing your results! I did a similar xBmt comparing TYB Vermont Ale to my beloved WLP090 SDSY and my results matched yours-- blind tasters preferred the beer fermented with Vermont.

Yea, I think time was the key and the starter would have accelerated everything. I don't think I under pitched tho - a full packet of dry yeast for a bit under 3 gallons of 1.060 wort should do the trick. But with the goal being a quick turnaround a starter would have helped even the playing field.
I expect that even rehydrating before pitching might have made a difference.  I don't think I've ever seen documented numbers, but conventional wisdom is that dumping dry yeast right into the fermenter can kill up to half the viable cells compared to rehydration.

I rehydrate, but my recollection is that the consensus is it doesn't really matter.  You've got enough yeast even if sprinkling kills some cells.

It's an endless debate, though.
I think it matters in certain situations (cool ferm temp, high OG) and doesn't matter so much in others. My xBmt on the topic suggested blind tasters weren't terribly good at distinguishing between the same beer fermented with dry yeast sprinkled on vs rehydrated.

http://brulosophy.com/2014/09/15/sprinkled-vs-rehydrated-dry-yeast-exbeeriment-results/

Good stuff, I believe I read a few of your other experiments regarding double dry hops and something else.

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Re: Conan vs Chico Experiment
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2015, 03:07:23 PM »
Hmm, interesting stuff! I'll dive into that post when I have some time - I had always read this was a good practice. That being said the belgium yeast like notes that could have been from a wild yeast caused by washing were awesome. Definitely another negative as far as experimentation goes but positive in the beer for sure.

What's your process for harvesting yeast?

No only are there potential downsides, there are no benefits, either!  Try just saving and reusing the slurry and you'll see what I mean.
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