Author Topic: How much is too much yeast?  (Read 12763 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2020, 06:55:01 PM »
This started a conversation on my main board.  I looked through the YEAST book but could not find anything mentioned there but I did find this on the web this morning and I think it's about as good an explanation I can find regarding pitching TOO much yeast, especially on the repitch of slurry:

Quote
Yeast produce different flavors during the various stages of their lifecycle. Overpitching shortens or skips their "growth" phase (maybe a better name is "division" or "budding"). The bulk of a beer's esters are produced during this initial stage, so missing out on a fully-developed life cycle robs a beer of this often desirable quality.

If anyone out there has a more detailed explanation on this, please post it.  I think I have been pitching more slurry than is necessary lately and I think the above explanation may be at play in some of my recent beers.  I brewed a German Pilsner with Omega Bayern yesterday and my flask showed that I had between 200 and 300ml of yeast and I pitched all of it.  But I also have a flask of 940 that has between 600-800ml of slurry in it and I plan to brew with that on Sunday and I will only pitch ~200ml which is closer to the optimal amount. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline denny

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2020, 08:08:14 PM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2020, 08:53:53 PM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.

For sure.  What is further even more unique, though, is how some yeasts really hit their stride (resulting beer flavor is better or more preferred and fermentation performance is more robust and complete) after so many [x, y, or z] generations of re-pitching, too....  this is an anecdotal finding/assertion on my part that I think would be pretty hard to compare scientifically by homebrewers in terms of isolating specific variables (at least in my experience).
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2020, 10:57:03 PM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.

For sure.  What is further even more unique, though, is how some yeasts really hit their stride (resulting beer flavor is better or more preferred and fermentation performance is more robust and complete) after so many [x, y, or z] generations of re-pitching, too....  this is an anecdotal finding/assertion on my part that I think would be pretty hard to compare scientifically by homebrewers in terms of isolating specific variables (at least in my experience).
Yeah, that's interesting.  I think that I have been pitching too much slurry on subsequent batches.  Many of the beers that are made with the yeast coming out of the starter are better than the beers brewed with the slurry and it's probably exactly what's happening above... there is a growth cycle, pleasing esters are produced and those beers stand out.  I will be looking closer at this.  Another example of how you could do something for 20+ and realize there is plenty you either don't know or somehow forgot.  :D  Cheers guys.
Ken from Chicago

Online tommymorris

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2020, 12:15:33 AM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.

For sure.  What is further even more unique, though, is how some yeasts really hit their stride (resulting beer flavor is better or more preferred and fermentation performance is more robust and complete) after so many [x, y, or z] generations of re-pitching, too....  this is an anecdotal finding/assertion on my part that I think would be pretty hard to compare scientifically by homebrewers in terms of isolating specific variables (at least in my experience).
Yeah, that's interesting.  I think that I have been pitching too much slurry on subsequent batches.  Many of the beers that are made with the yeast coming out of the starter are better than the beers brewed with the slurry and it's probably exactly what's happening above... there is a growth cycle, pleasing esters are produced and those beers stand out.  I will be looking closer at this.  Another example of how you could do something for 20+ and realize there is plenty you either don't know or somehow forgot.  :D  Cheers guys.
Are you are saying this mostly about lagers since that is what you usually share pictures of?

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2020, 12:52:16 AM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.

For sure.  What is further even more unique, though, is how some yeasts really hit their stride (resulting beer flavor is better or more preferred and fermentation performance is more robust and complete) after so many [x, y, or z] generations of re-pitching, too....  this is an anecdotal finding/assertion on my part that I think would be pretty hard to compare scientifically by homebrewers in terms of isolating specific variables (at least in my experience).
Yeah, that's interesting.  I think that I have been pitching too much slurry on subsequent batches.  Many of the beers that are made with the yeast coming out of the starter are better than the beers brewed with the slurry and it's probably exactly what's happening above... there is a growth cycle, pleasing esters are produced and those beers stand out.  I will be looking closer at this.  Another example of how you could do something for 20+ and realize there is plenty you either don't know or somehow forgot.  :D  Cheers guys.
Are you are saying this mostly about lagers since that is what you usually share pictures of?
Good point.  Yes, I make a lot of lagers and this is mostly WRT lagers.  I'm actually not sure if my ales would react the same way or not but one would need LESS yeast in an ale and I might be inclined to pitch the whole volume so that would be even MORE overpitching.  I do have WL001 waiting patiently to be woken up and I have some ales planned for later this summer and into fall.  I will be looking at the proper pitch rate for ales as well. 
Ken from Chicago

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2020, 01:05:13 AM »
Ken, that's nust what I was gonna say I found though experience.  Some yeast growth seems to improve flavor.

For sure.  What is further even more unique, though, is how some yeasts really hit their stride (resulting beer flavor is better or more preferred and fermentation performance is more robust and complete) after so many [x, y, or z] generations of re-pitching, too....  this is an anecdotal finding/assertion on my part that I think would be pretty hard to compare scientifically by homebrewers in terms of isolating specific variables (at least in my experience).
Yeah, that's interesting.  I think that I have been pitching too much slurry on subsequent batches.  Many of the beers that are made with the yeast coming out of the starter are better than the beers brewed with the slurry and it's probably exactly what's happening above... there is a growth cycle, pleasing esters are produced and those beers stand out.  I will be looking closer at this.  Another example of how you could do something for 20+ and realize there is plenty you either don't know or somehow forgot.  :D  Cheers guys.
Are you are saying this mostly about lagers since that is what you usually share pictures of?
Good point.  Yes, I make a lot of lagers and this is mostly WRT lagers.  I'm actually not sure if my ales would react the same way or not but one would need LESS yeast in an ale and I might be inclined to pitch the whole volume so that would be even MORE overpitching.  I do have WL001 waiting patiently to be woken up and I have some ales planned for later this summer and into fall.  I will be looking at the proper pitch rate for ales as well.
Just curious. I brew 2.5 gallon batches and pitch whole packs of dry yeast almost always. For lagers that is about proper pitch rate, but for ales it’s about 2x what BeerSmith recommends. I am wondering about trying an ale with half a pack.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2020, 01:42:03 AM »
Just curious. I brew 2.5 gallon batches and pitch whole packs of dry yeast almost always. For lagers that is about proper pitch rate, but for ales it’s about 2x what BeerSmith recommends. I am wondering about trying an ale with half a pack.
I think it just comes down to what we taste in our own beers.  I went back to my notes and looked for spots where I mentioned that the beer had turned out particularly good.  In many of those cases the beer was a lager that was made with the yeast from the starter.  What that says to me was that the yeast count was either right on or very close either low or high.  That life cycle phase kicked in and created some pleasant beer esters.  You know what your ales taste like with a full pack of dry yeast so it would be a cool test to see how they came out with a half-pack.  My experience with dry yeast is limited.  I did have a run of Lallemand Diamond lagers last year and I have used S-189 as well but I generally use liquid yeast.  If you do an experiment, please let us know your findings.  Cheers.
Ken from Chicago

Offline goose

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2020, 01:16:44 PM »
I tend to slightly under-pitch the yeast in my beers.  I use the calculator in BeerSmith as a guide  to my starter size with liquid yeast and get within a few billion cells of what they recommend.  (There are other ones out there that are probably better, like Mr. Malty or the Lallimand one that Brewbama uses). For example, if the calcultor says 3.2 liters, I make a 3 liter starter usually rounding up or down to the nearest 0.5 liters.  I always get good results and making the yeast work just a bit harder doesn't seem to make any difference in flavor to my palate.

With dry yeast, I will pitch one pack (I do not re-hydrate since it is no longer recommended by the manufacturer) in a beer up to 18 degrees Plato or so, and two packs in a big beer (20+ Plato) like my RIS.

Just my .02.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2020, 03:09:03 PM »
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the sage information from Mark, S.Cerevisae, regarding the Shaken and Not Stirred starter method.  It is about the vitality, not the numbers!
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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2020, 03:47:40 PM »
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the sage information from Mark, S.Cerevisae, regarding the Shaken and Not Stirred starter method.  It is about the vitality, not the numbers!

I've found that works for me at least as well as pitch rate.  Even Chris white said "homebrewers are too hung up on numbers"
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2020, 02:12:47 PM »
I had this in mind on a batch I made yesterday... an amber lager with 940.  When I first harvested the 940, the flask showed about 800ml.  That was beer + the yeast and it had been swirled around a bit to harvest it.  Eventually it settled and looked to be about 400ml of slurry with 200ml of beer.  I poured off the beer and swirled the slurry a little bit and then poured about 250ml of it into a glass measuring cup that had boiling water poured into it and then it rested in Starsan for about 20 minutes.  Then I pitched that amount into the wort.  I would have ordinarily pitched the entire volume.  This may be a subtle thing but I will be paying close attention when I taste this beer to see if those 'pleasing esters' are more evident in this beer.  If so, I will follow this process and pitch the proper amount and not go so overboard. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2020, 02:27:00 PM »
I had this in mind on a batch I made yesterday... an amber lager with 940.  When I first harvested the 940, the flask showed about 800ml.  That was beer + the yeast and it had been swirled around a bit to harvest it.  Eventually it settled and looked to be about 400ml of slurry with 200ml of beer.  I poured off the beer and swirled the slurry a little bit and then poured about 250ml of it into a glass measuring cup that had boiling water poured into it and then it rested in Starsan for about 20 minutes.  Then I pitched that amount into the wort.  I would have ordinarily pitched the entire volume.  This may be a subtle thing but I will be paying close attention when I taste this beer to see if those 'pleasing esters' are more evident in this beer.  If so, I will follow this process and pitch the proper amount and not go so overboard.

I would like to read your results. When I used 940 it was too clean. It was used in a split batch and I really preferred the half with 830.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2020, 02:48:35 PM »
I had this in mind on a batch I made yesterday... an amber lager with 940.  When I first harvested the 940, the flask showed about 800ml.  That was beer + the yeast and it had been swirled around a bit to harvest it.  Eventually it settled and looked to be about 400ml of slurry with 200ml of beer.  I poured off the beer and swirled the slurry a little bit and then poured about 250ml of it into a glass measuring cup that had boiling water poured into it and then it rested in Starsan for about 20 minutes.  Then I pitched that amount into the wort.  I would have ordinarily pitched the entire volume.  This may be a subtle thing but I will be paying close attention when I taste this beer to see if those 'pleasing esters' are more evident in this beer.  If so, I will follow this process and pitch the proper amount and not go so overboard.

I would like to read your results. When I used 940 it was too clean. It was used in a split batch and I really preferred the half with 830.
I like 830 as well but I get great character from 940 and I was very happy when it went from a seasonal strain to an 'always available' strain.  I have notes on beers that turned out particularly well either by my standards or friends, family or neighbors who happened to mention how good a certain beer was.  In many of those cases the beer was a 'first-run' of the yeast.  For lagers that would be a 1.5 liter starter and either a pack of Wyeast or White Labs and probably fewer cells than is suggested which means the yeast would have to go through their cycles and possibly create these pleasing esters.  For an ale that would almost always mean a smacked Wyeast pack, swollen and directly pitched into 5 gallons of 1.050 wort, no starter.  Again, the yeast probably had some growth phase.  On subsequent batches I would almost always pitch as much yeast as possible and I would get FAST starts but that growth phase was missed and so the beers didn't have that same pop... they were a little more bland.
Ken from Chicago

Offline roger

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Re: How much is too much yeast?
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2020, 03:47:27 PM »
Sorry if I missed this above, but when Ken says he's pitching 250mL of yeast slurry for a lager, is that into a 5 gallon batch?
Cheers,

Roger