Author Topic: Newbie question on yeast amounts  (Read 1189 times)

Offline Erik_Mog

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Newbie question on yeast amounts
« on: May 07, 2016, 01:28:27 PM »
I have my first ever batch in the fermenter now (been in just under a week).  I am playing with Beersmith to make recipes for future brews, and have a question about yeast amounts.  Being new, I will pretty much be using the Wyeast smack packs and not trying to get over my head with starters, etc.  According to Wyeast, 1 pack (100 billion cells) is good for 5 gallons of wort with an OG of up to 1.06.  I eventually want to do a Barleywine, and the recipe I came up with has an estimated OG of 1.112.  According to Beersmith's yeast calculator, I would need to have 400 billion cells.  Does this mean I will need to pitch 4 of the Wyeast packs, or am I missing something?
Bottled/Drinking:  Born Again Heathenweizen, Mongrel Belgian
Fermenting:  None
Future:  Undecided...too many to choose from

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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2016, 01:33:28 PM »
Four pack sounds right.
That's assuming that the packs are very fresh.
Another possibility is using dry yeast.
Two 11 gram packs would get it done.
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Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2016, 01:42:06 PM »
Four pack sounds right.
That's assuming that the packs are very fresh.
Another possibility is using dry yeast.
Two 11 gram packs would get it done.

Thanks.  I wasn't sure if I was over thinking or under thinking the whole thing.  Seems I am on the right track with designing the recipes.
Bottled/Drinking:  Born Again Heathenweizen, Mongrel Belgian
Fermenting:  None
Future:  Undecided...too many to choose from

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Offline noonancm

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 01:51:05 PM »
Another option is to brew another beer like a pale ale or something of similar strength and use the yeast cake for the barleywine. It would be similar to a starter and the yeast would be hungry for something stronger.

Offline denny

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2016, 02:35:36 PM »
I am a big supporter of Wyeast and the people there are friends of mine.  But I ignore what they say about what a staright pack cando based onmy own experience.  I would suggest making a starter for any beer over 1.040.  I get much better results by doing that.
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Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2016, 03:23:45 PM »
Seems like there are lots of options.  I will definitely read up on doing a starter.  As for dry yeast, is it necessary to add any yeast nutrients to the fermenter, or is it simply a re-hydrate, pith and go thing?
Bottled/Drinking:  Born Again Heathenweizen, Mongrel Belgian
Fermenting:  None
Future:  Undecided...too many to choose from

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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2016, 04:09:43 PM »
I am a big supporter of Wyeast and the people there are friends of mine.  But I ignore what they say about what a staright pack cando based onmy own experience.  I would suggest making a starter for any beer over 1.040.  I get much better results by doing that.

When I use Wyeast or White Labs I do a starter on anything over 1.050 in my normal three gallon size batches. No way would I not use a starter on a five gallon batch.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2016, 04:13:09 PM »
Seems like there are lots of options.  I will definitely read up on doing a starter.  As for dry yeast, is it necessary to add any yeast nutrients to the fermenter, or is it simply a re-hydrate, pith and go thing?

I usually add at least a little nutrient to all my batches.
Re-hydrate? There is a block of brewers that say yes and a block that say no. I use dry yeast on most of my batches and don't re-hydrate unless I'm brewing a big beer.
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Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2016, 04:20:34 PM »
Seems like there are lots of options.  I will definitely read up on doing a starter.  As for dry yeast, is it necessary to add any yeast nutrients to the fermenter, or is it simply a re-hydrate, pith and go thing?

I usually add at least a little nutrient to all my batches.
Re-hydrate? There is a block of brewers that say yes and a block that say no. I use dry yeast on most of my batches and don't re-hydrate unless I'm brewing a big beer.

Being a Chef by trade, and having had 2 jobs as a Pastry Chef/Baker during my career, I have always re-hydrated yeast before use.  I wasn't sure if the same held true for brewer's yeast as well.
Bottled/Drinking:  Born Again Heathenweizen, Mongrel Belgian
Fermenting:  None
Future:  Undecided...too many to choose from

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Offline a10t2

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2016, 06:11:17 PM »
Being a Chef by trade, and having had 2 jobs as a Pastry Chef/Baker during my career, I have always re-hydrated yeast before use.  I wasn't sure if the same held true for brewer's yeast as well.

All the empirical evidence says that not rehydrating kills off about half the cells. There's also anecdotal evidence from some old wise brewers that it doesn't matter.
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Offline denny

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2016, 06:16:29 PM »
Being a Chef by trade, and having had 2 jobs as a Pastry Chef/Baker during my career, I have always re-hydrated yeast before use.  I wasn't sure if the same held true for brewer's yeast as well.

All the empirical evidence says that not rehydrating kills off about half the cells. There's also anecdotal evidence from some old wise brewers that it doesn't matter.

Hey, it's OK....I'm proud of old!  I've earned it!  And yeah, it may kill half the cells, but I've never found that to affect beer quality.  I pitch a single unrehydrated pack of US05 in 5 gal. up to 1.070ish and get fine results.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline ethinson

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2016, 07:29:55 PM »
I have my first ever batch in the fermenter now (been in just under a week).  I am playing with Beersmith to make recipes for future brews, and have a question about yeast amounts.  Being new, I will pretty much be using the Wyeast smack packs and not trying to get over my head with starters, etc.  According to Wyeast, 1 pack (100 billion cells) is good for 5 gallons of wort with an OG of up to 1.06.  I eventually want to do a Barleywine, and the recipe I came up with has an estimated OG of 1.112.  According to Beersmith's yeast calculator, I would need to have 400 billion cells.  Does this mean I will need to pitch 4 of the Wyeast packs, or am I missing something?

I'm sure you could eventually have problems from using too much yeast, but not nearly as bad and to the extent of using not enough.  It took me a while to realize that I was underpitching almost everything I made, even the things I thought "went well". 

I don't think they are available much outside of Oregon/Washington right now, but I've had good success with the direct pitch cans from Imperial Organic Yeast.  They guarantee 200 billion cells (at time of packaging).  A recent tour they said it's more like 210 to be safe.  Most of my regular beers (not high ABV) call for 160-175 billion cells (3 gallon batches).
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Offline molokomalt

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2016, 03:36:52 PM »
I started brewing in September 2015.  Once I started making a starter for higher grav beers (over 1.06), the difference was amazingly delicious and more complex.  Many instructions will recommend a stir plate but stirring every 30 minutes to an hour will be better than nothing.  And they are incredibly simple.

Bring 2L water to boil. Add DME and boil for 10-15 minutes.  Cool down to room temp.  Add LIQUID yeast.  Stir every hour or 30 minutes for the next 12-24 hours (obviously a stir plate is ideal but a tad expensive). 

In summary: don't bother wasting money on buying numerous yeast packs. make a starter and see how much better your fermentation and tastier your beer is.

Cheers,

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Newbie question on yeast amounts
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2016, 10:14:57 PM »
I'm sure you could eventually have problems from using too much yeast, but not nearly as bad and to the extent of using not enough.  It took me a while to realize that I was underpitching almost everything I made, even the things I thought "went well". 

I don't think they are available much outside of Oregon/Washington right now, but I've had good success with the direct pitch cans from Imperial Organic Yeast.  They guarantee 200 billion cells (at time of packaging).  A recent tour they said it's more like 210 to be safe.  Most of my regular beers (not high ABV) call for 160-175 billion cells (3 gallon batches).

It takes a real effort to pitch too much yeast. On the Brewer's Friend yeast calculator for 5 gallons of 1.050 wort at the MFGs recommended rate it calls for 82 billion cell, at the Pro Brewer rate it calls for 293 billion cells. There is a pretty wide range of what's a "normal" amount of yeast to use.

I'm thinking about trying the I O Y the next time I go liquid. It costs a a bit more than White Labs, but saves the cost of DME and the time to make a starter.
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