Author Topic: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile  (Read 193 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« on: October 07, 2019, 03:03:41 PM »
On my latest excursion into Rocket City’s version of a homebrew supply, they didn’t have WYeast Yeast Nutrient but did have Fermax.  So, I bought the Fermax and came home to begin researching it. It struck me that I’ve been using yeast nutrient and never really considered the composition and what those components are adding to my beer. So my question becomes, should the components of yeast nutrients be considered in the water profile?

Fermax is a premium yeast nutrient formulation that includes diammonium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and autolyzed yeast.

Wyeast's yeast nutrient is a mix of vitamins, minerals, both organic and inorganic nitrogen, zinc, phospates and other trace minerals.

Who knows how much of what.

Incidentally, in the spirit of ‘oh what the hell’, I went ahead and used two tsp of the Fermax in a 5.5 gal batch of 1.052 Dunkel. My two packs of 34/70 must have really liked that because I saw evidence of fermentation (airlock activity) within ~6 hrs and fermentation completed as quick as I’ve ever seen for this lager strain in my brewery. I’ve not seen that level of performance with the WYeast brand in the past. Of course, I haven’t tapped it yet so I don’t know the results. I guess that’s the beauty of homebrewing: every batch is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’ll get.


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Offline Robert

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 03:31:06 PM »
Do report on the results!  With the understanding that the only thing truly lacking in wort is zinc, the last few batches I've just dosed zinc sulfate in the fermenter.  I have noticed longer lags and slightly longer fermentation than with Wyeast nutrient.  I can't really speak to attenuation because I've also been tweaking the mash program, but I think it's ending up normally.  But I'm interested to see if there's any difference in flavor not having the yeast all amped up on extra stuff, and it seems your Fermax experience will be the other side of the coin.  If flavor is unaffected either way, it could be a real money saver to just use zinc, and Fermax could be an option for when you really need a beer fast.
 EDIT  One note on Fermax.   I've never knowingly fed my beer DAP or anything else providing nitrogen, but according to your post it's in the Wyeast nutrient,  which I'm glad to know now.   Most modern malt, especially North American, already provides more FAN than yeast can utilize. Any excess will inevitably, through Strecker degradation, convert lipids into the same "wet cardboard" aldehydes as oxidative staling.   I don't know how rapidly the reaction proceeds though, and so whether it would become a concern in a keg on the fast track.   I guess you'll find out.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 04:40:09 PM by Robert »
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2019, 05:24:37 PM »
We really don't know what nutrients the manufacturers of various brands use when propagating the yeast we're using either, do we? I use Wyeast nutrient with good results. If I ran out and used something else with better results, I'd just switch. Without all of the necessary information to do a proper analysis, why bother? Just my never humble opinion :)
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Offline denny

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2019, 05:32:14 PM »
On my latest excursion into Rocket City’s version of a homebrew supply, they didn’t have WYeast Yeast Nutrient but did have Fermax.  So, I bought the Fermax and came home to begin researching it. It struck me that I’ve been using yeast nutrient and never really considered the composition and what those components are adding to my beer. So my question becomes, should the components of yeast nutrients be considered in the water profile?

Fermax is a premium yeast nutrient formulation that includes diammonium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, and autolyzed yeast.

Wyeast's yeast nutrient is a mix of vitamins, minerals, both organic and inorganic nitrogen, zinc, phospates and other trace minerals.

Who knows how much of what.

Incidentally, in the spirit of ‘oh what the hell’, I went ahead and used two tsp of the Fermax in a 5.5 gal batch of 1.052 Dunkel. My two packs of 34/70 must have really liked that because I saw evidence of fermentation (airlock activity) within ~6 hrs and fermentation completed as quick as I’ve ever seen for this lager strain in my brewery. I’ve not seen that level of performance with the WYeast brand in the past. Of course, I haven’t tapped it yet so I don’t know the results. I guess that’s the beauty of homebrewing: every batch is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’ll get.


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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 06:08:47 PM »
Scratching my head: the only way to know if the components of yeast nutrients should be considered in the water profile is to split batches?  How does that work?


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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 06:17:59 PM »
IMO, the only way to know if nutrients or water make any difference at all is to split a batch, with vs. without, etc.  Otherwise we're likely all just fooling ourselves.

I may be wrong but regardless I think my statement is worth more exploration by more people.  Well, by everybody, actually.  On the other hand, since I don't take anybody else's word for anything, then why should anybody care what I say either?

In the end, it's only beer.  Or cider, or whichever.  Don't ever forget that methinks.

Cheers all.
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Offline BrewBama

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Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 06:26:21 PM »
Ah, now I’m tracking. I was ODF (out der floppin) for a minute. I guess that is the only real way to know if it makes any difference at all: split one with and one without.


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« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 06:29:33 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2019, 08:34:48 PM »
Since I brew 10 gallon batches very frequently, I should track separate 5 gallon batches more than I do.  Instead, I rely on anecdotal memory and think I am comparing prior batches to current batches.  But, since I brew similar (if not identical in all other respects), low ABV beers typically, I can give some "slightly meaningful" (meaning very non-scientific) data points on these things, such as when I forget to add the whirlfloc, or yeast nutrient, or I pitch a half cake or I pitch dry yeast. 

New packets of dry yeast tend to give me the greatest lag time, but are usually more expressive than subsequent re-pitches of the dry yeast (now liquid, right?), especially with S-189 (because it is so neutral, perhaps?) 

Forgetting the Whirlfloc means only a slightly longer time to clear and forgetting yeast nutrient doesn't seem to affect the beers, as long as I don't serially re-pitch without yeast nutrient (one year I tried without it and ultimately it just seemed to poop out after several generations of lager - a bit more lag and a bit less expressive).

But as Dave said, it is just my own "observation" and I may be tainted in some way to develop a confirmation bias...and no two batches that I make are precisely the same, since the malts I use occasionally differ, based on what my LHBS has available in sack form at the time of purchase.  In the end, I just don't track every variable closely enough to make a scientific data point.  So, I rely much more on those of you who are better at controlling variables to reach a more valuable data point.  Cheers and thanks to the "sciency" types among us for all you do.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 04:42:40 AM »
Ah, now I’m tracking. I was ODF (out der floppin) for a minute. I guess that is the only real way to know if it makes any difference at all: split one with and one without.

Actually, the way to tell if it makes a difference is to split 1000 batches with different grain bills and different yeasts and see if you can correlate a difference to the yeast nutrient. A single split batch is not enough to do true science.

P.S. I like the ODF reference
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Yeast nutrient consideration in water profile
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 01:17:58 PM »
Actually, the way to tell if it makes a difference is to split 1000 batches with different grain bills and different yeasts and see if you can correlate a difference to the yeast nutrient. A single split batch is not enough to do true science.

Indeed.  Personally I think we can start to get some general idea after about 30-40 batches.  But of course 1000 batches would be really great.  :)
Dave

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