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Author Topic: SNS starters always result in overpitch  (Read 2697 times)

Offline Semper Sitientem

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2023, 06:17:31 pm »
If you’re using the Lallemand calculator and inputting volume, gravity, and temp, then the calculator shouldn’t be recommending an over pitch.
Indeed.
But I always pitch a full pack regardless what the calculator says. That’s my concern…I’m over pitching on most beers, sometimes by 5g.

As a 3 gallon brewer myself and someone who uses dry yeast exclusively, I determined some time ago through trial and error that 2/3 of a packet (7.3 grams or 7.6 grams for Fermentis) for my standard ABV beers was the right amount. I vacuum seal any remainder.  This SOP eliminates the yeast pitch issue for me.

Thanks for that.

For clarification, assuming a standard beer, is that what is needed for a proper fermentation or is that the amount that gives you the best yeast character?  Maybe both…

But, I use BRY-97 a lot and since it’s so clean, I question whether it matters if I pitch right to the cell or overpitch by a mile.  It’s likely to be clean regardless.  Now if I’m using London, or S-04, or Munich….pitch rates might matter a whole lot more??
Personally, I don’t think it makes a difference. I brew 3 gallon batches exclusively. I always pitch a full packet of dry yeast. I use Bry-97, Verdant, S-04, Diamond, 34/70, Novalager. All seem great to me.

I have used Windsor, London, Nottingham also. I don’t think I am missing any yeast character.

PS. I typically use a packet for 3 batches; pitch dry yeast once and then use the slurry twice.  That keeps the cost very low.  After three batches I am usually ready to move on to a different yeast.  I usually brew lager, ale, lager, ale… So, I have two yeasts active at a time.
It’s both for me. My go-tos are S-04, US-05, Nottingham and Verdant and I’ve adopted my 2/3 packet for each with good results. I only deviate if I make an imperial whatever. I don’t harvest yeast because I don’t have the fridge storage capacity and my yeast cost is only about $2.70/batch.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2023, 08:06:28 am »
Denny:  Thanks for finding that and posting that.  I read that while sitting on the edge of my seat.  :D  Indeed, 20+ years ago brewers mentioned using as much yeast as you can get, especially for lager fermentation.  Some amount of time went by before the word started getting out that you could overpitch.  Since it's hard to know what you REALLY have in a stored container of slurry (amount of yeast cells, how many viable cells, how much trub/hop debris, etc) and in need of SOME kind of direction and instrumentation, I use a flask that is marked with milliliters and use the amounts originally mentioned in the Mr. Malty calculator which always fell between 180ml and 200ml for a 1.050 (ish) lager wort.  I'm almost always in the "400ml of harvested slurry" range so I typically try to pitch half of that.  No idea if it's optimal or not but it seems to be close and the beers have been excellent.  Thanks again... great stuff in that response.   
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline denny

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2023, 08:24:15 am »
Wow, you not only saved a message from 20 years ago, you were able to locate it. I'm impressed!

There is a lot of information there, and I'm going to have to think about it a bit.

It was important to me and I thought others might like the info. Remember,  I've been at homebrew investigation/ testing for a long time.
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Offline Richard

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2023, 09:18:02 am »
OK, to circle back to the beginning, I no longer think the problem is overpitching. A while back I asked on the forum about krausen-free fermentations and was told, by someone whose opinion I respect, that the two main reasons were high fermentation temperature and overpitching. I had ruled out temperature so I thought the cause was overpitching. Now I don't think that is it and there must be another factor at work. I have some ideas but it will be a couple of months before I can test them out. I'll be using dry yeast for my next brews.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2023, 07:57:46 am »
OK, to circle back to the beginning, I no longer think the problem is overpitching. A while back I asked on the forum about krausen-free fermentations and was told, by someone whose opinion I respect, that the two main reasons were high fermentation temperature and overpitching. I had ruled out temperature so I thought the cause was overpitching. Now I don't think that is it and there must be another factor at work. I have some ideas but it will be a couple of months before I can test them out. I'll be using dry yeast for my next brews.
I'm still not sure I know what "symptom" you're troubleshooting.  I don't know that I have ever heard anyone mention "krauesen-free" fermentations.  I wouldn't know if my fermentation is free of krauesen because the fermenter is in a fridge the whole time.  I know you mentioned "estery" beer and to me that says that the fermentation temp is higher than you want.  Also, I have to say that a beer that is fermented and was "overpitched" shouldn't REALLY stand out as a bad beer, IMO.  Maybe it could stand out but I have to assume that on some batches in the past I pitched more yeast than was necessary and maybe the beer wasn't a perfectly-made beer but it was still a very good beer that I happily drank.  Some of my best beers were a lager made with the fresh yeast (from the package) and pitched from the starter.  This suggests healthy yeast and it also suggests that there were fewer cells in the wort at the start of the fermentation which means the yeast went through its various 'flavor-producing' phases.  That discovery alone made me think that less yeast should be pitched when harvested slurry was in the picture.   
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2023, 09:03:11 am »
OK, to circle back to the beginning, I no longer think the problem is overpitching. A while back I asked on the forum about krausen-free fermentations and was told, by someone whose opinion I respect, that the two main reasons were high fermentation temperature and overpitching. I had ruled out temperature so I thought the cause was overpitching. Now I don't think that is it and there must be another factor at work. I have some ideas but it will be a couple of months before I can test them out. I'll be using dry yeast for my next brews.
I'm still not sure I know what "symptom" you're troubleshooting.  I don't know that I have ever heard anyone mention "krauesen-free" fermentations.  I wouldn't know if my fermentation is free of krauesen because the fermenter is in a fridge the whole time.  I know you mentioned "estery" beer and to me that says that the fermentation temp is higher than you want.  Also, I have to say that a beer that is fermented and was "overpitched" shouldn't REALLY stand out as a bad beer, IMO.  Maybe it could stand out but I have to assume that on some batches in the past I pitched more yeast than was necessary and maybe the beer wasn't a perfectly-made beer but it was still a very good beer that I happily drank.  Some of my best beers were a lager made with the fresh yeast (from the package) and pitched from the starter.  This suggests healthy yeast and it also suggests that there were fewer cells in the wort at the start of the fermentation which means the yeast went through its various 'flavor-producing' phases.  That discovery alone made me think that less yeast should be pitched when harvested slurry was in the picture.

i hear you, im increasingly interested in lagers with strong yeast flavour.

also, tbh wasnt sure what OP meant about "no krausen".

could probably have an FAQ or template on how to post a help thread for people here. ie.

-yeast > pitch rate if known or relevant
-size of wort/beer
-any relevant nutrient additions or water profile
-hop amounts/ibus
-time periods

??

if someone just says "my beer has no krausen while fermenting" i dont know what that means at all

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2023, 09:45:57 am »
OK, to circle back to the beginning, I no longer think the problem is overpitching. A while back I asked on the forum about krausen-free fermentations and was told, by someone whose opinion I respect, that the two main reasons were high fermentation temperature and overpitching. I had ruled out temperature so I thought the cause was overpitching. Now I don't think that is it and there must be another factor at work. I have some ideas but it will be a couple of months before I can test them out. I'll be using dry yeast for my next brews.
I'm still not sure I know what "symptom" you're troubleshooting.  I don't know that I have ever heard anyone mention "krauesen-free" fermentations.  I wouldn't know if my fermentation is free of krauesen because the fermenter is in a fridge the whole time.  I know you mentioned "estery" beer and to me that says that the fermentation temp is higher than you want.  Also, I have to say that a beer that is fermented and was "overpitched" shouldn't REALLY stand out as a bad beer, IMO.  Maybe it could stand out but I have to assume that on some batches in the past I pitched more yeast than was necessary and maybe the beer wasn't a perfectly-made beer but it was still a very good beer that I happily drank.  Some of my best beers were a lager made with the fresh yeast (from the package) and pitched from the starter.  This suggests healthy yeast and it also suggests that there were fewer cells in the wort at the start of the fermentation which means the yeast went through its various 'flavor-producing' phases.  That discovery alone made me think that less yeast should be pitched when harvested slurry was in the picture.

i hear you, im increasingly interested in lagers with strong yeast flavour.

also, tbh wasnt sure what OP meant about "no krausen".

could probably have an FAQ or template on how to post a help thread for people here. ie.

-yeast > pitch rate if known or relevant
-size of wort/beer
-any relevant nutrient additions or water profile
-hop amounts/ibus
-time periods

??

if someone just says "my beer has no krausen while fermenting" i dont know what that means at all
I'm envisioning the "foam" on the beer's surface and a lack of it in this case.  Ales seem to have a little more of this because of the temp and a lager fermentation is usually a little more subdued although there would be foam/krauesen in either case.  If I just so happened to notice that there was no foam on the surface of the beer during fermentation, I don't know that I would point to overpitching but that may just be me and my ignorance on the subject. 

I'll just beat this one point a little further:  I remember a lager I made with 940 Mexican Lager yeast and it was my interpretation of Victoria Lager from Mexico... amber color, balanced, refreshing, etc.  I got it on tap and just remember it being SO good.  Everything about this batch of beer was perfect, IMO.  When I checked my notes, turns out it was the first use of the 940 and I made a 1.5 liter starter (stirplate, btw) and pitched the entire contents of the starter.  As time went on and I noted this or that batch as being particularly good, I would check my notes and sure enough it was the first run of the yeast... 2124, Omega Bayern, 940, 830, whatever.  The subsequent batches (when slurry was used) weren't subpar at all... they were very good... but not QUITE as good and I feel like there was a nuanced character in the beer that just pushed it over the top and I feel like it's these flavors that the yeast produce in their various stages.  Okay... sorry for the loosely-related tangent. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Richard

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2023, 09:53:13 am »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2023, 10:11:17 am »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.
You don't add anything that inhibits foam production, do you?  Wasn't there something called Fermcap or something that helped keep explosive fermentations under control?  I know that question sounds odd but now I'm grabbing at straws.  Did you see/hear/read something that said that an overabundance of yeast would create a fermentation with less/no krauesen?  I don't know that I have ever heard of it.  Also, would you have better/fuller krauesen when you added yeast that was not a part of an SNS starter?  For reference, I had been a stirplate starter brewer for many years.  When I read the SNS starter thread on this forum I made some SNS starters and they seemed to work just fine.  I did not notice anything different really... not better beer or worse beer, not quicker activity from the yeast or delayed activity, etc.  No real differences in any way so I can't say I'm sold on it or that I don't like it.  But krauesen was not effected at all, as far as I know. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2023, 11:21:32 am »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.


its all guessing until.more information. might be a cleaning/sanitizing agent you use or a lack of cleaning of the inside of the carboy (not assuming you dont keep it clean, just brainstorming!), what yeast(s) was it?, water profile.of your tap/what you use?, does the finished beer have head retention issues or head at all? FG issues? an answer just requires. more info.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2023, 11:40:53 am »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.


its all guessing until.more information. might be a cleaning/sanitizing agent you use or a lack of cleaning of the inside of the carboy (not assuming you dont keep it clean, just brainstorming!), what yeast(s) was it?, water profile.of your tap/what you use?, does the finished beer have head retention issues or head at all? FG issues? an answer just requires. more info.
I assumed that pointing to the SNS starter means that Richard already ruled out all of those things.  Diagnosing a brewing issue is not for the squeamish.  There are a lot of things that we can't see. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline denny

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2023, 11:45:37 am »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.


its all guessing until.more information. might be a cleaning/sanitizing agent you use or a lack of cleaning of the inside of the carboy (not assuming you dont keep it clean, just brainstorming!), what yeast(s) was it?, water profile.of your tap/what you use?, does the finished beer have head retention issues or head at all? FG issues? an answer just requires. more info.
I assumed that pointing to the SNS starter means that Richard already ruled out all of those things.  Diagnosing a brewing issue is not for the squeamish.  There are a lot of things that we can't see.

Except that it's really hard for me to understand how an SNS starter can result in an overpitch.  You're actually pitching fewer cells than in a conventional starter
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2023, 12:37:04 pm »
Except that it's really hard for me to understand how an SNS starter can result in an overpitch.  You're actually pitching fewer cells than in a conventional starter
I hear you.  I'm mildly confused by the concept of it but I'm always open-minded and ready to learn something I didn't know.  This one in particular is new to me for sure. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Richard

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2023, 02:24:22 pm »
What it means in this case is that there is no krausen! I can see the surface of the liquid, with some bubbles here and there and some foam around the edges but no layer of foam that covers the whole surface. Krausening and top cropping are age old techniques that would not work if there was no krausen. My beer is good, but I know it could be better and I am wondering if the absence of a classic part of fermentation could be telling me that something is wrong.


its all guessing until.more information. might be a cleaning/sanitizing agent you use or a lack of cleaning of the inside of the carboy (not assuming you dont keep it clean, just brainstorming!), what yeast(s) was it?, water profile.of your tap/what you use?, does the finished beer have head retention issues or head at all? FG issues? an answer just requires. more info.
I assumed that pointing to the SNS starter means that Richard already ruled out all of those things.  Diagnosing a brewing issue is not for the squeamish.  There are a lot of things that we can't see.

Yes, I thought I addressed all of those up at the top of the thread. If I use dry yeast everything is fine. If I do a conventional stir-plate starter then everything is fine. Sometimes with an SNS starter everything is fine, but most of the time not. This happens with a variety of yeasts and water profiles and the starter seems to be the common thread, although even that is not 100% correlated. I had two weizens with WLP320 last year that had very thick krausen with an SNS starter. I get vigorous fermentation and good attenuation every time, so yeast health does not seem to be lacking.
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Offline denny

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Re: SNS starters always result in overpitch
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2023, 08:40:50 am »
At the request of the OP, this thread is locked.
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