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Author Topic: Heat Produced During Lag Phase  (Read 1015 times)

Offline neuse

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Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« on: August 20, 2023, 02:26:34 pm »
I experience heat being generated during the lag phase – it seems to be at least as much as during active fermentation. But I’ve never found any published information to substantiate that. Does anyone know if I’m crazy, or it that is an actual phenomenon. (Note: the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.)

Offline BrewBama

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Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2023, 02:39:57 pm »
I use a TILT floating hydrometer that logs temp and gravity.  I usually see a degree to two (°F) rise in temp before I see a reduction in gravity.

For example, this is a data excerpt from Harvest yeast pitched in a Session Strength Dunkel.  I pitched ~11:30 (before I started the log function), saw a temp increase at 5:30, and a gravity decrease at 9:40:

8/16/2023 22:40:43   1.037   58.0
8/16/2023 21:40:43   1.037   57.0
8/16/2023 20:00:51   1.038   57.0
8/16/2023 19:00:50   1.038   57.0
8/16/2023 17:33:12   1.038   57.0
8/16/2023 16:27:16   1.038   56.0
8/16/2023 15:12:56   1.038   56.0
8/16/2023 14:12:55   1.038   56.0
8/16/2023 12:52:45   1.038   56.0

I always use the first gravity point drop logged as my fermentation start point. So, I would say this yeast started in ~10 hours. …but I could probably say it started in ~6 hours because of that temp increase.

BTW, I am thoroughly impressed with Imperial yeast straight from the company. I received two pitches as a result of a beer contest I placed in. I chose Dieter and Harvest. Both started fast and finished strong. Dieter produced clear Kölsch faster than any other Kölsch yeast I’ve ever used and it tastes great.  I anticipate great results from this Dunkel as well.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2023, 05:21:18 pm by BrewBama »

Online denny

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2023, 03:18:00 pm »
I experience heat being generated during the lag phase – it seems to be at least as much as during active fermentation. But I’ve never found any published information to substantiate that. Does anyone know if I’m crazy, or it that is an actual phenomenon. (Note: the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.)

Maybe you're misinterpreting things. There is no distinct lag phase. Fermentation begins immediately.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2023, 04:24:17 pm »
I believe the common homebrewer would say the ‘lag’ in the above example would be 6-10 + hours depending on their definition of start: temp increase, gravity drop, or bubbles in an airlock (which I don’t monitor).

Offline Richard

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2023, 04:58:58 pm »
I have a homebuilt Tilt-style hydrometer and a PID loop that controls the temperature of a liquid bath in which the beer sits. I log both temperature and the power required to hold that temperature. The power rises as fermentation produces heat. I often see a slight drop in SG before there is any noticeable heat production and before there are any bubbles visible. Then the power starts to creep up at about the same time that bubbles first start to form At that time the hydrometer reads an increase in SG as the bubbles get trapped around its edges. After a while the hydrometer reading begins to drop as full krausen forms and bubbles are everywhere. The power continues to rise steadily until it reaches a max at the peak of fermentation activity. Then the power drops steadily until it reaches a base level required to compensate for heat leakage into the system, which has a distinct diurnal component. Here is a link to a document with a graph showing all this:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AW6qDokGy1E-xtsGWNARGyH4LLqdWoRB/view?usp=sharing
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2023, 07:36:12 pm »
I have a homebuilt Tilt-style hydrometer and a PID loop that controls the temperature of a liquid bath in which the beer sits. I log both temperature and the power required to hold that temperature. The power rises as fermentation produces heat. I often see a slight drop in SG before there is any noticeable heat production and before there are any bubbles visible. Then the power starts to creep up at about the same time that bubbles first start to form At that time the hydrometer reads an increase in SG as the bubbles get trapped around its edges. After a while the hydrometer reading begins to drop as full krausen forms and bubbles are everywhere. The power continues to rise steadily until it reaches a max at the peak of fermentation activity. Then the power drops steadily until it reaches a base level required to compensate for heat leakage into the system, which has a distinct diurnal component. Here is a link to a document with a graph showing all this:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AW6qDokGy1E-xtsGWNARGyH4LLqdWoRB/view?usp=sharing
That’s very cool.

Offline neuse

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2023, 02:56:31 pm »
BrewBama: Your data seems to agree with my perception.
Richard: Your data doesn’t seem to support my perception.                     
Denny: The more I study brewing, the less I know.

I should note that my observations are crude. I use a simple swamp cooler and add ice bottles when needed, so my feeling for heat generated is based on how often I need to add ice bottles. With ales, I usually pitch 2 – 4 degrees F below my target active fermentation temp, so around 65F give or take. I seem to get much more heat generated if I pitch at 68F.

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2023, 04:04:27 pm »
BrewBama: Your data seems to agree with my perception.
Richard: Your data doesn’t seem to support my perception.                     
Denny: The more I study brewing, the less I know.

I should note that my observations are crude. I use a simple swamp cooler and add ice bottles when needed, so my feeling for heat generated is based on how often I need to add ice bottles. With ales, I usually pitch 2 – 4 degrees F below my target active fermentation temp, so around 65F give or take. I seem to get much more heat generated if I pitch at 68F.

Read about the Crabtree effect. Basically it says that in the presence of >.5 % glucose, fermentation begins immediately
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Offline BrewBama

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Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2023, 08:56:49 am »
While there is no doubt ‘the phenomenon whereby Saccharomyces cerevisiae produces ethanol in aerobic conditions at high external glucose concentrations rather than producing biomass via the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle’ (aka the Crabtree effect) is a thing, outside a lab equipped with a chemostat it cannot be easily observed by the avg homebrewer.

What is easily observed by the avg homebrewer is a rise in krausen, airlock activity, a slight temp increase, and a drop in gravity. These signs of activity take time. That time is routinely termed “lag” even though there may be no “lag phase” in Saccharomyces cerevisiae life cycle.

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…test in a lab. Homebrewers test in real life situations. I will always trust my own experience.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2023, 11:50:35 am by BrewBama »

Offline Richard

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2023, 09:52:39 am »
The things that BrewBama points out as easily observable by a homebrewer are only observable when they happen on a large enough scale. They may be happening on a much smaller, unobservable, scale during the "lag" phase. It takes time for the yeast population to grow and for the activity to rise to the easily observable level. The CO2 production, gravity drop and generation of heat are all linked to the fermentation and I don't see how you could have high heat generation without the other observable consequences. Small heat production maybe, but not as much as at the peak of fermentation as the original post stated. Perhaps the whole mass of the swamp cooler system is being cooled down during this time and it requires more ice but not because of anything happening in the beer.
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Offline neuse

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2023, 10:55:42 am »
The things that BrewBama points out as easily observable by a homebrewer are only observable when they happen on a large enough scale. They may be happening on a much smaller, unobservable, scale during the "lag" phase. It takes time for the yeast population to grow and for the activity to rise to the easily observable level. The CO2 production, gravity drop and generation of heat are all linked to the fermentation and I don't see how you could have high heat generation without the other observable consequences. Small heat production maybe, but not as much as at the peak of fermentation as the original post stated. Perhaps the whole mass of the swamp cooler system is being cooled down during this time and it requires more ice but not because of anything happening in the beer.
I agree – I don’t see why there should be significant heat production during what we (maybe incorrectly) term the “lag” phase. But my crude observations tell me it does. If it didn’t defy the laws of physics, I would feel sure it was happening. But given those pesky laws of physics, I think I’m mistaken. Well, that’s why I asked. I got some answers, along with a refresher in Crabtree effect. Really, it’s mostly curiosity - I’ll control temperature either way.

Offline goose

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2023, 07:21:44 am »
I need to do some more reading to re-familiarize myself with the exact workings of the Crabtree Effect.  Unless I am way off base here, during the growth phase (maybe incorrectly called the "lag phase") my recollection from reading previous articles on the fermentation process is that during this phase which is aerobic, the yeast cells take up oxygen in the wort and build cell walls and biomass.  Then the yeast changes to the the anaerobic phase where it ferments glucose, maltose, etc. to produce alcohol.  If the yeast is over-pitched, then fermentation begins much faster because the growth phase is reduced (Crabtree Effect)
Correct me if I am interpreting this incorrectly.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2023, 09:31:01 am »
From the More Beer website, referencing the Siebel Institute (though I can't vouch for its veracity):

"Yeast growth can be divided into five stages.
Lag phase occurs during the first few hours after inoculation. Although no signs of fermentation or growth are apparent, the yeast are busy becoming acclimated to their new environment. All the enzymes and other metabolic machinery necessary to ferment wort into beer are being synthesized. All the oxygen you introduced into the cooled wort is taken up by the yeast within the first 20 min and is being stored (as sterols and unsaturated fatty acids) for later use.
During the accelerating growth phase, yeast cells start to divide rapidly.
The actual number of yeast cells increases during the logarithmic phase. During this time the number of yeast cells may increase as much as 1000-fold (or 3.0 logs) within 24 h.
As the oxygen and nutrients are depleted, the yeast enter a phase of decelerating growth (approximately 12 h) and ultimately reach a stationary phase.
During the stationary phase, yeast growth ceases.
Despite the rapid rate of yeast growth, a relatively large yeast starter or slurry of yeast is required for optimal beer production. Siebel Institute recommends one-sixth of the batch-size, one-tenth if you continuously aerate or agitate your starter. The scientific basis for this is currently unknown."

A friend (pro brewer) who attended and is Siebel credentialed used to always reference the lag and log phase as simply the preparation (for growth) and the growth phases...FWIW.
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Offline BrewBama

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Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2023, 11:35:03 am »
I think we can all be correct.

Like Richard says:
They may be happening on a much smaller, unobservable, scale during the "lag" phase. It takes time for the yeast population to grow and for the activity to rise to the easily observable level.

This unobservable activity is simply what we’ve dubbed the ‘lag’. If we had instrumentation that could observe the  micro-activity we may conclude that Denny is correct:


Read about the Crabtree effect. Basically it says that in the presence of >.5 % glucose, fermentation begins immediately

All I can go by is the numerous TILT data logs I have collected that show a time gap between when I pitch the yeast and 1) a slight increase in temp, then some time latter 2) a decrease in gravity.  I always see them in that order. I am not suggesting the TILT is a piece of laboratory accurate equipment. It’s simply what I have to monitor fermentation.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2023, 11:43:17 am by BrewBama »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Heat Produced During Lag Phase
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2023, 02:35:52 pm »
I think we can all be correct.

Like Richard says:
They may be happening on a much smaller, unobservable, scale during the "lag" phase. It takes time for the yeast population to grow and for the activity to rise to the easily observable level.

This unobservable activity is simply what we’ve dubbed the ‘lag’. If we had instrumentation that could observe the  micro-activity we may conclude that Denny is correct:


Read about the Crabtree effect. Basically it says that in the presence of >.5 % glucose, fermentation begins immediately

All I can go by is the numerous TILT data logs I have collected that show a time gap between when I pitch the yeast and 1) a slight increase in temp, then some time latter 2) a decrease in gravity.  I always see them in that order. I am not suggesting the TILT is a piece of laboratory accurate equipment. It’s simply what I have to monitor fermentation.
The relative sensitivities of the Tilt's thermometer and hydrometer could be another explanation for why you're seeing a measured change in one earlier the other. It would be interesting to see the plot of the change of both variables with respect to time using highly sensitive devices.

I agree that what we are seeing as a lag is likely due to the sensitivity of our equipment, and the end of this phase is likely arbitrary based in how we choose to measure it. I suspect that "rampup phase" is probably a more accurate description than "lag phase"
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