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Yeast Nutrient

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Is yeast nutrient really necessary?

I'm about a year into brewing someone at my LHBS recommended it to me for the first time. I asked myself, "if this is important why hasn't anyone mentioned it to me before?"

What does it actually do?

Yeast nutrient is useful in making starters because they are low gravity and lower in the nutrients yeast need to multiply and start working.  I don't see the need for it in a normal gravity beer though.

I have heard that so called cidery flavors in extract beers can sometimes be related to lower levels nitrogen (FAN) in extract that has aged.  Yeast nutrient added to an extract beer could be a good way to ensure that you do not get a cidery flavor, in case there has been any decrease in FAN levels during storage or transport of extract. 

A friend who has recently begun homebrewing was complaining of cidery flavors in his (extract beer kits), so I recommended that he try using a yeast nutrient in his brewing and the problem went away.  Although I cannot say that this "cured" his problem, as there was no side by side test, it was a relatively cheap fix when compared to the price of having a bad batch.  I do not usually use any sort of yeast nutrient myself unless it is a very high gravity beer.

I've used yeast nutrient in starters for years.  All that time, I didn't add it to batches, based on the thinking that an AG wort should have all the nutrients it needs.  About a year ago, I started thinking that I was kinda disappointed in a lot of the beers I was making and went looking for things that might improve them.  One of the things I tried was adding yeast nutrient to the beers I was making.  I have no empirical evidence, but I swear my beers have been better (flavor and attenuation) since I started using it.  At NHC last summer, I attended a talk by Dr. Matthias Fischborn of Lallemand on the effect of nutrients in wort, especially zinc.  The nutrient I use contains zinc, and his explanations described my experiences since I started using nutrients.  I'll continue using nutrient because it's cheap, easy insurance.


--- Quote from: denny on December 15, 2009, 05:25:13 PM --- I'll continue using nutrient because it's cheap, easy insurance.

--- End quote ---

That's the way I feel about it.  Maybe it doesn't help very much but maybe it does and adding a teaspoon of nutrient to the boil when I throw in the whirlfloc is no effort at all and very little cost.


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