Author Topic: Such a thing as over-pitching?  (Read 2624 times)

Offline scooter2374

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Such a thing as over-pitching?
« on: June 29, 2011, 05:15:04 PM »
Is it possible to pitch too much yeast? I know that not pitching enough can stress the yeast but what about vise versa?
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Offline tom

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2011, 06:22:31 PM »
Yes, but it takes a lot for the usual yeasts.
Yeast that produce a lot of the beer flavor such as hefeweizen, Belgians, etc. are more sensitive to the pitching rate.
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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 07:54:51 PM »
The real problem with over pitching comes usually from pitching slurry that has large amounts of dead cells and/or trub, which can cause problems in the finished beer (as in pitching directly on a yeast cake). Of course, over pithcing can also change the character of the beer as well, especially on the styles mentioned by Tom.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 08:01:26 PM »
You certainly could overpitch and that might cause less than optimal flavors.  But on a homebrew scale I don't think it's something to worry about.  I think we struggle, even with starters, to pitch enough yeast usually.  At least, I think I do.  Hard to really know without going the science geek route and counting cells.

If you pitch directly on an entire yeast cake that's a different story of course.  I never do that unless I'm making a truly monstrous beer.
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Offline jklinck

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 10:25:09 PM »
You certainly could overpitch and that might cause less than optimal flavors.  But on a homebrew scale I don't think it's something to worry about.  I think we struggle, even with starters, to pitch enough yeast usually.  At least, I think I do.  Hard to really know without going the science geek route and counting cells.

If you pitch directly on an entire yeast cake that's a different story of course.  I never do that unless I'm making a truly monstrous beer.

Burial Chair Wee Heavy sounds like one of those monstrous beers. Great name.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 04:05:31 AM »
Burial Chair Wee Heavy sounds like one of those monstrous beers. Great name.

Thanks.   ;)

OG 1.126. Just over 12% ABV.  That one definitely got pitched on a yeast cake.
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Offline mswilliams1975

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 02:15:49 PM »
not tohijack the thread but whats a yeast cake?
Anything worth having is worth hard to achieve.

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 02:20:47 PM »
not tohijack the thread but whats a yeast cake?

The yeast in the bottom of a fermenter after you rack the beer off. 
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Offline rbclay

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2011, 03:52:32 PM »
contrary to popular opinion- and perhaps scientific "fact"- I believe in pitching directly onto yeast cakes. In my experience this "overpitching" produces great beers. I step up the OG of each successive batch. Meaning the first batch would be, for example, a mild at OG 1035-1040, followed by a brown porter OG 1040-1050, then maybe a robust porter or barleywine. My thinking has been that I would rather not bother with harvesting the yeast, but brew on the day I am ready to rack or bottle the previous batch. I do also save yeast if I don't have the time to brew, but pitching directly on yeast cakes is a procedure I will continue to do and hope to continue making award-winning beers as a result. Not to brag, but more as a point of justification, I recently won my first ever medal (silver) at Nationals with a brown porter pitched onto a fresh yeast cake!
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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 04:53:43 AM »
From my experience, pitching on a yeast cake = more yeast = faster ferment = more heat. If you have good fermentation temp control, I think it's less of a problem to pitch on a yeast cake. I've gotten some fusel/hot alcohol flavor from the times I've pitched onto a whole yeast cake, but I think that's more to do with my cooling and less to do with the pitching rate, per se.
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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2011, 05:52:19 AM »
contrary to popular opinion- and perhaps scientific "fact"- I believe in pitching directly onto yeast cakes. In my experience this "overpitching" produces great beers. I step up the OG of each successive batch. Meaning the first batch would be, for example, a mild at OG 1035-1040, followed by a brown porter OG 1040-1050, then maybe a robust porter or barleywine. My thinking has been that I would rather not bother with harvesting the yeast, but brew on the day I am ready to rack or bottle the previous batch. I do also save yeast if I don't have the time to brew, but pitching directly on yeast cakes is a procedure I will continue to do and hope to continue making award-winning beers as a result. Not to brag, but more as a point of justification, I recently won my first ever medal (silver) at Nationals with a brown porter pitched onto a fresh yeast cake!

As long as you are going from a lower gravity beer to a higher gravity beer you can usually get away with it, and as long as you are not carrying dead cells over for more than 2 or 3 generations at most. And, perhaps, had you pitched a more "proper" slurry of yeast you may have gotten gold.  ;)

From my experiences over pitching can definitely lead to problems in the finished beer. You can certainly get away with it from batch to batch but I really believe you will have more consistent results if you aim for a "proper" pitch every time.
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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2011, 05:55:27 AM »
BTW here is an excellent article on pitching rates, both over and under: http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/1749-yeast-pitching-rates-advance-homebrewing
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2011, 07:25:08 AM »
BTW here is an excellent article on pitching rates, both over and under: http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/1749-yeast-pitching-rates-advance-homebrewing

I probably read that when published, but may have gotten more out of it today.
Thanks for the link.
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Offline tom

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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2011, 08:50:33 AM »
The real problem with over pitching comes usually from pitching slurry that has large amounts of dead cells and/or trub, which can cause problems in the finished beer (as in pitching directly on a yeast cake). Of course, over pithcing can also change the character of the beer as well, especially on the styles mentioned by Tom.
How long would you think the off-flavors take to be absorbed into the beer?
I pitched my 1.090 doppelbock on a yeast cake of a 1.056 Dortmund Export, let it settle for 5-6 hours, and then transferred it off the trub into another fermenter.  I would assume that the dead yeast would settle out.  Any thoughts on that tactic?
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Re: Such a thing as over-pitching?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2011, 03:49:39 PM »
Tom, I don't really know how long it would take for the autolysis to "seep" into the beer. My guess a few days. that said, I hope you have better luck with that technique than myself when I tried it. the effect was like removing half of the yeast. The fermentation slowed to a crawl and never did finish and I ended up dumping the batch. That said, it was a lager, so maybe the fault was that most of teh yeast were still on the bottom.
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