Author Topic: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty  (Read 5835 times)

Offline davidgzach

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Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« on: October 25, 2011, 05:51:55 AM »
I found myself up early on Saturday so I decided to brew my Stout for the holidays.  Unfortunately I only had one smack pack of Irish Ale yeast and no time to make a starter.  For the first time I actually read the instructions on the back.  Let me quote #5.

"pour Activator into 5 gallons of well aerated or oxygenated wort up to 1.060 OG at 65-72F.........for higher gravity or low temperature fermentations additional yeast may be necessary."

If I go to Mr.Malty, it says I need 2.3 packs without a starter.  I have to go all the way down to 1.025 OG to get Mr. Malty to 1 pack.

Why is Wyeast and Mr. Malty so far apart?  And if it really is 2.3 packs for 1.060 OG, why does Wyeast market 1 pack to 1.060 OG?  There just seems to be a rather large discrepency here and I would appreciate some insight as to why.

Dave
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Offline bo

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 05:54:22 AM »
I'd go with the yeast supplier's rule. They're the experts.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 06:03:14 AM »
I'd go with Jamil Z (Mr. Malty).  He's won more awards with his homebrews than probably anyone else on the planet.  He doesn't say pitch big for no reason.

That being said, I think you'll be okay if you just pitch the one smackpack.  But the beer might not be the absolute ultimate best it could be unless you follow Mr. Malty.
Dave

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 06:24:14 AM »
I think the difference is that one way will make good beer (WYeast) and the other will make great beer (MrMalty). The yeast companies (White Labs also sells 'pitchable tubes') have an economic dilemma - sell yeast that is easy to use and priced so that it will be widely adopted by amateur brewers. Sure they could double the size of their packs, but then they'd have to charge more and they'd loose lots of customers who won't pay more for the yeast for one batch. They are already a premium-priced product compared to dry yeast.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 06:40:48 AM »
I think the difference is that one way will make good beer (WYeast) and the other will make great beer (MrMalty). The yeast companies (White Labs also sells 'pitchable tubes') have an economic dilemma - sell yeast that is easy to use and priced so that it will be widely adopted by amateur brewers. Sure they could double the size of their packs, but then they'd have to charge more and they'd loose lots of customers who won't pay more for the yeast for one batch. They are already a premium-priced product compared to dry yeast.

Dry yeast has come a long way, true.  BUT, I know that if I was at my LHBS and knew I could buy a "double" smack pack for $10 that would pitch the appropriate amount per Mr. Malty, I would.  And why couldn't WL just make a "double vial".  Still seems strange to me knowing that there are a lot of experienced homebrewers out here now.
Dave Zach

Offline blatz

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 06:48:07 AM »
I think the difference is that one way will make good beer (WYeast) and the other will make great beer (MrMalty). The yeast companies (White Labs also sells 'pitchable tubes') have an economic dilemma - sell yeast that is easy to use and priced so that it will be widely adopted by amateur brewers. Sure they could double the size of their packs, but then they'd have to charge more and they'd loose lots of customers who won't pay more for the yeast for one batch. They are already a premium-priced product compared to dry yeast.

Dry yeast has come a long way, true.  BUT, I know that if I was at my LHBS and knew I could buy a "double" smack pack for $10 that would pitch the appropriate amount per Mr. Malty, I would.  And why couldn't WL just make a "double vial".  Still seems strange to me knowing that there are a lot of experienced homebrewers out here now.

but david, we're already hooked - I do sometimes buy 3 vials if I don't have time to make a sufficient starter, but bumping from $7 for yeast to $14, you're not going to sell a lot of yeast to cheap, (er, I mean frugal) 'new' or occasional homebrewers, particularly when dry yeast is $3-$4 a pack.  my LHBS tells me all the time, he pretty much breaks even with guys like us, but its the random people who come in that he makes a profit on, and those people generally aren't going to pay that large spread.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 06:51:32 AM »
Good point Blatz.
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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 07:01:06 AM »
but david, we're already hooked - I do sometimes buy 3 vials if I don't have time to make a sufficient starter, but bumping from $7 for yeast to $14, you're not going to sell a lot of yeast to cheap, (er, I mean frugal) 'new' or occasional homebrewers, particularly when dry yeast is $3-$4 a pack.  my LHBS tells me all the time, he pretty much breaks even with guys like us, but its the random people who come in that he makes a profit on, and those people generally aren't going to pay that large spread.

Exactly, the price of liquid yeast is already at LEAST double that of dry (more like 300% or more usually). For a hobby that is sold as 'inexpensive' to most beginners, $15 for yeast just isn't going to fly. And it is the beginners and intermediates that the yeast companies need to attract to stay in business.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 07:26:52 AM »

Why is Wyeast and Mr. Malty so far apart?  And if it really is 2.3 packs for 1.060 OG, why does Wyeast market 1 pack to 1.060 OG?  There just seems to be a rather large discrepency here and I would appreciate some insight as to why.

Dave

As was mentioned above, you can usually "get away" with pitching just the smack pack for lower gravity beers but you are running a risk of having problems, especially since you do not know how the yeast was handled before it got into your possession.

Here's a "must read" article on yeast pitching: http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/1749-yeast-pitching-rates-advance-homebrewing

Also, I think it is important to note that when pro brewers order yeast they have it overnighted packed in ice packs in an insulated box and that the yeast comes as a slurry closer to the MrMalty recommendations than the cell counts the yeast companies recommend to homebrewers.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 07:48:29 AM »
Wyeast has a calculator that gives you basically the same results as Jamil's:

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrate.cfm


As others have mentioned, you can make beer by pitching less yeast, but you'll make better beer if you use the generally accepted (higher) pitching rates that brewing texts recommend and commercial brewers use.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 07:55:14 AM »
One thing to remember when using mr malty is to adjust the manufacture date. I was looking up a 5 gallon batch of 1.034 wort on mr malty and when I put the manufacture date in (it was really fresh, less than a week old) it told me I only needed .4 packs. Now I am not sure how I would go about measuring .4 smack packs of yeast or saving the other .6 so I pitched the whole thing. I guess i overpitched ;D
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Offline nateo

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 07:56:15 AM »
We're basically just talking about "rules of thumb" here. From Wyeast's website: "A rough rule of thumb is to double pitch rates above 1.065 and triple pitch rates above 1.085. Or, more technically, a million cells per milliliter are needed for a 20degree plato"

Pitching the "standard" rate of 0.75m/ml/*P for ales is as much a "rule of thumb" as what Wyeast recommends. There's no way the "standard" rate will give you the optimal fermentation in every type of beer.

Without knowing the vitality and viability of our yeast, we're all just guessing. Jamil's method seems to work well for many people, but it should be taken for what it is: a rule of thumb.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 08:06:12 AM »
We're basically just talking about "rules of thumb" here. From Wyeast's website: "A rough rule of thumb is to double pitch rates above 1.065 and triple pitch rates above 1.085. Or, more technically, a million cells per milliliter are needed for a 20degree plato"

Pitching the "standard" rate of 0.75m/ml/*P for ales is as much a "rule of thumb" as what Wyeast recommends. There's no way the "standard" rate will give you the optimal fermentation in every type of beer.

Right, this is something that's good to mention.  Even in brewing texts and the commercial world, pitching rates vary from place to place and style to style.

The Mr. Malty calculator assumes 0.75 million cells/ml/Plato for ales and twice that for lagers.  Wyeast basically claims that because this is fresh, lab grown yeast and not harvested yeast from a previous batch, you can get away with less for low gravity ales.  You can see that they recommend a lower pitching rate for beers under 1.060, while advocating using a higher rate closer to the commercial "standard" (if that truly exists) for high gravity beers.  They also rationalize their lager recommendations based on warm pitching, which is a great way to make a fruity lager unless you really have the ability to cool the beer fast in the first few hours after pitching.

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrates.cfm

Given that yeast is not always shipped in optimal conditions, and may be sitting around for a month before you get it, I'm not sure that it's really true that you can pitch less because the yeast is fresh.  Homebrewers have had great success using Jamil's pitching rates.

I do think that Mr. Malty's yeast viability estimates are very pessimistic.
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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 08:46:01 AM »
I'd go with the yeast supplier's rule. They're the experts.

They're also in the marketing and "keeping it easy" business.  I trust my own results...no matter what Wyeast or mrmalty says, I know I get better results when I use a starter for beers Wyeast tells me I don't need a starter for.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Pitching Rates: Wyeast vs Mr. Malty
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 08:51:14 AM »
They're also in the marketing and "keeping it easy" business.  I trust my own results...no matter what Wyeast or mrmalty says, I know I get better results when I use a starter for beers Wyeast tells me I don't need a starter for.

I think what Denny's getting at is there's more going on in a starter than just growing more cells. Even if you have "enough" yeast without a starter, a starter will provide cell growth, but more importantly will increase the health of the yeast. Vitality is far more important to good fermentation than pitching rate. 0.5m/ml/*P of healthy yeast will make better beer than 1.5m/ml/*P of sickly yeast.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 08:53:08 AM by nateo »
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