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Making yeast happy and productive

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by mkortink, 10/9/18.

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  1. mkortink

    Surreal Rider

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    Posted 10/9/18
    Hi, there is a lot of specific info about yeast and pitching in different forums, but what i am after is a general overview for using yeast to best effect. What are these little yeastie animals like, what stresses them, is stress good sometimes, how tough are they, etc.

    So i am a kit brewer and have access to 11.5g sachets of specific yeasts and also the yeast in the lid of kits. I am not a trained beer taster so very subtle nuance is wasted on me. I am lazy, while i will mess around with hops and in extreme cases steep some grains, it is basically just to flavour tinned malt extracts and kits in the bucket. I want to get a bit flasher with my yeasts.

    So really i am after a link to a "brewing yeast 101" article that tackles questions like the following. I would love to get some answers here as well though :)

    1. Does it make a difference to prepare the yeast before pitching eg by hydrating. Is this just about population numbers.
    2. Should i underpitch, overpitch, is 11.5g rightpitching in 23l bucket. Viability is mentioned often, what is it?
    3. What does the yeast like in its environment, what stresses it, why and what happens. Warmth, sugars, crowding, alcohol, etc.
    4. What are the basic high level varietal differences between different strains in terms of inputs and outputs.
    5. What effect does sugar type have, what's right with brown sugar, whats wrong with maltose (being contrary).
    6. How long to ferment and can i leave it for long in the bucket.
    7. What does the sludge at the bottom do, is it alive, can i reuse it? If sludge is bad in the bucket why good for reuse.
    8. Anything to worry about during secondary fermentation.
    9. Does yeast effect head?
    10. What things can i do wrong that would actually physically taste bad, how forgiving is yeast?

    I realise i can get answers to most of these specific questions on this forum, it is really question 3 i care about. How do i keep my yeast happy and productive while not making my beer taste off.
     
    Last edited: 10/9/18
  2. Richard williamson

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    Posted 11/9/18
    Everything I have read about yeast so far says that keeping the yeast at a consistent temperature is the main thing. I'm only on my 3rd brew but will soon be looking into a fridge to ferment in. Anything over 30° kills the yeast purity fast. I have just sprinkled it on and hydrated it and found hydrating in water about 25° much better. Hope that helps
     
  3. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 11/9/18
    In answer to 3 there are a lot of things which stress yeast, to much oxygen to little oxygen to much dissolved co2 in the ferment (if fermenting under pressure) temperature, the best place to look for most of your answers is Wileys on line library, here is something to read to start you off.
    https://www.morebeer.com/articles/how_yeast_use_oxygen
     
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  4. mkortink

    Surreal Rider

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    Posted 11/9/18
    Last edited: 11/9/18
  5. Rocker1986

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    Posted 11/9/18
    1. It's up for debate. Some say yes and some say no. I would just follow the manufacturers instructions.
    2. I wouldn't underpitch unless you're chasing specific flavors from the yeast itself. 11.5g is enough for 23L of ale depending on the OG of the wort. For a kit and kilo type brew it is enough. Lagers should be pitched at double or more the rate of ales. Viability is just the percentage of live cells in a given amount of yeast.
    3. Keep it happy and productive by pitching enough of it into a nutritious (and oxygenated if using liquid yeast) wort, prevent off flavors by fermenting it at the appropriate temperature, usually around 18-20C for most ales, 10-12C for lagers.
    4. Not sure I fully understand the question here but different strains accentuate different flavors (malt, hops), some don't ferment as much as others (fuller body vs. thinner body), and some produce flavors of their own while others are cleaner and don't really influence the flavor much.
    5. Mainly it affects the body and flavor of the beer. A lot of table sugar for example will result in a very thin and watery beer that probably won't taste very good. A lot of unfermentable sugars will give the beer a full body, and perhaps make it too sweet depending on what the sugars are.
    6. There's no one size fits all, just until it reaches FG plus a few days to allow the yeast to clean up fermentation by products. There's no need to leave it any longer even though you can for a short period without issue.
    7. It's mostly yeast and it is alive and can be re-used in subsequent batches. A lot of guys do this.
    8. Just keep the temp warm enough and the bottles sealed, preferably out of light.
    9. I don't know but I don't think so, not directly anyway.
    10. Underpitch by too much, ferment it too hot, use too much glucose or sucrose and not enough malt, those are the main three that cause shitty beer.
     
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  6. mkortink

    Surreal Rider

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    Posted 11/9/18
    Thanks Rocker1986, brilliant guidance.
     
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