Author Topic: Liquid yeast looking good  (Read 6206 times)

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Liquid yeast looking good
« on: May 02, 2010, 09:51:09 PM »
After using dry yeasts exclusively for about 18 batches (just cheap and easy - pitch and go) - I decided to start moving to liquid yeasts. It just seemed like one more complication when I started out brewing, but I see its not complicated. Following the info on Mr. Malty - using a 2000ml flask - and building a stir plate out of a computer fan and magnet from a hard drive. Its really not that much extra work --- and I have to say that I've seen fermentations (2 so far) that are easily double as far as krausen height and being very vigorous. I'm primarily using White Labs now.

The IPA I did with the first batch of liquid yeast is still conditioning but the 3rd week taste test was very promising. I have a NW Amber in the fermenter now with WLP005 and it is fermenting very well. Certainly I have some brews that are great with dry yeasts - but i see some interesting options with liquid.
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Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 04:59:59 AM »
SleepySamSlim,

The cost has kept us from using liquid for our everyday house brews. Are you going to reuse? We have experimented this brew season with reusing yeast slurry and have pushed this out to as many as 10 brews. We did not go to the time and expense of washing and making stirrers and starters as this drove up the cost and eliminated a big reason for reusing. The few experiments with washing left us with many concerns, mostly lag time. With 400 to 500 ml of fresh slurry, the airlock was lifted and we were perking within a few hours. After washing, the airlock didn't lift for 24 to 36 hours and the fermentation didn't seem as vigorous. From a data stand point, we used only Safale - 04, the apparent attenuation was always in the mid 70% to a few low 80%. We didn't notice a dip in the washed batches nor did we find odd tastes in either washed or full fresh slurry's. So for now, we aren't washing and doing starters. Let us know of your results as we would like to try more liquid yeast but have been hesitant.

Preston
In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 09:19:05 AM »
My understanding is that yeast is yeast, and the only difference with dry versions is that those are strains of yeast they've found that can endure the drying and mfr'ing process.  Some of them are supposedly identical (1056=US-05).   So, if a dry version exists that fits the style beer you're making, then why not?  It's generally quicker to proof it and you don't need the lead time to make a starter. 

Unfortunately, Fermentis has jacked up their prices to $3.50 or $3.75, so the cost savings are not as great as they once were, but it's still ~50% and you don't need the DME for a starter.  But for most Belgians and things like Kolsch, you pretty much need the liquid yeast.

Once you've made beer, yeast is yeast, so re-using slurry is absolutely the same.

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 01:04:58 PM »
I have been using both types (Dry and Wet) depending on the style, cost and availability. I (try) to arrange my brewing schedule so that I may reuse the yeast cake for as many brews as I can. I may start a German ale yeast and try to work my way down Germany all summer. At the same time I will have a English type that runs most of the summer too. In winter (which is 11 months a year in Wisconsin) I try to have at least two lager types being reused working my way down from lighter types to the stronger brews.

I have never had a yeast run amuck yet. I do try to start with a lighter type that may be more delicate of flavor and then work the beers down to the stronger types that would conceal any Yeast flaws? I am sure I have saved enough to buy a few kegs over a year and no problems yet!
Bob Brews
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Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 03:17:58 PM »
Bob,

How much slurry do you re-pitch, or is it the whole yeast cake?  If it was the whole yeast cake multiple times, did you notice a trub build up??

We are very interested in this because all the authors say "The brewer makes the wort.  The yeast makes it beer!"  They feel that yeasts determine most of the important profiles. We don't know because we weren't going to do $6.50 to $7.50 a batch for yeast!!!! :-\

Any information is better than the information I don't have! ;)

Thanks

Preston
In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 07:56:06 PM »
So a few comments:
I guess one thing that has really directed my brewing (besides being lazy in general) is comments from master brewers that are basically: fermentation - fermentation - fermentation. Which comes down to yeast and temperature control. Process - quality ingredients - knowledge are all important but its the fermentation that makes the beer. All my batches are temperature controlled. So yeast seemed the next step to look at.

From what I've seen at my LBS Fermentis has increased their prices - now at $4 and White Labs is at $6.50 so the delta is not that much currently. And after having Danstar Windsor poop out on a couple of brews (leaving me at 1.020 or higher) I've used Safeale '04 and '05 exclusively with great results.

A recent article in BYO covered the effects of pitching rate which found that over pitching by 2x and even 4x had the final beers fermenting to the same point(s) as a standard 1x pitch with no discernible effects on taste. However the 2x and 4x pitched worts had very quick starting and robust fermentations. What I took from this was a pitch rate of 1.5x to 2x would probably ensure my wort had a solid fermentation by having a larger army of yeast. Not that I've had a big loss rate during fermentation - I've lost 2 batches out of 20 to stuck / stalled fermentations.

So being lazy I really hate either loosing a batch or having a having a brew that fermented ok but maybe could have done a bit better. And to be sure I do see some of the many varieties of liquid yeasts as possibly adding a bit more flavour - taste - or style specifics to some brews. Also learning that using a stir plate I can do a starter in 24hrs with very healthy cells due to the constant circulation was a clincher.  So for not much effort and some extra cost I could have more yeast choice and have larger yeast army to keep my focus on fermentation.

So the Mr Malty pitching calculator indicates that if using a stir plate a 1 liter starter and a vial of White Labs will produce the 220 billion cells needed. I'm doing a 1.5 liter starter so I'm probably around 280 - 300 billion cells. Slightly over pitched to hopefully give a robust fermentation. I build the starter for 24hrs - chill for 24hrs - decant and pitch after getting it back to room temps.

Now no doubt, some of the fermentations I've had that have been "ok" have probably been due to the ferment-ability of my wort due to either the recipe or the results of my mini-mash technique which is still evolving. I may get into re-using at some point .... once a lab rat always a lab rat
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline ECarroll

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 09:52:15 PM »
so just a few thoughts, been following this tread the last past days, we have learnt here in germany that after about 3 reuses of yeast u should  use a new one next  batch, also me myself, have tried to use both White labs and Wyeast. both have for me never worked so luckly for me i get freash yeast from Kitzmann brew House down the road, and if i am lazy  i use dry

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010, 07:51:21 AM »
Preston, All,

In years past I always bought a new smack pack or dry yeast for every batch. I tried to follow the recipe exactly to stay in style. I have since realized that when (at the club BJCP class where professional brewers would teach us how to judge beers). I found out that I had no ability to taste the difference between perfect classic style beer and "My beer"

I felt free to experiment. I then proceeded to try reusing yeast and found out that "to me" I could tell no difference except. The wort started to ferment right away, it saved me $6.50 and I didn't have to clean a ferment bucket. The beer tasted OK as long as I stayed somewhere in the beer style family.

Example. I brew an Oktoberfest (with a fresh Oktoberfest yeast) and then reuse the whole yeast cake for a Miabock and then reuse the whole yeast cake again for a Bavarian Dopplebock. I don't really see a big buildup of trub. I have never had a batch "go bad" or something "tasting funny". Since I can't taste the difference between Miabock with the proper yeast or a Oktoberfest yeast. I just don't care! It's a good beer and my family and friends (who drink Dudweiser)think it's super!

When I brew for competition I follow the recipe exactly as I can. At home for me I reuse the yeast 3 maybe 4 times. I also have mixed yeasts, I finished two fermentation's, each about 3 times used and then I mixed them for a wild brew?
The beer turned out OK it was in no class but I felt it had "Some Class"?

Also in regards to trub. If it is a inch thick only the top layer is actually touching the beer. I don't feel that the trub below is roting or degrading enough to spoil my beer? Sorry for the long rambling. I tend to do that. Cheers!

Bob Brews
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Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Liquid yeast looking good
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 03:55:20 PM »
BobBrews, SleepySamSlim, & ECarroll from Germany,

Thanks for the response guys!  I don't feel quite as old or as cheap!!  Pushing SafAle -04 11 brews may have been foolish but ......... like BobBrews said "It was good Beer"!  Our numbers at 11 re-pitches were excellent.  I'm also not a beer judge, just a beer drinker.  I can taste when I've pushed IBU's too far, but haven't identified a yeast problem. I will try some of the more stylistic liquids next brew season, and because of my concern, not for the bottom layer, but the stuff starting to cling to the side of the fermentor, I will only push them 5 or 6 times.   Unlike BobBrews, we don't re-rack the next wort directly onto the yeast cake of the previous batch, we collect 450 to 500 ml of the slurry from the bottom. Not sure if this even makes a difference.  ???

ECarroll - Share some of the good stuff with us!  :D

Thanks all

Preston
In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!

 

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