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Old 09-24-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
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Default Over Pitching and experiences

Hello Brewers -

I have a phenomenon going on with my beer, and I am trying to tie it back to somewhere in my process. I have been doing some reading on "Over pitching" since I do tend to pitch probably twice the amount that Mr. Malty specifies. This would be liquid (with starters) or Us-05 for dry. With liquid, my starter was usually 2x the size of what is recommended and for dry, it's usually 2 11g packets re-hydrated.

Just one example: I recently brewed Janet's brown ale, and noticed that even though it finished high, it's really not that sweet. 1.069 (refractometer w/o yeast) -1.022 (hydrometer). I used 2 packets of the US-05 re-hydrated and fermented at 65/66. I mashed at 157 and finished at 154 after 60 min. The beer tastes a bit thin for that amount of specialty malt. It also has a bit of harsh aftertaste, both which are a running theme in my beers. I feel like I have to use about half the amount of bittering hops a recipe specifies or it has astringent like qualities. I followed the recipe as written except for the mash temp. Here are my water numbers:

Calcium (ppm) Magnesium (ppm) Sodium (ppm) Sulfate (ppm) Chloride (ppm) Bicarbonate (ppm)
Existing Water Profile 50 3 17 87 20 72
Finished Water Profile 64 3 17 87 46 34
Recommended Ranges 50 to 150 5 to 30 0 to 150 0 to 350 0 to 100 as needed

Mash Parameters
Batch Volume (gal) 6.00 Hardness (ppm as CaCO3) 173 RA (ppm as CaCO3) -19
Estimated Mash pH 5.3 Alkalinity (ppm as CaCO3) 28 SO4/Cl Ratio 1.91

I measured the mash PH, and it ended up being 5.3 with a calibrated meter.

So my question to the community is: Is over pitching causing my beers to be overly bitter and thin? I have done some research and it seems like the answer depends on who you ask.

Here's an experiment that supports my findings:
http://sciencebrewer.com/2012/03/02/...-deux-results/

Here's one that refutes it:
Gordon Strong in Brewing Better Beer page 131 and he states: "For a normal strength beer (1.050) I typically add two dry packets, and add another packet for every 25 gravity points." This seems to be in line with the amount that I pitch. Granted, he does not gravitate to hoppy beers. I wouldn't think this would be a practice he would partake if the resulting beer could be better.

Any experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 09-24-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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I'm curious why you are purposely over pitching? You're using the calculator, so why not follow what it says?

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Old 09-24-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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the issue it that they used to sell 5G packets now the sell 11.5G packets so I would follow mr malty

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnagel View Post
I'm curious why you are purposely over pitching? You're using the calculator, so why not follow what it says?
To be honest, I read into the literature as a good hard fermentation is desired, and this comes from a heap of healthy yeast. I thought that by pitching a lot of yeast, they will be less stressed because they don't have to reproduce as much. I never really saw the negative effects of pitching that is spoken about in How To Brew so I went with it. In refining my process after brewing for a year and a half, this is the conclusion I am coming to.

My next beer I plan on using the calculation from Mr malty as well as the suggested mash temp. I'll see if my findings lead me anywhere.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmendick View Post
the issue it that they used to sell 5G packets now the sell 11.5G packets so I would follow mr malty
Dully noted.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:29 PM   #6
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I doubt it is associated with over pitching. The thinness could be associated with over attenuation due to lower mash temps. Are you sure your thermometer is calibrated? Your stated mash temp would lend to a fuller, not thinner beer. The bitterness would most likely be associated with your water profile but I am still learning how all that works so perhaps a more experienced water modifier can chime in. My first guess is Sulfate levels but those appear to be low, not high. I am not sure how the other elements factor in.

Over pitching can cause attenuation problems that would result in higher finished gravities, not lower, in most cases. Depending on the yeast it may also cause off flavor issues but IMO not what you are experiencing.

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Old 09-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
I doubt it is associated with over pitching. The thinness could be associated with over attenuation due to lower mash temps. Are you sure your thermometer is calibrated? Your stated mash temp would lend to a fuller, not thinner beer. The bitterness would most likely be associated with your water profile but I am still learning how all that works so perhaps a more experienced water modifier can chime in. My first guess is Sulfate levels but those appear to be low, not high. I am not sure how the other elements factor in.

Over pitching can cause attenuation problems that would result in higher finished gravities, not lower, in most cases. Depending on the yeast it may also cause off flavor issues but IMO not what you are experiencing.
I am typically using a Thermapen and a second thermometer to double check.

Yes, from over pitching, one would think the FG would be higher. When the beer is over pitched, the cells are less healthy at the end of fermentation (Yeast, White pg. 67) and presumably attenuate less. The results of the first aforementioned study almost seem to be the exact opposite.

I also have had trouble dissolving gypsum into my brewing liquor, so the resulting water profile may not be 100% accurate. I have since learned that cooler temps, not warmer lend to a more homogeneous solution.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyBrew
I am typically using a Thermapen and a second thermometer to double check. Yes, from over pitching, one would think the FG would be higher. When the beer is over pitched, the cells are less healthy at the end of fermentation (Yeast, White pg. 67) and presumably attenuate less. The results of the first aforementioned study almost seem to be the exact opposite. I also have had trouble dissolving gypsum into my brewing liquor, so the resulting water profile may not be 100% accurate. I have since learned that cooler temps, not warmer lend to a more homogeneous solution.
You might try adding your gypsum directly to the mash after dough in.

In looking at your numbers again there is really not much of a difference from the source. Have you tried using your source water without additions to see if the bitterness issue goes away? The sulfates are not really high enough to create that pronounced hop presence IME
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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This was actually my first brew at my new house, so I haven't done much experimenting with the water yet. It's pretty much the reverse of the water I came from, which was fairly hard and much similar to the traditional London water profile. I'm liking the ease of getting the PH down! Thanks for the suggestion.

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Old 09-24-2013, 06:11 PM   #10
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I routinely use 2 packages of US-05 re-hydrated for a brew and will often use 2 vials of WLP001 in a 2 quart starter then step the starter multiple times with excellent results. I doubt very much if over pitching is the cause of thin beer or astringent taste. Those are normally from mashing at to high of a temperature.

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