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Old 03-27-2008, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default Should I remove some of the yeast cake prior to pitching on it?

Hi all,

I tried doing some searches, but didn't find too much. I have an IPA in primary now getting close to 3 weeks. I want to dry hop it in a secondary, and pour wort for a new IPA onto the old yeast cake. Partly for the experience, I have never re-used a yeast cake yet.

While reading about the process, I've seen several people say that when you add wort to a yeast cake, you are actually over pitching, which can cause off flavors. Is this something I should worry about? Part of me says RDWHAHB and just dump the wort in and see what happens. The other part of me wonders if I should try dumping out half the cake or something, to try and not over pitch.

I am curious about yeast washing, but not sure I want to add that much time to my brewing this time around.

Any thoughts?

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:26 PM   #2
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Lots of people pitch right on top. No issues.

You may consider harvesting off half the yeast cake and saving for a nother batch. THere's more than enough yeast in that fermenter to ge things going.

Rig a blow off tube though.

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
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I don't remove any of the cake for the second round, but if I pitch a third batch I'll remove about half. That's only to prevent the cake from going over the top of the spigot. Haven't had a problem with off-flavors, but you do have to be careful about blow-offs and temperature.

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:49 PM   #4
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+1 to all. Saving half will save you from buying yeast again.

IPA's in particular are very forgiving if anything off was to occur,IMHO.

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #5
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It depends on the type of yeast and style of beer. If you are brewing a style where the yeast is going to contribute very little to the flavor profile then you will be fine pitching on top of the entire yeast cake. But if you are brewing with a belgian yeast then you may lose some ester production if fermentation takes off too quickly.

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Old 03-27-2008, 06:23 PM   #6
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Sorry, I should have mentioned the yeast. I'm using WLP 041, I think. It's Pacific Ale Yeast, rumored to be Red Hooks strain.

Thanks for the feed back, really good advice. Since this is my first go at this, and I want to save time, I think I will just pour on top of the cake. Originally I made a large starter out of this yeast, then split it into 5 pint jars. For the IPA that is finishing up now, I used 2 of the jars and made a new starter for it. So I still have 3 pints jars with some yeast. So I don't need to worry about running out yet!

I do want to wash yeast and save it, but I think I may wait to wash it when my next IPA gets racked to secondary. Next time I'm going to do a stout, so I wouldn't want to re-use this yeast for that anyway.

One other question about yeast, I hear people say yeast is viable for 4 or 5 generations. But what actually defines a generation? When I did my starters for the WLP 041, I made a large starter then canned it. Is that a generation? Or is a generation typically just when it eats 5 gallons of wort or more?

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Planned House Ales: an Amber, an IPA, a dark IPA, a Mango Ale, a blueberry oatmeal stout, a dry Irish stout, a honey wheat, Apfelwien

What kind of R-Value does your ferm chamber need? - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/what...hamber-190459/
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Old 03-27-2008, 07:59 PM   #7
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+1 to yeast cakes

I put a Dunkelweizen on the yeast cake of WLP480 that was used for a Hefeweizen and its fermenting like a champion, I suggest using a blow off tube instead of airlock as my airlock got blown off within eight hours of pitching. Not only that, in the few minutes it took my roommate to sterilize a tube the krausen foamed out of the carboy!

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Old 03-27-2008, 09:53 PM   #8
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If I'm feeling lazy I'll just pitch on the cake. Other times, I'll pull out half simply to reduce the chances of an explosion I have also taken a cake and split it into two fermenters if I'm making a 10 gallon batch. There's more than enough...

It's a fast and furious fermentation and you'll DEFINITELY need a blow-off tube!

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Old 03-28-2008, 01:04 AM   #9
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I recently put a middle of the road amber (~1.053 OG) onto a White Labs Pacific Ale cake with no blow off problems. The krausen crawled no farther up the sides of my pail than the first fermentation did, and that was straight from the vial. Both ferms. were in a ~70 degree ambient closet as well. The first ferm. took about 7 days and ran up to 72 on the bucket thermometer, the second (obviously) went a lot faster and got up to about 74 degrees. The funny thing is the second tasted better out of prim. than the first did out of secondary. These beers were the first I've made in 6+ years, and simple ones to get stuff in the "pipeline" while I gather equipment to make bigger ones. I've never pitched onto a cake before, I've never really worried about the economy of it all. Now that I've grown into the cheap ba$tard that I am today, I'm really appreciating the knowledge gleaned from here about yeast propogation. My wife brought home an agar slant from work last week (she works in a medical laboratory) and some mineral oil. I still have no idea how to use it/what to do with it, but I'm excited!! Finally something about her work that we can talk about lololol!!!

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Old 03-28-2008, 01:33 AM   #10
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I sometimes tip the bucket and scoop out a big coffee cup full. Then I clean the krausen ring off and pour in the next batch. A large coffee cup full is more than enough. They start in an hour and ferment like crazy. +1 on the blow off hose!

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