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Old 04-17-2009, 10:33 PM   #1
cactusgarrett
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Default This week's Basic Brewing Radio - any qualms?

I was listening to this week's BBR podcast which had the APA experiement. Long story short, the experiement was as follows:

2 brewers.
Same APA recipe.
One guy used WLP001 and the other WY1056.
Same ferment temp (62F i believe).
Each brewer split 5gal into two batches: one control left alone & one dryhopped w/ cascade vs centennial.

The major qualm i had with the 1056 vs 001 portion of the experiment was that because the guy with the sweet brew-setup COULDN'T MAKE A STARTER (don't get me started on that), they "normalized" the yeast pitch process by pitching right from the package - smack pack after smacked and directly from the White Labs tube.

Did anyone else find that part of the equation to be a major contributor to the differences they found in the controls? One guy found the 1056 had less lag time and a "cleaner" and "crisper" profile, while the 001 had a "maltier" flavor.

I emailed James to display my concern, trying not to be a d!ck about it, but i feel this portion of the experiment was invalidated due to the drastic difference in controls. Also, they mentioned they're going to continue this type of experiment with lagers & 3 strains of yeast. And to compensate for working with lagers, they plan on only what they called "overpitching" to compensate for the fact they weren't using starters.

Any thoughts?

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Old 04-17-2009, 11:07 PM   #2
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I think the only notable thing their experiment showed is that dry-hopping improves head retention.

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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That sounds like a terrible way to go about making the comparison. You can't compare yeasts, even with the same recipe, using two different brewers and two different setups.

What they SHOULD have done to compare yeasts is have each brewer split his batch, using White Labs yeast in 2.5 gallons and Wyeast in 2.5 gallons. That would have given them 2 replications instead of one very biased replication. They could have compared the difference that each brewer found.

I didn't hear the show so I am not sure what the point of also testing dry hopping was. That sounds like a separate experiment, or one that would have required an additional split.

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #4
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I haven't listened yet either, but it sounds like the results would be anecdotal at best. Don't get me wrong, I think James is great and really enjoy listening to his shows, but an experiment that is trying to compare 2 yeast strains while using each strain in two different brewhouses probably isn't going to accurately reflect the character differences between each yeast.

They took on too many experiment parameters in one experiment by throwing dry-hopping into the mix. Like Casey said, they should have used both yeasts in both brewhouses and skipped the dry-hopping... or just dry hop with both yeasts in one brewhouse and not in the other.

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Old 04-20-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
...but an experiment that is trying to compare 2 yeast strains while using each strain in two different brewhouses probably isn't going to accurately reflect the character differences between each yeast.
Right. That's where I basically suspended my thought process in order to gain ANYTHING from the episode. However, when they said that one strain was from a smacked smack-pack and the other was a strait pitched tube, and later went into the resulting observations, it was hard for me to give creedance to anything that came from their experimenting.

For those of you who have yet to give it a listen, let me know how hard you had to try from jumping into the mp3 to strangle those dudes for not making starters & their reasons.
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:05 PM   #6
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As a follow-up, James actually got back to me via email:

Quote:
Thanks for the feedback. I'll share it with Jim and Darren.

Jim and I had a similar e-mail discussion on the state of the yeast and the ability of it to "hit the ground running" on the Wyeast side. Instead of a weakness of the experiment, one could argue that this is a benefit. Here's my thinking: both manufacturers market their products as "pitchable". So, Jim and Darren are essentially taking the packaging at its word.

I agree that making a starter for the White Labs yeast might have put both samples on more equal footing, but I would put money on the assumption that only a minority of brewers take the time and effort to make a starter with their WL tubes and expect the yeast to work right away. After all, they paid a premium price for it.

I always use a starter with WL yeast. I've had too many long lag times in the past, and I need all the sleep I can get.
I appreciate his reply, but still don't agree on the idea that the difference in yeast states is a benefit of the experiement, simply because it affected the baseline (controls) of the experiment. Intended consumer use shouldn't have played into the equation at all.
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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While I see the deficiencies in their experiment, I think these sort of 'anecdotal' experiments that they run periodically much more closely mirror how the majority of homebrewers (of which HBTers are but a small percentage) utilize WL and Wyeast products - as 'direct pitch' according to the packaging.

A number of us might geek out on pitching rates, higher level yeast management, etc - but for the 'average' homebrewer, they hit home.

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Old 04-20-2009, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cactusgarrett View Post
Intended consumer use shouldn't have played into the equation at all.
I think Intended Consumer should definitely play into it. This is how they market their yeast as how it should be used. Now we all know to use a starter if using a small vial of yeast, but we are a very small portion of the homebrewing community. They were showing the yeasts compared as they are sold to be used and as they are most likely used the majority of the time. Now I agree a good comparison of the yeast strains in themselves would involve starters, but comparing the purchased yeast from the two companies and how they decide to sell it, this was a fine experiment. They maybe should just make a note during the broadcast, that they recommend making a starter for these yeasts, but for the purpose of the experiment, they will be pitching both as advertised.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I think Intended Consumer should definitely play into it.
I do see the rationale in this; i just took for granted that the majority of people DO make starters. I guess i'm just so dead-set on a starter no matter what i do, i see the no starter approach as "wrong". I just keep coming back to the idea that a decent side experiement would be to do a side-by-side with pitch-from-the-tube vs. prepared from a starter.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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Without having listened to the episode, it still sounds clearly like too many variables.

Each brewer, brews ten gallons; five gets a vial of White Labs, five gets a Wyeast smackpack. Forget the dryhopping, that's a wholly separate experiment; either dryhop all or none. Then, you've got the yeast on two separate setups being used as directed. Running the same experiment twice.

Means that you buy twice the yeast, but that's how you've got to run it. It's not accurate to compare beer 1 to beer 2, when you've got the variables of yeast (what you're trying to control for), dryhopping (why introduce this to the experiment?) AND different brew systems/fermentation. Too many variables.

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