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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Wyeast only 100 billion cells? Why?
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default Wyeast only 100 billion cells? Why?

I'm not saying only Wyeast. But, why do companies that produce brewers yeast only make packets with 100 billion cells of yeast? Mr. Malty says that a 5 gallon batch of beer requires at least 180 billion cells of yeast.

Why do they not give us 180 billion cells of yeasties to feed on our homebrew?

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Old 07-11-2012, 10:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kmcogar View Post
I'm not saying only Wyeast. But, why do companies that produce brewers yeast only make packets with 100 billion cells of yeast? Mr. Malty says that a 5 gallon batch of beer requires at least 180 billion cells of yeast.

Why do they not give us 180 billion cells of yeasties to feed on our homebrew?
Because they'd have to charge you twice as much? And even then, a lot of brewers make larger batches and would need to make a starter anyway.

Yeast is a living organism and I'd say the economics of production are not dissimilar to farming. If you want to double the product, you double the price.

Edit: Another reason. If you want 180B cells, you can buy two vials. For those of us who make starters, we don't want to only use half a vial and have to pitch out the other half because it won't keep fresh once opened...
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
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Mr. Malty himself (the man) says in his shows that 1 pack is enough for an ordinary bitter or for a scottish 60 schilling. 180B would be over-pitching, and would not be good. At least this way you start out with a minimum and its up to the brewer to make more.

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Old 07-11-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
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Because they'd have to charge you twice as much? And even then, a lot of brewers make larger batches and would need to make a starter anyway.

Yeast is a living organism and I'd say the economics of production are not dissimilar to farming. If you want to double the product, you double the price.
Yea, it's like making hard boiled eggs. If it takes 10 minutes to hard-boil 10 eggs, it will take 20 minutes to do 20 eggs.

Err... wait....

But seriously folks, the cost of the product isn't always a multiplier of the ingredients in the package. There's all sorts of one-time non-recurring costs like building overhead, some labor, mgmt, and some materials. Consider many drinks like soda and bottled water.

I don't know what goes into the cost of a smack pack of yeast, but I'd bet much of it is packaging, distribution, and other stuff that wouldn't change if the package contained twice as many cells.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:10 PM   #5
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Pitching rate can vary greatly and depends on the gravity of the beer you are fermenting and the beer style (ale vs lager). 100 billion cells is plenty. That ensures that you get a product with plenty of healthy yeast for you to START with. From there you can make starters, repitch from slurry, grow up a bunch to freeze, whatever you want. I personally only buy one pack of yeast per year for each strain that I use. I grow up what I need for the year and then freeze it.

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Old 07-11-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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I brew 3g batches, and I love that one Wyeast pack works for me. Half a pack of US05. That's my opinion. What's good for one isn't always good for all.

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Old 07-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #7
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But seriously folks, the cost of the product isn't always a multiplier of the ingredients in the package. There's all sorts of one-time non-recurring costs like building overhead, some labor, mgmt, and some materials. Consider many drinks like soda and bottled water.

I don't know what goes into the cost of a smack pack of yeast, but I'd bet much of it is packaging, distribution, and other stuff that wouldn't change if the package contained twice as many cells.
Good point. So we can assume it would be somewhere between the current price and twice as expensive. Given that they're already competing against dry yeast that's much cheaper, perhaps they've simply decided whatever price it would end up being is too high for the market to bear.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:38 AM   #8
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They used to offer propagator and activator. I don't think they offer the propagator size anymore. That size you knew you needed to make a starter to do a batch. Now its just the activator.
It was a dollar cheaper for the propagator pack. It was the same size bag IMHO but just less active ingredient. There is really no reason they can't offer larger sizes, but they would need larger bags, have you ever had one swelled like a balloon?

2 things in my opinion are why they are:
1. The competition is only selling X million cells and due to their packaging that probably won't change until they have to. I am in sales, I do what I need to do to stay ahead of the competition.
2. Most Homebrew books and texts reference the cell count for an average beer and go from there. We make starters to increase our yeast. We go through all the work to make our wort, whats a little extra for a guy to do to make more yeast? They are selling to the DIY crowd!! If they offered another larger size, do you really think many would pay the extra 2 dollars? I didn't when they had the propagator size, hell, I would pay a quarter for a drop of cells and grow them off a plate.

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