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Old 04-23-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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Default 1 Pack Yeast vs. 2 Packs Yeast

If I'm making a regular batch of Homebrew, let's say an Irish red ale. Would it hurt to add extra yeast in the primary fermenter? What would change from 1 pack to 2 packs? Would it hurt or help to add more or less? If adding 2 packs would the fermentation time be shorter?

This is dry yeast that I'm talking about. Also is dry yeast the same that we buy in the grocery store to make pizza dough? Sorry for these questions, just looking for some help.

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Old 04-23-2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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You absolutely do not want grocery store bread yeast. That would taste awful.

For almost every beer you brew 1 packet is plenty of yeast. If you pitched 2 packets in to a regular strength beer you will overpitch.

The only time you really need to packets of dry yeast is when you are brewing either a lager or a high gravity beer like a barleywine.

If you're looking for recommendations for a Irish red ale, I would go with safale 04 or nottingham. Either yeast makes a great Irish ale.

Cheers

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Old 04-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimTrone View Post
You absolutely do not want grocery store bread yeast. That would taste awful.

For almost every beer you brew 1 packet is plenty of yeast. If you pitched 2 packets in to a regular strength beer you will overpitch.

The only time you really need to packets of dry yeast is when you are brewing either a lager or a high gravity beer like a barleywine.

If you're looking for recommendations for a Irish red ale, I would go with safale 04 or nottingham. Either yeast makes a great Irish ale.

Cheers
I disagree.

The easiest way to know if you are pitching enough yeast would be the mrmalty yeast calculator: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

According to that calculator (which is acurate), without any sort of starter you would need 1.8 packs for 5.25 gal of 1.048 beer ... and that is assuming 97% viability (fresh yeast).

Can you get by on one pack of yeast? Sure. Will the beer be as good? nope.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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I disagree.

The easiest way to know if you are pitching enough yeast would be the mrmalty yeast calculator: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

According to that calculator (which is acurate), without any sort of starter you would need 1.8 packs for 5.25 gal of 1.048 beer ... and that is assuming 97% viability (fresh yeast).

Can you get by on one pack of yeast? Sure. Will the beer be as good? nope.
OP is using dry yeast, you are referencing liquid yeast calcs.

OP, 1 pack of dry yeast should be fine, as long as its a 11 g pack.

Side note, underpitching does not guarantee inferior beer. It absolutely increases the likelihood of inferior beer, but does not guarantee it. Also worth keeping in mind that "proper pitching rate" is also dependent on beer style and what you want from your yeast. So jamil's yeast calculator, as wonderful of a tool as it is, is a guideline, not some rock solid, guarantee your beer will suffer if you don't do what it says.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:16 PM   #5
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These are good questions. In general, it is better to add more yeast to ensure your fermentations start quickly. This helps your good yeast get the upper hand against wild yeast and bacteria. A healthy fermentation should start quickly, and depending on the yeast strain may shorten the overall fermentation period. It is possible to overpitch yeast (think over-population problems in your fermentor), but in practice you'd need quite a bit of yeast to do so. Much more than 2-3 packets of dry yeast for a 5 gallon batch.

The yeast you buy in the grocery store is the same Saccaromyces species of yeast we use in brewing. However, the particular strains in bread yeast are selected because they make dough rise quickly. It will ferment, but as the other poster mentioned it won't taste very good. It is worth your while to locate a supplier of yeast strains specifically chosen for brewing particular beer styles.

I use dry yeast from time to time because it is very convenient and easy. When I do, I use two packets of yeast. To me it is worth the extra few dollars to ensure my beers have a better chance of turning out well. I wouldn't go so far as to say 1 packet won't work in all situations, but 2 certainly will not be harmful.

Be sure you hydrate your yeast in room temperature water for about 15 minutes before pitching (in a sanitary container with sanitary water!) just like you would if you were making bread.

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Old 04-23-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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These are good questions. In general, it is better to add more yeast to ensure your fermentations start quickly.
While this is true from a "winning the war against bugs" perspective, there are meaningful downsides to overpitching, especially if you are brewing a style with important yeast flavor contributions. Many of the flavor compounds are produced during reproduction, so if you eliminate or reduce the need for reproduction by significantly overpitching, you will get less of these flavors.

The best bet is to pitch the appropriate amount of yeast for the style you are brewing. I don't care if you overpitch or underpitch, its up to you, there aer just trade-offs to be aware of in either scenario.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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I came here today (from jamils calculator) to ask a similar question.

I am working on a recipe for a 1.070 IPA. Jamils calc says I need 1.3 of the 11g packs. So my question is... Go with 1 pack or 2? I rehydrate. I am thinking 2 is the way to go as I would like to ensure this beer attenuates well before the yeast tires out.

Going to use us05 if that makes a difference to anyone reading.

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Old 04-23-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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Many of the flavor compounds are produced during reproduction, so if you eliminate or reduce the need for reproduction by significantly overpitching, you will get less of these flavors.
By pitching more yeast and ensuring a quick start to fermentation, you are decreasing the lag stage and not necessarily the reproduction stage. The yeast will still eat through all the sugars they can. It is true that some yeast by-products define some styles of beers, but I wouldn't advise stressing the yeast to achieve this end, especially to a novice. You may find other unintended flavors in your finished beer if the yeast are stressed.

These by-products can all be achieved by proper temperature control, recipe formulation and in some cases mash scheduling. Happy yeast make happy beer drinkers.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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White labs recommends against overpitching (http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/craft_FAQ.html):

"Is overpitching yeast harmful?

If the beer is overpitched, yeast do not grow though a complete growth cycle. This results in few new yeast cells, which makes for unhealthy yeast and low viability by the end of fermentation."

Wyeast recommends against overpitching (http://www.wyeastlab.com/com-pitch-rates.cfm):

"High pitch rates can lead to:
Very low ester production
Very fast fermentations
Thin or lacking body/mouthfeel
Autolysis (Yeasty flavors due to lysing of cells)"


I am NOT claiming that pitching 2 packs when 1 is called for will automatically result in a noticable impact, but overpitching absolutely does have the potential to negatively impact the beer.


While I understand the desire to protect a novice from themselves, I am of the opinion that that is not best accomplished by keeping them in the dark about the best way to make the beer they are trying to make. Warn them about the consequences and what could go wrong, sure, but let them make their own decision about what they're going to do. We're all grownups here. I don't see a reason not to inform people about the impacts of pitching rate, and there are impacts to overpitching.

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Old 04-23-2012, 06:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewKnurd
White labs recommends against overpitching (http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/craft_FAQ.html):

"Is overpitching yeast harmful?

If the beer is overpitched, yeast do not grow though a complete growth cycle. This results in few new yeast cells, which makes for unhealthy yeast and low viability by the end of fermentation."

Wyeast recommends against overpitching (http://www.wyeastlab.com/com-pitch-rates.cfm):

"High pitch rates can lead to:
Very low ester production
Very fast fermentations
Thin or lacking body/mouthfeel
Autolysis (Yeasty flavors due to lysing of cells)"

I am NOT claiming that pitching 2 packs when 1 is called for will automatically result in a noticable impact, but overpitching absolutely does have the potential to negatively impact the beer.

While I understand the desire to protect a novice from themselves, I am of the opinion that that is not best accomplished by keeping them in the dark about the best way to make the beer they are trying to make. Warn them about the consequences and what could go wrong, sure, but let them make their own decision about what they're going to do. We're all grownups here. I don't see a reason not to inform people about the impacts of pitching rate, and there are impacts to overpitching.
Yessir. Well put
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