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Old 01-15-2013, 05:27 AM   #1
WeezyBrew
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Default Not enough yeast?

I'm new to home brewing so I still have a lot to learn. Yesterday I brewed my first all grain beer, a Belgian Tripel. I have brewed a couple of other beers, using ingredient kits I purchased from my LHBS, so this was my first crack at buying everything individually and crafting a brew. Today I was doing some reading of the forums and looking into pitch rates and their calculators when I came across Mr. Malty. According to the pitch rate calculators I have substantially under pitched my yeast. I used a tube of Abbey Ale WLP530 from White Labs for my yeast, and did not use a yeast starter or energizer. The calculations say I should have pitched 335 billion yeast cells, and I have read that the average White Labs tube and Wyeast smack packs have only 100 billion cells. So am I screwed, or can I add an energizer or simply pitch another tube or 2?

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Old 01-15-2013, 05:37 AM   #2
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Relax. Your wort probably has enough nutrients for the yeast. You can pitch nutrients if you like, but I wouldn't unless your brew starts going stinky.

The recommended pitch rates are designed to allow the yeast you pitched to out compete any wild yeast that might have snuck into the batch. That and get the alcohol content there fast enough that it will kill any bacteria in there before they can produce off flavors.

Basically, those pitch rates give you a safety net. You don't necessarily have to have it, it's just nice if you do. Those higher cell counts also generally reduce yeast stress, which can give you a flavor that doesn't require as much aging. That's more of an issue with high abv brew then a typical beer though. In any event, it will still be beer.

Happy brewing.

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Old 01-15-2013, 05:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leadgolem
...Those higher cell counts also generally reduce yeast stress, which can give you a flavor that doesn't require as much aging. That's more of an issue with high abv brew then a typical beer though. In any event, it will still be beer.

Happy brewing.
So are you saying that I may need to let the brew age longer due to the higher yeast stress caused by the lower cell count? My OG for the Tripel was 1.071. My plan was to leave it in the primary for 7-14 days, then rack to the secondary for 6-8 weeks, then bottle and age for another 2 months before I started drinking it.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:47 AM   #4
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So are you saying that I may need to let the brew age longer due to the higher yeast stress caused by the lower cell count? My OG for the Tripel was 1.071. My plan was to leave it in the primary for 7-14 days, then rack to the secondary for 6-8 weeks, then bottle and age for another 2 months before I started drinking it.

Thanks for the feedback!
More aging time is rarely a bad thing. Your planned aging should be perfectly fine though.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:05 AM   #5
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Is it actively fermenting already?, if yes dont do anything, most likely your beer will be fine. Leave it in primary for at least 3 weeks, if you want to use 2ndary go for it but you dont have to, make sure your fg is stable for 3-5days before transferring or bottling.

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Old 01-16-2013, 11:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polboy
Is it actively fermenting already?, if yes dont do anything, most likely your beer will be fine. Leave it in primary for at least 3 weeks, if you want to use 2ndary go for it but you dont have to, make sure your fg is stable for 3-5days before transferring or bottling.
It is actively fermenting now. It started a little slow, but now the bubbles in the airlock are coming less than 2 seconds apart. What are the advantages/disadvantages of leaving it in the primary for a longer period of time and skipping the secondary all together? My LHBS told me that I would want to transfer it to a secondary when the bubbling slows to once every 15 seconds, and then let it sit in the secondary for a prolonged period of time.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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There are multiple threads debating/arguing the merits of secondary fermentation. The idea behind it was to get it off the yeast cake so the beer cleared faster and didn't pick up off flavors from yeast autolysis. This has been found to not be necessary, but you end up with beer either way you do it.
If you underpitched, your beer may have some off flavors from excessive yeast growth phase and stressed yeast, the yeast may have a harder time cleaning up off flavors, and it may not finish with as low a FG as you would like.
Leaving it in primary longer or not transferring to secondary might help with those issues.

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