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Old 03-03-2010, 11:27 PM   #21
DKershner
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Since you said in extreme circumstances it would be appropriate, about what Plato or OG would you need to have a 5gal 1.040 beer's cake be a proper pitch rate?

I tried to figure this out from your write up, but no where did I see how many ml there are in a standard cake.

Also, one other question...it seems to be general rhetoric around here that commercial breweries "just pitch a ton of yeast." I wouldn't say 1M cells as a pitch rate is much more than what we follow, I know that you only have experience from one Ringwood brewery, but is it possible that some NON-ester requiring breweries do "over"-pitch according to your write-up?


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Old 03-03-2010, 11:34 PM   #22
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meh...either way you are making beer and it will probably turn out just fine..
Meh. Some of us like to improve our beers any way we can.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by dkershner View Post
Since you said in extreme circumstances it would be appropriate, about what Plato or OG would you need to have a 5gal 1.040 beer's cake be a proper pitch rate?
Yeast tend to replicate 3-5 times from the correct pitching number to the final number in the beer. So, at the high end, 1.120 from a 1.040.

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Also, one other question...it seems to be general rhetoric around here that commercial breweries "just pitch a ton of yeast."
I think they have very general guidelines....maybe something like "use 5 gallons of fresh slurry" or "10lbs of slurry." I am sure it is not exact but gets them in the ballpark and assuming that yeast packs equally tight in the cone, they are at a minimum pitching the same amount everytime.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:44 PM   #24
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I never much liked the idea of pitching on to a yeast cake. It just seemed sloppy and lazy, two things that never make for good beer.
Well put. It is extremely lazy and unsanitary. Bob talked me out of pouring wort onto a cake over a year ago, with many of the same arguments he made in his OP (albeit they were dumbed down for me!)

The practice of knocking out onto a cake irritates me as much as homebrewers who refuse to make yeast starters for their White Labs vials and Wyeast smack packs. Again, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:48 PM   #25
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Yeast tend to replicate 3-5 times from the correct pitching number to the final number in the beer. So, at the high end, 1.120 from a 1.040.
So if I were making a beer that is about 1.17 OG in the end, but adding sugar frequently to get there, I would want to use an entire cake, right?

I know this is not a typical use case, but this is the only beer I was going to pitch onto a cake, normally I grow starters from slants...
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:09 AM   #26
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So if I were making a beer that is about 1.17 OG in the end, but adding sugar frequently to get there, I would want to use an entire cake, right?

I know this is not a typical use case, but this is the only beer I was going to pitch onto a cake, normally I grow starters from slants...
I am actually not sure if you should include the later sugar additions when calculating yeast. Maybe Bob has an opinion....

You would also be good to use an entire cake from 5 gallons of a 1.040 beer into 10 gallons of a 1.060 beer.
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:13 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by dkershner View Post
Since you said in extreme circumstances it would be appropriate, about what Plato or OG would you need to have a 5gal 1.040 beer's cake be a proper pitch rate?

I tried to figure this out from your write up, but no where did I see how many ml there are in a standard cake.
That's because there's not really a "standard yeast cake". You take the slurry, and you measure it.

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Also, one other question...it seems to be general rhetoric around here that commercial breweries "just pitch a ton of yeast." I wouldn't say 1M cells as a pitch rate is much more than what we follow, I know that you only have experience from one Ringwood brewery, but is it possible that some NON-ester requiring breweries do "over"-pitch according to your write-up?
Well, I've got more experience than that.

It is possible, yes. Note, though, that the procedures are essentially the same. As I wrote in the OP:

"The professional small-brewery practice is to harvest yeast from the cone of a conical fermenter and re-pitch a measured amount into the next batch (usually by weight: 1 pound of slurry per barrel of wort)."

According to Daniels, by weight this works out to half an ounce per gallon, which equates to 1 fluid ounce per gallon. Admittedly, this is about 2/3 the amount the math tells us we need, but this must be tempered with the fact that a brewer harvesting from a conical can eliminate much of the trub which homebrewers have mixed into their slurry. This must also be tempered with the type of yeast; different strains have different density in slurry form.

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Originally Posted by dkershner View Post
So if I were making a beer that is about 1.17 OG in the end, but adding sugar frequently to get there, I would want to use an entire cake, right?

I know this is not a typical use case, but this is the only beer I was going to pitch onto a cake, normally I grow starters from slants...
As I said, it depends on how much slurry is in the fermenter.

Regards,

Bob

Edited to add: Regarding later sugar additions, I have no first-hand experience. However, theoretically I can say that I'd pitch according to the first wort, without the sugar additions, presuming the later sugar additions occur after the ferment is in full swing. I'd also ensure that, like we always should, the first wort is aerated properly.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:14 AM   #28
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Bob thanks for the post(s). I have pitched on the cake several times (making IPAs) with what I would say is decent success, and I love the lazy factor of it. But I'm very interested in going the extra distance to make better beer, and the info you provided is quite interesting and convincing.

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Old 03-04-2010, 03:28 AM   #29
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Good article. I don't think anyone would argue that its not "best practice" to use clean yeast, and not over pitch. But honestly a lot of things sound great on paper and research that don't hold up in reality.

But theres more than enough evidence on this board not to mention my own experience to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with pitching onto a yeast cake, especially as long as you go are going for subsequently darker flavor profiles.

I have beer that's been racked off a 4th re-used yeast cake. No washing invovled. This beer as been in the closet for 4 months now. Every bottle is fresh and clean. Everyone loves it. In fact i've never had any complaints about any beer.

I won't disagree that re-using yeast cake is not optimal.

I will disagree that its bad practice or somehow makes subpar beer, or beer that won't last as long.

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Old 03-04-2010, 03:32 AM   #30
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LOL, Obviously we interpret some of your sources differently.

Since you "categorically refuse to argue with anyone about this." I'm not starting an argument, but do recommend that new brewers carefully and fully read your sources before making up their minds. Just a couple quick comments, then I'm done...

From Designing Great Beers (1996,2000 - Ray Daniels):

"As a general rule, homebrewers pitch far less yeast than they should. Evidence of this comes form the standard packages of yeast sold for homebrewing use. They Generally contiain only a small percentage of the total yeast population needed to achieve recommended pitching rates."

"On a commercial scale, good brewing practice calls for pitching no less than 10 million yeast cells per millimeter of wort. That's approximately 200 billion yeast cells in a 5 gallon batch. This minimum (emphasis mine) amount is intended for "normal" gravity worts, and those with a higher OG will need even more yeast."

Mr. Daniels references Yeast Management (C. Boulton p. 25-29)

Jamil has talked favorably about pitching onto a yeast cake in at least one podcast that I recall.

Jamil and John talk favorably of high pitching rates in Brewing Classic Styles as well on pages 24-25.

This isn't intended as a "your wrong" post, because you obviously are experienced in the subject, But stating "Over-pitching is always detrimental to the beer." is just inaccurate.

Thanks for your time on the OP.

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