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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Yeast 1056 (Chico) vs WLP090 (SD super yeast) split batch
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
jmccraney
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Default Yeast 1056 (Chico) vs WLP090 (SD super yeast) split batch

I will be brewing a split batch of sculpin clone this Sunday to compare these two yeasts. When I started brewing, my friend and mentor recommended starting w Chico to get consistent results while I nailed down my process before experimenting too much. 1056 has since been my "house" strain, but the time has come to try a little something new. I figured this would be a good way to document my experience for my own use and hopefully some of you will find this interesting as well.

From my reading, I've gathered that the super yeast should produce an extremely similar beer: crisp, clean, and fairly dry. I'm primarily interested in its fermentation characteristics; White Labs claims it ferments quicker and flocculates more than Chico (while maintaining high attenuation), though it requires tighter temperature control. If I can produce a similar beer with these benefits, I will be sold on the super yeast. I imagine it would be ideally suited to a dipa, but could see using it in just about anything that requires a good clean yeast, depending on how this little experiment goes.

After reading a lot on the forums (especially this thread) it seems that people have either described the flavor as "slightly more English" than Chico, "too clean," or pretty much identical. However, probably the biggest topic of discussion is stuck fermentations. Many people have had the yeast burn though the first half of the fermentation only to slow to a crawl to drop the last 10-20 gravity points. While I have not seen it confirmed anywhere, it seems the most likely culprits are probably fermentation temperatures or a lack of oxygen. This could be a very picky beast indeed. For more info, see the link above, the split batch write-up here, and if I remember correctly this thread had some interesting info.

My plan is to brew 6 gallons of a sculpin clone on Sunday and split it into two carboys for fermentation. I'll be posting updates at each step of the way with specifics on procedure and results. Hopefully I can contribute a little to these forums after all the good lessons I've learned here!

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Starters

So I ran out of time to fill this in earlier, but I actually prepared the starter Tuesday night. Nothing here should be particularly interesting, but if anyone sees issues w my process feel free to chime in, especially if it affects the results of this experiment (not that there is time to fix it haha).

I mixed up 1 gal of starter: 1 gal of water and 1 lb of light dme. Turns out the dme came out a little quick, so 1.13 lbs for a 1.049 sg assuming negligible evaporation. I boiled the starter for 15 min, then split it into two glass bottles, one for the Chico and one for the super yeast, and discarded the last half inch or so that was thick w sediment. I then added the yeast to each and shook well to aerate and get the yeast well mixed throughout. I wanted to store some for subsequent batches, so I poured off the top of each jug into a glass jar for a second mini starter. I shook them again and placed them lightly capped in my highly specialized fermentation ... closet.

Before we move on I guess I should address some possible concerns:
Sanitation: Always an issue. Everything was cleaned and soaked in starsan unless boiled, so I should be fine.
Wort gravity: I know this is higher than the recommended 1.040, but this seems like a good opportunity to RDWHAHB. The wort was well mixed (as a final visual inspection confirmed) and the small amount of trub was removed to maintain consistency, so the two strains had identical conditions.
Aeration: One thing I'm worried about is the yeast aren't getting enough 02. I have no stir plate, and the caps are resting on top of the containers, so not a lot of oxygen, but I give them a shake twice a day when I leave and come home from work. According to Chris White and Jamil Z., more oxygen and a bit of yeast nutrient would improve the yeast health, and growth rate, but a roughly 1 liter pitch for 3 gal should be plenty. Regardless, the conditions are the same for the two yeast strains.
Yeast viability: Here we have a fun one to deal with. Date of production for the Chico was mid May (pitched late May), and the super yeast was mid April. However maybe a bigger factor could be the differences in product between white labs and Wyeast. I am not familiar w these differences, but I suspect after doing a starter the differences should wash out.


Update: I checked on these the next morning (10 hrs since pitch) and the super yeast had a nice half inch krausen going. The Chico had a few bubbles and definitely foamed up when I gave it a swirl, but nothing remarkable. By the 24 hr mark, the krausen on the super yeast had already dropped and both remained flat until brew day. I measured the fg of the two starters just prior to pitching and got 1.015 for Chico and 1.010 for the super yeast. That means roughly 70% and 80% attenuation respectively. I'm surprised at the difference, but again this isn't the beer itself, so I'm waiting for the finished product before drawing conclusions.

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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Brewday

So brew day is finally complete with 6 gal of ipa in the fermenter. I brewed a clone of sculpin from ballast point using a hybrid of the recipes here and here scaled up to 6 gal.

I tried to do a brew in a bag, but may have ended up mashing a little low. The thermometer read 150-147 the entire time, but as I gave the grains a stir at mashout it dropped to 140. Oh well, the efficiency was awful anyway so I had to add some dme which will stabilize the fermentability. (Can't tell you how ready I am to have my HERMS setup ready.) In the end I hit the sg of 1.068 with the 6 gal split between two carboys.

Each carboy got 90 seconds of pure oxygen through a diffusion stone with just enough pressure to faintly see the agitation on the surface. I pitched the yeast at 68F and placed them immediately in the fermentation fridge set to 65F.

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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Fermentation

Before I forget, some quick notes. I'll polish this up later.

at 14 hrs we have nice activity in both carboys, maybe an inch of krausen in the Chico and two in the super yeast

At 24 hrs the Chico is really up to speed with a nice 3-4 inch layer of krausen. Based on the residue on the glass, the super yeast appears to have peaked already and has settled to a 1-1.5 inch layer of krausen. That's not to say it's finished; there are some serious convection currents rolling through this thing, even more than in the Chico, so there's definitely plenty of activity. The beer with the super yeast also appears significantly lighter in color, probably because there is more yeast suspended in the beer.

48 hrs: Both look pretty similar to the last observation. The krausen on the super yeast continues to settle--down to half and inch--but if anything the body of the beer looks lighter from the suspended yeast. I bumped up the temperature to 66F. I like to let the temperature rise from 64 to 68 when I work w Chico, but knowing the super yeast is temperature sensitive I'll keep things restrained while satisfying my need to fiddle.

60 hrs: Things seem to be slowing down slightly. The krausen on the Chico has settled a bit, while the duper yeast is down to pond scum. The convection currents in each appear to be slowing as well, though the super yeast remains a much lighter, opaque tan.

72 hrs: Well this is the three day mark, so I decided to take a gravity reading of the super yeast. I couldn't get to the top of the Chico, so we'll work with what we've got. The sample reading was 1.023. Clearly not finished (as the taste confirmed) but approaching the expected final gravity. Appearances are still fairly similar.

84 hrs: Fermentation seems to be finally slowing. Yeast just starting to floc in both and the super yeast beer is just barely starting to clear/darken up. I'll be gone for the weekend so I won't be able to check on these until Sunday night.

8 days: Finally able to check on these again. They have both cleared completely and appear done. The super yeast still has a few flocs clinging to the surface of the beer, but as soon as the beer is agitated they sink to the bottom. Overall the super yeast appears marginally clearer, but nothing dramatic. The final gravities came in at 1.014 for the super yeast and 1.013 for the Chico. After tasting the samples, I can't tell which one I'll like more. Both clearly need more time to condition and clean up the harsher alcohols. You could say the super yeast is more clean in that there are fewer harsh flavors remaining, or because it seems to lack character. At this temperature, the alleged fruitiness of the Chico comes across as a subtle vibrance that highlights the American hops rather than a distracting flavor. I can't wait to see how the two beers continue to develop and how they respond to the dry hop.

2 weeks: I just bottled these beers, and they're starting to taste good. Two weeks could arguably be considered a bit early, but it will help test the super yeast's quick turnaround and hopefully have them ready for the Fourth of July. The taste comparisons I made above still hold, but both yeasts have cleaned up most of the higher alcohols and other byproducts so the difference there is minimal. Gravities remained the same.

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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So glad you are doing this. Can't wait to hear your results.

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Old 05-29-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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Placeholder tasting, conclusions

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Old 06-28-2013, 12:18 AM   #7
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Any updates?

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Old 06-28-2013, 01:31 AM   #8
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I just made the switch from 1056 to SD090. SD090 has a nicer flavor to it, my ale now tastes like a commercial beer. 1056 is nothing like that...it ferments, that's just about it.

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Old 06-28-2013, 02:22 AM   #9
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I'm also curious. Could you possibly provide the Sculpin recipe you used? I'd love to check that out as we just got it recently down in Florida and DAMN it is tasty!!

Cheers on the side by side

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Old 06-30-2013, 06:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SavoryChef View Post
Any updates?
Soon! I'll be opening the first bottles later this week and I'll be sure to post and clean things up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gwapogorilla View Post
I just made the switch from 1056 to SD090. SD090 has a nicer flavor to it, my ale now tastes like a commercial beer. 1056 is nothing like that...it ferments, that's just about it.
What kind of beers do you use it for? An IPA is only one of the beers I would use Chico on, so there is more to take into consideration than my single experiment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by edecambra View Post
I'm also curious. Could you possibly provide the Sculpin recipe you used? I'd love to check that out as we just got it recently down in Florida and DAMN it is tasty!!
Check out the links in the brewday post. There are some nice long threads there with all the info you could want from brewers with more experience, but it pretty closely follows the recipes there.
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