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Old 04-22-2009, 10:15 AM   #1
gregbathurst
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Default Pitching yeast

I have noticed that some people on this forum pitch dry yeast into their cider, and I would like to give this advice:

NEVER pitch dry yeast direct into cider,
ALWAYS rehydrate the yeast first.

It is a simple procedure - a dish of warm water at 95 degrees F (35C), add the yeast and stir, then leave for 15 minutes before adding to the cider.
This will give a much cleaner, healthier ferment with less chance of off flavors such as H2S rotten eggs.
The reason is that cider making is much closer to wine making than beer brewing. Winemakers never pitch dry yeast direct, it is too much of a shock to the yeast. I know that home brewers pitch direct but beer is quite different and what is good for beer is not good for cider.
I hope I am not offending by giving this advice but it is a simple thing which really does make a difference. I believe it helps to preserve that apple flavour we all like.

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Old 04-22-2009, 01:15 PM   #2
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I have done the dry pitch thing for probably 30 or more batches of cider & beer.

I tend to rehydrate for beer but not for cider. I might try it just because its not really much effort. I generally use Montrachet, Cotes De Blanc, or Premier Cuvee. With exception for the Cuvee they are slow at getting started.

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Old 04-23-2009, 12:31 AM   #3
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All I make is wine and cider and I dry pitch all the time. The instructions in commercial wine kits even tell you to dry pitch.

I'm not saying that rehydrating isn't more reliable, but it's hardly as important as you make it sound.

The way I look at it is that the simpler I can keep processes, the less there is to go wrong. (ie- contamination)

If you are going to rehydrate, you might as well make a yeast starter. That's the best way to get a fast, reliable fermentation.

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Old 04-23-2009, 01:45 AM   #4
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I have read on this board before where they say the cell count will be higher when you rehydrate vs adding it dry. Some of the yeast cells die when they open up to take in moisture and they get something other than water.

I think it has very little negative consequences, but its really easy to do. Boil water add yeast when its below 100F. Let it sit 20 minutes and/or pitch when it close to ambient.

I will say that the SO4 (rotton egg smell) comes from the lack of yeast nutrients. So says "Gunther" at LeSaffre. (Red Star)

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAC762 View Post
All I make is wine and cider and I dry pitch all the time. The instructions in commercial wine kits even tell you to dry pitch.

I'm not saying that rehydrating isn't more reliable, but it's hardly as important as you make it sound.

The way I look at it is that the simpler I can keep processes, the less there is to go wrong. (ie- contamination)

If you are going to rehydrate, you might as well make a yeast starter. That's the best way to get a fast, reliable fermentation.
I'm not saying you can't make good cider with dry pitching. Rehydrating is very easy and definitely superior to dry pitching so why not do it? there is no risk of contamination, and you don't need to boil the water first. H2S is a result of stressed yeast and rehydrating reduces the stress on the yeast. There is a lot of research on this and they now have additives to improve the rehydrating process, but simple rehydrating in warm water gives excellent results.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:02 PM   #6
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I always either rehydrate, or make a starter; but I never let my starter go longer than 12 hours. Regards, GF.

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Old 04-23-2009, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlenkerla View Post
I have done the dry pitch thing for probably 30 or more batches of cider & beer.

I tend to rehydrate for beer but not for cider. I might try it just because its not really much effort. I generally use Montrachet, Cotes De Blanc, or Premier Cuvee. With exception for the Cuvee they are slow at getting started.

How long is "slow at getting started"? I pitched in some shake n pitch WLP023 Burton Ale yeast 3 days ago into my cider and no activity yet.

I've had much faster starting times using re-hydrated champagne yeast (less than one day).
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:20 PM   #8
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How long is "slow at getting started"? I pitched in some shake n pitch WLP023 Burton Ale yeast 3 days ago into my cider and no activity yet.

I've had much faster starting times using re-hydrated champagne yeast (less than one day).
I have seen it take as long as three days in a cool basement. Did you add yeast nutrients/energizer? I always use one or the other. Cider doesn't have nutrients like that of beer. Some strains really need it more than others. Cotes De Blanc (Epernay) is the main one. Montrachet generates a bad rotten egg smell w/o nutrients. I never used WL yeast so I don't know how sensitive it is to a lack of nutrients.

Try adding it per the instructions on the bottle if it doesn't take off by day 4.

Be ready for an eruption of activity. When you add it, it will fizz like alka-selzer. I would gently add the nutrients and refix your airlock and then give your carboy an easy rocking back and forth. I only did this once, after the fact, it was 5 days after pitching and it stalled. It was on Cotes and I forgot the energizer at pitch time. I added this and it took off immediately with a very active ferment that last 3 weeks or longer. I was pretty shocked on how well it worked.

One bit of advice, use the proper amount. More is not better. Too much will add an off-flavor that would lengthen the conditioning time.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:27 PM   #9
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Thanks! I've added the recommended dosage of both energizer and nutrient. I didn't get the fizz that you describe, but I haven't looked in a couple of hours.

Whats the difference between the energizer and nutrient? The guy at my brew shop told me to use both and I see they both contain ammonium phosphates.

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Old 04-23-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by garbagegeezer View Post
Thanks! I've added the recommended dosage of both energizer and nutrient. I didn't get the fizz that you describe, but I haven't looked in a couple of hours.

Whats the difference between the energizer and nutrient? The guy at my brew shop told me to use both and I see they both contain ammonium phosphates.
I believe the energizer has yeast hulls and some dead cells.

Did you give it shake or rocking?

Let it go for a bit, maybe you got a dud for yeast. Weight 24hrs and repitch.
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Last edited by Schlenkerla; 04-24-2009 at 12:03 PM.
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