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Old 08-30-2010, 11:01 AM   #1
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Default My boss used to brew and told me this crazy idea

He said he would usually pitch 4 times the yeast and start fermenting in under an hour. Has anyone heard of doing this? Would this be a good idea or something to avoid?

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Old 08-30-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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There are reasons for pitching the right amount of yeast.
Some folks say you can't over pitch in homebrewing.
Some folks would disagree with that.
How did his beer taste?
I personally think it's a waste of money.
Split a batch and over pitch in one, and see if you can tell the difference.

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Old 08-30-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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I don't really see what the point is. I pitch half a teaspoon of yeast everytime and get fermentation starting within the day.

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Old 08-30-2010, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfc View Post
He said he would usually pitch 4 times the yeast and start fermenting in under an hour. Has anyone heard of doing this? Would this be a good idea or something to avoid?
Here's a link to a basic brewing episode where they tested the effects pitching rate has on beer. They tested with the recommended amount of yeast, 1/4 that amount and 4 times that amount. The results weren't overwhelmingly conclusive but the recommended amount seemed to come out on top.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...yeastpitch.mp3
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:01 PM   #5
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I think the only way to truly answer this is through a true break down. Taste would obviously have to be taken into account but the tasting would have to be blind. I think through chemical analysis many of these theoretical facts can be proven or debunked. I would think there are certain compounds produced by stressed yeasts compared to properly prepared cultures.

I'm starting a food science BS program this semester. Maybe if I can get access to lab equipment this year I'll make a 1.070 beer split the batch and under pitch one and pitch one with triple the yeast I normally would. Then see what happens to the beer.

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Old 08-30-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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I wouldn't condone pitching 4 smack packs or vials. That could get prohibitively expensive. Read up on making a starter and using the Pitching Rate Calculator to figure out how much starter to make.

If you are doing everything else right (proper aeration, proper ferm temp) slightly under pitching probably won't make a huge difference. Also, proper pitching rate might help hide under aeration or slightly warm ferm temps since you are starting out with the proper amount of healthy yeast. Off flavors come from stressed yeast, which can come from under pitching as well as other factors.

If your boss brewed a while ago, that was probably true. They didn't have access to all kinds of different liquid yeast. The yeast was also a lot lower quality. Pitching a few packs and secondaries became necessary to make good beer. Also, FWIW, the time it takes your beer to "start fermenting" isn't really an indication of how good the beer will be. If you are getting 48 hour plus lag times, think about making a starter or pitching more yeast.

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Old 08-30-2010, 01:51 PM   #7
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I've pitched on cakes and had fermentation in an hour, but I cool the wort to the low end of the temperature range to avoid over-heating.

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Old 08-30-2010, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
I wouldn't condone pitching 4 smack packs or vials. That could get prohibitively expensive. Read up on making a starter and using the Pitching Rate Calculator to figure out how much starter to make.

If you are doing everything else right (proper aeration, proper ferm temp) slightly under pitching probably won't make a huge difference. Also, proper pitching rate might help hide under aeration or slightly warm ferm temps since you are starting out with the proper amount of healthy yeast. Off flavors come from stressed yeast, which can come from under pitching as well as other factors.

If your boss brewed a while ago, that was probably true. They didn't have access to all kinds of different liquid yeast. The yeast was also a lot lower quality. Pitching a few packs and secondaries became necessary to make good beer. Also, FWIW, the time it takes your beer to "start fermenting" isn't really an indication of how good the beer will be. If you are getting 48 hour plus lag times, think about making a starter or pitching more yeast.
Yeah, he hasn't brewed in a while. Thanks for the link and the thoughts, guys!
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:46 PM   #9
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I would think the "start" of fermentation would be the same regardless of the amount. The amount may show quicker visible signs and get you fermented out faster, but the start time would be the same. Just answering to your exact statement. Now if he said it got him fermented out sooner I would buy that. Not sure for the taste though and like the others said for the expense of 4x the price I don't see much advantage, that and the taste but then again maybe 4x is good (????).

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Old 08-30-2010, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgln View Post
I would think the "start" of fermentation would be the same regardless of the amount. The amount may show quicker visible signs and get you fermented out faster, but the start time would be the same. Just answering to your exact statement. Now if he said it got him fermented out sooner I would buy that. Not sure for the taste though and like the others said for the expense of 4x the price I don't see much advantage, that and the taste but then again maybe 4x is good (????).
If you pitch the appropriate amount of yeast they will first undergo a growth (replication) phase before starting to ferment. Overpitch and they will shorten or bypass growth and go straight into fermentation. Commercial brewers have access to more yeast than they know what to do with and they calculate how much to pitch so I will continue to use the pitch rate calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html for my beers.

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