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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Using the yeast cake
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:38 AM   #11
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Planning in doing this at the end of the month (from an APA to a stout). Since that's my plan, I've done a bit of research over the past two weeks. I have heard essentially what others have said above, but it all sounds like opinion and anecdote. I'm an engineer and I like facts and evidence.

The one thing I have real evidence of is a quick (really!) experiment where someone tried it. Because there is so much yeast, the yeast is at its prime, and there is a ton of fermentables, fermentation takes off extremely fast. What I saw was a time-lapsed video showing the blow off tube getting filled in under two hours.

Since the search function on HBT is no google, I suggest you google "pitching onto a yeast cake". Search through the hits that link to HBT. you should be able to find the video I saw.

So in the end, it is your choice what to do. Make your own decisions. But use a blowoff tube and maybe have a swamp cooler ready, because that fast of a fermentation WILL kick off a bit of heat. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
People here tell you what they think is best. They do not have to support it with data. More often than not they don't have it, but generally it is grounded; if not. there will be plenty chiming ion as to why it is not.

If you are an Engineer, you will realize that there are far too many variables in just about everything to fully evaluate everything 'absolutely'. Even DOEs are educated guesses, and compromises to minimize the number of tests. Many decisions in Engineering are 'Engineering Estimates'; if it was known fact or proven, you would not be innovating and breaking new ground.

Read Yeast by Jamil & White, it will tell you about over-pitching, and provide some supportive data ... Thought I have to say, they are limited in the details they go into due to the scope and size of the book.

While pitching on a full cake will get a great start; it is not the best thing to do.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:40 AM   #12
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These are all new and great thoughts! Thanks people. I think I'm going for it just to see what happens. Any good recipe ideas? This will just be my 4th batch ever and have only done kits and want to start experimenting.

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #13
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People here tell you what they think is best. They do not have to support it with data. More often than not they don't have it, but generally it is grounded; if not. there will be plenty chiming ion as to why it is not.

If you are an Engineer, you will realize that there are far too many variables in just about everything to fully evaluate everything 'absolutely'. Even DOEs are educated guesses, and compromises to minimize the number of tests. Many decisions in Engineering are 'Engineering Estimates'; if it was known fact or proven, you would not be innovating and breaking new ground.

Read Yeast by Jamil & White, it will tell you about over-pitching, and provide some supportive data ... Thought I have to say, they are limited in the details they go into due to the scope and size of the book.

While pitching on a full cake will get a great start; it is not the best thing to do.
I think I may have been misunderstood...

I wasn't trying to suggest that people were wrong or that they should provide hard data. In fact, for the most part I don't want that. As you mentioned, the complexity of experiments would likely result in incorrect and inconsistent conclusions from confounded data.

Really I was just trying to lead in to a really cool video.

But as for your last comment, what are the issues? Is it just a matter of over pitching? I guess I was looking at my APA as a bad@$$ starter, creating a lot of yeast that could be used again.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:07 PM   #14
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A complicating factor for advice like this is that unless your process kills all the yeast, you will get beer. This means that deciding what practices are good ones depends on whether you happen to like the beer you get that way, and whether an improvement is worth the extra effort to obtain it.

What does this mean? It means that even if we had extensive scientific data on every aspect of every conceivable process, we were all intimately familiar with every detail of the data, and we each drew every conclusion correctly, we'd STILL get to argue about whose advice is right and whose is wrong.

On the original topic, I also tend to follow the advice not to repitch on yeast from beers of over 1.060 SG. The logic behind this---that the yeast that survive to the end of that fermentation are strongly selected for alcohol tolerance above all other factors---seems sound to me. Whether 1.060 is a magic threshold or not, I rely on the experience of others. I have no doubt that beer would come out if I repitched yeast from a bigger beer, but I want to preserve most of the characteristics of the original yeast strain. Applying any strong selective pressure compromises this.

It's still not an absolute, though. Like I said above, it's a matter of balancing tradeoffs. I try to plan things out to avoid pushing the envelope of best practices, but I try not to obsess over it. For example, I happened to be reading JZ's Yeast book just before washing yeast from a 1.05ish Vienna lager that was serving as a starter for my Doppelbock. Following the Doppelbock, I was going to use the yeast for a Bock, and then again repitch for a Maibock. That was when I happened to read the advice against repitching from big beers. In this case, I happened to be in a position to change my plans---I rinsed the yeast from the Vienna lager and put some aside to make fresh starters for the Bock and Maibock. However, if I'd read the book a week later after pitching the Doppelbock, I would not have hesitated to say "screw it" and see what happened if I reused that yeast.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:31 PM   #15
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Hmmm. I never thought of the fact that I basically used a selective process to determine which yeast do what.

I'm going from a 6.5 ABV pale ale to a 10+ ABV stout. Hopefully I am not too far past the 1.060 gravity bogey (pale ale was 1.067) that it will have TOO big of an effect. The stout will require pretty alcohol tolerant yeast anyway, so maybe it isn't as bad as I thought. I may end up adding a little champagne yeast at the end anyway to ensure I can bottle. Or else keg carb and bottle from that...

Thanks for the info.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:35 PM   #16
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I've poured cider onto a porter yeast cake. When I go from dark to pale I use some boiled distilled water to rinse the cake. I try to get as much hop trash and other stuff out as possible.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:41 PM   #17
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I've poured cider onto a porter yeast cake. When I go from dark to pale I use some boiled distilled water to rinse the cake. I try to get as much hop trash and other stuff out as possible.
Good idea. I pour through a pretty fine strainer to avoid getting most of the hops in the fermenter and I'm going to dry hop in the secondary (which I am only using to free up the primary - already containing the yeast cake - for the stout). Hopefully there is minimal hop residue in there.

At any rate, it's a pretty big stout and I'm adding vanilla and bourbon, so I'm not particularly afraid of trace tastes. It's going to be sitting around for a while to meld the flavors together.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:19 PM   #18
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Yeah, I think there's a good chance that a strong stout will mask a lot of the off flavors if they occur, especially with the additions.

If it doesn't, just add bourbon until you don't care any more!

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Old 12-14-2012, 08:57 PM   #19
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Careful with the bourbon. It can be pretty powerful in a beer. I tested a glass of my favorite HB stout one day and with not even a half ounce the bourbon almost took over. Don't get me wrong! It was good bourbon and well appreciated, but it did overpower many of the good qualities of the stout.

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:50 PM   #20
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If it doesn't, just add bourbon until you don't care any more!
My recipe for life...

But seriously, as the previous poster said, I will be careful with it.

Thanks for the advice.
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