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Old 12-16-2009, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default lager pitching rates

Hi all,

I am planning my first lager after many all-grain ales and I have a few questions. On the Wyeast website it recommends a 12 cells per millilitre pitching rate, which is approximately 2 smack packs for a 5 gallon batch, but if you go to mr malty's pitching rate calculator it says to pitch much more. I would think the yeast manufacturer would know what's best for their product, but if anyone has experience that their beer is better with those massive pitch rates I would like to hear. I have 2 smack packs and if I can get away without making a starter that would be ok, but if it makes the beer better I have no problem doing it. I plan to pitch at fermentation temps.


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Old 12-16-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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I usually go in between the two, Mr. Malty seems a bit high to me too. It also depends on the OG, I would probably still make a medium sized starter to pump up the smack packs.


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Old 12-16-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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The manufacturers always seem to be lower in their estimates. I wonder whether it's because they test based on fresh-off-the-assembly-line yeast, when even a month old is notably less potent.

I honestly think most peole here trust Mr Malty over Wyeast.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
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12 cells per ml isn't much .

I guess it depends on who you believe. A vendor trying to make their product look good, or George Fix, Ph.D from Harvard, mathematician, and author of books on brewing such as Principles of Brewing Science and An Analysis of Brewing Techniques. This is where Mr. Malty's numbers come from.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:25 PM   #5
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sorry that's 12 million cells per milliltre. George Fix sounds like he knows what he's talking about. If there's no danger pitching that much yeast then I guess I'll go for it. I've heard of overpitching but I don't think that's until even much higher rates.
Thanks all for the quick replies
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #6
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I recently did a little digging on this and PM'd jamilz about it.

Basically, the yeast mfrs. have been saying for years that their product is "pitchable in 5 gal beer". They can't really go back now and say that they were either mistaken or lying all this time...so their numbers have to corroborate their original claim at least to some degree.

The Mr Malty pitch rate calculator is backed up by science and confirmed by lab analysis. Trust the Mr Malty calculator imo.
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:11 AM   #7
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Doesn't Jamil's calculator assume a log reduction in viable cell count based on date of production? Where do these numbers come from and how can they be accurately calculated since they would have to make assumptions on transport and storage conditions?
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Doesn't Jamil's calculator assume a log reduction in viable cell count based on date of production? Where do these numbers come from and how can they be accurately calculated since they would have to make assumptions on transport and storage conditions?
Good point. I've always thought that the viability thing was the weakest link because it's just an estimation based on many assumptions. Then we multiply that starting count so a bad starting count just throws the whole calculation out of whack. At some point, the brewer has to bring something to the table. I make adjustments to the viability because most of my yeast is delivered via mail and even with the ice packs it's warm by the time I get it.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #9
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I know I know I know that you are supposed to pitch at these enormous rates. Even with that knowledge, I ended up pitching one (yes, 1) smack pack of Wyeast 2278 (Czech Pils). The OG was around 1.045 and it ended up at 1.009, and definitely is one of the best beers I've made.

I probably will try to plan to make a starter next time, but the old "RDWHAH" thinking didn't fail me this time.

I also learned decocted pilsner=DELICIOUS. Thanks Kaiser!

EDIT: I should mention that the smack pack was brand new, LHBS had just received it and I had bought it the same day.

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Old 06-07-2010, 10:00 PM   #10
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What I am doing for my lager which I plan to brew in a couple days is making a 1L starter from a vial, then cold crash, decant and mix up, and pitch maybe 200ml of that slurry into a 2L starter, which I will then subsequently cold crash and decant. Then when I pitch later in the week, I will pitch the yeast slurries from both the 1L and 2L flasks.

So all told I think I'll have around 2700ml of healthy, viable yeast for my 1.067 lager.


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