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Old 01-09-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
Basilisk
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Hey all, I just had a quick thought about yeast. Basically, I'm wondering if the amount of yeast I add to a brew really has to be very accurate or the amount that a recipe suggests is more of a ballpark figure.

Yeast multiply, right? So if I added less than the recipe called for but still enough that the yeast could survive and start multiplying, that'd probably work, right?

And likewise, if I added more, it would really just ferment faster.

I know that it's obviously better to have a coherent plan and know exactly how much of everything you're using, but just from a beginner's level, is the amount of yeast that important?

Thanks!



P.S. If someone could suggest me a decent hydrometer to buy, that'd be great!

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:42 PM   #2
BryanJ
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Pitching rate is important for yeast health and getting a nice clean fermentation with little off flavors. Do a search and you'll be able to find a lot of information on it on this website.

For pitching rates go to Mrmalty.com and use the pitching calculator.

Any hydrometer will do.

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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pitching an accurate amount of yeast for a beer will give you an accurate and consistent flavor for your beer. too little will stress the yeast and make them throw some off flavors and too much will leave some off flavors as well. As a beginner i recommend you come as close as you can but don't stress over it.

you can get a hydrometer from just about any homebrew supplier for about $5-$10. they're all pretty much the same so just grab one
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #4
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Ditto on the stress. If you under pitch your yeast, the yeast can start to produce off flavors through reproduction stress. If you don't have enough yeast to pitch, consider making a starter using a little of your wort, or even some boiled water and corn sugar first. By growing a larger starter culture of yeast, you'll have more to pitch into your beer.

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
Basilisk
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Hi, thanks so much for the feedback. Good to know this stuff. What exactly does "stress" mean here?

Nope, it's not even a matter of not having enough or not being able to measure it accurately, I was just curious.

Thanks for the advice!


 
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:16 PM   #6
BryanJ
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Stressing the yeast refers to under pitching so there is more yeast growth occurring which can produce off flavors.

Take a look here at common off flavors, some are derived from under pitching yeast. http://morebeer.com/public/pdf/off_flavor.pdf

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #7
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usually when you stress the yeast by under pitching they throw off a fruity flavor. some beer styles benefit from it and i'll actually under pitch to achieve those flavors.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:44 AM   #8
Basilisk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jester5120 View Post
usually when you stress the yeast by under pitching they throw off a fruity flavor. some beer styles benefit from it and i'll actually under pitch to achieve those flavors.
Interesting...well I'm actually making cider exclusively, so would that necessarily be bad?

 
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basilisk View Post
Interesting...well I'm actually making cider exclusively, so would that necessarily be bad?
i think cider's more like wine, pitching rates aren't as important with winemaking. when i make a cider, i pitch one pack or dry for a batch, whether it's 1 gal or three gal, same with wine, one pack is good for up to 6 gallons of wine.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:29 AM   #10
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Fruitiness is more often associated with certain yeast strains like saisons and hefeweizens, and british yeasts can throw unpleasant fruity esters where they don't belong, when fermented too warm.

One thing to know is:Underpitching flavors are never appreciated in any drink. You want to be pitching the correct amount of yeast for your beer (if beer) and look to get your yeast esters by controlling the temperature carefully.

If you're doing exclusively cider, however, you really should get a cider-only yeast. Your results will be much better. You should still pitch the proper amount and ferment at the correct temperature, though.
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