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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Did you ever put a big beer on a yeast cake?
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:31 PM   #1
Ridonkulous05
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Default Did you ever put a big beer on a yeast cake?

Fellow brewers,

I have a WLP 013 yeast cake from a spiced brown ale (OG 1.050).

I plan on pitching a "big" stout on it.

My question(s):

1: Speaking OG, how small is too small (1.060?) and how big is too big (1.150!?!?)

2: How would you scale a standard BJCP recipe to a much higher OG? (I brew all grain- do I scale up the entire grain bill [including high-influence black, roasted, and other dark malts], or do I use a 5 Gallon recipe, but mash a lot more pale 2-row into the beer)?

3: I am also interested to hear awesome stories about putting high-OG beers on yeast cakes from prior 5-gallon batches. I am interested to find out about the fermentation, the flavor outcomes, timelines, and other peculiarities unique to doing the "no-no" of using yeast cake to ferment beers (or other beverages)...

I look forward to your recommendations, feedback, experiences, and tales of triumph and/or defeat.

Prost!


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Old 10-23-2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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No matter your OG, an entire yeast cake is going to be a massive overpitch. Use the mrmalty.com pitching rate calculator to figure out how much slurry you should use for the next batch. Wash your yeast and save the rest for other batches. I believe there's a good sticky on washing your yeast. No better time than now!


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Old 10-23-2012, 11:19 PM   #3
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I do it all the time. No worries.

Takes off like a rocket (get your blow off tube installed) and finishes in days (depending on the bigness of it ).

I did it today but not with a big beer just with a slightly higher OG beer. I had a stout yeast cake from a 1044SG stout and pitched another stout 1052SG on top of it. Activity within an hour or two.

wrt specifics on your #3. I've noticed no flavour issues with pitching on a yeast cake. It's not a no-no in my "brewery" it's more like SOP. Timelines are generally faster. For example, I brewed an IPA (1062) last Friday and pitched on a yeast cake. I took a reading out of curiousity on Sunday evening and it was down to 1006!
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:40 AM   #4
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I pitch on a cake alot. no worries. its will take off fine.
No bad flavors from over pitching. Almost 1/2 my batches are a cake pitch.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:08 AM   #5
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We tried this method recently with a belgian brown ale. Bottled an abbey and just left the yeast in the fermenter, kept it at room temp with an airlock for the afternoon while we brewed and dumped our brown ale wort in the fermenter. By morning it was going nuts and 2 days later it was done. It was one of the best beers i've ever had, even had a couple guys from Belgium try it and say it was the best beer they had while in america!
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:48 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback, guys- I am heartened by your reports of great results.

For the past week I have been in a debate with myself over whether to pour out a part of the cake, or to pitch on the whole thing. I read all ob Bob's sticky "Why not to pitch on your yeast cake", and he makes very good arguments- but it is a matter of having fridge space for vessels of yeast at this point, and if I am not going to wash, then why go to the trouble of pouring half of the cake down the drain?

I have never had a problem with beers being "not estery enough", as my last brewing room (I have since moved) hovered between 66-68 deg. F, yielding fermentations at 70 deg. F. Therefore, I would really like to try my hand at brewing a number of much cleaner beers (it it hard- I really love WLP 002). I realize that, for this current round (WLP 013), this is still not the ABSOLUTE 'cleanest' yeast, but will likely assist my transition to WLP 001, when I make that leap (likely my next brew- though, I can't believe that I have never used that strain, seeing how it is such a standby, from all that I have heard).

Still, thank you, ladies and gents, for the great experiences and inspiration! Are there any more hanging out there?
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:34 PM   #7
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I pitch on cakes fairly often as well. Especially before I had lagering capabilities, I would pitch a beer I wanted lager-like on a cake on purpose to avoid the esters. I would ferment cool and sure enough, I had a very clean beer on my hands.

I say go for it, and as others have noted it will take off fast!
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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If it takes off fast, you may want to keep the temp from going to high.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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Well, I measured the OG on the Stout, and it came to 1.090. I sissied out, and I pitched on the entire cake, anyway, not having brewed a beer this large before. If nothing else, this will at least give a basis for full attenuation potential for a beer this large, and for how many esters are (or are not) with this much overpitch.

The note about watching the temperature was a wise one. Despite pitching at 70 deg. F (at about 8 PM the night prior), at noon on day 1, the Fermometer read 78 deg. F. (despite being in a room of 61 deg. F. ambient)... So, I quickly took the carboy out to the garage (45 deg.), and the temperature came down to 64. The temperature has since sat at 62-66 since the afternoon of day 1.

Well, this will at least get "pitching on the cake" out of my system. Next time, I will just pour off 2/3 of the slurry, and use 1/3 (about a cup or two) if I want to start a big beer...

Stay tuned, and I look to report back when this Stout is done, and report whether there were any massive adverse effects of the overpitch or day 1 temperature spike. (Fortunately, a big stout like this is a pretty forgiving breed.)
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridonkulous05 View Post
Well, this will at least get "pitching on the cake" out of my system. Next time, I will just pour off 2/3 of the slurry, and use 1/3 (about a cup or two) if I want to start a big beer...
FYI- your cake contains yeast as well as trub from that last batch. If you are going to be using less than the entire cake, you might as well wash it and build up a starter to ensure you dont accidentally pitch trub instead of yeast. Might help with consitancy of brewing as well.


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