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Old 04-14-2013, 07:09 AM   #51
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Subscribed. Gotta see how this plays out.


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Old 04-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #52
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This is immoral. KEEP YEAST CELLS FREE-RANGE!
Wow thanks. Now I need to clean the coffee off my monitor.


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Old 04-15-2013, 01:50 PM   #53
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Monday morning update: The beads are fermenting, but man-oh-man are they slow! The comparison here with the control fermentation is interesting.

The beads started fermenting very quickly. I pitched them on Friday night right before I went to bed, and they were already moving by the time I got up six hours later. It seems they've been chugging along at this rate -- but never any faster -- ever since. They've brought the wort down from 1.042 to 1.024 now after about 60 hours. Not terrible, certainly, but slower than I'd expected considering the pitching rate.

The control fermentation, on the other hand, showed no activity at all for roughly 24 hours but then managed to burn through all of the available fermentables by the time I got home from work yesterday (about 48 hours after pitching). This is consistent with what I'd expect for a healthy pitch of s04 in a low-gravity wort at 67º.

The relatively slower ferment of the beads isn't a problem per se, but it does make me curious. It should be fixable. To my mind, there are two possible bottlenecks here:

1) Wort contact - the beads are submerged but floating near the top. I don't suspect that sinking them in a tea strainer or the like would actually improve contact significantly, but mechanical agitation might. Giant stir plate?

2) Bead permeability - I'm going to mix up a few other test batches, perhaps with different ratios of alginate to yeast. I'm just guessing with so much of this, so I can't say for sure what will or won't make a difference.

Anyway, it's all moving along nicely! The bead beer is fermenting slower, but it's still quite clear so I suspect it will be ready more or less as soon as the yeast finishes fermentation.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:18 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
Monday morning update: The beads are fermenting, but man-oh-man are they slow! The comparison here with the control fermentation is interesting.

The beads started fermenting very quickly. I pitched them on Friday night right before I went to bed, and they were already moving by the time I got up six hours later. It seems they've been chugging along at this rate -- but never any faster -- ever since. They've brought the wort down from 1.042 to 1.024 now after about 60 hours. Not terrible, certainly, but slower than I'd expected considering the pitching rate.

The control fermentation, on the other hand, showed no activity at all for roughly 24 hours but then managed to burn through all of the available fermentables by the time I got home from work yesterday (about 48 hours after pitching). This is consistent with what I'd expect for a healthy pitch of s04 in a low-gravity wort at 67º.

The relatively slower ferment of the beads isn't a problem per se, but it does make me curious. It should be fixable. To my mind, there are two possible bottlenecks here:

1) Wort contact - the beads are submerged but floating near the top. I don't suspect that sinking them in a tea strainer or the like would actually improve contact significantly, but mechanical agitation might. Giant stir plate?

2) Bead permeability - I'm going to mix up a few other test batches, perhaps with different ratios of alginate to yeast. I'm just guessing with so much of this, so I can't say for sure what will or won't make a difference.

Anyway, it's all moving along nicely! The bead beer is fermenting slower, but it's still quite clear so I suspect it will be ready more or less as soon as the yeast finishes fermentation.
Interesting stuff. The fermentation rates could also be explained by the inhibition of reproduction by the yeast being encapsulated by the beads. The control started slower because they were in a reproductive phase, but finished faster as there were now increased numbers of cells. In contrast, the bead started faster because they didn't have a stimulus to reproduce (i.e. fresh wort) but could not speed up the fermentation rate because their numbers are somewhat fixed (or decreasing, if you figure in cell death).

It would be interesting to do a cell count, but first you'd have to work out how to get the yeast separated from the balls first. Probably not worth the effort.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:43 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
Monday morning update: The beads are fermenting, but man-oh-man are they slow! The comparison here with the control fermentation is interesting.

The beads started fermenting very quickly. I pitched them on Friday night right before I went to bed, and they were already moving by the time I got up six hours later. It seems they've been chugging along at this rate -- but never any faster -- ever since. They've brought the wort down from 1.042 to 1.024 now after about 60 hours. Not terrible, certainly, but slower than I'd expected considering the pitching rate.

The control fermentation, on the other hand, showed no activity at all for roughly 24 hours but then managed to burn through all of the available fermentables by the time I got home from work yesterday (about 48 hours after pitching). This is consistent with what I'd expect for a healthy pitch of s04 in a low-gravity wort at 67º.

The relatively slower ferment of the beads isn't a problem per se, but it does make me curious. It should be fixable. To my mind, there are two possible bottlenecks here:

1) Wort contact - the beads are submerged but floating near the top. I don't suspect that sinking them in a tea strainer or the like would actually improve contact significantly, but mechanical agitation might. Giant stir plate?

2) Bead permeability - I'm going to mix up a few other test batches, perhaps with different ratios of alginate to yeast. I'm just guessing with so much of this, so I can't say for sure what will or won't make a difference.

Anyway, it's all moving along nicely! The bead beer is fermenting slower, but it's still quite clear so I suspect it will be ready more or less as soon as the yeast finishes fermentation.
Thanks for the update.

I believe Mupor holds their's in a stainless cage under the wort. Here's a pic of what they propose to keep the beads submerged. Looks suspiciously like a strainer and something like a pizza cutter with the rim cut off.

I thought about trying this myself, but I'm not sure what the advantages are yet. Thanks for taking the reigns on this Malfet.



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Old 04-15-2013, 02:56 PM   #56
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Interesting stuff. The fermentation rates could also be explained by the inhibition of reproduction by the yeast being encapsulated by the beads. The control started slower because they were in a reproductive phase, but finished faster as there were now increased numbers of cells. In contrast, the bead started faster because they didn't have a stimulus to reproduce (i.e. fresh wort) but could not speed up the fermentation rate because their numbers are somewhat fixed (or decreasing, if you figure in cell death).

It would be interesting to do a cell count, but first you'd have to work out how to get the yeast separated from the balls first. Probably not worth the effort.
Right, that's why I estimated a fermentation-final cell count and used that as my bead pitching rate. In approximate terms, there should be about the same number of cells in each batch now.

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Thanks for the update.

I believe Mupor holds their's in a stainless cage under the wort. Here's a pic of what they propose to keep the beads submerged. Looks suspiciously like a strainer and something like a pizza cutter with the rim cut off.

I thought about trying this myself, but I'm not sure what the advantages are yet. Thanks for taking the reigns on this Malfet.
If there's no impact on flavor, I'd seriously consider using these regularly. The beer is completely clear even now as it ferments, and handling the yeast is very easy. The next question will be how many batches a wad of beads will ferment before it starts getting sickly. If it's dozens, this would be a huge time saver. If it's just one or two, though, ....meh.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:08 PM   #57
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Hey, here's a crazy idea:

Think of a cake piping tools


Where instead of creating hundreds of "yeast balls" one creates one (or several) long star-shaped yeast-strings/snakes that can be easily fished out post fermentation.

I'll be buying the necessary tools to perform my own experiments.
Maybe even use food coloring in each "yeast-snake" to be able to distinguish between different yeasts/brett/lacto/pedio that will be fermenting the beer in question.

Now, who's with me?
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:40 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Andrikos View Post
Hey, here's a crazy idea:

Think of a cake piping tools


Where instead of creating hundreds of "yeast balls" one creates one (or several) long star-shaped yeast-strings/snakes that can be easily fished out post fermentation.

I'll be buying the necessary tools to perform my own experiments.
Maybe even use food coloring in each "yeast-snake" to be able to distinguish between different yeasts/brett/lacto/pedio that will be fermenting the beer in question.

Now, who's with me?

You'd be losing a lot of surface area this way, which is trouble for diffusion rates. This stuff's actually pretty easy to work with. Dripping the beads into the calcium solution only takes a couple of minutes really, and I'll be able to fish the beads back out with not much more than a strainer at the end.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:44 PM   #59
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It would be really neat if the beads did ferment faster and allow the beer to clear in around 1.5 weeks instead of the 3 weeks that is often tossed around here as the minimum for primary fermentation. The time saving would have some value to me.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:45 PM   #60
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What about suspending some stainless steel shot or other weights inside the beads?


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