Using Yeast Nutrient

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jeph00

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Good day folks.
Is using yeast nutrient necessary? Most of my beers I am using US-05 yeast, I have a friend who's using the same yeast in his fermentation seems to be nicer and "heavier", if you will, than mine. Just wondering how the yeast nutrient will affect then end result beer.
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RM-MN

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Yeast nutrient is needed in wines and meads. Beer (wort actually) contains all that the yeast need.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Most of my beers I am using US-05 yeast, I have a friend who's using the same yeast in his fermentation seems to be nicer and "heavier", if you will, than mine.
Are you using yeast nutrient? Is your friend using yeast nutrient? Are you brewing similar recipes when making the comparison?
 

Golddiggie

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I always add some nutrient in the last 15 minutes of the boil. I also add a bit to my yeast starters. I'm using the Wyeast beer yeast nutrient blend (probably the same as their wine blend, but whatever). IME, it's never given me a negative effect/result. Due to everything I do for the yeast, they typically go ballistic in less than eight hours from pitch. Typically finishing fermenting (any batch with an OG under 1.070) in about three days (from going full on nuts).

IMO, the low cost of nutrient, used in each batch, makes it more than worth it to me. I am using liquid yeasts, but I'm also harvesting them from the finished batches (will probably only buy one or two packs a year, for the majority of my brews). Considering what I'm saving by harvesting, using a few cents worth of nutrient is a no-brainer.
 

VikeMan

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I use (Wyeast) yeast nutrient. It provides zinc, which is one nutrient that a typical wort doesn't, arguably, provide "enough" of. "Enough" is a squishly term though, since you'll make beer either way.

Adding yeast nutrient also provides amino acids/nitrogen that can help avoid diacetyl and hydrogen sulfide with yeast strains that may be prone to producing them in excess.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I highlighted a couple of sentences by underlining them.

Zinc – Zinc is a yeast nutrient when present at very low concentrations of 0.1 to 0.2 ppm and that level should not exceed 0.5 ppm in wort. Zinc is present in malt and zinc extraction is improved with lower mash pH. When present at higher levels (>1 ppm), zinc becomes toxic to yeast and produces a metallic flavor. Commercial yeast nutrient preparations typically provide zinc in their formulation. Zinc chloride or zinc sulfate may be used to produce the desired zinc concentration in wort. However, the dosing of those zinc salts is very low. For example, the dose of solid zinc sulfate heptahydrate is 1 gram per 10 barrels of ale or 1 gram per 20 barrels of lager.

Reverse Osmosis water treatment reduces zinc content in RO water to extremely low concentrations. Brewing with either RO or distilled water (or any natural water with less than 0.1 ppm zinc) should include zinc supplementation.
 

hotbeer

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For the differences in your beer and your friends beer, I'd look elsewhere for the solution or answer. If these are the same recipes, then maybe the difference in water used or something they might add to treat their water.

If different recipes, well... it's a different recipe.
 

MikeScott

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I don't know if you and / or your friend use temperature control, but if his is fermenting at a higher temperature, then that could make a difference too.
As @RM-MN mentioned, it's only really needed in anything that doesn't have malted barley, so wines and meads for sure, I also use it ciders. That being said, I usually put it in anything where I think the yeast needs a little extra help, kettle sours, and high gravity beers for example. Again, it's probably not needed, but it's cheap. I also use it in my starters. Try it out and see if it makes a difference.

If you're going down the rabbit hole of healthy fermentation, then you could also consider adding oxygen, and using a starter so the yeast are already awake and hungry when you pitch them. For myself, along with temperature control and watching mash ph, I think those factors have made the biggest difference in the quality of my beer.
 

Golddiggie

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+1000 on using pure O2 to oxygenate your wort and use starters (on a stirplate). Starters especially for liquid yeast and/or using yeast you harvest from a previous batch. I've been doing the harvesting (bought a pack of WY1318 early this year, gotten several batches from it). Last batch I used about a cup of slurry in a 1L starter. It doubled in size from that. Fermentation was going ape at less than 8 hours in (closer to 6 hours). Was pretty much at FG within about three days of that.

I've been using a SSBrew Tech oxygen infusion setup on the wort out side of my plate chiller for the last several batches. Makes infusing O2 much easier for me. Plus I don't need to open the conical once it's been cleaned and the Tilt goes in. Using a yeast brink to push the yeast slurry in through the bottom (2" TC) dump valve. ;)
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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From yeast nutrient to stir plates in less that 15 replies in the beginners beer brewing forum.

@jeph00 : @hotbeer made a good observation that there may be other factors that are resulting in different beers.

You and your friend will likely learn a lot by trying to improve your beer so it's more like his.

With dry yeast, starters and O2 are optional. Using these techniques may result in "faster" starts (and maybe better beer), but if your friend isn't using O2 or starters, that doesn't help with the original problem. If you decide to investigate starters, there's also a "shaken not stirred" process that a lot of people use with good results (and no need for stir plate).
 
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jeph00

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I don't know if you and / or your friend use temperature control, but if his is fermenting at a higher temperature, then that could make a difference too.
As @RM-MN mentioned, it's only really needed in anything that doesn't have malted barley, so wines and meads for sure, I also use it ciders. That being said, I usually put it in anything where I think the yeast needs a little extra help, kettle sours, and high gravity beers for example. Again, it's probably not needed, but it's cheap. I also use it in my starters. Try it out and see if it makes a difference.

If you're going down the rabbit hole of healthy fermentation, then you could also consider adding oxygen, and using a starter so the yeast are already awake and hungry when you pitch them. For myself, along with temperature control and watching mash ph, I think those factors have made the biggest difference in the quality of my beer.
You mentioned mash PH. I just learned that my water, before mashing has a PH of 8! Which is pretty high, ideally you want it around 5.2, am I right? Will a high PH in water affect the fermentation?
I already looked into getting water treatment for my next batch.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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my water, before mashing has a PH of 8!
@jeph00 : you want to measure mash pH (around 15 to 20 min into the mash). Water pH isn't as important (for a variety of reasons).

eta: be careful about accepting the claim that "water chemistry" is a "rabbit hole". Depending on your situation, water adjustments may not be as complicated as "forum wisdom" would suggest. It all depends on the minerals in your 'source water' (tap water? R/O water? ...)
 
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MikeScott

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You mentioned mash PH. I just learned that my water, before mashing has a PH of 8! Which is pretty high, ideally you want it around 5.2, am I right? Will a high PH in water affect the fermentation?
I already looked into getting water treatment for my next batch.
I'm not water chemistry scientist, but I was in the same boat and went to RO water with the salts recommended by Beersmith for a profile, and then I adjusted my ph with lactic acid. I believe it's made my efficinecy go through the roof. I would expect that it would help fermentation out quite a bit as well. I can't say that I've had any slow fermentations since.
Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention, you're shooting for 5.2 - 5.6 for the mash PH
 
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MikeScott

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@jeph00 : you want to measure mash pH (around 15 to 20 min into the mash). Water pH isn't as important (for a variety of reasons).

eta: be careful about accepting the claim that "water chemistry" is a "rabbit hole". Depending on your situation, water adjustments may not be as complicated as "forum wisdom" would suggest. It all depends on the minerals in your 'source water' (tap water? R/O water? ...)
I agree with you on the adjustments being important and not so much of a rabbit hole, I can't quite wrap my head around the science, at least I haven't dedicated the time to do so, but I know that the water profiles really make a difference. Also, when my water PH was so high, all my beers were just kind of "muddy". Nothing popped like it does now. Wouldn't a high PH in the water be a concern for the mash?
 

VikeMan

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Wouldn't a high PH in the water be a concern for the mash?
Generally, high alkalinity in the water can be a concern for the mash pH. But the pH of the water itself doesn't tell you much that's relevant. For example, you could have two water sources, both with a pH of 8.0, but with very different alkalinity, i.e. different buffering capacities. The one with the higher alkalinity (i.e. more buffering capacity) will usually be the more "problematic" one, i.e. the one that requires the most adjustment to hit the desired mash pH.

TLDR: Always target mash pH, not water pH.
 

MikeScott

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Generally, high alkalinity in the water can be a concern for the mash pH. But the pH of the water itself doesn't tell you much that's relevant. For example, you could have two water sources, both with a pH of 8.0, but with very different alkalinity, i.e. different buffering capacities. The one with the higher alkalinity (i.e. more buffering capacity) will usually be the more "problematic" one, i.e. the one that requires the most adjustment to hit the desired mash pH.

TLDR: Always target mash pH, not water pH.
See, there's all that science :)
My water had 170ppm Alkalinity, lots of bicarbonates as well. I just ended up using RO, but it sounds like the alkalinity was really my issue.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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@MikeScott : yes, "water profiles" make a difference.

For me, the "aha" moment with water adjustments was thinking about water adjustments at each step of the brew day.
  1. What adjustments do I need to make to have a quality water source?
  2. What adjustments do I need to make to setup a proper mash?
  3. What adjustments do I want to make to "season" the beer for the style I'm brewing?
  4. What adjustments do need to make for a good fermentation?
Water Chemistry – How to Build Your Water – Bertus Brewery (think of this article as "cliff notes" for the water chemistry primer here at HomebrewTalk) lays out a solid approach for getting started with water adjustments using RO water.
 

Oleson M.D.

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Brewing since 1990, and we have never used yeast nutrient. We do not use any additional O2 injection either.
 

MicroMickey

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Using yeast nutrient in an all-grain wort is completely unnecessary. I do use it in my starters on the stir plate. However, if you makes you happy or more confident, it can't really hurt to add it to all of your worts.
 

easttex

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I brew all grain with RO water that I add minerals back to. I make starters, add yeast nutrient at 10-15 minutes, oxygenate prior to pitching, and practice temp control during fermentation (and afterwards). The quality of my beer improved immensely once I started this regiment.

No, you don't have to do all that if you don't want to. But I would challenge anyone to brew an identical beer and omit those steps and give each beer the Pepsi challange. I strongly suggest you'll taste the difference in the end product.
 
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jeph00

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So I am using RO water for my brew. It has a PH of 8 before mash. The water additives I have are Epsom salt, gypsum and calcium chloride, recommended to me. Now I am just wondering How do I determine how much of each I would need to get me started.
Thanks for everyone's replies and information, I appreciate it.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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BeerAndTele

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So I am using RO water for my brew. It has a PH of 8 before mash. The water additives I have are Epsom salt, gypsum and calcium chloride, recommended to me. Now I am just wondering How do I determine how much of each I would need to get me started.
Thanks for everyone's replies and information, I appreciate it.
In addition to the software that you may have heard about (Beersmith, BrewFather), there are a number of free calculators available online: EZ Water Calculator 3.0.2 and Bru'n'Water 1.25 are spreadsheet tools available for download. Brewer's Friend is an online tool. I've used all 3; I like some better than others but each are pretty good starting points IMO.
 
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