Windsor and Nottingham co-pitch

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corncob

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I have no experience with either Windsor or Nottingham, but I'm looking for a passable dry English strain that I can use during the hot summers. I just did several brews with S-04 (mixed results so far, but still developing). I planned to do the next few with a Windsor/Nottingham blend.

First up is a basic 1.043 best bitter. I pitched a packet of each when running the wort into the fermenter. Volume was a little over 6 gallons. A thin krausen had formed by the 6 hour mark and final gravity was reached about the third day after pitching. To date I've really only got recent experience with 1469, A09, and S-04. My results with this fermentation are puzzling, and I wonder if anybody with experience with these yeasts could shed some light on what happened:

On the 4th day the beer tastes completely finished. No green flavors, no diacetyl. That's at least a couple days faster than I'm used to, more with S-04. Great. Flavor is nutty, earthy, maybe, with the vaguest fruit. Great. Attenuation was only 75%. With S-04, I would expect maybe 79% from this wort (there was a pound of muscovado sugar in the boil). A09 would have given me about 82-83%. Not so great, but the beer doesn't really taste underattennuated.

Here's the bad one: the beer, which tastes finished, is opaque. I've never seen this before. Based on gravity and taste, following my normal process with normal yeast, I would have casked this on day 3 or 4. I almost always fine with gelatine, because I am a clear ale freak, but what I'm removing normally is a slight haze. This is something different. The odd part is that it doesn't taste yeasty. With the strains I'm used to, just a haze of yeast still in suspension tastes foul. BUT those yeasts have enough sense to flocc out when they are wrapping up--usually the beer is almost clear before the diacetyl fades completely.

So... Did the Nottingham just not take off? It's supposed to be a good flocculator--surely this doesn't fit into anybody's definition of "good flocculator," right? Do I go ahead and put this in a keg with primings and finings? Should I use more gelatine than normal or something?
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4 days and you're wondering? I use both of these (not together) and always rack mostly clear beer to kegs at 21 days. Why is everyone in such a hurry? When I co-pitch I try to get the temps of each strain equal. Notty is pitched at 55* and set to 59* until fermentation slows, then up to 64* to finish. At 14 days I do a slow cold crash to ~50* and keg 7 days later. With Windsor I pitch at 64* and set to 68* For 14 days then crash. Sounds like you need a pipe line. I have 3 kegs lagering at 33* awaiting space in the kegerater.
 
I guess we have different philosophies. I have had really great success with these "present use" ales following a timeline similar to the English commercial brewers. I pitch a little heavy, ferment a little warm, and generally cask with sugar at about 5 days, just before the last of the diacetyl fades. 7-10 days to carb (I go about 1.2-1.4 volumes), then a few days to a week to chill. The earlier you can drink them, the better they are, assuming they are done. I find these simple ales start to lose something around the 4-5 week mark.
 
So, do you get polished clarity with those yeasts just using time and temperature? At what point in your process do you expect to see them clear?
 
I can guarantee you that for an English bitter, the best time of drinking is much further down the line then what you are doing now. Give it two months, maybe three, the beer will have improved very much compared to the green mess you are drinking now. If it already tastes good at this stage now, you will have the most mind blowing ale ever after appropriate aging time.

Only exception is if you are using extremely high late/dry hopping rates. Then earlier is better, but only then.

Expecting clear beer after under a week is crazy. Only pub can do that. Give it time, it will flocculate out. Before hitting it with gelatine, make sure that the majority of the yeast has settled out. Wait at least two or three weeks.
 
Notty doesn't need any help when it's in my chamber for ~2 weeks, but Windsor needs some gelatin. I guess because I use 2565 for most of my beers I've adopted it's protocol for a lot of ales. 833 is my lager yeast and that too needs time and low temp lagering. You might say I lager all but my Voss fermented IPA's, they're on tap at the 3 week mark.
 
I can guarantee you that for an English bitter, the best time of drinking is much further down the line then what you are doing now. Give it two months, maybe three, the beer will have improved very much compared to the green mess you are drinking now. If it already tastes good at this stage now, you will have the most mind blowing ale ever after appropriate aging time.

Only exception is if you are using extremely high late/dry hopping rates. Then earlier is better, but only then.

Expecting clear beer after under a week is crazy. Only pub can do that. Give it time, it will flocculate out. Before hitting it with gelatine, make sure that the majority of the yeast has settled out. Wait at least two or three weeks.
3 months for a low-gravity cask ale with no dark malt and a low protein wort is nuts. It might make a good beer, but it's just not necessary. The style, methods, and ingredients all evolved to turn a batch around much, much faster. American homebrewers tend to prescribe more time for every issue, and that's fine, but there are other ways to do things.

"green mess" is why this forum is dead compared to what it was a decade ago. Everybody already knows everything, including how somebody else's beer tastes.
 
I'm not rushing to get a beer on tap. I'm learning a new yeast. I asked about the habits of a yeast. I guess I should stick to UK forums.
 
3 months for a low-gravity cask ale with no dark malt and a low protein wort is nuts. It might make a good beer, but it's just not necessary. The style, methods, and ingredients all evolved to turn a batch around much, much faster. American homebrewers tend to prescribe more time for every issue, and that's fine, but there are other ways to do things.

"green mess" is why this forum is dead compared to what it was a decade ago. Everybody already knows everything, including how somebody else's beer tastes.
I said two to three months. This is not nuts, this is reality. But each to his own.

Btw. I am German and from my perspective it is actually the Americans who rush the most on average.
 
Notty doesn't need any help when it's in my chamber for ~2 weeks, but Windsor needs some gelatin. I guess because I use 2565 for most of my beers I've adopted it's protocol for a lot of ales. 833 is my lager yeast and that too needs time and low temp lagering. You might say I lager all but my Voss fermented IPA's, they're on tap at the 3 week mark.
Thank you.
 
We already answered and you didn't like our answers.
(BTW: I'm not American..I'm Canadian and my brews using Windsor yeast and time produced the most satisfying beer my former SAS from Liverpool dad-in-law has had since he could get in the pubs in the 1950's)
 
For the record: flocculant English ale yeast + low-protein wort + 100ppm calcium in the wort (not the mash) will absolutely make read-through-clear ale in 7-10 days. It's not my idea. It's not my invention. I am just doing what the English homebrewers say to do.

And it works, just like they say it should.
 
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I get it. Windsor takes 3 weeks or more to drop. I have read that the co-pitch drops faster--more like nottingham is supposed to.
 
We already answered and you didn't like our answers.
(BTW: I'm not American..I'm Canadian and my brews using Windsor yeast and time produced the most satisfying beer my former SAS from Liverpool dad-in-law has had since he could get in the pubs in the 1950's)
There had been some discussion and I appreciate all the answers. I do not appreciate the condescension. I do not appreciate people dismissing the question because asking it demonstrates I'm obviously an impatient brewer who drinks green beer.
 
There had been some discussion and I appreciate all the answers. I do not appreciate the condescension. I do not appreciate people dismissing the question because asking it demonstrates I'm obviously an impatient brewer who drinks green beer.
You asking the question is not the problem, also not that you are drinking green beer. If you like green beer, go for it mate!

The problem is your reaction.
 
Condescension aside, I can give you my experience:

Windsor ferments fast in ~36 hours. Most of it will flocculate out, but there might remain a haze that lingers for a while.

Nottingham also ferments almost as fast, a few days, but settles out clear fast.

I have never tried both together at the same time, so I am not sure what will happen exactly. But I know many people co-pitch these, and I believe Mangrove Jack M36 Liberty Bell purposely blends the two into one packet. Might be easier, with cost savings, to go that route.

I also find that regardless of the yeast selected... my UK beer styles do seem to improve after several months of aging. Sure, they are good to drink, and pretty clear while young. But there might be good reason to recommending aging for at least a little bit, if not for clarification then for flavor purposes... IF you can hang onto some for a while. Might be interesting to age some, then brew a new batch of the same recipe, and compare examples side by side to see what changes aging can bring, that's the only way to know for certain. Personally I don't care too much about clarity, but more about flavor. To each their own.
 
I co pitched a half packet of Windsor and a half packet of Notty last year for a 1.040ish bitter and it took a long time to clear (a month?) but eventually did, but it was very delicious before then and didn’t last very long because it was so drinkable.
 
I co pitched a half packet of Windsor and a half packet of Notty last year for a 1.040ish bitter and it took a long time to clear (a month?) but eventually did, but it was very delicious before then and didn’t last very long because it was so drinkable.
I second that!

Exactly my experience. I managed somehow not to drink some bottles until more than two months have passed and these were the best bottles of the batch.

I am also wondering why Windsor turbidity seems not to taste as bad as other yeasts when they are still heavily in suspension. Us 05 for example is horrible compared to Windsor.
 
So, do you get polished clarity with those yeasts just using time and temperature? At what point in your process do you expect to see them clear?

The normality is 3 days of the gravity reading the same showing no more dropping of the original gravity, THEN rack to secondary or just bottle or keg.
 
So we're talking cask ale. 100 ppm calcium rocks and is in most of my recipes. Being a holder of the IBD certificate that was taken for cask ale I question your use of gelatin instead of isinglass. After FG is reached do you chill some or cold crash. I would think a chill down to 50* for a week, which would be 12 days primary then into the pin or cask with priming sugar, isinglass, and some cone hops, bung it. Takes mine 2 weeks to carb up, I like 2.5 or so in all my stuff. The next part is up to the creator, chill for ? time and serve.
 
Windsor ferments fast in ~36 hours. Most of it will flocculate out, but there might remain a haze that lingers for a while.

Nottingham also ferments almost as fast, a few days, but settles out clear fast.
I co pitched a half packet of Windsor and a half packet of Notty last year for a 1.040ish bitter and it took a long time to clear (a month?) but eventually did
Fascinating that two yeasts that clear quickly on their own would clear slowly when co-pitched. Or am I mis- or over-interpreting?
 
Ya just can't argue with CAMRA...it's their way or NO way.

There's certainly 2 different philosophies here. Some people prefer to give their beers time to age and round out, others think beer is best drank young. It's like going to the store an buying a 4-pack of some imperial stout, barred-aged or not, they're technically ready to drink right then and there. But, giving them a year or 3 years to sit in a cool, dark closet? They'll only get better...until a certain point, which I think it about 5-8 years, then they really start dropping off.

In my opinion, the same applies to pretty much every other style, except super hoppy styles, within reason of course. A month to 2 months seems very appropriate. I like my beers that should clear to be CLEAR, like brilliant clarity. And that goes for IPAs too ;)

So OP, it sounds like you're gonna have to bite the bullet and WAIT on this one. Or use isinglass, as is, of course, "proper" for cask ale.
 
Fascinating that two yeasts that clear quickly on their own would clear slowly when co-pitched. Or am I mis- or over-interpreting?
You've mixed fermenting and clearing. Both Nottingham and Windsor ferment fast. Nottingham also clears quickly, but Windsor can take a long time to fully clear (mine last batch, un-fined, is finally clearing after 6 weeks).
 
So we're talking cask ale. 100 ppm calcium rocks and is in most of my recipes. Being a holder of the IBD certificate that was taken for cask ale I question your use of gelatin instead of isinglass. After FG is reached do you chill some or cold crash. I would think a chill down to 50* for a week, which would be 12 days primary then into the pin or cask with priming sugar, isinglass, and some cone hops, bung it. Takes mine 2 weeks to carb up, I like 2.5 or so in all my stuff. The next part is up to the creator, chill for ? time and serve.
Personally, with highly flocculant yeast, I find that I hit FG a few days before the diacetyl fades to the level I like leaving in the cask. Once that happens, I run the beer into the cask (usually a homebrew keg)--5-10 days from pitching. Usually I don't chill first, because the beer is quite clear at that point.

I use gelatin because it works OK for me so far. It's not trad, but it's functional, and I'm just a hobbyist. 1-2 weeks to carb, then chill to 50 degrees, roll around to get the gelatin back into contact with the chill haze, settle for 2 days, and start drinking. I dispense with co2 (again, not trad, but I can't drink it but so fast). At this point the beer is 3-4 weeks old or so, and finished (not green unless fermentation didn't proceed correctly, in which case more time might help), and nearly polished. The hops loose their sparkle slowly over the next few weeks, although unless oxygen gets admitted to the party (like when using a collapsible) the ale as a whole just gets more mellow.

That's my experience.

I am digging the Windsor flavor from the gravity samples, but so far it looks like the co-pitch doesn't do near enough to make it work in the process I just described. Oh well, horses for courses.
 
Personally, with highly flocculant yeast, I find that I hit FG a few days before the diacetyl fades to the level I like leaving in the cask. Once that happens, I run the beer into the cask (usually a homebrew keg)--5-10 days from pitching. Usually I don't chill first, because the beer is quite clear at that point.

I use gelatin because it works OK for me so far. It's not trad, but it's functional, and I'm just a hobbyist. 1-2 weeks to carb, then chill to 50 degrees, roll around to get the gelatin back into contact with the chill haze, settle for 2 days, and start drinking. I dispense with co2 (again, not trad, but I can't drink it but so fast). At this point the beer is 3-4 weeks old or so, and finished (not green unless fermentation didn't proceed correctly, in which case more time might help), and nearly polished. The hops loose their sparkle slowly over the next few weeks, although unless oxygen gets admitted to the party (like when using a collapsible) the ale as a whole just gets more mellow.

That's my experience.

I am digging the Windsor flavor from the gravity samples, but so far it looks like the co-pitch doesn't do near enough to make it work in the process I just described. Oh well, horses for courses.
I also ditched the Windsor copitch for these reasons. I prefer Nottingham only, also flavour wise. Nottingham is one of the most consistent strains I know and also extremely versatile and extremely easy to handle.

If your hops fade considerably during the first two months, you have problems with oxygen ingress.
 
I have never tried both together at the same time, so I am not sure what will happen exactly. But I know many people co-pitch these, and I believe Mangrove Jack M36 Liberty Bell purposely blends the two into one packet. Might be easier, with cost savings, to go that route.
I decided to rebrew a "tried and trusted" IPA for NHC in 2023, but of course I had to made some tweaks to the grain bill and swap out the yeast to try Liberty Bell. I tried to time it for the competition (and I wanted to send the beer to a few other comps around the same time) but it just seemed to take forever to drop clear. Some comps reported a bit of haze, but it seemed like the time before NHC judging happened it dropped clear in the bottle based on my sheets.

I am not 100% sure how I feel about the 2 batches I made with Liberty Bell. I feel like I might just reach for US-05 or S-04 instead, or maybe Nottingham.
 
Windsor doesn't flocculate well, takes a long time to clear. I don't use it for light beers. Also think, for my taste, the esters aren't suited to bitter. I like Windsor in dark mild. My own preference for a dry yeast in low gravity ordinary bitter is Lallemande London.
It's true that English brewers turn over cask beers and send them out in short order but remember that conditioning was/is completed in the pub cellar. It's part of the skill of the landlord to bring the beer to the point that it's ready to serve. Finings were used.
If you're trying to be true to the style it really should be naturally conditioned in the vessel it's served from.
I dislike Nottingham. Too flavourless.
 
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