How much yeast?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Donoroto, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    After several ales, for my first Lager I will brew an Oktoberfest. Planning a 5.5 gallon.(fermentor) batch with about 13 lbs Grain, so maybe 6%+ ABV. At the beer store, I picked up one package of Wyeast 2633, but the package says "100 Billion Cells", and I am thinking that is dramatically underpitching. Am I OK with just a single package, or should I pick up one (or more?) additionals? I expect to ferment at around 50 F. I do know that overpitching is not harmful, but the store is not near by.

    My ales have been fine with a single package of (whatever), but I am led to believe Lagers need significantly more? A recipe similar to mine in Palmer's book calls for 465 Billion.

    Thanks for your thought and consideration.
     
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  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Can you make a starter? A 2-liter starter would just about double the amount of cells. That's enough when using high viability fresh yeast, although more is better.
     
  3. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...what Nosy said and go find an article on yeast viability and age to get an idea of what's really in that bag of Wyeast so you have a starting place for when you use the site's yeast pitch calculator.
     
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  4. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    Thank you for the insights.

    Well, the yeast bag has a 'starter' in it (so to speak), but lord knows what the yeast in the bag is really like. I have to assume 100 B means 100 B (I can't count that high) even after the 'starter' is activated, and that's a long ways from 500 B if you understand my point.

    I suppose I can become a yeast farmer to double or triple the count in a not-very-long time (although I have no wort I can put into that activity at the moment), but the beer store is only a 1/2 hour away, so time vs money I guess. Palmer seems pretty clear in that I probably need 2 or 3 packages here. Or?

    I forgot to mention this is an all-grain batch.
     
  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    You can go with two packs. Or make a starter. I always keep some dry malt extract on hand to make a starter or adjust an errant mash.
     
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  6. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    It's another way to skin that cat. Have a chat with the folks at the LHBS on what it will take to get a starter built ....hardware, materials, time and compare that to a buying a couple more packs of Wyeast. Many options for you to choose from, wrangle them yeasties and grow the herd or go buy more.
     
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  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    The "starter" pack is an activator to get yeast going and won't increase yeast count by any significant amount. At 50F you need at least a 2 liter starter or at least 3 fresh packs of liquid yeast.
    In future, you can do a small batch of beer to build up the yeast. The single fresh pack will do a quick job on 2-gallon batch at 60F and you'll have something to drink while your full batch is lagering. :)
     
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  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Either that or bring the ABV / Starting gravity down around 1.040 ;). You could make this a straight forward pilsner light lager then collect a jar of this fermentations slurry and pitch that into this octoberfest but then itll be probably a Novemberfest:D...

    Just options
     
  9. Dilbert Fizzwinkle

    Dilbert Fizzwinkle Well-Known Member

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    Nokvemberfest? (I can do this all day!) :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, just what I was seeking. Reducing the gravity is unpalatable for me, as would be delaying the session. The LHBS folks possibly should have noticed a high-gravity lager and offered more yeast? Not their fault, certainly, but if they really knew their business... (The owner, Bob, wasn't there at that moment). But I digress by casting aspersions.

    I will go buy 2 more packs of yeast, and a pound of DME for next time. Maybe even some random yeast just to practice starting a starter.

    It is in the low 60's in Atlanta today, perfect brewing weather. And agreeing with Mr. Fizzwinkle, I have yet to find a day that isn't perfect brewing weather...

    Thanks again!
     
  11. Dilbert Fizzwinkle

    Dilbert Fizzwinkle Well-Known Member

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    I have to ask...
    In your profile pic, is that an Austin Healy 3000?
    Maybe a ‘68 or so?

    Just wondering.
     
  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't fault the LHBS shop, how do they know that you don't have 2 packs of yeast at home, and you just needed one more? Not to mention that for all they know you planned to do a big starter. If you are buying ingredients to make beer it is fair for them to assume that you have planned everything out.
     
  13. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    Good eye! That happens to be a '59/'60 Austin Healey, technically a 100/6 because it was assembled in 1959 but with quite a lot of the 1960 equipment, so it can also be called a 3000 MK I, and in fact that's what we called it. That was my oldest brother's car, and we really had a lot of fun in that thing. Very light body, with a triple-carburetor 6-cylinder, it was fast (and probably dangerous) as all get-out.

    Absolutely agree, that was entirely on me. And in their favor they went ahead and milled the grain for me; I had forgotten to ask.
     
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  14. Dilbert Fizzwinkle

    Dilbert Fizzwinkle Well-Known Member

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    I don’t feel too bad missing the model year by so much. They changed so very little in ten years.
     
  15. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    The lack of a vent window at the door is a clue it is a MK I or II.

    But the bottom line is, I pitched three packages of yeast and I figure that's more than enough. LOL
     
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  16. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    8 days into fermentation, from 1.071 we are at 1.033. All signs point to normal activity, just slow. I probably under pitched I'm thinking.

    I grossly underestimated the time needed to brew a decent lager.
     
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  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's a high FG. Are you using a refractometer and if so, are you correcting the reading for alcohol?
     
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  18. Donoroto

    Donoroto Member

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    Gravity measured with both refractometer and hydrometer (temperature was considered) and in the fermenter I have a Tilt. So, yes, I think it is accurate. Have not taken an actual sample though.
     
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  19. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    That's a high starting gravity on a lager hope you pitched plenty of yeast.

    Oh and they dont take too long if you run em hot and under pressure;);)
     
  20. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #20 HighVoltageMan!, Oct 8, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
    If you pitch 465 billion cells, that is an under pitch. High gravity lagers require a larger pitch, 2.0 million cells per ml/degree plato. A decent pitch would be @ 730-750 billion cells. I know, it's a $h!+ load of yeast, but big lagers need that much yeast. The other thing they need is a lot of aeration at pitch, 12 ppm of oxygen or more. That level of oxygen can only be achieved with pure oxygen added with a diffusion stone. If you underpitch them they are sweet, fruity, flabby and often have some rocket fuel flavors in them as well.

    So if you pitch 465 billion cells, that an underpitch, but it's not so low the beer won't turn out. If you used one smack pack, you grossly underpitched. Warm it up and try to salvage it. The underpitch will definitely add to the time it takes to ferment.

    I'm brewing a Maibock tomorrow. 4.5 gallons @ 1.070-72 gravity. Pitch is @ 2.6 million cells per mL/degree plato. Roughly 760 billion cells. I've gotten burnt too many time under pitching lagers, so I always aim for an overpitch, pitch at 46-48F and let it buck. It will hit final gravity in 7-8 days, somewhere around 1.014-15.

    If it doesn't turn out try again. You can use less yeast by making a lower volume beer, 2.5 gallons will require half the yeast. Or you can make a massive starter by brewing a smaller beer (1.040) and use the yeast cake from that beer to make a high gravity beer.

    I would suggest 34/70 yeast and building a starter from that. Or you can use one pack to ferment a cream ale at 62F and then pour the bigger beer on the yeast cake and ferment at 48F. Lagers are tough no doubt, but once you figure them out, they are way easier.
     
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