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DBear
05/15/07 12:37 PM  
Reusing Yeast Cake questions
All,

I will start with a DOH! since i'm not going to get the descriptions right. I have a 3 gal. 1.055 OG BPA using WLP550 that will soon be racked off primary. I would like to "dump" a 3 gal ~1.080 OG tripel directly on top of the yeast cake. Questions: 1) Is 1.055 OG to high to reuse, most seem to be in the 1.040 range? 2)Fermentation really takes off (short lag) does the temp also take off. 3) Will the tripel be overpiched? 4) I use pure O2 to aerate, do I need to aerate less the for the tripel? 5) how long can the yeast cake sit out? 6) Any warnings or advice?

Cheers

SteveG
05/15/07 02:04 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
OK...

1) Is 1.055 OG to high to reuse, most seem to be in the 1.040 range?

It is absolutely not too high.

2)Fermentation really takes off (short lag) does the temp also take off.

I never really measured that, but I'm sure activity and tempertature are inseperable.

3) Will the tripel be overpiched?

I have never experienced a second generation that had so much yeast it was a candidate for over pitching, I am sure this will not be a problem.

4) I use pure O2 to aerate, do I need to aerate less the for the tripel?

I'm not so sure there is actually specific need to aerate when using a multi-generation cake. I have heard experts (specifically George Fix) state that there was still a benefit, but this plan can work very well with no additional aeration.

5) how long can the yeast cake sit out?

Not sure exactly what "sit out" means here, but the way I have done thins is to have as little time as possible between racking beer #1 and starting up beer #2. Measurable in minutes.

6) Any warnings or advice?

Do it! Then do it again! I try to get at least 3 beers out of a yeast following this formula, sometimes even 4 or 5.

MarkM
05/15/07 09:05 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
What Steve said.

Only advice is to be sure and taste the hydrometer sample of beer 1 before racking wort onto the yeast cake. If there are off flavors, be sure to identify them before potentially ruining a batch of wort.

SteveG
05/16/07 09:38 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Ah - thanks Mark. Yes, that is critical.
DBear
05/16/07 09:49 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Thanks SteveG and MarkM,

As always I am enlightened from this forum's help on my journey as a homebrewer.

Baums
05/16/07 11:09 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
My opinion: I would not aerate the cake less. If you are worried about overpitching, I think it is better to reduce the number of cells (but make sure the ones you keep are 100% stocked up with sterols/UFAs) rather than keep all the cells but only stock them up to a certain amount.

The reason I think the first way is better is that it is predictable and repeatable. The second way seems a lot fuzzier.

Eric
05/30/07 01:11 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
This seems like a good spot for a question I had. I've got a saison in 3 gal. secondary with Wyeast lambic blend. I pitched the lambic blend 12/06, and will be bottling this 12/07.

Will I get any activity if I were to dump another batch on that cake? Or is it pretty much dead?

OG 1.056 - Before secondary: 1.009

Current grav. is unknown.

Baums
05/30/07 03:18 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
I would definitely bet on "not dead."
MarkM
05/30/07 05:52 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
I'd bet on not dead, too. Of course you can always give it a test. Rack your beer. Transfer the yeast to a sanitized vessel. Add a sample from your yeast to a small batch of wort to test viability -- you'll find out soon enough if the yeast / bugs are viable.
DBear
06/02/07 06:10 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
SeveG, thanks for the breakdown.

MarkM

<<Only advice is to be sure and taste the hydrometer sample of beer 1 before racking wort onto the yeast cake. If there are off flavors, be sure to identify them before potentially ruining a batch of wort.>>

I tasted the sample and it has a notable astringency.

This has happened at some degree with every batch (total 9) I have brewed whether extract/grains, partial mash or now AG both low/high gravities. I have used bottled and tap water both giving astringent results. I watch out for HSA and the only thing I have never adusted is PH or hardness. All my beers would fall in the pale ale categories the majority are belgians: pale ales, strong goldens, saisons, wit. I'm on my second batch sparging AG using my tap water (ph7) without any PH or hardness adjustment(my first AG, a belgian pale is way astringent). Somewhere I got the idea that you dont have to worry about PH when batch sparging and if not something else may be up with my water. Water issues are driving me nuts!!! Sorry for the rant.

Dave I
06/03/07 05:39 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
What is the highest gravity you would recommend for a batch of beer you plan on reusing the yeast cake for?

-Cheers

DBear
06/03/07 08:56 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions

Wyeast lists the 3744 as 10-11% ABV, attenuation 72-76%. The original beer is OG 1.052 the 2nd will be OG 1.075 and I may do a third at a higher OG

Baums
06/04/07 10:33 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Dave I,

One problem with repitching from high gravity (maybe 8% alcohol) ferments is that the yeast are way low on the sterols and fatty acids that they need to store up before a big ferment. They need oxygen to rebuild these stores--sometimes (most times?) more than they can get even in a very heavy single aeration. You can give them this by giving them a little ~1.040 wort and aerating several times over the course of a day or so.

But even then there are other problems that can arise that make it risky. The only pro brewery I know that repitches from high gravity (though of course there are probably many others) stocks up the yeast beforehand with oxygen, in a manner similar to the above.

--

DBear, that sounds like a very annoying problem. You said you have used bottled water. Does that mean you have brewed batches with zero tap water? If so, exactly what kind of water did you use?

If you really had this flavor with extract-only batches, then I guess you could rule out any kind of sparging/pH/temp issues. Is this the case?

How clear are your beers when you bottle them? When you drink them? How well do your yeast flocculate in general? Residual yeast in suspension can give an astringent taste.

DBear
06/04/07 11:36 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Thanks Baums

I just found this thread that describes some of my issues: www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=75164

<<DBear, that sounds like a very annoying problem. You said you have used bottled water. Does that mean you have brewed batches with zero tap water? If so, exactly what kind of water did you use?<<

Yes, I have used all bottled, zero tap water. Bottled: DeerPark, Safeway store brand, mixed bottled and tap. I have never used distilled or RO. My tap water analysis profile: Alkalinity 85 mg/L, hardness 128 mg/L, pH 7.5, Ca 37.1 mg/L, Fe 79 ug/L, Mg 8.9 mg/L, Na 19.3 mg/L, Cl 35 mg/L, HOCl 2.7 mg/L, SO4 34.9 mg/L,

>>If you really had this flavor with extract-only batches, then I guess you could rule out any kind of sparging/pH/temp issues. Is this the case?<<

Yes, 5gal and 3 gal batches, extract only, extract w/ steeping grains, partial mashes, and now AG - 3 gallon batches only. My tap water analysis profile: Alkalinity 85 mg/L, hardness 128 mg/L, pH 7.5, CA 37.1 mg/L, Fe 79 ug/L, Mg 8.9 mg/L, Na 19.3 mg/L, Cl 35 mg/L, HOCl 2.7 mg/L, SO4 34.9 mg/L

>>How clear are your beers when you bottle them? When you drink them? How well do your yeast flocculate in general? Residual yeast in suspension can give an astringent taste.<<

Bottle pretty clear, drink clear with some chill haze, yeasts are mostly belgium low, med-high floc., cold crash higher gravity beers, Secondary most not all, primary between 2-4 weeks.

Baums
06/04/07 01:29 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Hmm. Do you do anything to combat chlorine? Although I am not sure there would be chlorine in the water.

Racking to secondary after 2-4 weeks scares me because there is little yeast activity to combat any oxygen introduced. How far along is the beer at that point? If it is not done fermenting at that point, it may indicate an unhealthy fermentation and the likelihood of some problem flavors. If the beer IS done fermenting, why not just bottle/keg? (Because the yeast is not settled out yet? If that's the case I think there are still some better options.)

Do you fill your bottles quietly and high? Or do you keg, and if so how? Oxidation can add all kinds of nastiness.

Do you add anything other than hops, yeast, malt/extract, adjunct, or water at any point in the process? If so, what and how much?

DBear
06/05/07 11:14 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Baums, Thanks for hanging in!

<<Hmm. Do you do anything to combat chlorine? Although I am not sure there would be chlorine in the water.>>

Do not have analysis of bottled water but still get astringency. No, Montgomery County Maryland tap water analysis lists Chlorine 2.7 mg/L and Choride 35.1 mg/L. I'm going to filter for chlorine and campdent tabs for chlorimides.

>>Racking to secondary after 2-4 weeks scares me because there is little yeast activity to combat any oxygen introduced. How far along is the beer at that point? If it is not done fermenting at that point, it may indicate an unhealthy fermentation and the likelihood of some problem flavors. If the beer IS done fermenting, why not just bottle/keg? (Because the yeast is not settled out yet? If that's the case I think there are still some better options.)<<

Beer is usually at target gravity (I check TG then check again after 1-3 days to make sure). I have had well attenuated yeast to lower TG a point or two in secondary). Depending on the style I directly reck to bottles but with higher gravity belgians a long seconday is suggested for bulk conditioning. What are your optdions? I bottle and one change I have made is not using any cleaning products (OxyClean, PBW) to wash bottles as I noted that when using these products I would get reduced foam creation and retention. My last two batches I have only used near boiling water to clean and starsan to sanitize and the desired foam creation is back.

>>Do you fill your bottles quietly and high? Or do you keg, and if so how? Oxidation can add all kinds of nastiness.<<

I fill bottles quietly using a Phil's? bottle filler (tube with spring loaded valve) 1-1 1/2" from top. I use 12oz, 22oz, 750ml, "duvel" style 11oz

>>Do you add anything other than hops, yeast, malt/extract, adjunct, or water at any point in the process? If so, what and how much?<<

During boil I will add 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient at 20 min, whrilfloc tab at 15 min, sometimes spices at 5 min.

Also I only do batch sparge 3 gal boils and adjust any ingredients to 3gal, the majority of my beers are light belgians low/high gavity. I am very aware of the HSA issue I try to pour gentle but what is gentle; 1 inch above surface?. My spike temp for sparging is 185F so I can get ~170 grain bed temp. I don't add extra water to the kettle - wort only. I do a very vigorous boil through out the 60min boil - I lose a lot of wort (~1gal) to evaporation. I use pure O2 for 40sec to aerate and still shake the bejesus out of it. My Ferm temp control is primitive and inconsistent I especially have problems with pictch low and let it go. I cant control the "let it go"

Cheers

Baums
06/05/07 01:40 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Hmm, the chlorine thing could be significant and is definitely worth tracking down. For what it's worth, I dissolve 1/4 teaspoon potassium metabisulfite into 1 cup water, and then use 1 tablespoon of that to dechlorinate each gallon of water.

Checking gravity: this probably means you are letting air into your fermenter (twice, and not at a very "safe" time). Making the decision to bottle based on bubbling and appearance, rather than samples, will reduce your total oxidation, and you can always take a reading when you bottle. It will probably always be what it should be!

I'm skeptical about the need for a secondary in my brewing. I was told at De Dolle and St. Bernardus that their sole reason for a secondary is to clear the yeast, and have heard the same elsewhere. I don't think there is anything else happening that can't happen in a bottle-conditioning environment. So I think the key is to get the yeast to drop out in the primary, before you start worrying about autolysis. What this really means is to get a very healthy ferment where the yeast quickly consume everything and then flocc well. I guess what I mean by "other options" is focusing on that aspect, rather than giving the yeast more time in bulk. (Not to say secondaries won't work for some people--I just choose not to do it that way.)

Fill height: For me it really does seem that beers filled very high have less oxidation flavors over time. I could be full of crap though on that, since I've never tried it blind.

Personally I'd skip the yeast nutrient because of fusel concerns (but I doubt that's the source of your problem).

Nothing else jumps out at me. Maybe the temp thing depending on your yeast strain. Ever try pitching WY3522? What is your pitching rate?

DBear
06/06/07 11:48 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Baums, thanks for your troublehooting efforts and tips, especially dealing with chorline.

Actually, I plan on brewing a BPA OG 1.054 with the Wy3522 - what ferment temps/schedule have you used for this yeast?

For pitch rates, I do 3 gal AG batches so depending on the OG I just use a straight vial/smak pack or a 1-2 quart starter and aerate all with pure O2 and a good shake. It may be underpitched somewhat without the starter.

Cheers

Baums
06/06/07 01:42 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
I've only used 3522 twice. Will post to the other thread but basically I think as long as you pitch enough, you can do almost whatever you want with the temp of that yeast.

The "foolproof" pitch rate rule is 1 B cells/ml/P, meaning it's hard to go wrong if you pitch that much. For 3 G of 1.054 wort, that rate is 162B cells. If you continuously aerate a starter you might get 100B cells/L. For a starter aerated only once, you might get half that.

Do what you will with those numbers--personally I tend to pitch at the standard rate the first time I use a strain, and then in subsequent batches if you want more esters you can back off the pitch rate or try going hotter.

Baums
06/06/07 01:43 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
sorry, "1B cells/LITER/P"
Eric
09/23/07 06:05 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Glad I found this thread again! So, I just bottled this Brett Saison (gravity @ 1.001), after 10 months in secondary. While I was doing that, I brewed a Belgian Pale, with an OG on 1.056. I ended up pouring the wort over the 10 month old Wyeast Lambic Blend cake. Anything I need to keep in mind here, or pay attention to?

I know you all said not to worry, and the yeast would still be viable, but I won't be 100% sure till it kicks off :)

Thanks!

Ryanq
09/24/07 06:51 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Wow Eric

How was that yeast stored? I'll be really curious to hear how this works. Normally, a yeast kept that long would have to be under glycerol in a -80 freezer. Or was it always in the carboy under 5 gallons of beer?

Eric
09/24/07 10:08 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
The yeast was at the bottom of the carboy, under 3 gallons, temp around 73 deg. I really didn't think there was any chance it would still be viable, but I got overwhelming advice saying it would be. I've been nervous all along, and I was thinking of buying another packet of yeast, and pitching it at lunch time today.
Ryan
09/24/07 12:04 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
I think its a good idea to have the yeast on hand just in case, but I'd wait at least 24 hours if you really want to see if its viable. The yeast will have been dormant for sometime now and will likely have gone through some serious autolysis but it doesn't mean something won't rouse up from the heap. Did you oxygenate it?
Eric
09/24/07 02:38 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
I aerated a ton, from yesterday, last night, and again this morning before I left for work. I'm going to get a smack pack after work, and if I don't see anything, i'll pitch that.
Ryan
09/24/07 03:36 PM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
good luck Eric.

Keep us updated.

r

Eric
09/25/07 06:38 AM  
Re: Reusing Yeast Cake questions
Nothing yesterday when I got home from work, so I pitched the smack pack. There's some serious activity this morning!
 
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