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Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

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Dcarlis

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Post Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:49 pm

Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

I stopped brewing for a while and have restarted in the last few months. I have been looking over the forums and I have a question that has arisen from some of the posts in here.

After you have chilled down your wort - when do you pitch the yeast?

What temp do you try to get the wort too?

Do you pitch cold yeast or let it sit at room temp?

The reason I ask is that in the past I have pitched once I get my wort below 80 degrees. My thinking was to get fermenation started as soon as possible to prevent any wild yeast or other issues, but recently I seem to be gathering that some people wait until the next day (let it cool for a long time).

Also there were comments that the yeast should be pitched while it is cold. Is there an article or another good post on this subject that I should read.

Sometimes I think it is best to make the beer the way you know and stop reading these forums as they can be confusing, but I do pick up many hints and ideas from here.
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mthogan1997

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Post Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:30 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

After you have chilled down your wort - when do you pitch the yeast?

What temp do you try to get the wort too?


I pitch yeast when I get the wort to the fermentation temp. The exact temp depends on the style and yeast, but mid 60's for an ale and high 40's for a lager are pretty close.

Do you pitch cold yeast or let it sit at room temp?


I try to keep my yeast at the same temp as the fermentation - cool.

The reason I ask is that in the past I have pitched once I get my wort below 80 degrees.


When I first started, I did the same, then found that fermentation temp is very very important to the final flavor of the beer. If you pitch the right amount of yeast at the right temp and maintain that temp throughout fermentation, you will make better beer.

Sometimes I think it is best to make the beer the way you know and stop reading these forums as they can be confusing, but I do pick up many hints and ideas from here.


Don't stop reading, but the end goal is always brewing beer you like. If you are happy with your beer, then I am happy for you.
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TG

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Post Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:36 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Ditto. You can also pitch yeast that is colder than the wort (i.e. from the fridge after decanting).
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Brewtus

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Post Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:27 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Tom,
There are a lot of people trying to convince the brewers that you must cold pitch to avoid off flavors. This wives tail came from Jamil's quoting George Fix stating that there were many variables that could happen when brewing lagers, so to stay on the safe side, he pitched at fermentation temps or a little below.
Commercial brewers store their yeast cakes cold 33-34*F, and they pitch on the way up to fermentation temps. This being that they chill their wort down to a slush to achive optimal break separation.

If you pitch cold.. you need double the amount of yeast you would normally to have a quick start cold pitching the sluggish yeasties.

When yeast is pitched at temps below 80*F (usually 70-75*F), the first stage is oxygen uptake of the yeasts cell walls. this stage no off flavors/esters are being formed. It is not until the cell walls are forced/shocked to stop the uptake that any esters/off flavors can be produced.

So if you pitch at 75*F, and the yeast you pitch is at least within 10*F of your wort
(preferably within 5*F). As long as your target fermentation temp is within 15-18*F... YOU SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH OFF FLAVORS..

speak directly with Neva at White Labs for the real truth on the subject.
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narcout

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Post Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:21 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Even if you accept what Brewtus says as true (and my personal opinion on the subject differs from his), I don't see what you have to gain by pitching warm given the fact that you are going to have to cool your beer to proper fermentation temp anyway.

If your sanitation procedures are sound, waiting until you reach fermentation temperature before you pitch your yeast isn't going to cause you any problems (provided you can cool to the desired temp within a reasonable period of time).

Personally, I think you risk off flavors by pitching warm as well as a sluggish fermentation by cooling the beer 10 plus degrees after fermentation has started. Mabye the risk is a small one but I still don't see why it's one you would want to take when the upside is essentially zero.
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Narvin

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Post Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:07 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Brewtus wrote:Tom,
There are a lot of people trying to convince the brewers that you must cold pitch to avoid off flavors. This wives tail came from Jamil's quoting George Fix stating that there were many variables that could happen when brewing lagers, so to stay on the safe side, he pitched at fermentation temps or a little below.
Commercial brewers store their yeast cakes cold 33-34*F, and they pitch on the way up to fermentation temps. This being that they chill their wort down to a slush to achive optimal break separation.

If you pitch cold.. you need double the amount of yeast you would normally to have a quick start cold pitching the sluggish yeasties.

When yeast is pitched at temps below 80*F (usually 70-75*F), the first stage is oxygen uptake of the yeasts cell walls. this stage no off flavors/esters are being formed. It is not until the cell walls are forced/shocked to stop the uptake that any esters/off flavors can be produced.

So if you pitch at 75*F, and the yeast you pitch is at least within 10*F of your wort
(preferably within 5*F). As long as your target fermentation temp is within 15-18*F... YOU SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH OFF FLAVORS..

speak directly with Neva at White Labs for the real truth on the subject.


You speak as if there's a conspiracy on the matter. Most people simply find that the EASIEST way to avoid unwanted ester production or off flavors is to pitch at or slightly below fermentation temperature. Given that pitching the correct amount of healthy yeast should avoid long lag times even when pitching cold, this is sound advice with very little downside.

There are a lot of variables in play, as you said. You might be able to pitch at 15 degrees above this and avoid problems, but I wouldn't bet that everyone can.
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Brewtus

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:43 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

by Narvin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:07 pm

You speak as if there's a conspiracy on the matter. Most people simply find that the EASIEST way to avoid unwanted ester production or off flavors is to pitch at or slightly below fermentation temperature. Given that pitching the correct amount of healthy yeast should avoid long lag times even when pitching cold, this is sound advice with very little downside.

There are a lot of variables in play, as you said. You might be able to pitch at 15 degrees above this and avoid problems, but I wouldn't bet that everyone can.


I speak as in... mis-informed people repeating something that just isn't true.. "pitching yeast warm, then dropping the temp to fermentation temps produces off flavors". Or the, "Pitching cold produces better tasting beers"
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majorvices

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:42 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

From my own years of brewing experience and trouble shooting literally hundreds of fermentation problems on this forum and else where pitching and fermenting warm is generally the cause of most fermentation issues including off flavors, head retention problems and head aches. If you can pitch at 80 and get the temp down almost immediately you maybe alright - but if the fermentation starts and you are trying to cool and actively fermenting beer you are going to have allot of problems with off flavors. Most esters and fusels are generated during the beginning of fermentation.

Fermentation is simply the most important aspect of brewing. That includes 1) Pitching enough healthy yeast 2) at the right temperature and 3) controlling fermentation temps. If you do this you will simply be amazed at the quality of beer you can make.
Last edited by majorvices on Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Narvin

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Brewtus wrote:
by Narvin on Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:07 pm

You speak as if there's a conspiracy on the matter. Most people simply find that the EASIEST way to avoid unwanted ester production or off flavors is to pitch at or slightly below fermentation temperature. Given that pitching the correct amount of healthy yeast should avoid long lag times even when pitching cold, this is sound advice with very little downside.

There are a lot of variables in play, as you said. You might be able to pitch at 15 degrees above this and avoid problems, but I wouldn't bet that everyone can.


I speak as in... mis-informed people repeating something that just isn't true.. "pitching yeast warm, then dropping the temp to fermentation temps produces off flavors". Or the, "Pitching cold produces better tasting beers"


Again, I think the advice most people give is that pitching warm may cause off flavors. There are many variables that some home brewers don't have the best control over. How fast can they cool the wort? How well did they aerate? When you don't know the answer to these questions, it is the absolute truth that pitching warm may cause off flavors.
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Denny

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:32 am

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Brewtus wrote:speak directly with Neva at White Labs for the real truth on the subject.


I'm sure Neva knows much more about the science of yeast than I ever will, but I know what works for my beers and my tastes. I have that advantage over her.
Life begins at 60....1.060, that is.

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Brewtus

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:14 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

talk to any of the brewing yeast geeks, they will tell you.. it's all in your mind about off flavors coming from pitching as they direct you to. They all have machines that are a little more sensitive then your taste buds by the way.
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Narvin

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:34 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Brewtus wrote:talk to any of the brewing yeast geeks, they will tell you.. it's all in your mind about off flavors coming from pitching as they direct you to. They all have machines that are a little more sensitive then your taste buds by the way.


And let me guess, they aren't making a starter either, just pitching one tube into some 1.080 wort...
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majorvices

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:35 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Brewtus wrote:talk to any of the brewing yeast geeks, they will tell you.. it's all in your mind about off flavors coming from pitching as they direct you to. They all have machines that are a little more sensitive then your taste buds by the way.


I'd prefer to let my own experience and taste buds be my guide (and the advice from other professional brewers, not yeast geeks.) As was said a number of times if you can pitch and get the beer down to fermentation temps extremely quickly you can get away with it. Too many brewers pitch at 80 and by the time the wort is at 75 fermentation kicks off and the temps shoots up. Ask your "yeast geeks" if cooling an actively fermenting beer can cause yeast to throw excessive diacetyl.

OP, in the end try it yourself. Cool your wort down to at least 68 before aerating and pitching. Keep control of your fermenntation temp (for most ales don't let the temp get higher that 68 degrees, 70-72 at the highest). You say you took some time off brewing and maybe you did so because your beers weren't turning out as good as you like? If so, I would venture to say fermentation temp was your culprit. If you were pitching at 80 degrees and not controlling fermentation temp I can guarantee you your beer was not as good as it could have been.
Last edited by majorvices on Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
- Keith Y.
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Ein Prosit, der gemutlichkeit!
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Denny

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:36 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

If I was making beer for the machines, I'd consider that a valid point. But I've made a lot of my own beer, and my tasting senses are pretty good. I'll stick with what my experience tells me works for me, thank you. If you or anyone else cares to do it differently, that's your prerogative.
Life begins at 60....1.060, that is.

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Narvin

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Post Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:55 pm

Re: Pitching Yeast - Temperature Timing Cold /Warm

Denny wrote:If I was making beer for the machines, I'd consider that a valid point.


You will be one day when they take over!
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