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Pitching Rates and BeerSmith3

I’ve read some of the posts on pitch rates, etc., but have a questions about pitch rate and what BeerSmith3 calculates.

Background: I recently brewed a pale ale using the Kviek strain by Omega (Hothead Ale). Using the BeerSmith3 calculations for pitch rates. BeerSmith3 recommended 2 packs of yeast based on the mfg date and estimated cell count. I pitched the two pouches and racked from the primary to the secondary carboy after 4 days in the primary (again according to BeerSmith3). So far the beer is bottle aging and a recent sample taste is very promising with no after tastes or off smells. I’m still learning and in the future hope to harvest and re-use yeast, but for now am sticking to using the off-the-shelf yeasts.

Now I’m in the process of starting another batch and will be using the Imperial Loki A43 kveik strain. The Loki comes in a 200 cell count pouch. Based upon the mfg date and cell count viability, BeerSmith3 agains recommending two pouches to meet the needed cell count. I discussed this with the my LHBS where I purchased the Loki and they said that BeerSmith3 calculations are incorrect and that a single pouch would suffice. I emailed Imperial Yeast and they too said that a single pouch would be all that’s needed for my batch.

My concern is under pitching. I understand the risk of autolysis with over pitching, but this is something I should be able to control by moving the beer to the secondary carboy after the primary fermentation is completed. (I don’t want to get into a discussion of using a single stage fermentation versus racking to the secondary.) I understand that such tools as BeerSmith3 use a model that may not accommodate all yeasts or wort properties.

Question: Do you use the predicted cell counts and pitching rates that software calculations recommend?

I use a calculater but your not going to to have a problem with autolysis with an overpitch. Once you learn to reuse your yeast you will mostly be guessing. I tend to overpitch slightly. I’d rather over pitch than underpitch. If your doing a secondary then there is even less to worry about

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Autolysis is virtually unheard of in homebrewing. Connecting it to overpitching is kinda nonsense anyway. It’s more related to the rupture of yeast cells which, again, in the homebrew world will seldom if ever happen on a level that can taint the beer. I guess it can happen on a commercial level due to the weight of fluid and massive yeast cakes in their fermenters. I have at times left beers in the fermenters(buckets) for up to 5-6 months. No issues whatsoever with autolysis. Only once or twice I can recall did they even suffer oxidation.

Generally speaking I agree with @brew_cat that i’d rather over than underpitch. I mostly use brewersfriend.com yeast calculator but have used the brewunited one as well. Haven’t really paid much attention to the one in beersmith to be honest.

In the past I sized all my starters according to brewersfriend even when it meant building multiple stage starters. Recently I’ve taken to trying to use fresher yeast slurry and just do a 1L for 5 gal and 2L for 10 gal batches with appropriate amounts of slurry but pitched at high K rather than allowed to finish and decanted. It’s worked great with much faster starts even in lager yeasts.

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Expanding on what @dannyboy58 said:
https://www.experimentalbrew.com/blogs/denny/old-dognew-tricks/

Two really important threads/posts on yeast management. I don’t use the yeast pitching rate calculators. Really, I don’t even bother with them anymore.

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One thing that I want to touch on is you transferring after only 4 days. This is really really quick and can be detrimental to yeast performance. Taking the beer off the cake too soon can result in stalled/stuck fermentation and numerous off flavors (acetyldehyde and diacetyl namely). The yeast continues to work well after signs of fermentation subside.

Yeah, I know Beersmith says 4 days. BEERSMITH does not teach you how to brew. It is a tool for brewers to use for recipe design, calculations, and recipe storage. It assumes you already know how to brew.

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I don’t use any of those online things… frankly, I wouldn’t be able to make it work for me too.
I’ve had good luck just " eyeballing" it… You see what you get in a pouch, I just assume I’m pretty close with that… And I do try to pitch when it’s active in the starter jug too. Sneezles61

I think you can extremely F up your brewing and experience it but I 98.94% agree. Autolysis is the elevator pass that gets sold to incoming freshmen. @olanwade, Loki A43 is the Voss strain from what I have read and I think it is my preferred strain. I have never calculated my pitch rate. I build up if I have a big OG and don’t bother if it’s low. I’ve never bought 2 packs of liquid yeast because a starter is so easy to make.

I understand that BeerSmith is a tool. As you may know it also predicts the SG readings to give you the numbers to determine if/when fermentation is complete. I also used my gravity reading (which was dead nuts on with BeerSmith’s prediction) before racking to secondary.

I understand your points, but there are just as many facts to support removing the beer from the yeast cake/trub to forestall other issues such as autolysis, fusel alcohols, off tastes, etc. My personal choice is to use a secondary carboy and rack once fermentation is complete and I see that the yeast has dropped out. I’ll check the gravity and go from there.

As for this recent batch I’m using the Omega Hothead kveik yeast strain. I pitched two pouches at 96F and fermentation temps were at 85F. After 3 days it was done and the yeast/trub had dropped out. I racked it on the fourth day to secondary. The gravity was at 1.016 (from 1.053) and after 10 days in the secondary the final gravity was1.012 (BeerSmith predicted 1.013). It’s been bottled and my early check it was carbonating nicely, with good color, aroma and taste.

I guess it comes down to your personal preferences.

I’ve never trusted the predicted final gravity numbers. I always go lower. Those numbers are an average. The OG is more predictable. I sometimes don’t even bother to take the OG. The FG I’ll take a couple. I’d be careful calling it done just because your close to what beersmith predicted especially if you bottle.

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I agree using experience and preference but I still feel 4 days on the yeast is really short. I also agree with your move to secondary. Anyone here will tell you I’m pro secondary. SECONDARY 2020!

You have a much greater chance of off flavors by a short fermentation than obtaining off flavors from autolysis. Ales can easily go 2 weeks on the cake, lagers longer due to the cooler fermentation temps.

Many with a great deal of experience here will tell you they easily go 3-4 weeks without off flavors.

If you’re getting autolysis off flavors in a short time you are:

  1. severely under pitching yeast causing them to stress
  2. mistreating the yeast prior to pitching stressed yeast
  3. pitching a great deal of dead yeast

If 4 days works for you roll with it but I would also try it a different way before I decided to rack the yeast, especially when it’s still fermenting.

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When I secondary I’m adding more fermentables and I’ll do it around day 5-7

Well heck, I’ll jump in too! I rarely look at a yeast calculator anymore unless it’s a big OG beer and even then just make a starter. Stalled one due to my own goof with fermentation temp but everything else has fermented out fine. I’ve overpitched (dumped the stalled beer onto a whole fresh WLP008 yeast cake) and underpitched (according to the calculator) without issue. I’m not a time in the jug guy and rely on the hydrometer and the look of the beer to tell me when it’s done. Four days seems really short to me. I like to give my little guys lots of time to do their thing and I’ve gone 6 weeks in the same fermenter without a problem. I’m closing in on batch 100 and haven’t had any problems associated with leaving beer in the fermenter too long.

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Saying there are “Facts” in brewing is a terrible idea. I follow very little of the “facts” that were available when I started brewing. Actually a lot of the facts from the old days are now no longer standard practice. Beer is older than humans ability to comprehend fermentation let alone record what they did, yet still great beer was made.

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The last Kveik I made was completely stable in 8 days of fermentation at 1.006.

That’s why I usually experiment. There is alot of stuff written out there that just isn’t true on the home brew scale. I hear from people oh you shouldn’t do this or that and I’ll say why and they reply well I read this or that. I’ve expierimented alot of different ways and come to my own conclusions. One thing I’ve learned is it’s not that complicated to make good home brew. Alot of stuff you read my be true at a commercial volume but not small scale. The biggest worry at our level is oxidation.

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Yeah, O2 and guide lines… Which I don’t follow, but it gives me an idea where I will lead my brew to when I brew… :sunglasses: Sneezles61

Here’s the results of my recent brew using the BeerSmith3 tool to manage my process. This is only after 6 days in the bottle aging. Nice start to the carbonation. The color was dead on to the AIH SRM color chart (SRM-10) and clarity was excellent in my opinion. The aroma was nice and clean with no off smells or orders. Simply put, a nice beer smell. The taste was very nice. It still needs some time to age, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. I used the Cascade hops and they add nicely without being over powering.
I’m ready to start my next BIAB which will be a Copper Ale using the Briess Copper Carapils with a domestic 2-row. I’ll be using the Cascade and Citra hops, and the Loki kveik yeast. I’m excited to start as I recently purchased a second primary fermenter the NB big mouth bubbler. It will be nice to watch/see the primary fermentation process versus the transparent bucket. I also plan to harvest the yeast and start my adventure into harvesting and re-using yeasts for future brews.

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Mr. O., I applaud your ability to keep after it… Very nicely done!! Sneezles61

Good looking beer. I think the kveik will likely become your house strain given your challenges living in the desert.

Just consider that Beersmith is a tool and only as good as the brewer behind it. You should determine the process based upon experience and best practices rather than the tool doing that for you.

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Very wise Dannyboy… Sneezles61

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