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What's up with Mr. Malty?

I’m getting back into starters based on reading and constant critisism for not doing them… Everyone seems to use the Mr Malty pitching rate calculator. The growth rate based on starter size seems to pretty much agree with the charts in “How to Brew” and other books. The required cell count seems way off however. I’m planning a schwarz bier with bavarian lager yeast at about 1.060 OG(5gallon). The Mr Malty calculator says I need 417 billion cells. Table 11 on page 101 of “How to Brew” shows about 200 billion. This is a pretty huge disagreement. I have the most recent copyrighted copy and it’s been a pretty accurate resource for me. Why would the Mr Malty calculator call for more than double the piching rate of a highly respected brew book like How to Brew?

I do not have the recent copy at hand but per teh numbers you quoted alone I am going to assume he is calling for 200b for an ALE of around SG:1.060. I think your jumping the gun here and are missing or have mistakenly omitted something obvious in his text, otherwise as stated I haven’t seen the text so “ITsPossible” John has a typo issue taking place in the recent release.

There are many other reasons for high pitch rates in lagers but I will cover the main one:
The reason you want almost double the pitch rate in a lager is because you will have lower temps in primary wort that will inhibit growth rate and increase stress during the final aerobic phase and increase the chances of other microflora taking hold of the wort if not actively fermenting in a timely fashion because you are also in the “danger” zone of foodstuffs which is <141 or >35f and the PH is still perfect for spoilage until anaerobic fermentation takes place shifting the PH and increasing the ALc% and also the cells are not competing the microflora for sugar either until they enter anaerobic fermentation. So you overcome the need for the cells to reach their comfort level by high pitch rates and they will run through a non existent to very short aerobic “lag”/“growth” phase before they shift right into anaerobic fermentation. Which is the ultimate goal, quick and efficient growth by pitching at or near anaerobic needs in a lager so aerobic growth doesn’t take 4 days etc… Whereas in an ale you have much higher temps in primary wort where growth will be steady and predicable and the expected lag/aerobic phase will be short and sweet before the shift to ferment. Whereas in a lager the growth itself will be slow and sluggish as yeast want to grow during aerobic phase in/around 80-103f optimally. The further you stray from this #, the slower the growth will be. As stated before once you overcome all and enter into ANAEROBIC fermentation it is understood that the yeast are at comfortable levels of growth and now ferment happily at the lower temps used in lagers thus their nature.

I know you like to question convention and that is a good thing, but trust Jamil and many others before him including prominent scientists of our age that work/worked for brewing giants that have all come to the same conclusion regarding pitch rates. IE: “For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.” This was quoted from Jamil, himself quoting Fix which is mirrored by Briggs, Declerk and many others I have read and is always a reoccurring theme Demus.

It’s interesting you assume I made some sort of mistake. I gave you a page and table number from the book as well as the appropriate information that I plugged into the calculator (for lagers) which reccommended 417 billion. You’re telling me to trust the experts, but they disagree. If you don’t have an explanation for the disparity, then don’t answer the post. I’m well aware of the need for a higher pich rate for lagers. I’m wondering why John Palmer disagrees by half with the makers of the Mr Malty calculator. Looking at both sets of numbers, 200 billion seems much more reasonable than 417 billion, but I admit I am not any authority. 417 billion requires 2 yeast packs and a starter of over 4 liters. This doesn’t seem excessive to you? I think a glitch in a free computer website calculator is more plausable than a misprint in a published book that’s sold millions of copies…

Get defensive all you want and/ or misinterpret my post till the end of earth guy (see the part about John maybe having a typo thus the reason your mislead) You are making a mistake or John has a typo bottomline and I fully explained the reason for the use of double the cells and why the originators of brewing science made this common fact. Also you obviously dont understand why you need double the pitch rate in a lager or why you use a starter at all still as you still want to dismiss any process expained to you regarding this aspect of advanced brewing. Get with reality man. John is good in his own right and is an expert thus his book but he is using science created by Declerk, Briggs and Fix just to name the main ones which all agree on the following formula which you can skip helpful calculators such as Jamil created and just do the long math in your head. Also no the starter you describe is not excessive and is SOP for brewers of all skill levels except novice.
Jamil and many others will explain how to do the long math bud, read his article within the site then if the calculator doesn’t fit your personal vision of lager starters.
If there is diparity it is SOMEONES mistake as described above, JAMIL is correct and uses the following formula which fully explains which one to trust as it is THE common denominator agreed upon by THE experts which Jamil and John are using, trust me. If not email John he will be happy to clear you up if something is wrong on his, your end. PeacE
(0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato

I agree that you would ferment a 5 gallon batch of 1.060 lager better with 400+B yeast cells.

How you get there is up to you. Check out the calculator at http://yeastcalc.com/ for making yeast starters with “steps”.

Cheers

Thanks for the link. I still think the Mr Malty Calculator is conservative in regards to advising a pitch rate that is “right in the middle”. In other words, underpitching can lead to off flavors as well as overpitching. There’s a wide gap between the two and style of brew as well as strain of yeast play a role. A calculator that doesn’t take these factors into account should not be followed religiously as all beers are not created equal. That said, a base line is important to establish and a reasonable deviation for a legitamate reason could actually improve the flavor of a beer. Also, even if the Mr Malty rate is ideal for the style and strain, there’s very likely a fairly wide margin before perceptable flavor impact. My point is, the number is important to know, but not necessarily important to hit. We are not commercial brewers, and brewing delicious beer doesn’t require the precice consistancy that they require. We should relax, not worry and have a home brew!!!

[quote=“Demus”] I’m wondering why John Palmer disagrees by half with the makers of the Mr Malty calculator.[/quote]Given the close relationship between Palmer and Jamil, I’d bet that they worked together on the Mr. Malty calcs, so it does seem odd that they don’t match.

Every style or every yeast Blah, blah blah. None of what you said applies and is delirious blather at best maybe your having a few too many before trying to comprehend brewing science or plain don’t care. If that’s the case then why ask for sage advice ranging from brewers such as Jamil to members of the board that have been brewing for decades if your going to dispute it all the time?, the formula developed is from the experts in brewing science in general and followed by today’s brewer and book writers of all skill levels except novice. Strain performance or other etc… you want to suggest make no change on the “golden rule” again shown below.
Simple fact is Jamil’s calculator along with the one you were just linked to use the following formula and to suggest your thoughts or actions are better for wear well its good ole trial and error time from what I gather OR you could trust the common denominator for any ale/ lager and do it right.

[color=#FF0000](0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.
Bottom line.[/color]

[quote=“Demus”] My point is, the number is important to know, but not necessarily important to hit.[/quote] I will now call BS on your whole thread as you clearly and without a doubt show you serve to mislead both yourself and more importantly new brewers with this line of thought. The number being used by any/all as explained way too many times is SOP for any/all brewers except for novice.

ITsPossible strikes again! I love reading your posts. They always make me smile.
:lol:

I guess I’m just not an SOP guy. Enjoy your “creative” brewing by the numbers. I’ll continue to paint outside the lines…

[quote=“ITsPossible”]Every style or every yeast Blah, blah blah. None of what you said applies and is delirious blather at best maybe your having a few too many before trying to comprehend brewing science or plain don’t care. If that’s the case then why ask for sage advice ranging from brewers such as Jamil to members of the board that have been brewing for decades if your going to dispute it all the time?, the formula developed is from the experts in brewing science in general and followed by today’s brewer and book writers of all skill levels except novice. Strain performance or other etc… you want to suggest make no change on the “golden rule” again shown below.
Simple fact is Jamil’s calculator along with the one you were just linked to use the following formula and to suggest your thoughts or actions are better for wear well its good ole trial and error time from what I gather OR you could trust the common denominator for any ale/ lager and do it right.

[color=#FF0000](0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.
Bottom line.[/color]

I will now call BS on your whole thread as you clearly and without a doubt show you serve to mislead both yourself and more importantly new brewers with this line of thought. The number being used by any/all as explained way too many times is SOP for any/all brewers except for novice.[/quote]

Well, since you won’t reply to my private message I’ll post here on the forum for all to read. My thoughts on strain and style effecting pitch rate are not some radical departure from convention, in fact I read about it in a book co-written by Jamil himself! Why do you choose to cling so firmly to one aspect of “brewing science” and dismiss another? Jamil also points out one of the biggest problems that homebrewers and even small commercial brewers have is inadequate aeration. They conducted a test that showed 5 full miutes of aggressive shaking of a wort only provided 2.7 ppm of dissolved oxygen. Yeast require 8 to 10 for proper health. The maximum air can provide is 8 ppm and would require 30 minutes or more with the standard “shake and splash” methods comonly used. So armed with this “brewing science”, I surmise that many brewers need such large starters because their worts are too under-aerated for the yeast to reproduce properly in the wort. Many of my brews have been admittedly underpiched and still resulted in well attenuated, tasty brews. I do make starters for larger beers or for yeast packs of questionable viability. If you feel these thoughts make me “delerious”, I don’t know what else to say. I’m on here to learn from my fellow brewers and comiserate about my favorite subject. The only thing I’ve learned from you is that not every brewer is openminded and helpful. Unless of course you consider condescending posts like the above helpful…
Anyone?.. Buehler??..

Well, Wyeast came up with different numbers for various aeration methods: http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_oxygenation.cfm

This is homebrewing, you can do whatever you want.

[quote=“TG”]Well, Wyeast came up with different numbers for various aeration methods: http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_oxygenation.cfm [/quote]Note that they don’t state if they were using wort for the experiment or water (or some other liquid). Temperature and gravity would also be useful information.

And volume.

[quote=“TG”]And volume.[/quote]Yes, would be nice if they included that, along with a flow rate for the O2. :cheers:

Yes, more specifics would be nice but I think the take away is that yeast need a wort with 10 ppm and “shake and splash” can never exceed 8 ppm no matter how long you do it. In the test ran by White labs I believe it was a 1.060 wort shaken “vigorously” for 5 minutes which only resulted in 2.7 ppm. I doubt most of us have the patience to shake a full fermenter for 5 minutes straight either, so there may be even less O2 than that in many brewers worts. This certainly could explain the lack of replication and the need for huge starters.

For the record, I am not against making starters. I am a believer in adressing the biggest and easiest to fix problems first. An O2 injection system is a cheap, easy way to ensure proper aeration and I believe it’s the explanation why I have “gotten away with” underpitching many batches. So, if the Mr. Malty calculator says I need a 3 liter starter and 2 yeast packs, I save the $7 and propogate as much as I can with one, make a good wort with plenty of nutrients, and aerate with a minute and a half of pure O2 to get approximately 12 ppm of dissolved O2. It works great, is based on sound “brewing science”, and saves me some time and cash. If some posters on here find that “ignorant”, I say look in the mirror!

8 ppm is the usual recommendation for ale yeast. Lager yeast need 10-12 or more. If you don’t have a Dissolved Oxygen Meter you don’t really know how much O2 is being dissolved.

True enough, but if you are not injecting O2 you can be certain you have 8 ppm or less. I’ve got to go by the estimates provided by folks who do have the testing equipment and figure I’m in the ballpark based on results. Unless you are counting yeast using the Mr Malty calculator doesn’t really tell you how much yeast you’re pitching either…

[quote=“Demus”] Unless you are counting yeast using the Mr Malty calculator doesn’t really tell you how much yeast you’re pitching either…[/quote]That’s why I only use it for dry yeast calculations.

“Yes, more specifics would be nice but I think the take away is that yeast need a wort with 10 ppm and “shake and splash” can never exceed 8 ppm no matter how long you do it.”

Here is something interesting that I have seldom seen referenced by homebrewers : The saturation point of Oxygen in water and wort is related to water or wort temperature. Reference the table on p. 360 of this work: http://books.google.com/books?id=zV9bpy … ss&f=false

The lower the temperature, the higher the saturation point of oxygen in wort. For instance, in 12 deg. plato wort, the saturation point is 10.4 ppm at 5 degrees C. At 20 degrees C, the saturation point is 7.4 ppm.

I have seen several homebrewer experiments that showed saturation or near saturation of O2 in short order, via splashing and shaking.

I think if you are limited to splashing and shaking, and you figure you higher o2 concentration, chill your wort to just above freezing prior to doing the splashing.

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