Home Brew Yeast Experients

So after my fixation on yeast and how it affects home brewing, well all brewing for that matter, I purchased some equipment, read some, and set to work. Here is how my first try at “Doing it right” went. I have decided that I will follow these steps for each experiment with brewers yeast:

  1. Take out the yeast packet
  2. Steam sanitize the flask
  3. Heat tap water
  4. Re-hydrate yeast
  5. Proof yeast
  6. Mix it up on the stir plate
  7. Record results

Sorry the lack of 12 steps. I’m sure I’ll add more later.

The reason I’m taking out the yeast is it will warm up slowly without touching it. I’ve been told by a brewer with a PhD in microbiology, focused on Eukaryotes, that the dried yeast in the packet is very brittle and should be handled with care. In fact he said to only hold the edges of the packets and not to touch middle of the packet unless you have to. I know this is has something to do with all the time he spent in a lab setting at school but I figure it can’t hurt to at least keep his advice in mind with handling the yeast.

To steam the flask I use the good old Granite Ware stock pot. I put 2 cups of water in Granite Ware Stock Potthe pot and 2 tablespoons of water in the flask. Set the flask in the stock pot and let ‘er rip. I did not notice that much steam coming from the flask but the water in the pot mad quite a bit along with some great gurgling noises. I let it steam for 10 minutes. When time was up I used canning tongs to remove the flask and let it cool on the counter.

 

I use a small pot to heat up 600 mL of tap water to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the stove.

To rehydrate the yeast I poured the heated water into the flask. Next I gently open the yeast packet and slowly pour the yeast into the flask. Next I cap the flask with a plastic sandwich bag and rubber band. I move it to a corner on the counter top and wait 30 minutes.

I made my own stir plate from a computer fan and hard drive magnet. I put the stir bar into the flask, the flask on the stir plate and turn to fan on. I wait 30 minutes.

Composition BookFinally during the process I take temp readings and write them down. It’s good to know what you did in case you want repeat your successes or figure out your mistakes.

Like I said is the format I am going to use for now. I hope there will be changes. That way I know I’m learning.

 

Stone IPA Keg Kicked

So my wonderful wife purchased a 5 gallon keg of Stone IPA for my birthday and it is now kicked. After I quit screaming “NOOOOOO!!!!!”, I was actually happy that I had the opportunity to have kicked 5 gallons of Stone’s wonderful IPA. Best wife ever! If you run into her make sure to tell her how cool she is. Remember behind every home brewer is a wonderful spouse. I’m lucky.

Yeast and My Brewing Adventures

So the last couple of batches have not turned out well with quite a lot of off-flavors.

I spoke with some fellow Home Brewers at the CBM and they said to watch the temperature that I ferment. It turns out that the locations in my house I’ve been leaving the carboy are way to warm. They have been keeping the yeast at the very high end of their range. Turns out its best to keep your yeast in the bottom of the suggested range.

I also have not been rehydrating my yeast or proofing my yeast. It is really not good to mistreat your yeast. So after reading some articles and checking with the good ol’ How to Brew by John Palmer Chapter 6.5 Preparing Yeast and Yeast Starters I need to always use yeast starters.

 

When I first started brewing I just pitched the dry yeast straight into the chilled wort. I had no idea that stress that would put on the little microorganisms. Wort is not the environment that resting yeast want to dive into. The temperature, sugar, and lack of oxygen are actually not good for resting yeast. Some of the yeast is already not going to make add to that the ones that die from the shock. If you make a starter it will let the yeast come to life before you pitch and lead to a better fermentation with less off-flavors.

I thought about doing some yeast experiments and documenting my endeavors. So I decided to make my own stir-plate, buy a 2000 mL flask and a stir-bar. I picked up some dry yeast packets at the home brew store and started trying to play microbiologist.

Stay tuned.