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Yeast Pitching Questions

I wonder if I'm doing it properly. Thus far I have simply followed the directions on the package or just thrown i into the mix at the end. is there some sort of guide on how to do it properly and care for these little buggers correctly?

does bakers yeast require some sort of procedure? temps?



  • Fiji is similar temperate to me. I found it very forgiving compared to anything I have used. Pitched directly from packet at 34C after 2min of aeration via agitation. I get active fermentation after just 10min. Ferments out @ 38c with no problems.

    Are you having trouble?

  • All the major yeast manufacturers have detailed pitching advice on their websites for wine, beer and distilling yeasts whether they be liquid or dried. I have no idea about whether bread yeast manufacturers would but assume it's the same for any dried yeast.

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  • start making lots of bread and pizza dough... you will get yeast proofing practice... for 1Kilo of flour, I warm 700ml of water to 100F with a bit(a pinch to a teaspoon) of sugar and sprinkle 1Tbsp dry yeast on top, after a few minutes of it acclimatizing, I whisk it up nice and good to aerate it and let it proof before mixing with the flour ad a few tsp of salt... the more I practiced at bread, the more comfortable I felt with pitching yeast in homebrew...

  • That method makes sense as it is generally the instructions for bread products. I have always just chucked the dry yeast on top of my fermenter usually it sort of sits on all the froffy stuff that lve stirred up with the water hose. It sometimes takes a while to kick in. Next lot l will do one of each method to compare. Only used bakers yeast to date.


  • Most dry yeasts do well to be hydrated before pitching. 1 yeast to 5 water weigh ratio. Pitch the yeast into water that is 40C and stir. Cover and let the yeast sit for 20mins. Then dump the whole thing into the fermenter. If you are just letting the cooler temp wort hydrate the yeast and activate it you risk a slow start and possible infection. I follow the above and I have never had a problem.

    For me that means 250 G of yeast and 1250 grams of 40C water for the 1 to 5 ratio.

    Per the yeast producers site:

    5 times its weight of potable water at 40°C. Let stand for at least 20 minutes then gently stir occasionally to break up any clumps. Add to the must.


  • @RedDoorDistillery do you culture or farm your own yeast? Or pitch fresh every ferment?

  • as a homebrewer, we are always told that re-hydrating in strong sugar solution like must or wort kills about half the viable cells... we just take the experienced folks word for it... Google and podcasts to the rescue....

    Doing a search on a favorite podcast from BasicBrewing I saw this MP3 podcast and these experiment results (PDF)...

    Discussion / conclusion - For quite some years there is a debate amongst home brewers whether or not dry yeast should be hydrated before pitching. Some even state that sprinkling dry yeast on wort would lead to a decrease in cell viability by 60 to 70%. Based on the historic data desktop research and the experiments that were performed using different yeasts I conclude that hydration of yeast is not needed to make a good beer. It does not lead to higher degrees of fermentation. On the contrary, the historic data research showed that the average brewer obtained lower degrees of fermentation upon hydration of dry yeast. The historic data research showed that for 9 out of 12 yeast hydration lead to significant lower degrees of fermentation.

  • I visited a bar and beer brewery combination here that had a big setup. 6 large SS fermenters about 1000L each. Really nice place through and through. They made all the beer on-site at this popular bar. Live music, 4 different beers on tap, sexy bartender... the works. The toilet was completely walled in mirrors which was kinda freaky and gave a fella views of something he imagined was somehow bigger.

    They had a dedicated "yeast propagator" about the size of a 50L beer keg. Pictures of all that are buried deep inside my old laptop but I'll try to dig them out.

    Just saying, it appeared that they pitched big. Damn big. Definitely not sprinkling a packet on top.

  • 20L homebrew - 1 packet 11.5 grams specialty yeast - $5 (= $435.00/kilo)
    250L of distillers mash - 2x1lb 908 grams bread yeast at costco - $5 (= $5.51/kilo)
    1000L of brewery beer - 1 kilo specialty brewers yeast ??? maybe $20?

    moral of the story... easy to pitch big when yeast is cheap... and the only thin cheaper than bread yeast is yeast slurry from a brewery...

  • All true enough and I'm not sure cost is the real driver but perhaps control is.
    To pitch massive yeast the brew master has to trust the strain he is propagating and the protocols that he follows.

    The very tiny sample from the "mother" can easily be bred into trillions of active yeast cells for very repeatable fermentation results. It seems protecting and regenerating a true strain of the mother yeast is the highest priority.

    A tiny sample is bred into 100ml which is bred into 1L which is bred into 5L which is bred into 20L and then into 50L kinda thing.

    I really have no idea how they regenerate the mother to insure that it stays true.

    Even if yeast is cheap and readily available, a small dedicated tank to propagate it seems reasonable for a pro establishment. Complete with agitator and oxygen tank fitting, all set up to pump the yeasty goop to the massive fermenter yearning for it.

    I doubt a modern brewery or distillery would trust a second hand slurry of yeast with 1000L or more of hard-fought all grain beer and would rather opt to propagate large from a known mother.

    Even if that mother was from a single packet of EC1118. (Which is very probably not the case).

  • Dry yeast? Rehydrate based on the parameters provided by any of the big brewing/distilling dry yeast providers (Fermentis has most of their data sheets online).

    Have you read the Yeast book by White yet? If not, pick it up. Everything you never wanted to know about those little critters.

    Fairly easy to do stepped yeast starters from slants, as long as you have time and space. The brewing guys have done all the hard work for us. Most of the best strains I've used simply aren't available dry.

    IMHO - Most dry strains that are intended for "distilling" are stink bombs, even when you try to keep stress low (I typically pitch in the 70s and ferment in the high 60s). This is my own opinion, you may have had different experiences.

    While it's fairly easy to step your way into 5-20 gallon batches, gets tougher if you are measuring wort in bbl. At that point, pitchable slurries start to look cost effective (we've got quotes of approximately $250usd for a 7bbl pitch of our own strain, delivered.), or you are going to spend as much time making yeast as your are spirits. Getting a pitchable slurry in Fiji? I suspect that the shipping alone would double the cost.

    If we were able to lauter pre-fermentation, we'd absolutely be re-using yeast for at least 4-5 generations. We've toyed around with the idea of doing a sacrificial ferment just to propagate a yeast cake, and based on the overall yeast yield, split that volume into 4-5 pitches. While we can't lauter corn mash effectively, we can easily lauter/sparge if we're OK with an sg around 1.035 - which would be great for yeast propagation.

    Not sure what you are making out there, but if you've got no solids going into your fermenter, do some research on washing and re-using yeast.

    Otherwise, if you are going to stick with dry - just try to find the approximate cell count, and use a standard yeast pitch calculator to determine what your overall volume of dry yeast needs to be. Rehydrate. Match temps. Pitch.

  • @Lloyd I pitch fresh every time. In the future I do want to culture and grow my own. But right now I don't have the space for it.

  • If distilleries were worried about a few extra organisms in their ferment, wouldn't they lauter, boil, cool, and pitch on a sterile wort like brewer's do? I think a second hand yeast slurry from a brewery is WAY cleaner than distillers mash....

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