Left a lager on the yeast cake, and here's what I can report

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Silver_Is_Money, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    I finally cracked open a bottle of my latest Bohemian Pilsner, and it is as delicious as I could have wished. But there are a few twists. I broke a few rules in that: 1) I did not separate any trub or pellet hops residue from the wort post boil and cooling. Everything went into the fermenter. 2) I did not aerate the wort before or after pitching rehydrated Fermentis W-34/70 dry yeast. 3) During all of fermentation followed by cold lagering at 33-34 degrees I never racked it off of the yeast cake (which, as stated, included all of both pellet hop residue and trub). This batch spent 6-1/2 weeks total sitting on the yeast cake before bottling.

    My conclusion is that since this Pilsner came out as good as I could have expected (based upon extract brewing since the mid 1980's and all-grain brewing since the early 1990's), I may no longer bother with (or at least worry about) aeration (as long as I'm using dry yeast) or racking, even for lagers.
    #1 Silver_Is_Money, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2018
  2. Bryan12345

    Bryan12345 Devotee (435) Mar 17, 2016 Texas

    I have never taken a special step to aerate wort. Just a nice splashy transfer from kettle to fermenter. The yeast are aerobic for a short time anyway :slight_smile:

    Others can do whatever they want. But you are not alone in your aeration-free philosophy :slight_smile:
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  3. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    I also did a splashy transfer from kettle to fermenter. But Lallamand (Danstar) specifically advises of no need to aerate, and on a different forum a guy claims to have called Fermentis and asked them of this, wherein they also said (if he can be believed) that there is no need to aerate with their yeasts. It has to do with the nutrients and oils they place in the packets along with the yeast.
    #3 Silver_Is_Money, Dec 6, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  4. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (145) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    Glad that lager is tasting good !

    I have had some batches made with liquid yeast that was stressed from under pitching / under aerating that turned out quite bad. Over the top esters, under attenuation, all around 'homebrew' flavor. I think that liquid takes far more effort for a clean ferment. Dry yeast is awesome for that reason!
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  5. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    That certainly counts as aeration, as that's all I ever do.

    Did they provide any comparisons, aerated v. non-aerated?
    Bryan12345 and GormBrewhouse like this.
  6. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    All I can offer is to quote the statement found within the technical data sheet for each of the Lallemand/Danstar brewing yeasts:
    I did rehydrate it, and I pitched it at 64 degrees. Then I cooled the fermenter to 54 degrees after pitching via my fermentation/lagering refrigerator.
    GormBrewhouse and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  7. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    Admittedly I did not use a Danstar yeast, but rather I trusted the guy who said he called Fermentis and was told the same thing.
  8. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    ________ yeast has been conditioned to survive rehydration. The yeast contains an adequate reservoir of carbohydrates and unsaturated fatty acids to achieve active growth. It is unnecessary to aerate wort upon first use.

    Ehh . . . yeast can certainly grow/replicate in an anaerobic environment, as they are facultative anaerobes, but they grow/replicate MUCH better in an aerobic environment.
    Bryan12345 and GormBrewhouse like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    You should aerate/oxygenate the wort when pitching liquid yeast since the oxygen is needed by the liquid yeast cells to produce fatty acids and sterols which are very important components of the cell membrane. Because of how dry yeast is manufactured this same need for oxygen is not required. During its aerobic production, dry yeast accumulates sufficient amounts of unsaturated fatty acids and sterols to produce enough biomass in the first stage of fermentation.

  10. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Champion (813) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Couple of things...

    Active aeration/oxygenation has a sliding scale of importance. Brewing up 5 gallons of low gravity wort and pitching more than enough dry yeast? Yeah, you probably won’t need pure O2 and a stone. Just the violent action of transferring from the kettle to the fermenter often introduced a decent amount of O2.
    Brewing larger batches, less yeast, higher gravity? You are going to have to oxygenate. I usually brew in 1bbl batches and would definitely have problems if I didn’t oxygenate. Lag problems for sure, probably off-flavors too.

    As far as trub carry-over. This always struck me as something brought from pro brewing without homebrewers understanding why it is done. There’s nothing wrong with transferring a little kettle shit. I don’t have a link to the study, but the Germans actually proved that some trub in the fermenter is actually beneficial. Probably for the same reason Bud uses those beechwood chips: increased surface area for yeast to cling to, encouraging more efficient fermentation.
    The reason trub is avoided in most breweries is equipment, not recipe, driven.

    Trub is whirlpooled into a cone in the kettle because if you try to send an IPA worth of hops through your heat exchanger...you are gonna have a bad day. Also, tanks are usually ‘burped’ of the non yeast particles the day after brewing because that stuff will clog the shit out of 1.5” sanitary piping and will be a huge PITA when you are trying to dump the yeast and hops down the road...
  11. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Again, I would like to see the fermentation dynamics of dry yeast pitched into aerated wort v. unaerated wort. I have a distinct suspicion that the aerated dynamics would be much, much better.
    Prep8611 likes this.
  12. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I am a splasher at home. When I need more yeast I'll make a starter or pitch on a yeast cake.

    Pumping in air does work, I just don't seem to need to,,,,at home.
  13. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    Apparently the first thing yeast must do prior to fermentation is create an environment for themselves which contains specific fatty acids, and this they must do aerobically in the presence of oxygen. If however the fatty acids that they need to create for themselves are already sufficiently present, they merely skip/ignore this step and proceed happily to fermentation.

    Some experiments were done a few years ago adding a small drop of olive oil to the wort instead of aerating it. Inconclusive to poor results were achieved overall by those who tried this. But who is to say that olive oil is the right fatty acid choice here?
  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    That's all well and good, but yeast must replicate to maximum cell density before the fermentation phase of their life cycle can begin and that depends upon the volume of the solution that they are in, not intercellular fatty acid levels.
    Bryan12345 likes this.
  15. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    If it was a requisite, then wouldn't you feel that Lallemand would promote aeration rather than advising against it? They certainly would not want their yeast products to disappoint due to some bad advice of their own making. That would be terrible marketing on their behalf.
  16. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    First of all, I don't think that they said to not aerate, just that aeration was "unnecessary". Secondly, yeast labs don't always give the greatest (read: most accurate) information to their consumers. I wish they did, but a lot of them fall very short in this capacity.
    Bryan12345 and JohnnyChicago like this.
  17. honkey

    honkey Disciple (307) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona

    Glad the beer turned out well! The problem here is you're assuming that the beer wouldn't have been better if you had used "proper" (for lack of a better word) brewing techniques. I'm always telling breweries that I consult for that little things can be the difference between great beer and world class beer and that even if the difference is minuscule, that very slight difference could be what sets the beer apart from everyone else. I live by that motto in the commercial world and the demand and feedback on our beers are through the roof... It's for that reason that I spend an extra 30 cents per pound on base malts to get the best and why I won't sacrifice anything on a brew day or in the cellar.

    You want about 1/3rd of the cold break to be in the fermenter. You will get that much (and probably a lot more) without putting the break material that settles in the kettle into the fermenter. Too much trub will smear the yeast cell membrane and prevent flocculation (or inhibit flocculation is probably a more accurate description).
  18. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Champion (813) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Yeah, this is an important point. Yeast companies are notorious for this. “100 billion yeast cells...designed to the innoculate one 5 gallon batch.”
    5 gallons of what? 26° barleywine? Also, 100 billion cells? Even if it’s been sitting in the cooler for 3 months? Was your dry yeast keep cool from packaging to purchasing? Because that will affect it too.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  19. honkey

    honkey Disciple (307) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona

    Lallemand owns a majority share of the Siebel Institute. In school, we were told that aeration for dry yeast is less important because it already will contain a significant amount of sterols and fatty acids. However, it only contains about 60% of the amount necessary for a very healthy fermentation. It's also possible for dried yeast to be close to 65% viability, so some aeration should be seen as a positive. Your splashing method was probably enough, but properly using an aeration assembly wouldn't hurt either. It is possible to over aerate, but it is highly unlikely that you would do so without using pure oxygen and an aeration stone.
    herrburgess and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  20. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Champion (813) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Yeah, I remember it being around a third or a quarter. Also proteins are one thing, but a bunch of sticky hop trub is certainly not something you’d want to bring into your fermenter. I can’t imagine zee Germans were using DIPAs for their experiments...
    Also should be noted that for both equipment and marketing reasons, homebrewing is usually much more forgiving than pro brewing. You forget to oxygenate or your pils doesn’t drop bright? A homebrewer will shrug and start drinking. A brew pub will start the tank dump conversation.
  21. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    OK, I guess I've read too much into my own enthusiasm for getting away with skipping a bunch of steps, and I should not abandon good practice. That said, any votes here for a drop of olive oil as a replacement for aeration? Have any of you ever tried this?
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  22. honkey

    honkey Disciple (307) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona

    I used to use safflower oil instead of aeration. At the time, I didn't have any equipment to test the true results, but I don't recommend doing it. If I remember properly, the New Belgium experiment that used oil did so during yeast storage and propagation. Simply adding it to the wort is not likely to yield consistent results and without knowing exactly how much to add, it likely won't be good results either.
  23. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (745) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    No...air is free and by straining my wort I get rid of a lot of debris/trub too.
  24. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (305) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    As I recall, New Belgium had very positive results with that experiment. Positive enough they they ended up distributing that batch ...as I recall. The consensus at the time was that scaling it down to a homebrew level required a dose so small as to be unmeasurable using common household equipment. IOW, it was virtually guaranteed to be an overdose with, presumably, negative results. It seems people stopped talking about it before any conclusive homebrewing experiments were done.
    GreenKrusty101 and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  25. Bryan12345

    Bryan12345 Devotee (435) Mar 17, 2016 Texas

    Can I just say, I am loving this discussion.

    Will it change the way I brew? Prolly’ not.

    But I am gleaning a lot of info, and more knowledge is never a bad thing :slight_smile:

    Thanks y’all! :slight_smile:
    JohnnyChicago and thebriansmaude like this.
  26. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,163) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    @DrewBeechum and denny did it on their podcast, olive oil doesn't replace aeration.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  27. DrewBeechum

    DrewBeechum Meyvn (1,305) Mar 15, 2003 California
    Premium Member

    It's a big ole fat fail. As pointed out upthread - the original NBB experiment conducted by Grady focused on yeast propagation with extended contact time and stirring. AFAIK, the test batches were not released to the public and the worries about rancidity and costs of dedicated equipment and process outweighed the benefits of traditional oxygenation and proper wort/beer handling downstream.
    EvenMoreJesus and SFACRKnight like this.
  28. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    No oil here, not a fan of new Belgium and still splashing.
  29. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Color me curious as to why.
    Hogue2112 likes this.
  30. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I dislike the way their beers taste. Went on a brewery tour this year and really not impressed at all. Just my taste preferences are not theirs, I guess.
  31. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,163) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Hopefully you hit Odell then.
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  32. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Savant (904) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Or Funkwerks or Coopersmith's or . . .

    Lots of great stuff coming out of Fort Collins besides NB, who I like, FWIW.

    Haven't been for quite some time, unfortunately. :slight_frown:
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  33. Silver_Is_Money

    Silver_Is_Money Initiate (129) Jun 4, 2017 Ohio

    If there is one defect that is glaringly apparent in my Bohemian Pilsner it is that it does not develop or hold a pronounced head, and it also does not pronouncedly lace the glass. The head dissipates rapidly.
  34. TheBeerery

    TheBeerery Initiate (58) May 2, 2016 Minnesota

    I know why... Did you look at my link?
    SFACRKnight, honkey and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  35. honkey

    honkey Disciple (307) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona

    When I first started homebrewing back in college, I used an immersion chiller and dumped the entire contents from kettle to fermenter. I never had good head retention. I began filtering the wort through a strainer bag and it was better, but still not good. All those fatty acids in the cold break will kill head retention in a hurry.

    Edit to Add:

    You will eventually find that the beer does not age well either. The staling effects of all that break material will make that beer something that you want to drink fresh. Even kept cold, it will lose a lot of its "life" quickly. I never worried about that as a homebrewer since the beer was always gone so quickly, but if I start homebrewing again soon, I will be using practices more in line with what I do commercially.
    TheBeerery and EvenMoreJesus like this.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    And that is a very poignant point there.

    There are brewing practices that are of importance to commercial breweries (in particular distributing commercial breweries) while for us homebrewers they may be of lesser or even no concern. One more example is that folks will post about how critical it is to minimize DO but if we homebrew a batch of beer and consume the beers in a month or so there really is no need to be very obsessive on this aspect.

    While there is plenty of commonality between commercial brewing practices and homebrewing practices there are plenty of differences as well.

    Each homebrewer gets to choose how they practice their brewing based upon their personal and unique circumstances.

    SFACRKnight likes this.
  37. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (145) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    @TheBeerery , I checked out your link, very interesting stuff.

    I do not have a recirculating HERMS mash tun, I am currently using a three tier beverage cooler w/ false bottom set up.I usually recirculate up to 2 or 3 gallons of wort by vorlauf, which seems to have a very noticeable effect on clarity. I do manage to get fairly clear wort going into the kettle, but when i siphon my beer into the fermenter (which is usually very clear from a rapid chilling process) I always intentionally siphon in a little bit of break material, and boom, the beer in my fermenter is cloudy (this always settles out in an hour or so though). I do this as I recall reading that some trub / break material was good for yeast health...

    Would you recommend avoiding adding any break material at all ? I imagine there is probably enough sterols / fatty acids in the small amount that is still in the clear looking wort?

    I am also reminded of a brulosophy experiment where massive amounts of trub was added to one fermenter and none to the other ... I think the trubby beer came out clearer? Dont recall what head retention was like though...
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,537) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I am assuming you are referencing this EXBEERIMENT:


    The ‘results’ listed:

    – 50% (3/6) accurately identified the different glass in the triangle test
    – 83% (5/6) accurately identified Truby as the experimental batch
    – 50% (3/6) preferred Truby over Non-Truby
    – 100% (6/6) perceived Truby as being clearer than Non-Truby
    – 50% (3/6) perceived no difference in aroma while 33% (2/6) thought Truby had better aroma
    – 67% (4/6) reported Non-Truby as having better flavor in general
    – 33% (2/6) thought Non-Truby had better mouthfeel while the others perceived no difference

    I think it is noteworthy that 100% of the taste testers reported that Truby had a clearer appearance.

    One of the taste testers (Chris) commented: “…noted that Non-Truby appeared to have slightly better head retention.”

    If you view the photograph of Truby vs. Non-Truby the Truby beer appears to have a larger head but that could be a consequence of the pouring method.


    P.S. Or maybe you mean: http://brulosophy.com/2015/03/22/the-impact-of-kettle-trub-part-2-exbeeriment-results/

    Part 2 in Discussions stated: “The lack of statistical significance in this xBmt supports previous findings, as well as the anecdotal reports of myriad homebrewers, that higher amounts of kettle trub making it to the fermentor do not necessarily impact beer in a detrimental way, as many were taught to believe.”
  39. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (145) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    @JackHorzempa , nope the first one you mentioned is the one I was thinking of!

    I hate to think that as a non HERMS brewer I have to choose between beer clarity and foam stability. Because I want it all baby.

    I realize that it probably doesn't really come down to one or the other, because I have brewed beers with both qualities. I guess I just want a solid reason for including / not including a bit of kettle trub in my fermentation..