Pitching on A Yeast Cake

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TIMMYJ21, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. TIMMYJ21

    TIMMYJ21 Apr 29, 2010 Minnesota

    Anybody picth on a cake a majority of the time or just have done it. How do you go about doing it, just pitch on it, dump some in a jar and measure according to Mr Malty?
  2. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    when I brewed an Imperial Stout, I just pitched the wort directly onto the yeast cake of my prior Amber Ale.

    I am assuming you are doing this for a high gravity brew? Some people have stated that if it's not a high gravity brew that requires a huge yeast count, that you risk off-flavors from over-pitching.
  3. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    It's my favorite method for pitching yeast on a big beer. The work of fermenting a starter wort really isn't much less than pitching a regular batch of beer, and you get beer you can drink while you wait for the big boy to condition, too.

    I just rack the 1st beer off the yeast shortly before the boil, and the fresh wort goes straight on top of it. You might want to wash the yeast if you pitched leaf hops in with the first beer, though, as I can imagine there might be a lot of debris.
  4. premierpro

    premierpro Mar 21, 2009 Michigan

    I will pitch on the cake or spoon yeast into a jar and save for another day. I use nylon bags for my hops so I do not have a lot of dibris.
  5. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    That's exactly how I do it, though I usually rack the previous beer during the boil when I have some down time. It's the only way to pitch a big beer, IMO. No worries about underpitching, overpitching at this scale is a myth [Mike ducks to avoid the flame throwers], it's cheaper, and waaaaay easier than making a huge starter (not that that's particularly difficult). As an added bonus, it's one less carboy to wash/sanitize.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  6. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I've done this exactly once...barleywine after a session IPA...worked great...but be ready for Mt. Vesuvius

    My notes are lacking, but I think I racked the first beer during the boil of the Barleywine (2nd beer), but I do know I did not wait the usual 3 weeks to rack...it was a week to the day from brewing the first beer, which I think is important.
  7. nuggetman

    nuggetman Jul 13, 2011 Massachusetts

    I use this method a lot and plan accordingly to get the most out of my yeast. It is basically just me being lazy and not wanting to wash the yeast, but it works great! This is also a great method if you have a stuck batch as well...pour the stuck batch on top of the cake right after fermentation slows down and they usually will go to town until they get poisoned by their own creation! It has saved a couple of my horrid bastard child recipes! Cheers!
  8. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I totally agree with mikehartigan that pitching onto a yeast cake will work, especially for a big beer. I would not reccomend making an average gravity beer 1.040-1.060 as this will be greatly overpitching and can lead to some problems. If your interested in yeast washing there are some great video's/podcasts out there as mentionend in the thread posted above. I still have never pitched on a cake so I can't speak from experience but I beleive in proper pitching rates makes good beer and thats is all. I am suddenly considering brewing up an imperial pils next weekend to throw onto a helles cake!!??
  9. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    I tend to avoid pitching on a cake. I do, however, reuse yeast regularly. I usually just pour into a mason jar and wash it once or twice with sanitized water.

    Why don't I pitch on a cake?

    1) I like to clean my carboys regularly to avoid residue. Pitching on a cake could mean I have a carboy with built up residue for over a month.

    2) Lots of trub, hop debris, and non-viable yeast remain in that slurry. I don't like transferring that over. Especially if pitching from a hoppy beer to a non-hoppy beer. Yeast carries IBU.

    3) There's a chance of over-pitching. While the risk of this effect being noticeable is likely low, the alternative does not take much effort. Sort of like wearing a seat belt, no?
  10. pmgerholdt

    pmgerholdt Oct 14, 2010 New York

    Overpitching can sometimes lead to bland beers. Some styles want esters which are produced during the production of yeast cell walls. If there's already a full yeast community, reproduction (and thus cell wall production) is inhibited.

    Not off-flavors, just a less interesting or complex beer than might have been.
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Pitch rate does influence the amount of esters in the final beer, but esters are produced when an alcohol combines with an organic acid, so ester formation is not a direct product of propagation.
  12. pmgerholdt

    pmgerholdt Oct 14, 2010 New York

    True. But that's like saying that the speed of a car has to do with gear ratio and that pressing on the gas is only indirectly related.

    More precisely, cell wall production increases amounts of the enzyme AAT which affects alcohol esterification.
    PortLargo likes this.
  13. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    I always did it when I brewed a lot of very high gravity beers. The key to success is to have your wort chilled well below where you want it to ferment so it starts slowly, and have good temp control when it does take off.
    I also do it for a series of regular gravity ales, for instance: ESB(OG 1.052), Rye pale (OG 1.065), Robust porter(OG 1.072). That series took over 2 months, when I finally did open the fermenter there was a dime sized area of mold around the thermowell opening but it never had any effect on the beer.
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