Pitching temperature

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Pitching temperature

Postby kohoutec » Mon Apr 24, 2017 07:10

What sort of temperature does everyone chill down to before pitching their yeast?
I use a brew fridge so ferment at a temperature suitable for whatever yeast I'm using... All well there.

Generally I try and chill down to whatever that temperature may be, but I've read a few posts on here where people pitch at a higher temperature and then get it down to fermentation temperature....I guess this aids a quicker start, but does it risk fusels, or any other disadvantages? If it's not seen as a problem what sort of temperatures are we talking about? I know that's yeast dependent but say using WLP001 as an example.

As summer approaches and the ground water warms up my woefully inadequate immersion chiller makes getting down to 18c impossible and wondering if this is really an issue, and could i pitch at say 23c and then get in the brew fridge set to 18c

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby INDIAPALEALE » Mon Apr 24, 2017 07:15

The answer to this question can be found on Whitelabs site. They give two choices for lager for instance.

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby PeeBee » Mon Apr 24, 2017 09:52

kohoutec wrote:... Generally I try and chill down to whatever that temperature may be, but I've read a few posts on here where people pitch at a higher temperature and then get it down to fermentation temperature....I guess this aids a quicker start, but does it risk fusels, or any other disadvantages? If it's not seen as a problem what sort of temperatures are we talking about? I know that's yeast dependent but say using WLP001 as an example...

I had got the idea it was better to start coolish and allow the temperature to rise, because the muckiest fermentation products occur when the yeast is growing (in the first 24 hours or so).

kohoutec wrote:... As summer approaches and the ground water warms up my woefully inadequate immersion chiller makes getting down to 18c impossible and wondering if this is really an issue, and could i pitch at say 23c and then get in the brew fridge set to 18c...

I'm not the only one then! I wouldn't worry about "woefully inadequate immersion chiller", my bells a whistles efficient counter-flow chiller is no better when the groundwater gets up to 18C. I just use the chiller to get down to 35C, then pump it through the product coils of a shelf-cooler. Not very controlled though, the shelf-cooler starts off well when the ice-wall is in place, cooling to 7-8C, but towards the end the ice is all melted and the output is getting on 30C. It results in an average of about 18C though, and is very fast <20 minutes to get 45L of wort from 80 down to 18C whereas the chiller only used to take me over 2 hours (and probably only got to 20C).
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby pittsy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 16:32

Lower temp by around 2 c is ideal for most yeasts , you can sit your hose pipe that feeds the immersion chiller into a bucket of water with ice in to solve this issue before it goes into the brew .
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby kohoutec » Mon Apr 24, 2017 19:32

Thanks all, i thought keeping it lower was probably right, will give the hosepipe in iced water a go

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby london_lhr » Tue Apr 25, 2017 20:17

What you can also do is to put your wort (in the fermenter) in your brew fridge over night set at your pitching temperature and pitch your yeast the next day.
Because fermentation is an exothermic reaction, I pitch at around 2 degrees lower than that recommended for that yeast, normally around 18 degrees C.
Once pitched, set the fridge temperature to control the upper limit of your yeast temperature.
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby Kev888 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 22:28

In some cases, people can struggle to reach fermentation temperatures with the wort chiller (especially lager yeast temperatures, but sometimes also ale yeast temperatures). In that case it is a trade off between pitching warmer and pitching later - and delays can give more opportunity for nasties to get a grip. Yeast also tend to like warmer temperatures than we use them at (for optimum flavour etc.) so warmer can help them get going faster too.

Personally, I pitch a healthy number of active yeast and don't have problems with excessive lag time in wort at fermentation temperature, and nor do I have problems chilling the wort to the desired fermentation temperature directly. So I prefer to pitch at fermentation temperature, it avoids off-flavours should i be forgetful in reducing temperature, and saves the yeast having to acclimatise to change soon after pitching. But other circumstances (or opinions) may favour the warmer approach.

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby kohoutec » Wed Apr 26, 2017 07:10

Thanks for all the responses.

In the summer i do use my brew fridge to get the wort down to fermentation temperature, so it's not a problem as such... I'm just impatient i guess.

I tend to brew​ in the evenings so like to get everything wrapped up before bed!

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:53

I think the trick is to brew according to the seasons and make things easier on yourself. Tap water comes through at 3-8C in the winter, so chilling is much quicker AND I can get it down to 10C for lagering.

Ambient temperature is perfect for lagering in my cellar right now, and only rises to 16-18C on all but the very warmest summer days. I have a brew fridge in any case so it's not an issue.

Once things get warmer, my ground water is still no warmer than 14-18C, so I can always get it down to 20C for ales.

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby kohoutec » Thu Apr 27, 2017 07:38

HTH1975 wrote:I think the trick is to brew according to the seasons and make things easier on yourself.


Yep, and it's something I've neglected to think about in previous years... As per another thread I started recently I just brewed a Saison...I know it's not Saison season quite yet but it was more to see if I would like it and try something different.
It's only just gone in the bottles but the hydrometer sample was bloody lovely, so I think I'll be doing a few more of these over the summer :)

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby robwalker » Thu Apr 27, 2017 09:53

Coming from a commercial 6bbl, I pitch at around 26c in the winter. By the time even the fastest yeast gets past the growth stage the beer has usually dropped to around 20c ready to let the cooler keep it around that range. Yeast survives the "jump" much better at 35c, so it's not unwise to pull off a little wort (10X the weight of yeast or more) in a sanitized jug and rehydrate at that temp, then allow it to come to room to before adding to the main wort.

I too lack proper control at home, but a lot of yeasts are capable of handling high temps. Us-05 and Nottingham are both fine near 28 although estery, s-04 at 26.
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby Kev888 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:14

It depends on what you prefer really. Brewing seasonally has its satisfactions and also advantages, especially if the aim is for minimal equipment or budget, or brewing off-grid or something like that. I like it as an option but not really as a necessity - the freedom to brew what I want when I want is nice, and for most styles I'd not want to be without the consistency of regulated fermentation temperatures.

I'd been thinking of liquid yeast earlier. But with dried yeast then rehydrating in (sterile) water thats somewhat warmer than fermentation temperatures is preferable. As Rob says, this will typically cool a bit whilst rehydrating too, so adding it to the wort at nearer fermentation temperature isn't such a big shock.

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby Duxuk » Thu Apr 27, 2017 19:44

robwalker wrote:Coming from a commercial 6bbl, I pitch at around 26c in the winter. By the time even the fastest yeast gets past the growth stage the beer has usually dropped to around 20c ready to let the cooler keep it around that range. Yeast survives the "jump" much better at 35c, so it's not unwise to pull off a little wort (10X the weight of yeast or more) in a sanitized jug and rehydrate at that temp, then allow it to come to room to before adding to the main wort.

I too lack proper control at home, but a lot of yeasts are capable of handling high temps. Us-05 and Nottingham are both fine near 28 although estery, s-04 at 26.


So you rehydrate in wort? I rehydrate in water at 30-35C. I tend to pitch ASAP at around 24C and expect good activity in 12 hours. What is the advantage to using wort rather than water?

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby Rolfster » Thu Apr 27, 2017 20:19

All the literature I have read says you shouldn't rehydrate in wort, you should use normal sterile water. It's to do with the permeability of the membranes I think.
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby robwalker » Thu Apr 27, 2017 20:21

Duxuk wrote:
robwalker wrote:Coming from a commercial 6bbl, I pitch at around 26c in the winter. By the time even the fastest yeast gets past the growth stage the beer has usually dropped to around 20c ready to let the cooler keep it around that range. Yeast survives the "jump" much better at 35c, so it's not unwise to pull off a little wort (10X the weight of yeast or more) in a sanitized jug and rehydrate at that temp, then allow it to come to room to before adding to the main wort.

I too lack proper control at home, but a lot of yeasts are capable of handling high temps. Us-05 and Nottingham are both fine near 28 although estery, s-04 at 26.


So you rehydrate in wort? I rehydrate in water at 30-35C. I tend to pitch ASAP at around 24C and expect good activity in 12 hours. What is the advantage to using wort rather than water?


None that I know of, it's convenient to set the wort coming out of the heat exchanger to around that temp so I don't have to sanitise water. Just a process thing really, wouldn't go out of my way to do it.
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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby Kev888 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 22:27

What is 'best' depends on what your objectives are. Rehydrating in warm sterile water is (without question) best for the yeast. Pitching direct into the wort is best for convenience, and perhaps also best for reducing risk of infection - especially where disinfection techniques are in question.

Boiled & cooled wort drawn off early in brew day can be used to essentially wake a yeast starter that has gone past high krausen, or to get previously hydrated dry yeast going a bit, prior to pitching into the full volume.

TBH, I'm not sure if pitching dry yeast into a sample of warm wort is any advantage over pitching direct into wort in the FV at fermentation temperature, neither are completely ideal from the yeast's perspective. But maybe if done before the main body of wort is ready, then getting the yeast under way earlier may be somewhat beneficial.

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Re: Pitching temperature

Postby serum » Thu May 11, 2017 08:50

I try to pitch low but it depends on where I can get the wort to. I'll try around 17-20 in autumn - spring. In the summer I make saison which you can pitch at 30 if you want.

One thing I generally find is that as long as I get a good starter going with liquid yeast, the temperature tends to stay pretty stable until around 24 hours in. I don't have temperature control so I'll put the fermenter in a bucket and fill it full of cold water with ice blocks in it at that point if needed. That seems to avoid fusels.

With a fridge I'd shoot for the lower bit of the range if I want a cleaner flavour, particularly in the first three days.

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