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Pitching Rates, Wyeast 1214, yeast viability and the Wyeast calculator.

I was going to brew a 1.065 Belgian Blonde on Sunday so I went and got a smack pack of Wyeast 1214 yesterday.
Mr Malty’s pitching rate calculator told me I needed to do a 3.8L starter to get up to the right pitching rate which was fine. Then I seen the extra box in the top right where you put in the date the yeast was manufactured. My yeast was from the 3rd of August. Mr Maltys calculator then told me that the viability of the yeast was only 10% for yeast that old and that I would need a really big starter and about 8 packs of yeast. Does yest viability really drop that fast.

Anyway I’m looking at a few steps of starter before I can have enough yeast, which won’t happen before Sunday unfortunately. I was thinking I could make a smaller beer on Sunday and get the yeast off that. Question is, what lower gravity beer can I make with Wyeast 1214. Most of the Belgian beers seem pretty strong.

Also, after I finally get enough yeast to make the 1.065 (7%ish) beer – would you reuse the yeast off that? Or will the yeast be a bit worn out from the 7% alchohol. Surely the Belgians must reuse their yeast from highish gravity beers rather than doing masses of starters.

And while we are at it, I heard a while ago that the Wyeast calculator is primarily focused on from when you pitch the starter to high Krausin, and that if you let it ferment to completion you get lots more yeast than the calculator says….any truth to that do you reckon?

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As I understand it, when the starter is in high krausen, it is in a different phase. (Namely multiplying.) It also seems that Palmer says the following:

"Because the yeast in the starter wort have produced a specific set of enzymes for that wort's sugar profile. If those yeast are then pitched to a different wort, with a different relative percentage of sugars, the yeast will be impaired and the fermentation may be affected. Kind of like trying to change boats in mid-stream. This is especially true for starter worts made from extract that includes refined sugars. Yeast that has been eating sucrose, glucose/dextrose, or fructose will quit making the enzyme that allows it to eat maltose - the main sugar of brewer's wort."

Basically, when you are in high krausen, the profile has not changed that much yet.
JR, Mr Maltys yeast pitch rate is set at the American Pitch rates for 'Common ales' and is a very usefull how ever Belgians dont allways pitch at the same rates of Americans, I pitched 3/4 of what Mr Malty said at 18 deg and let it ramp upto 24 and the ale has come out spot on, Nice and estery with some really nice phenols, and it attenuated to were its supposed to. If you pitch to much sometimes the yeast might come out to clean and un Belgian like
I made a Belgian Ale at about 5% with 'Ardennes' yeast - then used the pitching rate calc to calculate how much of the slurry to use in my 10% golden strong.
Thanks for the replies

I come up with a soloution, do you think it would work?

1 – Put my 0.1 of a Wyeast pack into a 1.5l (0.39G) starter (did it last night) and let it ferment to completion (by Saturday?)

2 – Cool it and pour off the liquid. Mash and Boil up a 3.8L (1Gallon) 1.040 starter with pilsner malt and pitch with previous starter into a carboy 24 hours before the next step.

3 – Brew 4 Gallons of my beer with a higher gravity to compensate for the gallon of starter liquid, cool it and put it directly into the carboy with the 1 Gallon starter.

According to the Wyeast calculator I should be at my target pitching rate by then.

Sorry about using gallons, that’s what the wyeast calculator uses.
Looks like that plans not going to happen either... only just getting signs of life out of starter number 1 36 hours after pitching - no way its going to be done on time.

Looks like I'm making something with US-05 on Sunday.
looks like an ok plan to me - I'm sure if you pitched it at high krausen rather than waiting for it to ferment out you will still get the right results.


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