If you are new to homebrewing, you might have heard the phrase’ pitch your yeast’ frequently and wondered what it means. Well, it merely means adding yeast to your wort. The process might not be as simple as the lingo. Without correct conditions, the yeast won’t turn your wort into beer.
Pitching yeast is more than just adding it-
It should be added correctly to make a good beer.
The Right Temperature to Pitch Yeast
Not too Hot. Not too Cold.
It would be best if you don’t pitch your yeast right after boiling the wort. It is too hot for the yeast to survive and carry out the process of fermentation.
This is why cooling the wort before adding yeast is essential.
However, if the wort is too cold, the yeast won’t be activated to start its job.
Now we know how important temperature is while brewing a perfect batch of beer. Hence, many fermenters come with a temperature gauge on the side. If not, you can use a thermometer to keep a record of the temperature manually.
The ideal fermentation temperature for ales ranges from 68-73° F. If you are using a beer kit, and your manufacturer says differently, you should trust them. They know what they are lending you.
On following proper instructions and keeping a close eye on the fermentation temperature, you won’t have any disasters with the yeast.
There are two ways of pitching yeast to your malt.
Once you have cooled the wort to the right temperature, you are ready to add yeast. You can add the packet that came with your home brewing kit directly into the wort. This is pitching yeast’ dry.’
Tip: Check the temperature before adding yeast.
However, for better results, you can re-hydrate your yeast before adding it to the wort.
A lot of professional brewers tend to hydrate the yeast before pitching it. The reason behind it is-
Sometimes, the concentration of sugar in the wort can be high. This makes it difficult for yeast to absorb water and activate itself to begin the process of fermentation.
In our experience, dry yeast from a beer kit is just as good as it comes. But if your wort is concentrated with sugars and fermentables, re-hydrating your yeast will give your process a head start. Do it just before you want to add it to the wort.
If you intend to use liquid yeast instead of dry, you should pitch it to a starter wort instead of the entire batch.
A yeast starter lets yeast multiply (reproduce) before adding it to the wort. With an increase in the number of yeast cells, you get the bear of your choice.
How to make a Yeast-starter
It is simple
- Boil a little amount of water and malt extract
- Let it cool
- Mix it with liquid yeast in a vessel with an airlock
How does it work
Foam stopper allows a little amount of oxygen into the vessel. With oxygen or aerobic respiration,yeast ferments very little, just enough to increase in the cell count. With the use of a stir plate, you can keep the yeast in suspension for increased activity and, thus, better results.
If you cannot use a stir plate, you can give the vessel a good swirl from time to time. A healthy yeast starter will give out bubbles of carbon dioxide from the solution.
1-2 days is enough time for the yeast starters generally. (some strains might take longer time)
You should pitch the starter at or just after the peak activity when the number of cells has increased substantially,and the yeast is still active. This way, when you add it to the entire wort, it will set the high ground for fermentation.
Dry yeasthas much more yeast cells per packet than liquid yeast. It can be stored at higher temperatures for up to six months. But, it is advised to use it as soon as possible because, with every passing month, a few cells lose their viability.
Liquid yeast needs storage at lower temperatures and proper aeration before use.
Follow the instructions on your yeast packet that comes with your homebrewing beer kit
Yeast is the heart of your beer. Pitch it correctly to enjoy a beerworth all your hard work of weeks.