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Wyeast Laboratories

Commercial Breweries Frequently Asked Questions

We strive to answer all of your yeast related questions. If you have not found your answer on our site, please submit your question using our contact us form.  We will get back to you with an answer, and may even post your question here for others to read!

Click on each question to link down to the answers.

1. I can’t afford to purchase direct pitch quantities, can I still use Wyeast products?
2. I need yeast right away; can Wyeast deliver on short notice?
3. I received my yeast, but was not able to use it right away. How long can I store my yeast before using it?
4. I don’t have space to propagate; do you sell direct pitch quantities?
5. I pitched my yeast and I’m not seeing any activity in my blow-off or airlock. Should I pitch more yeast?
6. I brewed a high gravity beer; can I re-pitch the yeast from this batch?
7. My fermentation is not attenuating..
8. I propagated my yeast and then brewed in on top of it. My fermentation is very slow or has not started at all. What happened?
9. My beer is not clearing, what is wrong with my yeast?

Answers


1. I can’t afford to purchase direct pitch quantities, can I still use Wyeast products?

Wyeast sells yeast customized to fit your needs. We will help you to determine a propagation schedule that works with your budget and your system.
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2. I need yeast right away; can Wyeast deliver on short notice?

Yes, Wyeast has many of our most popular strains available for immediate shipment. In most cases, one week is the longest you will have to wait. In rare cases, 2 weeks is required but this is usually for custom strains or strains that are not frequently ordered.
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3. I received my yeast, but was not able to use it right away. How long can I store my yeast before using it?

It is best to use your yeast within 2 weeks of receipt. The length of storage will directly and negatively affect the lag time. If the yeast must be held for more than 2 week, it is beneficial to feed the culture before using it. Bring the culture out of cold storage and add it to fresh, well aerated or oxygenated sterile wort (about 2 gallon per 1 liter of yeast). Allow the culture to ferment for 24 to 48 hours at 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C) and then use the culture as you normally would
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4. I don’t have space to propagate; do you sell direct pitch quantities?

Wyeast sells direct pitch quantities for any size brewery. We customize your pitch rate to match the yeast, beer style, temperature, and original gravity.
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5. I pitched my yeast and I’m not seeing any activity in my blow-off or airlock. Should I pitch more yeast?

Always take a gravity reading before making any assumptions. It is not unusual for blow-offs or airlocks to have leaks and therefore show no activity. A gravity reading is the only way to get an accurate idea of what is happening in your fermenter. If you take a gravity reading and it still shows no activity, then you must try to figure out what is inhibiting fermentation. The only factors that could keep the yeast from fermenting are: temperatures too low or too high at run-in, no oxygenation at run-in, pitch rates too low, or a very unhealthy yeast culture. The most common problem is the run-in temperature. If the temperature was too low, warm up the wort. If the temperature was too high, the culture is most likely irreversibly damaged and you need to pitch more yeast immediately. Oxygenation and agitation will also stimulate the yeast and speed the onset of fermentation.
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6. I brewed a high gravity beer; can I re-pitch the yeast from this batch?

NO!! Do not re-pitch yeast from a high gravity beer; the yeast is not healthy and will give you problems in subsequent generations.
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7. My fermentation is not attenuating..

Perform a forced fermentation test (See QC/Wort Section of this site) on your beer to determine where the problem is coming from. Forced Ferment Does Not Attenuate- The wort is not fermentable. • Check the mash temperature and times. Did you test for conversion (Iodine)? • Check the mash thermometer. • Check the grist. Forced Ferment Does Attenuate- The wort is fermentable, but the fermentation is failing. • What generation are you on? • How long did you store your yeast and at what temperature? • What was your pitch rate in comparison to your original gravity? (See Pitch Rate Section) • Have you checked your oxygenation system for leaks recently to be certain that you are achieving the level of dissolved oxygen required? • Is the fermentation temperature appropriate for the yeast strain? • Have you calibrated your thermometers recently to be certain that the temperature readings you are getting are accurate? • Are you using a yeast nutrient to ensure that you have adequate levels of essential micronutrients and free amino nitrogen?
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8. I propagated my yeast and then brewed in on top of it. My fermentation is very slow or has not started at all. What happened?

When propagating, it is important to pitch at least 10 million cells per milliliter (1 liter per barrel or hectoliter) to get a rapid, healthy start. Do not exceed a 10 fold increase in volume with each step. Allow each propagation step to attenuate 75% (take a gravity reading, confirming 75% attenuation) before brewing on top. Maintain propagation temperatures of 68-72°F (20-23°C) for rapid and healthy growth.
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9. My beer is not clearing, what is wrong with my yeast?

: Many times protein haze may be mistaken for non-flocculating yeast. First confirm that it is yeast in suspension and not protein by performing a Haze Test. Haze Determination Test Decant 50 ml of hazy beer into a clear sample container. Add 2ml. caustic (40-50%). Shake. If beer turns clear, the problem is protein in suspension. If beer remains cloudy, yeast is still in suspension. Flocculation and clarification are very complex. Many times clarification problems have nothing to do with the yeast, but instead with the environment that the yeast is in. Yeast will flocculate and sediment given time unless something inhibits this. A combination of environmental factors including pH, alcohol content, temperature, sugar concentration, and ion content can negatively affect flocculation and sedimentation. Environmental conditions will affect the flocculation abruptly, showing large differences in subsequent fermentations. It is also possible for yeast to mutate to a less flocculent form. This is usually a very gradual process, over the course of many generations. Every time a brewer harvests their yeast, they have the opportunity to select for a slightly different population. Over a number of generations, the population can show a change in flocculation and thus probably population. It is important for the brewer to try to harvest yeast from the same area in the fermenter to minimize possible changes. (See section on Harvesting)
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