3 gallon batch - can I use the whole vial without starter?

Post #1 made 4 years ago

I will do a 3 gallon batch of Hefeweizen for my next brew and I wonder if I can pitch the whole Wyeast 3068 pack without making a starter? According to their webpage, the "Activator" yeasts are designed to be used without any starter for beers under 60 OG (mine is 48) for 5 gallon batches, so I am afraid that I will overpitch. However according to mr malty I should be OK.

What do you think? Maybe I should not use the "Activator" nutrient?

If using half the vial, can I save the rest in the freezer?

Post #4 made 4 years ago
His calculator is good, as you mentioned .. and the one I use is also saying the same thing. I'd just dump the whole thing with no worries ... even if the pack shows up and is 2-3mos old. Any more than that and I'd make a starter.

Another option is to make a small starter anyway (if you have the equipment), and overbuild it by 100 billion cells ... pour into a sanitized jar. It's nice to have if fermentation doesn't go all that well.

Everything you need is right here for that ...

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Post #5 made 4 years ago
I don't have an answer for you, sorry. But I would like to point out that if you are making a Hefe, it could be a good idea to underpitch in order to get the flavor profile that you want. A stressed fermentation will produce some esters which are desirable in most Hefe's. This is something that you have to experiment with over time to find the flavor profile that you most like.

A high fermentation temp may also do the trick...
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Post #6 made 4 years ago
Pitch the whole vial, you'll be fine.

With a Hefe, this is one situation where fermentation temperature is the critical factor in the finished product: @ 70F will give a good balanced profile, if you like "clove" stay on the low side 64-68F, if you like a banana bomb let it ferment @ 72-75F.

I like balanced myself, clove is not my favorite flavor in a beer and I overdid it once with the "banana bomb" (yuck)..


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Post #9 made 4 years ago
Kangarooster -
I often brew 3 gallon batches and often just pitch the pack. Just remember that based on how big the beer will be may require more than one pack. I am planning a witbier recipe out of Brewing Classic Styles that will be 3 gallons and I think one vial of WLP will be enough (as long as it is not old). The other thing I might do is toss in a little yeast energizer and nutrient (left over from a braggot experiment where the yeast needed an extra "umph" to get through the honey). Not sure how many folks use energizers/nutrients. Others may have some comments on that.

Also, I learned that on the 3 gallon and smaller batches you want to make sure you take good measurements (less room for error - Thanks again on that one PP).

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Post #10 made 4 years ago
Kangarooster wrote:Thank you all for your answers.

How about other beer styles e.g. Wit? Would I be fine pitching the whole pack then also (w/o starter)?
This is a good question, but I'm not able to give you an in-depth answer. As a general rule, if you want a "clean" tasting beer, pitch the recommended amount of yeast and keep the fermentation temp in the recommended range. If you want a beer that has a lot of yeast character (saison, hefe, etc.) you can experiment with pitching less than recommended amounts of yeast and run a warm fermentation.

There is a lot of research out there on pitching rates, hopefully the community here can share some helpful links with you.

Here's a start:

On pitch rates and starters:
http://beerandwinejournal.com/simple-yeast-starter/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

On high temp yeasts:
http://beerandwinejournal.com/high-temp-yeast/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I hope this helps a little.
Last edited by flhb on 06 Feb 2016, 03:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #11 made 4 years ago
Thank you.

I decided to do a wit and pitched the whole pack after activation. The fermentation commenced within 8 hrs. At first I had small white layer of foam on the surface but today, two days later, I have a thicker foam with large bubbles. I used Wyeast 3944. I turned off the radiator and started the fermentation around 19 C (66 F), and I planning to gradually increase the temperature as fermentation progress.



Sorry for the bad pictures. The fermentation bucket is opaque making it hard to focus.

This is a Hoegaarden clone btw.

Last edited by Kangarooster on 09 Feb 2016, 01:22, edited 1 time in total.

Post #12 made 4 years ago
I have no more foam on the surface but the beer is smelling like rotten eggs (H2S), but it is my understanding that his can be expected with this yeast? Should I blow some CO2 in the bucket to purge it? The problem is that the airlock does not bubble anymore so I guess the H2S will be trapped if I don't do something. Maybe if I rack to secondary (didn't intend to that initially) it will disappear?

Post #13 made 4 years ago
If the beer is Clearing, you can Transfer to a Secondary to Finish it.

Hefe and Lager Yeast do create H2S, so do not be concerned.

But, What is the current Specific Gravity??

Secondary is used to let the Beer Clear over Time, instead of using Clarifiers and Filters.
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.
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Post #14 made 4 years ago
I think you are rushing things a bit. The yeast are still working on cleaning things up even tho there is no airlock activity. I would let it sit for another week and then cold crash before racking into packaging.
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