Week 3: YEAST!
February 22, 2011
This entire week will focus on the single most important part of the brewing process: yeast. Yeast are critical to beer, and properly handling those tiny little guys will lead to drastic improvements in the beer you make. Of course, all of this is biochemistry, which I have zero experience with, but it’s still all been fascinating so far.
I’ll admit that yeast handling is one aspect of brewing I’ve never put a significant amount of thought into. Though, once I began making starters with my yeast, my beers definitely improved quite a bit. The problem on a homebrew scale is that proper yeast handling involves equipment that costs money for little “perceived gain”. I’ve never invested in an oxygen tank and diffusion stone to aerate the wort before pitching yeast, though that can make a huge difference in fermentation. (sterol production during oxygen uptake is important for alcohol tolerance in the yeast and better stress resistance) I’ve never invested in a fermentation chamber to allow for controlled temperatures, which is also pretty important for beer quality.
The one thing I have done with yeast is that I began propagating yeast in starters a few years ago. That made an immediate impact on my fermentations. Now I want to do more, so I’ll likely be laying out some plans when once I figure out where I’m moving once the course here is over.