How to Make Beer


Step 9: Pitching the Yeast

Picture of Pitching the Yeast
Pitching yeast is the brewing term for adding yeast to the unfermented wort. If the wort, now in your fermenter, is approximately room temperature you can pitch the yeast. If the sides of the fermenter are warm to the touch then let the wort cool to room temperature before pitching the yeast. Note: A package of brewers yeast typically contains an amount for a 5 gallon batch so pour approximately half a package into the fermenter. A little more than half is fine and it's probably better to be a little over than a little under.
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el kabong9 years ago
It's pretty much impossible to use too much yeast- go ahead and add the whole packet. One thing that helps, actually, is to rehydrate the yeast before 'pitching'. While you are cooling the raw beer, add the yeast packet to a cup of lukewarm water.
This is great advice, especially with the yeast in cheap beer kits and old beer kits. One of the few major things that can go wrong is the yeast dying. If you make a starter you a) confirm there's life in the yeast (if not you can make another starter and not waste the wort) and b) give whatever yeast is still alive a huge boost before it's expected to do all the heavy lifting in the wort.
Making a starter with dry yeast isn't a great idea. Proofing it maybe (especially since you aren't using the whole packet.)
Now liquid yeast, thats a different story.
Hi there. Could you explain why making a starter with dry yeast isn't it a great idea?
Its not recommended, not needed more then enough cells for a batch in a packet (for a standard OG/FG beer). Dry yeast has the nutrients in the packet.
#6 here:

Plus you are the only one I have heard to say to make a starter with dry yeast. (proofing is a different story, that tells if the yeast is viable)
I've never read on a packet to do so, or that its an option. Only option is rehydrate, which is far from a starter.

A starter just works the yeast ahead of time for no reason/gain, other then the possiblilty of over pitching.
(Keep in mind also that this instructable is for a ~1/2 of a 5 gallon batch, a single packet pitched directly into the cooled wort will do *just* fine; rehydrated even better. A starter no gain.)

other links: (most say pointless, but not a bad idea either. But whats your time worth? me? $125 an hour. So why bother with an extra day making a starter, boiling up the DME, cooling pitching, stir plate, etc. Then brew a day or so later when its FAR from needed or even a good idea/practice? Reydrating while the wort is cooling is zero added time)
Hi all I'm the newbe but I have brewed beer a few times in my life before and el kabong has a great point here I had a batch go dad because of bad yeast really sloooooooooow yeast too so it is a great idea to put the yeast in warm water first you will get an idea as to how fast it will work. I like this place here I will be kicking back enjoying my home brew in a few weeks.
I think I may have had one to many dad=bad
Matt D6556 years ago
I also reccomend that u store your beer in your basement,the sunlight isnt good for it.
twinklystar7 years ago
thanks again! i think it might have been too warm even though it was touchable, i used the yeast what you sprinkle onto the top of the wort i was praying for bubbles this morning there is foam and it does look moldy so you never no! i can't wait to try it just don't want to get ill from it.
twinklystar7 years ago
hello can anyone help me please, its my first time with beer, i followed these instructions very carefully and i've buaght a airlock fit it proper tight on the lid and its stopped bubbling is this normal? its been bubbling for a day and a half and all of a sudden stopped! i have been very clean with everything and used good yeast too.
imarunner2 (author)  twinklystar7 years ago
It's possible your fermentation is finished. I've had some go as quickly as a few days and some for a couple of weeks. When the air lock was bubbling were the bubbles coming very rapidly? Can you give more details on the exact yeast you used and your approximate fermentation temperature?
thankyou for a speedy answer! the way it was bubbling wasn't frantic just every 30seconds it was still warm at first not hot and then cool when it stopped so i've moved it somewhere warmer i used that muntons gold stuff i'm not sure what i'm going to end up with. if it doesn't work this time then i'm going to try agian i've really enjoyed it so far.
imarunner2 (author)  twinklystar7 years ago
My advice would be to continue and assume that all is well at this point. When it comes time to bottle taste what you've made. If it tastes really sweet then something happened preventing the yeast from completing fermentation. I'm wondering from you previous comment if you may have pitched the yeast before cooling your wort properly. If it was warm to the touch when you pitched your yeast then it was probably too warm.
80391807 years ago
a good tip before pitching, make sure the yeast is alive. an easy way to do that is pur it in some warm water, and add some sugar. if its alive, it shud start foaming. also, if u want to make alcohol free beer, u can actually stop here. u will need to use a diffrent carbonation method. adding alil yeast will give u what they have on the shelf. it shud come out to .05% alcohol wen ur done. or no alcohol at all if u dont add any yeast.
imarunner2 (author)  80391807 years ago
Stay tuned for my upcoming instructable for making a yeast starter using a magnetic stir plate...
z_hick8 years ago
Question, what is in the air lock that looks like water of is it just the air lock?
jabels z_hick8 years ago
It is probably water, although since I brew with a very sanitation obsessed pal(which is a good thing) we actually use a bit of cheap vodka, with the thinking that the vodka will kill anything that does get in there. Water though should work fine, the fermentation creates a positive pressure inside the fermenter, and CO2 just bubbles out, but the water stops outside air flowing in.
imarunner2 (author)  jabels7 years ago
I also use cheap vodka although when I started out I used water and never had a problem.
cbhargava8 years ago
The yeast can be washed and reused several number of times. Here is a tutorial on Washing Yeast