A Few First Batch Questions

Question

I just brewed my first batch of beer and made a few mistakes by not following the recipe closely. I was curious what effect those mistakes will have…

1. Does it matter when you add malt extract to the boil? The recipe I was following said to add the dry malt extract at the beginning and the liquid malt extract at the end. I don’t think the boil changes the characteristics of the DME or LME, but does its presence affect the way the hops flavor the wort?

2. I accidentally pitched twice the amount of yeast I was supposed to. How will this affect the fermentation process?

3. I live in Mississippi, so it’s always warm. I don’t have a temperature-controlled environment in which to ferment, but the room where I’m fermenting is always between 75 and 80 degrees. I know this isn’t ideal for most batches, but how big of an effect will a marginally high fermentation temperature have on the beer?

Answer

1. I think when you add hops (bittering, aromatic, dry hopping) is more of an issue than the malt. Typically you would add all the DME and LME early in the boil of the wort.

2. There really isn’t such a thing as “too much yeast”. As a rule of thumb, more is better than less. In theory you could ferment your wort with a single viable yeast cell, but this would degrade with subsequent generations. The other reason for more yeast means that more of the desired yeast cells will dig into the sugars instead of any potential contaminants, molds, wild yeast, etc. Any “extra yeast” after fermentation will simply flocculate out and settle to the bottom of your fermentation vessel, which incidentally could be removed and cultured for future batches.

3. Ideal fermentation temperature has everything to do with the particular yeast and beer style you are making. While ales may be in the 70-75 degree range, lagers ferment at much lower temperatures. Higher temps will probably yield faster fermentation, but will negatively affect flavor (diacetyl). I would say that 75-80 degrees is on the high side for any type of yeast I’m familiar with.

2 thoughts on “A Few First Batch Questions

  1. Pingback: What The Best Method For Adding Hops To My Brew? | Beer Brewers Guide

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