While most of this information has been covered in previous posts, we have a new product on the shelf that we wanted to highlight, and it is always good to go over things that are important. There is a new player in the liquid yeast scene. GigaYeast, Inc. "laboratory was opened in July 2011 to create perfect.... And by perfect we mean the right yeast, the right pitch rate and no detectable contamination.”
GigaYeast as a product for a couple of reasons; One, they offer some yeast strands that are not available from both Wyeast and White Labs, and Two, they provide a real pitchable yeast for the consumer without the need for a starter, for most 5 gallon batches of ale.
Putting the correct amount of yeast in your beer can be one of the easiest ways to eliminate off-flavors. However, it is probably one of the most common oversights by the home brewer. Most people like the variety available in liquid yeast, and feel like it is a better product than the dry counterpart, but the fact is, the large Wyeast pack and the standard Whitelabs vial, contain about half the necessary yeast for clean start to fermentation for a 5%, 5 gallon batch of ale. Doing a yeast starter is a great way to use liquid yeast correctly, but many beginners are intimidated by them. Giga Yeast has twice as many yeast cells at the time of packaging as their liquid yeast counterparts, which is ideal for many beers.
We of course recommend figuring out what your correct pitch rate should be for any beer before adding your yeast. While pitching yeast is a fairly straight forward process, there is a bit of mathematical magic happening in the background that has to do with keeping your yeast cells happy and healthy. But, since math is hard and magic doesn't exist, let's make this as easy as possible, first we need to find how many degrees Plato your beer wort will be. Like specific gravity, Plato is just a measure of density, and approximating Plato can be done by taking the numbers after the decimal of your Original Gravity (O.G.) and dividing them by 4. So, an O.G. of 1.048 would be 12 degrees Plato (1.080 would be 20 degrees Plato). Once you know how
to find Plato you can easily find your pitch rate using one of the below:
Find Plato, double that number, add a zero after it, and then say billion after that... it's easy. “My recipe is going to have a 1.048 O.G, so 48 divided by 4 is 12, double that is 24, or 240... Billion”. Subtract 25% for ales, or add 25% for lagers.
Or, an even shorter version; calculate Plato, then times that number by 15. That is it for ales. Double that number for Lagers.