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ptulmer

Yeast Energizer test - CAL blew it's top!

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So, I made three batches last night.  Each with a varied amount of white sugar.  On the table was a package of goods recently order to try out some Hobo wine on the wife... for the wife! I meant for the wife!  Inside the package was a product with a cool name.  "Yeast Energizer".  Hey, I want energetic yeast!  So this morning when I came down about 8 hrs after pitching the last yeast, I found a surprise.  CAL w/1 cup of white sugar and a full dose of Energizer added post boil had leaked krausen down the side!  GBP with 1/2 cup white sugar and a full dose of Energizer added at boil had already shot past high krausen and had nothing but trub and a yeast cake on the bottom.  The Aztec got a half dose of yeast nutrients and a half dose of energizer.  It seems to be fermenting at a steady, if slightly accelerated rate.

 

I use well water from the tap, so the results here surprised me.  But there is no doubt in my mind that Yeast Energizer made a difference in my situation.  Is it necessary to make good beer?  That's a good question, and one that may be related to water quality.  I can tell you that two of my last four batches were horrible.  No matter how long they conditioned, the flavor remained the same and the color was way too dark.  Looking back, I may have experience my first stuck fermentations.  I think if all three of these turn out good, I will be using it myself.  Maybe just as a good luck charm...  One thing for sure, I'm finally going to have to buy a hydrometer. 

 

 

 

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While yeast nutrient/energizer works well, it's not necessary for brewing good beer. I usually only use it when my yeast might be a bit old, or I'm doing a very high gravity beer, or it's a special yeast that does better with nutrient. But it won't hurt to use it for every batch, if you wish (it's a waste of nutrient if you ask me).

One thing I wouldn't recommend is the use of cane sugar in your beer. It will make your beer taste very dry and cidery, and that's usually not a desirable trait. If you're trying to boost alcohol, I recommend using unhopped malt extract, corn sugar (dextrose), or our Booster (dextrose/maltodextrin). Steer clear of the cane sugar except for when using for carbonation.

The exception to this would be Belgian ales. They tend to use a bit of sugar in most of their beers (it's usually beet sugar, but cane sugar can be used as a substitute). But it works well in those beers due to the special yeasts they use. Another time you can use cane sugar with great effect is brewing with brown sugar. It will sometimes impart a rum-like note that can be desirable in some stouts and porters (sometimes other beers, too. We recently did an IPA with brown sugar in it. It was VERY good.). But white sugar isn't usually recommended.
 

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It's unclear what you did prior or your exact process now, but you should NOT be boiling the HMEs.  As far as stuck fermentations, if you follow Mr. Beer's directions they are unlikely.

 

There is no reason to add either yeast nutrients or yeast energizer to any Mr. Beer brews.  I would also recommend NOT adding sugar to any of the brews - what is it that you're trying to accomplish?

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From what I understand, there are a few IPAs that use sugar to dry out the beer, bring the FG down, and it seems to let the hops shine through better when it's dry. Some of the top-rated beers use sugar, like Pliny The Elder & Heady Topper. There is even discussion elsewhere (i.e., not on this site) that the sugar=cidery proclamation is just a myth.

 

I used 1/2 cup of white cane sugar in my Helluva IPA, used to make the beer drier and to help the hops I added shine through in the final product. This will stay in my FV for 3 weeks, then carb/condition for 3 weeks, and then I taste one to see if it's ready. I will let you all know how my experiment goes.

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From what I understand, there are a few IPAs that use sugar to dry out the beer, bring the FG down, and it seems to let the hops shine through better when it's dry. Some of the top-rated beers use sugar, like Pliny The Elder & Heady Topper. There is even discussion elsewhere (i.e., not on this site) that the sugar=cidery proclamation is just a myth.

 

I used 1/2 cup of white cane sugar in my Helluva IPA, used to make the beer drier and to help the hops I added shine through in the final product. This will stay in my FV for 3 weeks, then carb/condition for 3 weeks, and then I taste one to see if it's ready. I will let you all know how my experiment goes.

 

Like I said, there are some exceptions, including some IPAs, but the sugar=cidery proclamation is NOT a myth. This is from personal and professional experience. If the beer has a large flavor profile (such as hoppy IPAs or robust stouts/porters) cane sugar can be used without experiencing much cider notes, but when using in light beers like the ones the OP is brewing, the cider flavor will be prominent.

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About fifteen years ago I tossed all my beer making stuff in the trash.  With a kid on the way, I had other things on my mind.  Now I just want to get them off my mind...  Back then the Mr Beer manual spoke of using white sugar and I found that I liked the slightly drier taste.  So I'm not chasing a higher alcohol content, it's just a remembered preference.  I am experimenting as the HME's are supposedly different now that Coopers makes them.  Not going full-blown mad scientist.

 

RickBeer, funny you should mention boiling the HME.  One of the mistakes I made was to put the HME in the pot while the water was still on the burner.  Process, process, process.  I caught myself and don't do that anymore.  Does it sound like I scorched the HME instead of a stalled fermentation?  I bought a six-pack of Fat Tire once and although it had much more green apple to it, it was remarkably similar to my version of the chugalug and american gold recipe.  (both ended tasting identical and were red in color)

 

And adding the yeast energizer was a bit "mad scientist" as I wanted to see the result.  Darned if the CAL isn't still blowing it's top!  I was more hoping for a quick and complete finish to get to bottling quicker.  (Wish I hadn't tossed the hydrometer)

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Your personal preference is more important than our recommendations. If it works for you, by all means, keep it up! Glad to have you back in the world of brewing! :D

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Like I said, there are some exceptions, including some IPAs, but the sugar=cidery proclamation is NOT a myth. This is from personal and professional experience. If the beer has a large flavor profile (such as hoppy IPAs or robust stouts/porters) cane sugar can be used without experiencing much cider notes, but when using in light beers like the ones the OP is brewing, the cider flavor will be prominent.

 

Yeah, I definitely was not speaking from experience there, no worries. I am only on my third batch of beer altogether!

 

 :)

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And adding the yeast energizer was a bit "mad scientist" as I wanted to see the result.  Darned if the CAL isn't still blowing it's top!  I was more hoping for a quick and complete finish to get to bottling quicker.  (Wish I hadn't tossed the hydrometer)

 

That's some impressive krausen! Is that from just one packet of Mr. Beer/Cooper's yeast? I hear that can be a beast, so 5g of yeast + your energizer = impressive!

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1 pack Mr Beer yeast and 1 tsp LD Carson yeast energizer.  Funny thing, I wouldn't have thought CAL could be that energetic.  If you notice, the Grand Bohemian has no krausen.  At 8 o'clock this morning it was already like that.  Wish I had a camera on it last night. 

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I am planning on making a blonde soon, I will be sure to use the Mr. Beer yeast instead of buying a packet of something else from my LHBS. I guess I was reading about the old (pre-Coopers) yeast, where the packets weighed only 2g and most people weren't that happy with it, and just assumed it wasn't really worth using. Since then, I have read that the Coopers yeast is a good product, and with only 2.125 gallon batches, 5g is surely enough. 

 

My apologies to Mr. Beer for ever doubting the quality of the kits!

 

 :)

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That energizer is a blend of diammonium phosphate (DAP), yeast hulls, magnesium sulphate, and vitamin B complex. The DAP will especially cause your yeast to be extra active (it's usually only used in winemaking). The only issue with this is that it tends to make healthy yeast work much faster and harder. This can contribute to off-flavors. Like I said, it's really best when used with large gravity worts, old yeast, or stuck ferments. "Slow and low" (a slow ferment at low temps) is ideal for a successful beer with few off-flavors.

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That's a neat idea of putting the can label on the keg, to show what's fermenting. I use a printout from the Mr. Beer instructions with the notes, brewing, bottling, drinking dates.

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Yeah, I definitely was not speaking from experience there, no worries. I am only on my third batch of beer altogether!

 

  :)

There is quite a lot of volume from brewers around the internet that support your thought.  I can only assume this is where you get it from.

I was talking with the brewmaster from one the local breweries on my way home from work (Pair O' Dice Brewing), and he uses a lot of sugar in his beers to bring the ABV up.

But, as JoshR has mentioned, these are mostly IPAs with a ton of bitterness and hop-forward flavor.

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JoshR, I wish you were my doctor.  Can't get him to say anything straightforward like that.  My takeaway is that yeast energizer=yeast crack and crack is bad.  I'm going to order several CAL refills and use no adjunct and LME.  Assuming this batch isn't ruined...  And get a baseline.  I've made a Bavarian Weissbeir standard refill as the old MrB version was my favorite.  A lot has changed in the last fifteen years and a lot has been forgotten (by me).

 

Tony, I have a knife in my pocket, not a printer. :)  Can't wait until those are pocket sized!  But I do mark anything different from the recipe on the back and date it.

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I will admit, as much as I see others talking about the sugar=cidery "myth", I do only see recipes with sugar added to either IPAs or Belgians, like Josh said.

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The Belgians add sugar to their beer all the time. It's usually beet sugar (Belgian Candi sugar), but chemically, beet sugar and cane sugar are both sucrose and provide little to no difference in flavor or effect (unless using the darker Candi sugars. They are fairly unique in flavor.). But you'll be hard pressed to find a lager or pale ale that has sucrose in it other than for bottle conditioning. Even in my IPAs I use dextrose instead because it's a cleaner, more neutral fermenting sugar than sucrose and it does a better job at highlighting the hops. Another disadvantage of using sucrose is that it can also make the beer taste "hot" (alcoholic). This may be desirable in more complex beers, but not so much in a lager or pale ale. But some people are into that, I suppose.

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The Belgians add sugar to their beer all the time. It's usually beet sugar (Belgian Candi sugar), but chemically, beet sugar and cane sugar are both sucrose and provide little to no difference in flavor or effect (unless using the darker Candi sugars. They are fairly unique in flavor.). But you'll be hard pressed to find a lager or pale ale that has sucrose in it other than for bottle conditioning. Even in my IPAs I use dextrose instead because it's a cleaner, more neutral fermenting sugar than sucrose and it does a better job at highlighting the hops. Another disadvantage of using sucrose is that it can also make the beer taste "hot" (alcoholic). This may be desirable in more complex beers, but not so much in a lager or pale ale. But some people are into that, I suppose.

The unfermentables in malt helps "hide" the alcohol taste.

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I bottled the CAL last night and have a quick update.  It turned out fine, if a bit watery in flavor compared to the first CAL I brewed up.  Despite using a cup of white sugar, there was no flavor component.  It seems like a technical success, but I won't be repeating it.  Washing the LBK was a nightmare and watery isn't a goal.  Still, this did show that pitching energizer after the boil gives an energetic response by the yeast.  Both the others had the energizer or nutrient put in during the boil and were more normal fermentations. 

 

Although the GB had what appeared to be trub earlier, it did begin normal fermentation shortly after the last picture and appears to be ready also.  Might give it a taste test tonight and clean some bottles.

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Sugar don't add flavor, just alcohol(that = dries out) With a CAL it'll also make the mouth feel thinner.(a hoppier beer, i.e. an APA, you'd probably never notice it.) Add UME instead of sugar, it'll raise the ABV(just like sucrose/dextrin) but also add malt to off set the whole dry out and thinner mouth feel. Also steeping say 4oz of carapils/carafoam(in an LBK sized batch) will also help the mouth feel and head retention.

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So I've bottled and tasted all three of the batches and they all three had one similar trait.  All three were thinner and slightly watery tasting as compared to a Mr Beer refill fermented normally.  No cider flavor from the sugar.  Although I do have a hydrometer now, I'm not going to repeat this test.  I believe the nutrient and energizer simply effected a more thorough fermentation and in the less "heavy" beer that is not desirable.  All three are drinkable, so it's not a waste!

 

On the bright side, the Bavarian Weissbeir is just as tasty as I hoped!

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Bingo.  Sugar gave you the exact result it should have, has nothing to do with yeast nutrient or yeast energizer.  

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