> Plant fertilizers are generally good for plants, bad for animals.
> Somehow, MiracleGrow in something I'm going to drink just sits with
> me wrong.
I agree with you here, Andrew. I would not care to drink a plant
fertilizer and this would be an issue if you weren't going to distill
the wash. But I get 94% 0r better yield from my home made reflux and
the 6% "other" is just plain distilled water. None of the nutrients
in the wash winds up in the finished product. Besides, most of the
chemicals are the same ones you see in a commercial "yeast nutrient",
so it shouldn't really matter.
> Pitching more than a packet or two of yeast is a complete waste of
> your time. When yeast multiply they double every x amount of time
> (and x is pretty damn quick if there is enough food around). Take a
> look at the amount of trub at the bottom of your fermentor when
> wort is complete. Start with a couple tablespoons of yeast and you
> up with a couple pints of the buggers. even if you added 8 packets
> yeast, 3 doublings of a single packet gets you the same amount. At
> most you're getting a couple hours jump on a week long
> Not worth it.
You are certainly correct Andrew, about yeast growth rates, but you
might consider this; while the yeast are multiplying, they are
competing against bacteria in a nutrient rich environment. You want
to see the yeast get a BIG head start on the bacteria to minimize
potential bacterial infection while the yeast attain the desired
population. If you pitch enough that they begin at or close to the
desired population, you are ahead of the game. I got active
fermentation within one hour after pitching at the high rate. When
underpitching, I have seen lags times as long as 24 hours.
This may not be as critical in distilling as it is in beer brewing,
but it definitely does improve the quality of beer to pitch large
cultures. When I homebrew beer, I pitch as much as a liter and a
half of actively fermenting starter per 5 US gallons(I use liquid
yeast cultures - not dry) and I can definitely state that in the six
years I have done this it has dramaticaly improved the quality of my
beer from the days of pitching at lesser rates. Again, probably not
an issue if using a reflux still, but old habits die hard! :)
One final thought - stuck fermentations - a problem a recent poster
here described, can frequently result from underpitching. It is
virtually impossible to "overpitch", and the slightly higher cost in
time or money to pitch a lot of yeast is well worth it to me.
That being said, if you are getting good results using your
technique, I would stick with what works for you and your
fermentation set up! :)