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I have read here and there that it is ok to pitch your yeast at a high temperature, say 83°F?

Seeing as it will take a considerably long time for the temperature to drop to an ambient 68°F then what about the esters or off flavours which may occur during the cooling down time ? Will there be any if using Safale 04?

  • Do you have a problem with cooling your wort? The no-chill approach may help you with getting to the desired temperature in a sanitary way. – chthon Nov 27 '18 at 12:06
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Specifically when using S-04 (or most other English Ale yeasts) they are very sensitive to temperature drops. Other strains might tolerate starting so high, but the cooling wort is likely to send an English strain into hibernation early.

While pitching S-04 at 80F may or may not effect viability; as the wort cools the yeast might go dormant. Most English ale yeasts ferment quickly and then they want to drop out (flocculate). If the temp of the wort is still >75F when things get started the yeast will sense the dropping temperature on the way to ambient. A drop in temp tends to signal English ale yeast to quit even if there is still sugar to ferment. For English Ale yeasts this can lead to stalled ferments. I have seen this many times myself.

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I often pitch the yeast as soon as I reach the highest temperature that is supported (depending on the yeast it can be around 25°C to 28°C).

Many books and articles mention that the wort is most vulnerable when it is cooling down. The heat no longer protects the wort and other bacteria could contaminate it, so it is better to pitch the yeast at high temperature rather than waiting hours before reaching the perfect temperature. Honestly, I could not really tell the difference between a batch where I pitched at high or at a perfect temperature.

Of course the ideal is to get a wort chiller (or ice bath for smaller batches) so it does not take long to reach the perfect temperature. When you become good at brewing and want to improve, little things like this can make a small difference. Although sanitation and good raw materials are much more important in my opinion.

To answer the question, read the maximum temperature supported on the yeast package. Pitch at that temperature if you want, the off flavor will be minimal. Safale s-04 mentions a maximum of 25°C (77°F), so I would follow the instructions. If you think it would be too long to get the wort from 28°C to 25°C, I would think it is better to pitch at, lets say 27°C (close enough) rather than waiting one or two hours. The off flavors will be minimal and most will not notice the difference.

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Actually, no, that is not good practice. Always pitch relatively cool, and either keep the temperature stable, or only let it rise, but not too much.

If yeast started at a certain temperature, then there is a big chance that it will stop fermenting if the temperature drops.

And 83F (28°C) is much too high to start. It will not kill your yeast, but make a whole lot of higher alcohols. And when the temperature drops, the yeast will probably stop early, and thus not ferment deep enough.

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    Uh this makes no sense. I don't think beer yeast is much different than bread or wine yeast. It's typically recommend that for rehydration of yeast be at over 100F. This is what I did at my winery (when I had it) and it always worked. Bread yeast is typically rehydrated and fermented in the 80F range. Why would beer yeast be any different? – farmersteve Nov 27 '18 at 15:07
  • Rehydration is not the same as fermentation. Fermenting wine is still different from brewing beer and rising dough for bread. If beer yeast is not much different from bread yeast, why aren't we using bread yeast for brewing beer? – chthon Nov 27 '18 at 16:55
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    Many people do and make perfectly fine beer. – farmersteve Nov 27 '18 at 17:15
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    Bread yeast does not attenuate as good as beer yeast. – Custodian Nov 28 '18 at 13:36
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I do this all the time because I'm too lazy to wait for the last 10 degree or so when I cool my wort. I rehydrate my dry yeast in some sterile warm water or wort and after it's a nice slurry, I pitch it around 85f and never had a problem. The wort is usually cooled off before the beer really starts going. Or you could pitch some Norwegian Kviek it actually likes temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Good luck!

  • I also pitch at hight temperature some times, the beer is fine, but it doesn't mean the flavor wasn't altered a little... but still nothing to worry about. – Philippe Nov 27 '18 at 21:30

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