Friday 4 June 2021

Lallemand New England - American East Coast Ale Yeast

The latest recipe pack I purchased included the Lallemand New England - American East Coast Ale yeast - and I noticed a few things about this yeast that were interesting so I thought I'd create a post to point them out and outline my experience with this yeast.

Lallemand New England American East Coast Ale Yeast - 11g Packet

Lag Time

Lallemand's website claims that the lag phase for this yeast "..can be longer when compared to other strains, ranging from 24-36 hours." Lag time refers to the time from pitching your yeast, till when you see signs of active fermentation. Too little lag time (ie. fermentation begins too quickly) can be problematic and lead to incomplete fermentations, or off flavours being developed. And too long a lag time can also be problematic is it gives bacteria and wild yeast the opportunity to infect your wort. A generally accepted target for lag time is approximately 12 hours.

So, 24-36 hours is therefore 2-3 times longer than what we're ideally aiming for. On my first attempt of using this yeast I saw a lag time of over 48 hours before seeing signs of active fermentation. There was another factor at play in my case though which was a low wort temperature. I pitched the yeast at around 21 degrees celsius, and over the next 36 hours the temperature dropped to 15.4 degrees celsius - awfully close to the lower part of the range Lallemand specify on their website. This temp drop was caused by the cold ambient temperature where I live (even though I had the fermenter insulated and in a dedicated brew fridge that was switched off).

But as the old saying goes, "relax, don't worry, have a home brew" (RDWHAHB) - and after 48 hours I was very relieved to see fermentation underway. I was certainly starting to get nervous and working out what my contingency plan was, although luckily I didn't need it in the end.

So if you're using this yeast, be prepared for a longer than usual wait time, especially if your wort temperature is at the lower end of the acceptable range.

Pitching Rate

You probably can't read it in the image at the top of this post, but the pack the yeast comes in recommends a pitching rate of 1.0g/L. Most standard homebrew batches are 23-25L so this would require at least 2 packets to satisfy this criteria.

I only realised this directive after already pitching the yeast (and trying to figure out why the lag time was so long - as per the section above). I put a post out on some home brewing social media pages I'm a member of asking for other peoples experience or feedback with using this yeast. The responses were mixed - some suggest they always pitch multiple packets, others say that if the OG of your wort isn't too high (ie. less than 1.050) then a single packet should suffice.

For my first brew with this yeast, the OG was 1.049 and it took over 48 hours to really get going - as I described in the above section.

I'll report back with the results of this beer/fermentation after pitching a single pack of this yeast.

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