pH meter ideas for testing homebrew beer mash

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
best ph tester for making beer

Never mind the bollocks, you just want to choose the best pH meter?

These are three quality meters that are really popular on Amazon's best seller list:

Before I learned to know how to brew beer, all I knew about pH was that it meant lemons were sour, acid could eat through Knightrider's K.I.T.T. car, and that you used litmus paper to test it your solution was an acid or a base.

Beer brewers (and makers of health drink kombucha would you believe) are keen to know the pH of their beer and beverages because different levels of pH will cause the beer to have different characteristics of flavor.

The collective increased understanding of the important role that the pH level of the mash plays in brewing really good beer has driven both commercial and backyard brewers to closely focus on monitoring and then adjusting their mash pH levels as required.

So if you are making a particular style of beer for say a brewing competition, you really do want to ensure not only have you followed the brewing recipe, your brewing process is going correctly too!

And to do all this, you need to use the best pH tester you can.

A pH meter is a calibrated scientific instrument that measures the hydrogen-ion activity in water-based solutions, indicating its acidity or alkalinity.

The pH meter measures the difference in 'electrical potential' between a pH electrode and a reference electrode.

There are many several more reasons to use pH testers. Those in the food and beverage industry know too well the need to ensure food is not too tart (imagine selling customers drinks that are too sour) and there is plenty of agricultural uses too - such as checking for soil acidity testing and the classic 'hydroponic uses' are pretty common too.

If you didn't get that, we meant weed growers need to know the pH of the soil as well...

But enough's enough Commander Keen, back to beer testing.

This unit is a for the seasoned brewer who is dead set on ensuring they make a quality product so they can proudly share with friends at a BBQ.

Bluelab Combo pH Meter for beer brewing

bluelab combo ph meter
If you looking for an upmarket solution to measure your pH solutions then the tried and true Bluelabs brand has the measuring device you are looking for.

The Bluelab Combo Meter is a portable pH, conductivity, and temperature meter all in one combination.

The meter has two probes, a Bluelab pH Probe and a Bluelab Conductivity/Temperature Probe.

When taking a reading, simply place them into the solution and the selected reading is displayed on the screen.

Calibration of the pH probe is simple as instructions are supplied on the back of the meter and the easy push-button method makes this one of the most basic meters to use.

The pH probe is replaceable so you can use this meter for years to come and you should be able to do as Bluelab offers a five-year warranty on their meter is a demonstration of the quality of the product and the belief the manufacturer has in their product!

The Bluelab has the following features:
  • Measures pH, conductivity/nutrient (EC, CF, ppm 500 and ppm 700) and temperature (°C, °F)
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Large easy to read display
  • Simple push button pH calibration
  • Successful pH calibration indicator
  • No calibration required for conductivity and temperature
  • Replaceable double junction pH probe 
  • 2 x AAA alkaline batteries included with a low battery indicator
  • Auto-off function
This is a pricey unit and that's because it screams quality. If you are looking for a mid range device, Blue Lab's portable pens are in the hundred dollar range.

Check out the price on Amazon.

Seeing as we talked about probes, this is a good time to talk about their care as they can be fiddly little bastards and if not properly looked after, their expected lifetime will quickly shorten.

So here's the message about probes:

Don't forget to clean your electrode probes!

Electrodes can and will wear out after sustained use.

To prolong their operational life (so you continue to obtain correct readings), it is quite important that you get into the routine of properly cleaning them after every use.

A careful wipe with a clean cloth and 'ionized' water is a good technique. Or simply use fresh tissues.

A probe that has become 'dry' needs to be hydrated for at least three or four hours by placing in storage solution before calibration.

We will get to calibration solution soon but first up: The Milwaukee

This is truly one of the most popular testers that beer makers use, If you dare to check out any rabid brewing forum, you'll find plenty backyard brewers only too happy to chat about how well it works:

Milwaukee MW102 pH Meter for beer

The MW102 Standard Portable pH / Temperature Meter Standard is a standard portable meter that does the business.

milwaukee ph meter for testing beer

The Milwaukee brand is recognized as having a reputation for producing low cost yet durable meters which give quick readings and ones on which you can depend.

Milwaukee’s manufacturer boasts that their devices are "manufactured to be easy to use, practical and accurate. Ideal for the classroom, laboratory, or for general field use".

This means it works a treat for beer and kombucha.

The full package comes with the following:
  • The MW102 Unit
  • A 9 Volt Battery
  • Temperature Probe (MA830r)
  • PH Probe (MA911B/1)
  • PH Probe cover (a small bottle that fits on the PH Probe when not in use that holds storage solution)
  • Instruction Manual
  • Calibration Solution sachets
  • Storage Solution Packet
The battery life claims to be a massive 300 hours so that's a lot of brewing time! Especially as the Milwaukee features an auto-off that kicks in after 8 minutes of inactivity.

A keen brewer on Amazon reviewed the Milwaukee 102 as a "fantastic tool to have in my brewing arsenal. I originally bought it for taking readings while kettle souring, but it's been invaluable as I dove deeper into water profile and mash pH adjustment. It's a bit more expensive than some of the cheaper meters out there, but you get what you pay for. Worth every penny in my book, and I regularly recommend it to those in the market for a high-quality meter."

That's some fair praise indeed. Check out the price on Amazon.

Why is the mash pH level so important for brewing?

Beers that are brewed within a general range of pH tend to brew better than beers that are too acidic or too low in pH.

Brewers thus measure the pH of their mash to determine if that is is in the correct range for the beer they are endeavoring to produce.

The actual optimal pH range is generally considered to be pH 5.2 to 5.4. A high reading means the beer is too alkaline.

If a brewer's meter determines the pH is too high, they will then need to adjust the level downward by adding acid or calcium sulfate.

If your pH reading is starting to push the range of 5.3-5.6, you might get less of a tart character though you do run the risk of extracting tannins which can horribly impact your beer's taste.

Hach Pocket Pro + Plus 9532000 with replacement electrode for brewing

Manufacturer Hach reckons that their digital Pocket Pro + will "take the guesswork out of your measurements" which is entirely the point of a pH meter so a good start that we are on the same page.

Hach Pocket Pro+ is engineered to deliver accurate results. Hach boasts the Pro is backed up with built-in performance diagnostics, you never have to guess when to clean or calibrate the sensor.

Featuring a large, easy-to-read LCD screen, the pH range covers 0 to 14 pH meaning it can be used for more than beer brewing, like hydroponics.

The unit takes 4 Triple AAA batteries which are easy to replace. Hach recommends that the electrodes are replaced every 6 months. This unit comes with a replacement unit.

How to use a pH tester to measure beer mash?

Using a pH meter is a fairly simple process. It's kind like that science work you did in school. Start by drawing a small sample of the fresh wort and put it in a clean holding vessel such as a shot glass. Turn your calibrated meter on and dip both the probes fully into the liquid. The machine will kick into gear and you will get a pH reading. Write the reading down on paper, we both know you are going to forget it.

And remember, the mash can be quite hot, so be careful not to burn your skin

Hanna Instruments // Temperature Tester

The Hanna Instruments HI 98128 is a popular compact pH tester used for laboratory and industrial applications.

hanna ph meter kombucha
The device features:
  • Automatic Temperature Compensation
  • Automatic calibration
  • Dual-line LCD reader screen
  • Replaceable electrode cartridge
  • The dual-line LCD screen simultaneously shows the current measurement and the current temperature, and a hold function freezes readings for recording.

The meter has automatic calibration at one or two points with two sets of standard buffers (pH 4.01/7.01/10.01 or pH 4.01/6.86/9.18).

The meter has a water-resistant housing, a tactile grip casing, and it floats, which is quite handy for those who drink and brew at the same time...

The unit requires four 1.5V AA batteries which provide approximately 300 hours of continuous use. The Hanna meter switches off after eight minutes of inactivity to preserve battery life.

The meter also comes with an' HI 73127 pH electrode', an electrode removal tool, and instructions on how to properly use and care for the unit.

This is a cheap and affordable unit so its long-term resilience may be questionable.

Check out the price on Amazon.

How to calibrate a digital pH tester ?

You need an accurate reading so you can make the best decision for your beer and the best way to do this is to ensure you have properly calibrated your meter.

PH meters can 'drift' from their calibrated settings. It is important to regularly calibrate your pH meter often so that the accuracy of results is maintained.

What is Automatic Temperature Compensation?

You may have seen this mentioned in some of the functionality descriptions of our recommended meters.

Many higher quality meters use ATC functionality. This is when the unit compensates for the response of the pH meter's electrode with varying temperature.

The mash's pH measurement is ideally conducted at room-temperature. This helps avoid measurement errors that can be caused by temperature effects on the probe and chemically in the mash. The reality though is you need to measure the pH of your wort NOW and can't wait for it to cool.

So ATC accounts for differing temperatures of the mash.

Things to think about when choosing the best pH meter

  • Keeping the meter's probe clean after each use will prolong their useful life - it's a good idea to clean the outside with a soft toothbrush and deionized water, being very gentle with the bulb part of the probe if this is the kind you have.
  • It's extremely important to never let the probe dry out and this is a common mistake when storing ph meters. To this end, it is imperative that you store the electrode as per the manufacturers' instructions.
  • Be wary of buying cheap ph meters, they will lose calibration quickly, their probes will likely deteriorate faster than quality items. 
  • Check this guide to the common mistakes made when using a meter.
  • The more serious brewers tend to go for benchtop units rather than the portable kind.

How to re-start a flooded chainsaw

Friday, May 8, 2020
how to re-start a flooded chainsaw

Tips to re-Start a flooded chainsaw 

I first learned to use a chainsaw year ago at a Scout Jamboree. It was loose as, they basically said here you go, kid, chop up that log. I think I had ear muffs but definitely no safety gear. It was awesome but I did manage to stop the engine somehow and I would not restart it despite trying a lot.

Turns out I had flooded the engine with petrol and one of the 'experts' had to show me how to restart the saw. Turns out, flooded engines are a pretty common thing!

Tips on starting a flooded chainsaw

Before you begin your activity, it's always best to ensure you have fresh petrol in your engine. If you've got a mixture of oil and gas that's older than a month or two, it will be harder for your engine to re-start.

If you have tried several times unsuccessfully to start your unit, it is most likely flooded with petrol A key tell is you can smell gas. 

'Flooded' means excessive fuel has been pumped into the engine (when you pulled the starter chord), the volume of which has prevented and displaced oxygen which is crucial for igniting the fuel. 

The best advice is that you should not prime the engine again as you will add to the problem! You may have pulled the start chord a few times and let the choke out with no luck. Yoy think priming the engine could be a good idea - it's not, you are simply adding more fuel where it is not needed.

Two methods you can try to clear the chainsaw of the excess fuel 

The first is the easiest and most common method.

You need to be patient and let your chainsaw sit idle for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the excess fuel to evaporate from the engine,

Maybe go make a cup of hop tea while you wait.

Once you've done that, you can not attempt to restart your engine in the normal manner.

This method will work best with a mildly flooded engine and the same principle applies to re-starting a lawn mower as well.

The harder hands-on method to re-start a flooded chainsaw:

  • Make sure the chain break is 'on'. Safety people!
  • Turn the choke to 'off' position.
  • Activate the 'fast idle' (do this by engaging the throttle lock/trigger assembly or pulling the choke out and pushing it back in)
  • Turn the on/off switch to 'on'.
  • Hold the saw firmly on the ground as you do during normal starting, and pull the starter chord sharply until the saw starts. Do not pull the starter rope out to its full length. Employe short, brisk pulls in a continuous fashion.
If the engine does not start within 15 pulls then the spark plug may have become 'wet fouled'. If you suspect this has occurred, remove the spark plug and look for moist wet deposits on the electrode. Remove with a dry cloth. 

While the plug is out, here's your chance to remove any fuel in the engine via the spark plug hole. 

Here's an excellent video tutorial lesson on starting your saw:

How to buy cheaper food to save money

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
How to save money on the food bill

How to save money on the food bill

Saving money on the food bills a great way to help ensure you have enough cash for other things like bills, bills, bills.

Groceries can be dreadfully expensive at the best of times (even worse during a flu pandemic!), so putting a few items back on the self and choosing to purchase in bulk will help you save money.

You can also try to save money on shopping and yet still manage to eat quite happily and healthily.

One does not have to entertain a diet of 'bread and jam' all month (or noodles if you're a 'poor' student)  you can enjoy a wholesome variety of food on your set budget.

To make an immediate impact on shrinking at food bill, you can start by not spending your cash on the obvious and easy things such as fast food (Big Macs and supervising gotta go), potato chips and lollies.

It's probably too obvious a thing to say but cutting back on the booze consumption is an easy way to save money. We're not saying to become a teetotaller but maybe don't drink during Monday Night Football?

But you are an adult so live your life how you see best.

Planning ahead of time 

You've probably already planned ahead for the week's meals already - because that helps you allocate according to your food budget. When you did this, you may have already checked your pantry for what you already have - so you don't buy something twice and also because it may give you meal ideas to base around things you already have.

That's a fancy way of saying make a list and stick to it when you are inside the supermarket.

Easy tips to spend less cash on food:

  • Buy meat that is on special or sale. Consider eating more pork as it is usually the cheaper option over beef. 
  • Avoid splurging on pre-made food packages and meals. They are money makers with good margins for the supermarkets. If you can make your own meals at home as much as you can, this will serve your wallet well in the long term. 
  • Use the phone apps that big chains like Walmart offer - there's plenty of deals to be had. 
  • Do not shop on an empty stomach or you will buy that cooked chicken that smells so good (supermarkets like to have nice smells in their stores)
  • You could try to take a set amount of cash and spend that and no more.  
  • Don't throw away leftovers. Made too much pasta tonight? That's a tuna bake for tomorrow. Or so the classic and take your leftovers to work for lunch. 
  • Consider growing vegetables or herbs and spices - spring onion and chives are dead easy to grow! Our potato garden at home is doing quite well!
  • If you have time, go to two supermarkets and only buy the specials that you need. But don't spend an hour driving to the second supermarket as any savings gains could be erased when you factor in the price of petrol. 
  • Do you really need all that bottled water? Unless you reside in Flint, Michigan, your local tap water is probably fine. 
  • Try to shop without the children  - little ones can often make angry demands of you which you can often fall into the trap of giving into to avoid an 'in-store moment' ;)
  • Anything precut or prewashed is going to cost you more. Save money and buy the whole head of lettuce. Pre-cut grated cheese? Give me a break. 
  • If you realize that something perishable won't be eaten before it goes off - freeze it. Maybe you were going to eat those meatballs before you went out - instead freeze your balls!
  • Purchase 'bagged potatoes' in bulk over loose potatoes as they are usually are much cheaper to buy. 

Buy generic value brands

Most big supermarkets have a 'house brand' that offer genuine value.

I personally use house brand shaving cream because it saves me a small fortune as the big shaving brands are stupidly priced!

Items like household cleaners will usually contain the exact same active chemical as the fancy name brands - this means they absolutely work just as well but are often priced 25 percent cheaper (washing laundry power is a great example (the cheap wash powder is great for homebrewing too!).

Many such value brand products are simply made by the producers of the name brand but are re-packaged and re-marketed. Value brand pantry staples such icing, flour and other such staples of the baking industry won't make your cake taste bad, and sugar is simply sugar, no matter how it's packaged or branded.

Hair! Most 'cheap' or 'mid-range' shampoos will clean your hair just fine - why buy shampoo from the salon then? Apart from natural vanity of course...

One product we totally think is always overpriced is plastic rubbish bags. While the world seems to hate plastic bags and straws these days, we still need strong trash / bin liner bags.

Swapping to generic bags will usually do the same job as name brands.

Swap to cheaper pet food

Many animal lovers will hate to do this, but your pet dog or cat can live on generic or low budget branded pet food quite easily and at least for the short term.

If you think you can't starve poor Felix of their precious snippets and bites sourced from the local vet clinic or butcher, then perhaps mix it up a bit and every second round, add some house brand pet food into the mix.

Whether dearest Felix chooses to eat it is another story...

buying in bulk to save cash
Ross Geller always knew that bulk buying washing powder was a great way to save cash - Uberweiss!

Sometimes buying in bulk is actually a scam!

Bulk-buying can save money, no question BUT you must keep a sharp eye out for the shameful tricks supermarkets will pull on a buyerwho is looking to buy in bulk.

The classic trick is to charge a price for an 'in bulk' item which is actually more expensive per unit or gram than the individual unit. What they are doing here is preying on the mindset of shoppers that 'buying in bulk' is always cheaper across the board.

It's not.

Supermarkets are relying on the belief that their customers will continue to buy the bulk item reasoning it's mere existence will mean they save money. Supermarkets take want to take advantage of that psychology and pricing decisions accordingly.

If you have to do some maths comparing bulk-sized when buying in bulk, it's worth your time. I trust the supermarkets that actually disclose price per gram or unit labeling.

You may wish to buy only what you actually may need. There's no point stockpiling 17 liters of cooking oil is there?

Depends on what you do during your weekends, I guess.

That said, stocking up is not a bad thing per se. If you have a spare freezer to put some of that mincemeat you got on special, then why not.

 A well-stocked freezer is always a source for homemade meals - especially if by knowing you can make pasta and meatballs, you won't go to the supermarket just to source that one meal, because what happens when you are there?

You buy many extra things you didn't intend to!

So, check the freezer before you go shopping. You might not need to leave the house!

how to save money your food bill

Shop around for vegetables at local markets

Some supermarkets charge killer prices for vegetables, especially when food stock is out-of-season.

The solution?

Visit a good old fashioned gardener's market. Odds are on that you can save around 20 percent on quality fruit and vegetables.

Many markets spring up in urban areas on weekends. Check some Facebook groups in your local areas for details.

Loyalty cards help save you cash 

If you are not too fearful of Big Brother, consider joining up for the loyalty card.

Sure, a loyalty card means the supermarket can analyze your spending habits and market to you accordingly but who cares if your goal is to save money.

Loyalty cards will often give discounts to only customers using those cards and they will often have a rebate or voucher system that basically gives you some of your own money back to spend in-store when you have spent a certain amount.

If you save them, up, this can be pretty handy at Christmas time!

In the same vein, using coupons is still a really big thing in several countries, particularly in America. The wise use of coupons, particularly on products you already intended to buy, will totally lead to savings on your food bill.

Let's talk about meat 

We are not saying you need to go vegetarian but cutting meat from a meal or two each week will save you plenty of cash as it's often the most expensive component of the grocery bill.

Many families and roommates often choose to do 'Meat Free Mondays' or similar and make a simple dish such as mac n' cheese, tacos, lentils, bean burgers with avocado or fried vegetable noodles. My personal favorite at the moment is a dish where the remain ingredients are onions, garlic, peppers and oil mixed with whatever other veges are in the fridge...

If you make the meals flavorsome with additional herbs, chives, and other goodies like spring onion, you're onto a winning meal and no one will complain about there not being any meat!

Now you've got your saving on groceries sorted, perhaps it's time to think about how to save money on the power bill!

How supermarkets use psychology to trick you into spending more money

Monday, May 4, 2020

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food in store

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food 

While an old school economist from Chicago may tell you customers are rational actors who make decisions based on price efficiency, supermarkets - with their behavioral analysis so on the money - have their customers so well figured out, they know what they will do before they even enter the store. 

The psychological tricks that supermarkets employ on customers are quite simple but they come with a science pedigree - just like Walmart knows your sixteen-year-old daughter is likley to be pregnant, they know what day you like to shop and what specials you like to buy.

Ever heard of a loyalty card?

The data collected about your shopping behaviors can now dissect your buying habits into ones and zeros. 

Is that loyalty card connected to other businesses? The supermarket now knows that you like to fill up the car with petrol on the way home for example. So, hence they sell you receipts that come with fuel discounts.

Once they have you in-store, that's when the sneaky supermarkets launch their playbook of tricks and psychological ploys to get you to spend longer in store to spend more cash.

Which can be really tough when you are trying to save money on the food bill!

Supermarkets are living laboratories that study human buying behavior.

Have you ever noticed all those cameras in the modern shopping complex and asked yourself, why so many security cameras?

They are not just for catching shoplifters (a money-saving measure we do not recommend you try!) - the majority of them placed down the aisle are there to monitor and observe consumer traffic patterns. No doubt they will also be monitoring your physical appearance too. 

What body shapes are customers?

What sex? 

Do different sexes and body shapes behave differently?

When and Why? 

You can bet they are using this data to figure out how to sell more to you.

This is because supermarkets that understand how their customers think and make purchasing decisions are able to plan the shopfloor layout more efficiently.

The classic example of this is supermarkets know that people will often tend to enter the store with a set mental list of what they want and it's usually the basics like bread and milk.

And that's exactly why eggs, dairy & milk, and bread are often positioned farthest from the store's entrance as possible so you walk all the way past other attractive food items. 

Indeed, eggs are often situated in random or seemingly 'unnatural' places to encourage first-timers to the store to walk around looking for them!

Lean mean green vegetables

why fruit is at the front of supermarket entrances

Vegetables and fruit are placed at the entrance deliberately  - this because it's well proven that consumers are vastly more inclined to pick more items at the start of their shopping experience. 

Your brain's wiring also comes into play here. You are buying 'healthy food' so you feel good about yourself. Maybe you will add an extra 5 carrots to your bag, 

At the same time, your brain is being brutally bombarded with a range of vibrant colors and wonderful smells.

The bakery is usually right next to the vegetable section because the bread smells nice. 

Fruit displays are often backed against well-cleaned mirrors to add volume and light vibrancy to the fruit. 

The supermarket is appealing to your brain with these signals saying, yo dude, this is a great place to shop!

Note when we say bakery, this does not include standard loaves of bread for making sandwiches with, other than specialty items. 

No, your standard sliced loaf of bread will be far away from the vegetables. You want toast bread? Sure but you gotta walk to the other side of the store. 

Maybe along the way, you'll discover and pick up a few well-placed items at the end of the aisle...

The supermarkets are hoping that you will feel a little bit smug about all the healthy food that you put in your shopping trolley that'll you'll consider that enough of a reason to buy some biscuits or other junk type food.

So how does this affect you, the keen dollar saver? 

The eyes have it

Forget the shop layout, you're already a modest mouse caught in that well-planned wheel, look at the shelf layout (whilst staying true to your shopping list of course).

Your eyes will naturally gravitate to the product that's been placed in your eye line / at face level.

This is where the most expensive goods and groceries are positioned. Because your eagle eyes will often become psychologically attached to the first item that you find when you are looking for a particular item.

Would it also surprise you to discover that many brands hand over cash to the supermarket for the right to having their goods placed directly in the customer's line of vision.

This practice is known in the business as paying a 'slotting fee'.

Supermarkets will also put kid-friendly things at the kid's eye level.

That's some real street-level cunning right there.

The implication of this of course if you are looking for cheaper items, look on on the bottom shelf for them. 

Impulse power, Mr Sulu

Another classic trick played on shoppers is to put goods that could be bought as 'impulse purchases' by the checkout lanes.

Lollies, magazines, hand sized deodorant, magazines, chocolate, and the classic packet of 'chewing gum' - these impulse items are placed there so you will add a couple of extra dollars to your shopping total. 

Now if even one in ten or twenty customers does this, those sales will add up for the Supermarket Owners over time.

To be fair some product placements will benefit the customer, such as peanut butter next to the jelly. and beer next to crisps and chips, baking yeast next to flour ...

Keep a beady eye out for 'pricing specials' scams

Ever seen a supermarket market pricing sticker with the words 'best buy' or 'great deal'? 

Is it really a good deal?

How do you know it's a great deal? 

Is there actually a price saving on offer or has the item simply had some puffery on the sticker placed next to it?

Perhaps a sign that simply says 'Three for a dollar' when the single item is also a dollar?

You would of course never fall for such a simple pricing scam, would you?

Of course not.

Well, people do and that's why supermarkets will keep advertising this way in-store.

Other tricks supermarkets do:
  • A few select products are sold at a loss to the store. This is so you recognize the price as being really good and it gets you into the store. Meat is a classic 'loss leader' as is orange juice.
  • Larger shopping trolleys will tend to be filled up more by the user
  • Supermarkets and strip malls will play music with a slow tempo so your walking around speed matches the music and you spend more time in the building which increases the odds of you adding that one extra thing to your basket.
  • The most profitable products are often placed at the end of the aisle. People often notice them....
Now you've learned about this, you know it's a shopping trap. The best advice is always to stick to buying what you need and not what you want!
One final, teach you to suck eggs thing   - write a shopping list out on your cell phone!

Using bakers yeast for brewingbeer

Saturday, May 2, 2020
bakers yeast for making beer

How to use active baker's dry yeast instead of brewer's yeast to make beer

I once read of beer a craft brewer made from yeast that he had apparently discovered on his hipster beard. Sounded like some smart ass bollocks but the reality is the yeast can be found in all kinds of places  -  think on fruit like grapes for a start. 

And then given the world wide shortage of brewing yeast due to the Covid 19 crisis, I wondered about using baking yeast in my beer instead. 

So I did some research, and yep, you can totally can use baking yeast for brewing beer as it is an 'active dry yeast'.

Many holier-than-though craft beer brewers would probably shudder violently at the concept of using a yeast that's normally used to make bread but let's have a look at the idea.

Yeast is a wholly active part of the fermentation process, which is hugely relying on all kinds of factors to go right and a good yeast will make a good beer better.

You can totally use baking yeast for brewing, as both yeasts (beer and baking) are different strains of the same species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

So you may be wondering then, what is the difference between baker's yeast and brewer's yeast?

The difference between the two kinds of yeasts is their historic cultivation.

Each has been grown for the attributes they bring to the plate and bottle. 

In the case of beer yeast, the popular strains have been cultivated for hundreds of years to hone their specific attributes being the beer flavour produced and for attenuation ( which how well the sugars are fermented by yeast).

In general terms brewer's yeast was bred and cultivated to produce more alcohol & less carbon dioxide whereas baker's yeast was bred to make more CO2 and less alcohol. CO2 is really good for baking as it makes bread nice and fluffy. 

This is why if you made bread with brewer's yeast your bread will not turn out fluffy but will be a more doughy result.

So, if you do need to use baking yeast you need to have the patience to know that it will work but it will not necessarily be as efficient was brewer's yeast. 

Which leads us to a very good question.

How much baking yeast to pitch into the wort?

A reasonable amount is 11 grams of baker's yeast per 5 gallons or 23 liter fermenter drum is a fair amount to pitch in. 

Beware that baker's yeast will not make clear beer

When using this yeast, you just have to be conscious that your beer won't taste as 'clean 'or look as clear as the beer that has been brewed under normal conditions.

If you are bottle conditioning, a trick you could try to clear the baker's yeast is by cold crashing the fermented wort (often referred to as the primary) and then racking it to a bottling bucket and then bottling.

You can of course also try and use finings to help clear the baking particles.

Can I use baking yeast to re-start a beer that's stopped fermenting

If for some reason your pitched beer yeast has run out of puff and you think you need to re-start fermentation, then yes, in a pinch you could add some baker's yeast to help get things going again.

Just remember by adding a second yeast, the intended nature of your beer's taste and characteristics will change.

It's always handy to activate the yeast in water before you pitch it, just to give it a helping hand. When you add it in to the wort, gently stir the wort with a clean spoon or implement it.
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