White Labs Shares Science Behind New Pitch Rate Recommendations

White Labs has recently updated its pitch rate recommendations based on our current release, PurePitch Next Generation (these recommendations also apply to all our yeast offerings). These recommendations take into account current practices in the industry and represent our suggestions for the optional pitch. Brewers have options for adjusting the pitch rate on their own if they prefer using our online calculator.

Our PurePitch® Next Generation’s modular size fits perfectly with the advancements we have made in precise and consistent cell concentrations. Each lot is cultured and harvested with specific specifications to ensure each pouch arrives with a consistent 2.15 billion cells/mL. This ensures the yeast you are getting has the same amount of cells in each pouch.

We recommend one pouch for 5 HL/BBL of standard wort, two pouches into 10 HL/BBL, and three pouches into 15 HL/BBL, all at a consistent pitch rate of 7.5 million cells/mL.

For more precision, please consult the calculator. From the Brewers Yeast & More calculator, hit the “PurePitch Next Generation” option and enter your volume, pitching temperature, and starting gravity; users have the option of entering imperial or metric units. After results are displayed, brewers can pick the Advanced button to adjust the pitching rate if preferred. Specifically, those happy with lower or higher pitch rates have the option of doing so. Results can be added directly to the cart, where they can be further adjusted if desired by the brewer.

If the recommendations are confusing in any way, or if you want more science behind these recommendations, please keep reading.

Our recommendations work for most fermentations, but we recommend doubling your pitch rate when starting your fermentation below 61°F/16°C or at a higher gravity of 18P or higher. If your fermentation has both, we recommend tripling your pitch rate. (This is all taken into account in the calculator recommendations)

Why pitch more with colder fermentations? As probably most of the readers know, the most important reason is that colder temperatures inhibit yeast activity to some extent, resulting in reduced or slower cell growth.

Slower cell growth can cause longer fermentation timelines, varying flavor profiles, and most commonly stuck fermentations. To prevent this, we recommend pitching more yeast to ensure complete fermentation. This means increasing your pitch rate to 12+ million cells/mL versus the standard 7.5 million cells/mL.

Why pitch more with high gravity brews? Higher gravity beers provide a higher stress environment for yeast cells. Not only is the wort viscous and challenging to reach adequate DO (dissolved oxygen) levels, but higher gravity fermentations also need the healthiest yeast possible to withstand the higher alcohol levels. To overcome this challenge, more yeast is required for a robust and reliable fermentation.

We all hope for the ideal fermentation and believe these recommendations can help you get there.

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