When it comes to brewing, every penny saved can make a significant difference to your bottom line — especially with the unpredictability of a post-pandemic world. One of the most impactful areas where breweries can manage costs is yeast management. In this blog post, we will explore the ultimate cost-saving strategies when it comes to yeast, and how you can optimize your brewing process to get the best value from your yeast investment. We will cover:
- Repitching your yeast
- Using a multi-purpose yeast strain
- Using Yeast Nutrient for happy, healthy, and consistent fermentations
- Using biotransformation enabled strains
- Finding other cost savings in the brewing process (enzymes, etc)
Let's dive in!
1. Repitching your yeast
One of the most effective ways to reduce yeast-related expenses is by repitching your yeast. As we already know, this practice involves reusing yeast from a previous fermentation to inoculate a new batch of beer. But just how much can you save by doing this?
A common misconception is that dry yeast is always the more economical choice due to its lower initial cost. However, the reality is more nuanced. The break-even point for liquid vs. dry yeast falls somewhere between 2-4 reuses in most cases. In other words, if you can repitch your yeast for at least two to four generations, liquid yeast can become a better value than dry yeast.
Calculating yeast costs for your brewery is straightforward. Simply divide the upfront yeast cost by the number of generations you plan to repitch. By implementing a yeast repitching program, you can maximize the value of your yeast investment and significantly reduce yeast-related expenses.
Remember that liquid yeast can be stored for up to 3 weeks or longer, making it a viable option even for breweries that don't frequently use the same strains.
For more tips on repitching, visit our resources.
2. Using a multi-purpose yeast strain
Selecting the right yeast strain is crucial for achieving both flavour consistency and cost savings. Consider using multi-purpose yeast strains like our dry yeast House Ale (EL-D1) or Isar Lager. These versatile strains can be used across a range of beer styles, reducing the need to stock a wide variety of yeast strains in your brewery.
|House Ale (EL-D1)||Extremely fast and incredibly clean - your new dry house yeast.||IPA, Blonde Ale, Stout, Etc.|
|Isar Lager||Clean, reliable lager yeast with good flocculation and low diacetyl.||German Lager, American Lager, Bock|
|Cali Ale||The classic, clean, American ale yeast (also known as Chico).||American IPA, Pale American Ale, American Porter and Stout|
|Hornindal Kveik Blend||Are you hunting for the perfect yeast to help you produce an incredible range of beer styles? Your search ends here.||Pale American Ale, NEIPA, Porter and Stout|
|French Saison||This is an extremely versatile Saison strain that can be used in the production of a broad array of beer styles. It performs best when fermented warm (pepper, spice), however can tolerate lower temperatures (light esters, citrus notes).||Saison, Witbier, French Table Beer|
|English Ale II||Reliable and classic English ale strain for all clean styles. Works great as a house yeast for English and American styles.||Pale American Ale, American IPA, Stout and Porter|
|Elysium (NEW)||Strong pineapple ester and good flocculation, so you can crop yeast and turn around beers faster. Can be fermented warm or with a free rise, enhancing ester production. Also suited to fermenting sours.||Hop Forward Beers (IPA, DIPA, Pale Ale), Sours (Quick/Kettle Sours)|
By simplifying your yeast inventory, you not only save on yeast procurement costs but also streamline your brewing process, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
3. Invest in Yeast Nutrient
Keeping your yeast happy, healthy, and consistent is key to cost savings and producing high-quality beer. Yeast nutrient plays a vital role in ensuring yeast vitality and fermentation performance and always pays for itself in terms of your yeast fermentation efficiency and repitching quality.
A dry stout wort brewed with Yeast Lightning vs. No Nutrient
At Escarpment Labs, we offer Yeast Lightning, a high-quality yeast nutrient that provides the essential nutrients yeast needs for optimal growth and fermentation. Plus, we offer volume pricing, making it even more cost-effective for your brewery.
4. Harness Biotransformation for Flavour & Cost Benefits
It's no secret that we love to talk about biotransformation — but it's not just a buzzword! We know that biotransformation is any chemical reaction facilitated by microbes (yeast, bacteria) that changes the flavour profile of existing ingredients in your beer. By strategically choosing yeast strains that enable biotransformation (terpene or thiols), you can achieve remarkable flavour profiles while saving money on hops and adjuncts.
You can also leverage yeast biotransformation to adjust the aroma profile of excess hops in your inventory (or over-contracted hops) and develop new beer brands with your existing hop commitments.
There are many different terpenes that can come from hops and impact the flavour of your beer. In particular, the aromas that we perceive as “dank”, “floral” and “citrusy” are often the result of terpenes.
Yeast can convert some hop terpenes into others, which is how yeast biotransformation impacts terpene character. For example, yeast can convert rose-like geraniol to lemongrass-like beta-citronellol.
This means a very “dank” hop like Strata can become much more citrusy thanks to terpene biotransformation.
Evaluating Terpene Biotransformation in our strain catalogue
For terpene biotransformation in IPA, look to Hydra, Vermont Ale, Pomona (New!), and Hornindal Kveik Blend.
Thiols and their release is all the rage these days, with new yeasts coming onto the market that have been modified or bred to enhance thiol release.
This includes our Thiol Libre! Thiol liberating yeast strains open up a new world of opportunities for flavour development, and give us entirely new ways to make aromatic beers.
These yeasts have all been developed to have enhanced activity from the IRC7 enzyme, which is a beta lyase that helps the yeast release aromatic thiols from flavourless precursors.
There’s huge opportunity to release bound thiols from lower-cost ingredients, in unexpected places. Some common and lower-cost hops such as Cascade contain large amounts of bound thiols that can be released by yeasts with strong thiol release capabilities.
For thiol biotransformation in IPA, look to Thiol Libre, Ebbegarden Kveik, Pomona (New!), and Elysium (New!)
Experimenting with biotransformation allows you to create distinctive and memorable beers that stand out in the market, all while optimizing ingredient costs.
Learn more about biotransformation through our Knowledge Base resources.
5. Finding other cost savings in the brewing process
While this approach isn't limited to yeast management, it's important to highlight that there are some opportunities for you to reduce costs on your malt and grain inputs through science - and since we're science nerds over here at Escarpment, we'll offer some suggestions.
- Use beta glucanase in the mash to increase fluidity and brewhouse yield
- Consider enzymes (amylase etc) in the mash to maximize sugar conversion efficiency and wort fermentability
- Review your grain handling for maximum efficiency - even simple mill gap adjustments can create huge cost savings on malt.
- Use yeast nutrients to accelerate turnaround time, reducing the need to purchase new fermentation vessels and improving your beer's cashflow conversion cycle (time between when you pay for ingredients and when your customers pay for beer).
Check out these resources:
- How a brewpub chain improved brewhouse efficiency by 7% through simple mill gap and mash adjustments
- How one brewery reduced malt costs by 5%
Consider that an increase in brewhouse efficiency of 5% means you will spend 5% less on malt to make the same amount of beer. Then, calculate how many dollars you could save by increasing brewhouse efficiency by as little as 5%! If you spend $100,000 on malt per year, you could save more than $5,000 by making brewhouse process improvements.
To Wrap it Up...
Yeast management is a critical aspect of brewing that can significantly impact your brewery's bottom line. By implementing these cost-saving strategies, such as yeast repitching, using multi-purpose strains, investing in yeast nutrient, harnessing biotransformation, and making simple mash adjustments, you can not only reduce your ingredient expenses but also produce high-quality, consistent, and flavourful beer that keeps your customers coming back for more.
Unlock the full potential of yeast in your brewery and watch your savings and beer quality soar. Cheers to cost-effective brewing!