The use of brewing yeast for fermentation is possible in a number of ways, and this is one subject that has sparked so much debate among beer enthusiasts for so long. As a newbie with a kit, you will likely be advised to dust the yeast all over the cooled wort. Although this will work, some brewers insist that yeast rehydration prior to pitching improves results considerably. Rehydration calls for mixing the yeast and water, creating a slurry that is then added to the wort.
Beer yeasts work great in warm environments – 90 degrees Fahrenheit give or take -but in excess of 100 degrees, yeast cells can die on the spot. But you will probably never see an expert beer maker fermenting their beer at 90 degrees. There is an optimum temperature for fermenting every single type of beer.
If you’re crafting your first homemade beer, be aware of two types of yeast:
Top Fermenting Yeast
As a rule of thumb, this type of yeast should ferment at anywhere from 65 to 75 degrees. It forms a thick and effervescent head during the fermentation process, and that is the reason it’s named “top-fermenting.” Home beermakers like to call it ale yeast, even if it can be used in making porters, stouts and many others.
This type of yeast is also known as lager yeast. Lagers are typically brewed in lower temperatures than ales are. In fact, they may keep fermenting in temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, albeit more slowly, while ale yeast would totally stop fermenting. They’re called bottom-fermenting yeasts because, at certain temperatures, the yeast just settles at the bottom as the fermentation process wraps up. The taste of lager beers is generally affected by two key factors: (By the way, lagering is just a word that means “cold storage.”)
As a newbie home brewer, another important term you have to understand is spontaneous fermentation. This is one process that can happen anytime and anywhere, knowing wild yeast exists all around us, including in the air we breathe. There are those who brew their beers purely by spontaneous fermentation, but if you want to be fully in charge of your beer, inoculating it with a specific type of homebrew yeast is still the best option. You need not worry about finding a brewing yeast supplier. If you don’t have one near you, there’s always the Internet. Of course, it’s important to do some research before ordering yeast from an online supplier. Although you will find lots of legit websites that sell top-quality yeasts, scammers have not completely left the picture.