Matt’s Addicted to Meth

Methylene Blue!

That’s right, Matt is addicted to cell counting. Yeast cells to be exact.

Before we repitch our yeast into the fermentors, we need to get a yeast cell count and determine how viable our yeast is.

Each batch of beer requires a different yeast pitching rate. For example, our Imperial IPA we pitch fewer yeast cells for a slower and warmer fermentation that produces more flavor compounds. Our CA Altbier we pitch more yeast cells for a quicker and colder fermentation to generate fewer flavor compounds to give it a cleaner finish.

In order to know exactly how much yeast slurry to pitch, Commander Matthew Enegren – first string cell counter – mixes 1ml of yeast slurry with 100ml of distilled water. The mixture is stained with Methylene Blue. Dead cells turn blue when stained, but live cells metabolize the Methylene Blue and do not change color. As long as 95% or more of the cells are living, we re-pitch the yeast.

This is one of the most crucial steps of the brewing process. Under-pitching or over-pitching the number of yeast cells for each brew can greatly influence the flavor of each batch.

Matt is most qualified for this job since it involves a lot of counting and Matt is an accountant – he is therefore able to account for living cells much better than Captain Chris or Chief Joe.

matt cell counting with methylene blue

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2 Responses to “Matt’s Addicted to Meth”

  1. Nimai says:

    I wonder if that Methylene & yeast are where Smurfs come from…hmm

  2. Chris says:

    What brand and model of microscope to count yeast cells? Is that a digital camera mounted on it? Does that make it easier than squinting into an eye-piece?

    Cheers from below the equator,
    Chris Mills

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