So, I sit here after a very long weekend. I had a family member pass away suddenly Friday night. I had worked a double that night. I called the family all Saturday morning then went to work for the BSU game. Which even on a normal day is a butt kicker and about 12 hours. I closed and less than 8 hours later I was back to work. I sit here getting ready to work another double. I am worn out, mostly emotionally but somehow that always translates into physical fatigue also. Once again my thoughts turn to beer, yet again, yeast to be specific. It's weird I keep tying our lives to the lives of the micro fungus.
Yeast are funny creatures, you give them the right environment, give them some food, don't overwork them and they will work as long as you let them. You can reuse the same yeast for anywhere from 6-12 batches if they are treated right. (I have heard of brewers using them longer but about 8 times is the average.) Use them in a high alcohol beer and they become stressed, not only because they are over worked but also because the environment becomes toxic. They start dying at a faster rate and start having issues reproducing making weaker cells and having a high rate of mutations. This is why when you reuse yeast you start with a lower alcohol beer and do your higher alcohol at the end. This helps them stay strong and healthy as you keep the stress to a minimum.
Stressed yeast can create off flavors, making the beer taste funky. Basically they stop doing their job. Not cleaning up some of the chemicals left over from the fermentation process like they normally would. Once there, unfortunately, the yeast is done. You cannot reuse it from this point on. Luckily we as a species can "recharge out batteries" and fix this. I get to recharge mine here in a couple weeks as I am going to Oregon for my brothers wedding. It works out as the coast just so happens to be one of my favorite places to be and most of my family will be there.
So take a look around from time to time and see if your environment too has become toxic, take the time to fix it or even go recharge yourself. You'll be happier for it in the long run.
~Until next time, keep evolving.