Whey

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Kent88
Whey

My wife occasionally uses a home cheesemaking kit and has a ton of leftover whey. She sometimes uses the excess to make bread, which gave us the idea to add a little to beer. I've used a cup or two in a couple batches of beer with no noticeable affect on the final product. I'm curious to know how much I could add to a sweet stout before having anything odd happen (I've heard that the acidity can mess with things, and perhaps lipids too). Has anyone else tried adding whey, or is there anyone who is interested in trying it out?

denny
denny's picture
I've never tried it. I guess

I've never tried it. I guess I'd have 2 questions..what does it bring to the beer? And does it go rancid?

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

Kent88
I'd add it with 4 goals in

I'd add it with 4 goals in mind: to increase the protein content useable to yeast (and perhaps some to the final product?), add a *slight* sweetness to the finished beer with the small amount of lactose in it, and, in some cases, to give a sweet/milk stout a more authentic feel. Oh, and use up some of the leftover whey from cheesemaking, as a kit that starts with a gallon of milk can sometimes produce over 8 cups of whey.

If whey is to be used fresh I believe it should be used within a couple hours of making it. Whey can be frozen with no problems. It can go bad if you ignore it for to long.

So far I've only used a little whey in a few extract kits, I'm curious to see if using more affects the flavor. As for my acidity concern, I believe the pH of whey is about the same as wort, so while I think that it wouldn't be negatively affected, I don't know.

denny
denny's picture
Let me play devil's advocate

Let me play devil's advocate here..I do it pretty well...

Protein...why? Why does the yeast care?

Add sweetness...hmmm...maybe, but how much lactose is there? Enough to matter?

Milk stout...obviously, they don't use milk, so it goes back to the lactose question...is there enough to matter?

I guess the only way to answer these questions is to try it, but I really have doubts. I think the rancid factor will be the decider.

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

Kent88
You do indeed play it well.

You do indeed play it well.

I've read that if the protein in the wort is off that it will probably mess up the final product. I'm still fairly new to this (almost 18 months brewing, somewhere around 15 1-2 gallon batches) so I don't know how often it occurs.

I don't know the lactose content of whey. I know it is in there, but not sure how much, or if one could count on it to be consistent.

I don't know how much doing something "the spirit of things" counts, but having real dairy (or a real dairy by-product? that doesn't sound as nice) might be appealing to dairy enthusiasts.

I've used small amounts (one or two cups for 2 gallons) of whey in two batches and noticed no rancid flavor. As long as whey is used or frozen promptly after making it I see no issues with whey going rancid before it would be added it to wort. I'm confident it wont be an issue after adding it to a boil but I can't be sure yet, I have too small a sample size. I guess I know what I'll be doing once I find my favorite milk stout recipe. Next 1-gallon batch of milk stout I make I will hopefully substitute 6cups of water for an equal volume of whey. In those amounts if there is any rancid flavor to be found it should come through.

Ultimately though, I don't think anyone is going to go through the trouble of buying a cheese kit when they don't already have a desire to make cheese, just to produce some whey to make wort. The reason I started it was because I had access to excess whey when the cheese was going to be made regardless of what I was planning.

I think it is a neat idea and was hoping that someone else out there could tell me about their experiences so that I had something to start with as I tinker with it myself. I guess I'm on my own.