One of the keys to making consistently good beer is to ensure consistently good fermentation practices, which for many brewers involves using various nutrients to encourage solid yeast performance. Viewed as being one of the most important nutrients, zinc is readily available for purchase and generally gets added to the wort just before pitching the yeast.
Zinc is a co-factor for certain enzymes that assist with yeast growth and metabolism. Even at relatively low concentrations (0.2-2.0 ppm), zinc is said to have a noticeable impact on fermentation by allowing the yeast to work more efficiently during the growth phase, resulting in a quicker start and healthier fermentation, which ultimately leads to a cleaner tasting beer. While too much zinc can inhibit yeast growth, usage rates at the higher end of the recommended range are also believed to contribute to beer foam stability.
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