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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: beersk on December 19, 2012, 04:11:05 PM

Title: An alternative to starters
Post by: beersk on December 19, 2012, 04:11:05 PM
Saw this over on Homebrew Talk: http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/12/no-more-wasteful-yeast-starters.html

Seems like a pretty good idea to me. Could put half of the wort into a sanitzed keg and seal it with CO2 for a day, then dump it into the fermenter.

Thoughts? Concerns?
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Jimmy K on December 19, 2012, 04:18:33 PM
Interesting idea if you have a convenient, safe place to store some of the wort until later. It might save some money on DME, but I'm skeptical that it would save time.
 
In terms of propogating healthy yeast, I'm not sure that pitching into that volume of wort under fermentation conditions will have quite the same effect as making a starter. It is probably better than just pitching a vial into 5G and calling it a day though.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: mmitchem on December 19, 2012, 04:23:53 PM
I read an article on Kai's website regarding this method of fermenting. I thought it was an interesting read when I found it a year ago and it seems pretty neat. Have a look:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Drauflassen
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Jimmy K on December 19, 2012, 04:32:19 PM
I read an article on Kai's website regarding this method of fermenting. I thought it was an interesting read when I found it a year ago and it seems pretty neat. Have a look:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Drauflassen (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Drauflassen)
Sounds good
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 19, 2012, 04:43:15 PM
I'm always skeptical about storing wort.  I'm sure it works fine for others, but it makes me nervous.

I also just don't see the starter as something that has a cost impact.  I collect some wort from each batch and save it for starters so that cost is minimal.

For my money, I'd rather spend a little bit on the starter than have the whole batch get funky from stored wort.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: davidgzach on December 19, 2012, 04:48:58 PM
Seems reasonable.  A couple of things that come to mind are:

1)  We rarely start with 100B cells.  The older the packet, the more you would need to leave it in the "starter" to build enough yeast to put it in the primary.  That opens up a can of worms for when to transfer and infection.
2)  Good for ales, obviously no good for lagers.

Dave
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 19, 2012, 04:51:47 PM
Seems reasonable.  A couple of things that come to mind are:

1)  We rarely start with 100B cells.  The older the packet, the more you would need to leave it in the "starter" to build enough yeast to put it in the primary.  That opens up a can of worms for when to transfer and infection.
2)  Good for ales, obviously no good for lagers.

Dave

Kai's article says he uses it for lagers.  Unless I've mis-read badly.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Jimmy K on December 19, 2012, 04:53:57 PM
That opens up a can of worms for when to transfer and infection.

Great sanitation is definately needed to avoid infection of stored wort. For transfering though - transfer when fermentation is complete, same as always right?
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: mmitchem on December 19, 2012, 04:54:35 PM
Something else that makes it a less practical is that you are either extending your brewday in terms of things you have to clean. If you are keeping it in the kettle, you have to clean it 24 hours later. If you are transferring to another carboy, you are cleaning that. At any rate, you are extending the commitment of your brewday.
I find it a lot easier to manage a starter leading up to brewday than adding new wort to a vessel of already fermenting wort and managing the risks involved there. If I screw up a starter, all I have to do is start a new one. If I mess that up, I just flushed a batch down the drain.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Jimmy K on December 19, 2012, 04:55:23 PM
Kai's article says he uses it for lagers.  Unless I've mis-read badly.
It is a German technique, so good chance it is used for lagers.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: mmitchem on December 19, 2012, 04:57:03 PM
Kai's article says he uses it for lagers.  Unless I've mis-read badly.

Seems like it would be good practice for any type as long as you are pitching enough yeast into the initial volume of wort and are well enough into growth phase...
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: davidgzach on December 19, 2012, 05:04:42 PM
Kai's article says he uses it for lagers.  Unless I've mis-read badly.

Seems like it would be good practice for any type as long as you are pitching enough yeast into the initial volume of wort and are well enough into growth phase...

I'll have to read the article.  I can see many more potential pitfalls using this procedure with a lager.  I would also think your volumes would be much different if starting with one packet.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: mmitchem on December 19, 2012, 05:07:35 PM
I think you are right. The practice might be great for a very fresh, viable ale fermentation. But in my opinion it seems like it would be a bad practice in lagers. At best in a lager, it would reduce the starter size...
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: beersk on December 20, 2012, 04:00:21 AM
I don't know...seems like a decent method to me.  As long as the vessel you're putting the unpitched wort into is sanitary, what could happen in 24 hours?  I guess making a starter isn't a huge deal, but if you can't make a starter, this seem like a method to try.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: jds357 on December 20, 2012, 04:57:27 AM
Saying that yeast starters are too costly is not a great argument to use this method.  I can see the good in this technique but I probably wouldn't do this unless I had a closed circuit system or a completely sterile environment.  Yeast starters are too easy not to do.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: tschmidlin on December 20, 2012, 08:14:15 AM
I don't see how this is better than taking some of the wort and making a starter with it, then pitching that into the batch the next day.  I think the smaller initial volume of the starter would be easier to manage.  But whatever works for you. :)
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: mmitchem on December 20, 2012, 01:32:04 PM
I don't see how this is better than taking some of the wort and making a starter with it, then pitching that into the batch the next day.  I think the smaller initial volume of the starter would be easier to manage.  But whatever works for you. :)

This. Tom makes a good point. If it works into your schedule, right on. I am of the thinking that if I can expose the entire batch to a healthy pitch of yeast right off the bat, then I am leaving the batch less exposed to infection. Sanitation should be spot on even to attempt this sort of fermentation.

At the end of Kai's article he talks about continuous fermentation using this method. I think that is where you would see the biggest benefit in this practice. Brewing the same beer and always being able to supply a fresh pitch. The consistency achieved by doing this seems worth it alone, not to mention the money saved.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: woodlandbrew on December 20, 2012, 05:12:05 PM
Hello,

You guys bring up some good points.  I have edited the blog post a little incorporating your thoughts.  Thanks!

I didn't realize that Kai had done an article on this technique and that it is a German method.  I guess nothing is new.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: bluesman on December 20, 2012, 05:35:03 PM
My biggest concerns are initial yeast viability and sanitary condition of the second batch of wort at the time of pitching. While this may be a viable method to producing quality beer, I'm not convinced this method's cost savings offsets the potential health/sanitary effects.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: a10t2 on December 20, 2012, 05:50:37 PM
From the yeast's perspective, this is just multi-batch brewing, although I think that most breweries brew the batches on the same day. Realistically, I don't think there's a significant risk associated with storing wort for a day or two (assuming, as always, best practices sanitation). The risk isn't zero, though.

As others have pointed out, there are no costs associated with making starters using wort from a previous batch. IMHO, if you're buying fresh yeast for each batch ($3-8) it isn't worth worrying about the price of DME for a starter (<$1) anyway.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: beersk on December 20, 2012, 08:50:48 PM
I don't see how this is better than taking some of the wort and making a starter with it, then pitching that into the batch the next day.  I think the smaller initial volume of the starter would be easier to manage.  But whatever works for you. :)
This idea sounds good to me too. Take about a half gallon of wort from the batch, pitch the yeast into that, and then pitch it all back to the main wort the next day. I've done something similar with lagers while they're chilling down to pitching temp in the chest freezer.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Kaiser on December 20, 2012, 09:35:38 PM
Yes, that's pretty much the idea of Drauflassen.

As for storing wort, I have done it many times even for ales. Key is to keep the wort cool (below 50, I'd say) and keep it in the kettle. Any transfer risks infection.

I think there is a more practical approach for extract brewers here. As an extract brewer you can take some of your extract and some water to make a large stater one day earlier, add yeast and pitch the whole thing into the rest of the brew the next day. In that case the overhead is only a short boil the day before.

Kai
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: erockrph on December 20, 2012, 10:25:12 PM
My all grain setup is for 3 gallon batches, but this sounds like a cool way to do a full batch if I ever wanted to. I'd just brew a 3 gallon batch one day, pitch my yeast, then brew a second batch and top off a day later.

I wonder what flavor impact there is, seeing you're pretty much adding a day to the yeast growth phase.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: Jimmy K on December 21, 2012, 06:41:26 PM
you're pretty much adding a day to the yeast growth phase.
Maybe not. By the time you add the second dose of wort the yeast will be rapidly multiplying. Additional growth won't take nearly as long. They'd be skipping the lag phase for the second dose.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: jjflash on December 21, 2012, 11:02:04 PM
I would use this technique if I had a 15 bbl kettle and a 30 bbl fermentor.
Would have to brew twice to fill the fermentor anyway.
Significant yeast cost difference 15 vs 30 bbl.
Perfect for that setup.
Until then stir plate and double step for really big OG beers.
Title: Re: An alternative to starters
Post by: a10t2 on December 21, 2012, 11:13:56 PM
Significant yeast cost difference 15 vs 30 bbl.

But that assumes you're pitching fresh yeast, which is unlikely. Even then, you're talking about an extra $100, give or take.