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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Gordonwerks on December 16, 2013, 11:06:52 PM

Title: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: Gordonwerks on December 16, 2013, 11:06:52 PM
I made a yeast starter two days ago, with hopes to brew yesterday. That did not happen. So, three days later, I'm wondering what my time limit is. Should I let it continue to stir? Should I add more DME mixture? I may get to brew tomorrow at the best.

Thanks for your replys!

Yeasty Boys (and girls) United!
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: Pinski on December 16, 2013, 11:14:05 PM
I don't know what volume your starter is but fate has done you a favor. Had  you brewed yesterday your starter would almost certainly not have finished and absolutely would not have had enough time to crash/settle out prior to decanting and pitching.  My starters generally sit on the stir plate 36-48 hours and then get at least a day (unless I'm impatient or lazy) to crash in the fridge. A few hours before I pitch I decant off the starterbeer and let the yeast warm to pitching temps.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 16, 2013, 11:47:27 PM
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: jamminbrew on December 16, 2013, 11:59:25 PM
According to White/Zainashef in "Yeast", "Most starters... ...reach their maimum cell density within 12 to 18 hours. Low inoculation rates and low temperatures can both extend that time out to 36 hours or more, but the bulk of growth should always be complete within 24 hours." If you keep the yeast in the starter vessel for 8-12 hours after they reach terminal gravity, it helps them to build up their glycol reserves. Then cool it down in the fridge for 24 hours, decant the "beer" in the vessel, and pitch your yeast. You can keep it in the fridge for a week or two, but after that you should make a new starter, and wake them up again.
You can pitch the starter within 12-18 hours, but you can't decant the liquid. I think you'll be fine, just chill the yeast until you are ready to brew. I've made starters a week out, to no ill effects. Just chill them in the fridge after 36-48 hours, like Pinski said. If you've gone longer than 3 days, add a little more wort, let that finish, then chill.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 17, 2013, 12:07:53 AM
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.

An old school starter maker too !   I have used pretty much this method for a long, long time. I know there are lots of good reasons to get a stir plate, but I keep getting quick, strong fermentations, good attenuation, and good beers. I must be pragmatic too.   ;)
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: Gordonwerks on December 17, 2013, 01:01:44 AM
Thanks to all that responded. This is good info from good sources. Man, only if the government could work this close. I've not stated this before, but thanks to the ABA and the forum, I had 65 views on this inquiry in less than an hour. So, my yeast is safe! On with the creation of Caribou Slobber. It a brown ale and I can wait!
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 06:32:58 AM
glad to help. Apparently it's what we do for fun ;D
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: beersk on December 17, 2013, 02:08:37 PM
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
I've done this with lagers, it works out nicely. For all my lagers, I usually chill the wort the rest of the way down 6-12 hours after brewing. Now that I'm fermenting in kegs, I can pressurize the keg with co2 so wild yeast can't have as much of a chance to take hold in that time.  Or am I just making that up? Could wild yeast still thrive just as easily if I didn't pressurize the keg?
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 03:31:44 PM
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
I've done this with lagers, it works out nicely. For all my lagers, I usually chill the wort the rest of the way down 6-12 hours after brewing. Now that I'm fermenting in kegs, I can pressurize the keg with co2 so wild yeast can't have as much of a chance to take hold in that time.  Or am I just making that up? Could wild yeast still thrive just as easily if I didn't pressurize the keg?

pretty sure you're just making that up ;) I don't think yeast mind the pressure much, unless you're talking really scary high pressure. They certainly don't mind co2
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: beersk on December 17, 2013, 03:41:26 PM
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 03:42:45 PM
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.

well it will prevent air from coming in that's true. might make a difference. positive pressure and all that.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: beersk on December 17, 2013, 04:22:22 PM
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.

well it will prevent air from coming in that's true. might make a difference. positive pressure and all that.
Roight. That was my thinking. Couldn't hurt, I suppose.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 04:24:09 PM
If I had the kegs available I would ferment in a corny for sure. every time I see those shiny 10 gallon cornies it makes me think. Being able to ferment at pressure is a big advantage!

Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: BP79 on December 17, 2013, 07:21:07 PM
Would two weeks in the fridge, covered in foil with a rubber band around it, be pushing it?  My brew-day last Saturday turned into a snow day with the kiddo.   
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 07:25:01 PM
Would two weeks in the fridge, covered in foil with a rubber band around it, be pushing it?  My brew-day last Saturday turned into a snow day with the kiddo.   

not too much. If you've got the time to wake it up again with fresh wort or make a fresh starter it wouldn't hurt though.

If you do make a new starter you can save most of that first one for future brews and only use about a tablespoon of the slurry. Easier than harvesting from the fermenter
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: BP79 on December 17, 2013, 08:20:32 PM
My LHBS is awful, and I don't feel like ordering more yeast from Northern Brewer unless I want to tap into my kid's college fund to pay for express shipping.

With a 1.4L / 2 vial starter, would you suggest I decant, add 500 mL of fresh worth into the slurry, then put that on a stir-plate for a few hours the morning of the brew-day?

*** sorry for hijacking the post and making it all about me  :P***
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: morticaixavier on December 17, 2013, 11:59:07 PM
My LHBS is awful, and I don't feel like ordering more yeast from Northern Brewer unless I want to tap into my kid's college fund to pay for express shipping.

With a 1.4L / 2 vial starter, would you suggest I decant, add 500 mL of fresh worth into the slurry, then put that on a stir-plate for a few hours the morning of the brew-day?

*** sorry for hijacking the post and making it all about me  :P***

do you have the ability to make 2(two) 750 ml starters? if so I would do that, decant, pitch half of your original starter into each and then proceed as you suggest.

growth is partially dependent on starting population and if the starting population is too high in relation to the volume of the starter you get poor to no growth.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: dkfick on December 18, 2013, 01:41:55 AM
If I had the kegs available I would ferment in a corny for sure. every time I see those shiny 10 gallon cornies it makes me think. Being able to ferment at pressure is a big advantage!
Yeah I have 2 of those 10 gallon cornies I use to ferment in.  They are really nice.  Picked one up for $15... the other $130 :(.
Title: Re: Yeast starter life span.
Post by: BP79 on December 18, 2013, 03:14:01 PM
Yup, I can make two 750mL starters.  As always, thanks for the tip.