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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Pinski on June 01, 2011, 03:01:31 AM

Title: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Pinski on June 01, 2011, 03:01:31 AM
Just wondering about folk's preference. When you prepare a starter do you pitch the entire volume to your wort or do you pour off the starter beer and just pitch the slurry? I've been pitching the whole thing worried that if I dump the beer much of the slurry will end up stuck to the side of the flask instead of in the wort.  I appreciate your points/counterpoints as always.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Will's Swill on June 01, 2011, 05:43:27 AM
I think you'll find that the standard advice is to pour off most of the starter fluid, but retain enough to swirl the slurry loose and pour that into your wort.  But I go ahead and dump the whole thing since I typically make the starter with a small mash of the same base malt in my brew.  But I'm sure I'm gonna read why that's a bad idea now.   ;)
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: tygo on June 01, 2011, 10:44:31 AM
I usually chill and decant, especially if it's more than a 1L starter.  That starter beer was not fermented under ideal conditions and usually doesn't taste very good so I'd rather keep a large amount of it out of my batch. 
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: gogreen437 on June 01, 2011, 02:46:10 PM
I usually like to pitch at high krauesen, so I pitch the whole thing.  But, I usually make 1 liter starters. 
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: denny on June 01, 2011, 03:29:50 PM
2-3 qt. starters, always crashed and decanted.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Hokerer on June 01, 2011, 03:32:00 PM
Chilled and decanted here, too.  Don't want that nasty oxidized spent wort in my beer.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: thomasbarnes on June 01, 2011, 06:39:34 PM
What about decanting off all the starter wort and rinsing out the slurry using sterilized water just before pitching?
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: denny on June 01, 2011, 06:59:06 PM
What about decanting off all the starter wort and rinsing out the slurry using sterilized water just before pitching?

I don't see anything wrong with that.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Hokerer on June 01, 2011, 07:12:44 PM
What about decanting off all the starter wort and rinsing out the slurry using sterilized water just before pitching?

If you're going to do that, seems like you might as well use some of your just made wort instead of water.  Like the hydrometer sample, for instance.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Pinski on June 01, 2011, 07:29:30 PM
What about decanting off all the starter wort and rinsing out the slurry using sterilized water just before pitching?

If you're going to do that, seems like you might as well use some of your just made wort instead of water.  Like the hydrometer sample, for instance.

Hmm... I don't know if it would be the best practice, perhaps just a bit risky, but I like this idea.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Hokerer on June 01, 2011, 07:38:20 PM
Hmm... I don't know if it would be the best practice, perhaps just a bit risky, but I like this idea.

Hasn't been risky for me.  I've been re-using hydrometer samples for various purposes for forty-some batches now with nary a single problem.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: morticaixavier on June 01, 2011, 08:38:43 PM
Hmm... I don't know if it would be the best practice, perhaps just a bit risky, but I like this idea.

Hasn't been risky for me.  I've been re-using hydrometer samples for various purposes for forty-some batches now with nary a single problem.

As long as you are sanitizing flask and hydro no worries. Personally I reuse my hydrometer sample only for one thing. tasting.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: mabrungard on June 01, 2011, 09:25:24 PM
I noticed the mention of pouring off the spent wort (its not really beer due to the amount of aeration I provide) from the sedimented yeast.  I find that pouring doesn't work well.  I siphon off the spent wort after the yeast has sedimented from a crash cooling.  I can't really get all the wort off the yeast, but I get a lot off.  To rouse the yeast, I add a slug of the freshly chilled wort from my batch into the starter flask and put it back on the stirrer.  That is a happy bunch of yeast when its added to the rest of the wort in an hour or so.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Hokerer on June 01, 2011, 11:40:23 PM
+1 @Martin

We were discussing this very thing in this other thread http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=7718.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=7718.0)

My last several batches have had pretty long lag times.  I don't know if it was my allowing the starter to warm for a few hours before pitching or the hydrometer sample full of fresh wort I added to the starter (and put on the stir plate) but, my most recent batch was pitched late Sunday night and come Monday morning I already had blowoff.  Yeast seemed much happier.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Pinski on June 02, 2011, 01:01:51 AM
I swear, everyday is like a workshop in this forum. I love it. Thanks for all the comments, keep 'em coming!
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: tom on June 02, 2011, 04:35:22 AM
I noticed the mention of pouring off the spent wort (its not really beer due to the amount of aeration I provide) from the sedimented yeast.  I find that pouring doesn't work well.  I siphon off the spent wort after the yeast has sedimented from a crash cooling.  I can't really get all the wort off the yeast, but I get a lot off.  To rouse the yeast, I add a slug of the freshly chilled wort from my batch into the starter flask and put it back on the stirrer.  That is a happy bunch of yeast when its added to the rest of the wort in an hour or so.
Brilliant!  How do you do your little mini-siphon?  Maybe a sanitized "baster" or "thief" would work?
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: mabrungard on June 02, 2011, 02:01:29 PM
Just a length of typical 1/4 or 3/8" ID tubing, sanitized and inserted into the spent wort above the yeast cake.  Set the flask on the side of the sink and have the free end of the tubing extend into the sink.  A standard application of oral vacuum gets the flow started.  Since the spent wort is just going down the sink, the worries with contamination due to starting the siphon by mouth are non-existent as long as you keep the flow from back washing. 
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: denny on June 02, 2011, 02:54:14 PM
My last several batches have had pretty long lag times.  I don't know if it was my allowing the starter to warm for a few hours before pitching or the hydrometer sample full of fresh wort I added to the starter (and put on the stir plate) but, my most recent batch was pitched late Sunday night and come Monday morning I already had blowoff.  Yeast seemed much happier.

Do what works, but make sure you're assessing the results correctly.  I did the exact opposite of you last weekend....took my yeast directly out of the fridge, decanted and pitched.  I had fermentation starting in 3 hours.  So, maybe your results are due to the actions you took and maybe they're due to something else.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: bluesman on June 02, 2011, 03:03:41 PM
Typically, I'll prepare a starter to 1.020-1.1030 and let it ferment out then crash cool. On brewday I'll remove the chilled starter from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for a couple of hours then decant the beer and add some fresh starter wort to wake up the yeast cells in an effort to make them active and ready for the battle ahead. I usually allow the fresh starter to sit for an hour or two prior to pitching.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Mark G on June 02, 2011, 04:39:57 PM
I used to chill, decant, then let the starter come up to the wort temp before pitching. A couple months back though, Denny mentioned just pitching it cold, so I've been trying that method since. There has been no noticeable difference in lag time, attenuation, flavor, etc. due to yeast performance. It's just my experience, and there's nothing wrong with letting it warm up, or adding more wort, etc., but I find pitching cold to be far more... pragmatic...
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: denny on June 02, 2011, 05:30:13 PM
I used to chill, decant, then let the starter come up to the wort temp before pitching. A couple months back though, Denny mentioned just pitching it cold, so I've been trying that method since. There has been no noticeable difference in lag time, attenuation, flavor, etc. due to yeast performance. It's just my experience, and there's nothing wrong with letting it warm up, or adding more wort, etc., but I find pitching cold to be far more... pragmatic...

Gold Star!

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Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on June 02, 2011, 06:40:54 PM
I've been pitching cold for a while now and IME, if anything they take off quicker.

There was a question on cold-pitching in the Danstar FAQ and Dr. Clayton Cone said he wasn't sure why it worked so well but he hypothesized that it may have to do with glycogen/trehalose reserves.  When you hydrate dry yeast in warm water (the best way to hydrate dry yeast) you need to pitch it relatively quickly because if you don't the yeast start using their built-up glycogen/trehalose reserves.  He thought that perhaps letting yeast warm up prior to pitching had a similar effect; i.e. the yeast starts to use up it's internal reserves until pitched into nutrient/O2/sugar rich wort.
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: narvin on June 02, 2011, 06:54:04 PM
Just a length of typical 1/4 or 3/8" ID tubing, sanitized and inserted into the spent wort above the yeast cake.  Set the flask on the side of the sink and have the free end of the tubing extend into the sink.  A standard application of oral vacuum gets the flow started.  Since the spent wort is just going down the sink, the worries with contamination due to starting the siphon by mouth are non-existent as long as you keep the flow from back washing.  

This is exactly what I do.  I also will toss the hydrometer sample in after to help stir up the yeast (making sure the hydrometer and cylinder is sanitized before collecting wort).
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: Slowbrew on June 02, 2011, 07:01:41 PM
I decant or siphon off the extra wort from the starter.  Then run in some of the new wort I just boiled and chilled so I can swill it around to loosen up the yeast on the bottom.  After I finish transferring the wort to the primary I pitch the yeast.  Never had any issues.

Paul
Title: Re: Regarding yeast starters...
Post by: tschmidlin on June 02, 2011, 07:59:19 PM
I've been pitching cold for a while now and IME, if anything they take off quicker.

There was a question on cold-pitching in the Danstar FAQ and Dr. Clayton Cone said he wasn't sure why it worked so well but he hypothesized that it may have to do with glycogen/trehalose reserves.  When you hydrate dry yeast in warm water (the best way to hydrate dry yeast) you need to pitch it relatively quickly because if you don't the yeast start using their built-up glycogen/trehalose reserves.  He thought that perhaps letting yeast warm up prior to pitching had a similar effect; i.e. the yeast starts to use up it's internal reserves until pitched into nutrient/O2/sugar rich wort.
They will mostly "consume" their trehalose reserves within 5 minutes of coming to room temperature, but I don't believe that has anything to do with it.  They make trehalose when it's cold because it is a cryoprotectant and they are anticipating the temperature dropping further.  It also plays a role in dessication and ethanol tolerance.  Trehalose levels will drop because it is hydrolyzed to glucose, but we don't know that that glucose is all consumed or if the excess is converted to glycogen for a while before the cell begins consuming it.  Consuming the glycogen reserves seems like a more proximal answer to me.  I'd love to get a grant to test this at length with a trehalose deficient mutant . . .