Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: mikeypedersen on January 13, 2010, 12:35:38 AM

Title: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: mikeypedersen on January 13, 2010, 12:35:38 AM
Howdy all!  Sorry if this is a repeat post.

I was wondering about Pressure Canning wort to use in starters.  My girlfriend has a very large stove-top canner and I would love to start using that a couple times a year rather than make a starter every time I'm about to brew.

So my questions are:
1. What pressure level should I maintain and for how long?
2.  How full do I fill the jars?
3.  Is there anything else you need to add other than boiled wort?
4.  How long have you kept it for?

Any info would really help me out!
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: dbeechum on January 13, 2010, 01:23:03 AM
Let's see.. standard recipe is: 15 minutes at 15 p.s.i.

I usually go up to the shoulder

I actually normally make mine from DME/yeast nutrient and water

1+ year
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 13, 2010, 01:25:56 AM
1. What pressure level should I maintain and for how long?
I always give it 15 minutes at 15 pounds
Quote
2.  How full do I fill the jars?
I fill them to the bottom of the threads
Quote
3.  Is there anything else you need to add other than boiled wort?
I haven't but some people add yeast nutrient.  Might start doing that.
Quote
4.  How long have you kept it for?
Only been doing for six months or so so that's all the longer I've kept 'em
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: mikeypedersen on January 13, 2010, 04:55:28 AM
Awesome!  Thanks for the info everyone!
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: yaleterrace on January 13, 2010, 04:55:12 PM
i think it depends on whether you are extract or all-grain brewing.  it would be a hassle to mash just for a little wort to use as a starter, but if you are extract brewing, or don't mind using extract for a little batch of wort, i'd boil it up fresh in a little pot.  your wort, (extract or all-grain, though more so in all-grain,) has fresh nutrients and natural chemicals that yeast really get off on, and they will degrade -- even minutely -- with time, so why not boil it up fresh?
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: dbeechum on January 13, 2010, 05:00:49 PM
so why not boil it up fresh?

The PITA factor for me. By spending a couple of hours canning about 3-6 gallons worth of wort (and as noted, I make mine from DME), I can save myself from my self and in particular my lazy self. It makes it really hard to sell myself on avoiding a starter when all I have to do is sanitize a growler, sanitize a jar lid, pop the jar, pour and pitch. It takes 10 minutes - all but a minute of it waiting.

Plus the wort in the jars has one huge advantage over freshly boiled wort - its perfectly sterile.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 13, 2010, 05:04:42 PM
it would be a hassle to mash just for a little wort to use as a starter

No hassel at all, pressure can an entire batch of wort, just runoff and can, no need to boil, the canning process will take care of that. As far as longevity, maillard reactions will continue to slowly darken the wort over time even at room temp, but it will keep indefinitely so long as the seal is intact. I've kept it for several years without issue.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 13, 2010, 05:08:19 PM
The OP specifically asked for alternatives "rather than make a starter every time I'm about to brew".  Plus there are lots of other advantages to canning starter wort.

1. No need to do the mix-boil-chill hassle every time you need a starter.

2. No need to keep DME around.  When I used to handle that stuff, I could never avoid making a giant mess (plus it's expensive).

3. If you're culturing yeast, you've got "sterile" starter wort for the intial steps.  Boiling only gets you "sanitized" starter wort.

4. Gives you more to do with your pressure canner :)

and it's really not much hassle to mash up a small batch to get your wort collection started.  You don't even have to boil it - the pressure canner takes care of that.  Once you've got some jars canned up, then it's an easy thing to just bump your batch size up slightly each time you brew and can the extra for more starters.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: abraxas on January 13, 2010, 07:45:22 PM
I've messed around with growing some edible mushrooms and one thing to keep in mind is that a sterilized growth medium may not be as good as pasteurized growth medium unless you are able to maintain a completely sterile growth environment.

First because you are creating an ideal environment for other undesirable microorganisms that might outcompete other microorganisms that typically survive pasteurization.

Second because yeast might have some symbiosis with some of the microorganisms present like other types of fungii do (or so I have read).  

Maybe these aren't issues with yeast->beer, I'm just bringing them up for discussion.

Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Kaiser on January 13, 2010, 08:15:59 PM
A while back I was involved in an on-line discussion with some Australian folks about the necessity of pressure canning wort if you need long term storage. Some of them were saying that their no-chill process with the cube is also safe for long term wort storage. We never came to an agreement but my position is that the FDA says that foods with a pH above 5 (or even 4.5, I don’t remember) have to be pressure canned. That’s why we pressure can wort.

Now thinking about that, one could make the argument that if you acidify wort to a pH of 4.0 – 4.5 , with lactic acid for example, you should be able to can it w/o the use of a pressure cooker. I don’t think the lower pH would harm the yeast. It would also cut down on the formation of Maillard products which consume amino acids and have been reported as been a hindrance in fermentation.

One of the big (+) of pressure canning is that you don’t have to watch out for boil-overs when making starters. I usually boil a small amount of water in the starter flask to sanitize the flask, the foil and most importantly the stir bar. Mine has gotten old and may have cracks in which infections can hide. Heat will take care of that.

Kai


Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: 1vertical on January 15, 2010, 06:30:00 AM
Here is my thread on this subject...
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=798.msg9105#msg9105 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=798.msg9105#msg9105)
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 15, 2010, 11:52:35 AM
Kai, Kai, Kai - as much time as you spend researching and the magic acidified foods pH of 4.6 isn't right there on the tip of your tongue? tisk tisk  ;)

Now here's something to research, if you did add enough acid to take a roughly 5.4 pH wort to 4.0, how much acid would it take per quart to acidify and even more interesting how would that lowered pH effect the yeast in the starter as opposed to the 5.4 wort.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Kaiser on January 15, 2010, 01:24:05 PM
Kai, Kai, Kai - as much time as you spend researching and the magic acidified foods pH of 4.6 isn't right there on the tip of your tongue? tisk tisk  ;)

Looks like someone works in the food business ;). I should have known it too. I even looked it up once: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing#Inhibition_of_beer_spoilage_organisms


Quote
Now here's something to research, if you did add enough acid to take a roughly 5.4 pH wort to 4.0, how much acid would it take per quart to acidify and even more interesting how would that lowered pH effect the yeast in the starter as opposed to the 5.4 wort.

The idea of canning acidified word starts to intruige me. There might be a lot of brewers out there who would love to can wort  but lack a pressure canner. I used to be one of them and pressure canners are not necessarily cheap. If we can develop safe but simple quidelines (i.e X ml 88% lactic acid to Y l of wort) and show that acidified wort works just as well in starters those brewers may be helped. I'm not sure if I would use other acids than lactic. Vinegar is more readily available but I'd be concerned with flavor that carries over into the beer. Phosporic acid may work. Muriatic acid is way to dangerous to recommend brewers to mess with it. In addition to that It may not be food grade.

Kai
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 15, 2010, 02:30:58 PM
I used to be one of them and pressure canners are not necessarily cheap.

Here's mine, I'd put $80 close to the "cheap" category, especially since you can also use it for regular canning.

http://www.amazon.com/Presto-23-Quart-Aluminum-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B0000BYCFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1263565577&sr=8-1-spell (http://www.amazon.com/Presto-23-Quart-Aluminum-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B0000BYCFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1263565577&sr=8-1-spell)
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: tubercle on January 15, 2010, 02:44:35 PM
I'm not sure if I would use other acids than lactic. Vinegar is more readily available but I'd be concerned with flavor that carries over into the beer. Phosporic acid may work. Muriatic acid is way to dangerous to recommend brewers to mess with it. In addition to that It may not be food grade.

Kai


 Citric acid, maybe?
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: 1vertical on January 15, 2010, 03:48:55 PM
An interesting read that suggests that the Clostridium botulinum spores  are perhaps
not easily eliminated...and after reading the resulting intoxication symptoms
from exposure to this bacteria, I for one will choose to error on the side of
safety. This is NOT something to play around with IMO.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC202677/ (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC202677/)

The meat of that article to quote, "C. botulinum spores were consistently
 found to germinate, grow, and produce toxin below pH 4.6. "

IMO, EXTREME caution is warranted when you play with this life force.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: abraxas on January 15, 2010, 05:38:55 PM
An interesting read that suggests that the Clostridium botulinum spores  are perhaps
not easily eliminated...

If clostridium botulinum spores were a concern in this case, I would assume it would also be a big concern with homebrewed beer.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: denny on January 15, 2010, 05:39:55 PM
An interesting read that suggests that the Clostridium botulinum spores  are perhaps
not easily eliminated...

If clostridium botulinum spores were a concern in this case, I would assume it would also be a big concern with homebrewed beer.

I believe that the pH of finished beer is too low for it to be a problem.  Not so with canned wort.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: blatz on January 15, 2010, 06:51:03 PM
this is intriguing me.

a noob question popped into my head:  do you have to chill the starter wort before putting them in the mason jars and pressure canning?  While I realize the jars can handle boiling temps, would the jars be able to handle the shock of putting near boiling wort in them?

Sorry - just trying to think this through.  The thought of being able to just sanitize a flask and put in wort at any time, esp on a work night is enticing.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 15, 2010, 07:07:30 PM
do you have to chill the starter wort before putting them in the mason jars and pressure canning?  While I realize the jars can handle boiling temps, would the jars be able to handle the shock of putting near boiling wort in them?

If you read the instructions closely on the step-by-step of pressure canning, most recommend that you put your empty jars in room temp water and bring that to a boil and then remove them and fill them with your hot stuff.  I suppose that's their way of avoiding the shock.  That said, though, I've never done that as it seems too many extra steps and I've never had problems with thermal shock from mash temp wort.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 15, 2010, 11:28:50 PM
Do not chill and no reason to boil.

4.6 is the magic number and while it has been many moons since I attended, the Acidified Foods Certification Class beats that into you so much you will never forget. ;)
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: blatz on January 15, 2010, 11:35:39 PM
Do not chill and no reason to boil.

4.6 is the magic number and while it has been many moons since I attended, the Acidified Foods Certification Class beats that into you so much you will never forget. ;)

no reason to boil b/c it will boil when you can it?  or because you plan on boiling it when you go to make a starter?

I'm confused - I thought if you canned it, you could just open up your mason jar and dump it into a sanitized flask and you're good to go.

Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Kaiser on January 16, 2010, 03:43:59 AM
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC202677/ (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC202677/)

The meat of that article to quote, "C. botulinum spores were consistently
 found to germinate, grow, and produce toxin below pH 4.6. "

Most interesting. This is from the late 80s yet sub pH 4.6 foods are still considered safe with simple canning. But yes, I don't think I should mess with this w/o having the proper knowledge and background.

Kai
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: dbeechum on January 16, 2010, 05:29:48 AM
no reason to boil b/c it will boil when you can it?  or because you plan on boiling it when you go to make a starter?

When you pull the can from the canner it will still be boiling inside, so absolute no worries about it.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 16, 2010, 03:28:00 PM
Also you'll never stop getting break material. I tried several permutations and always got hot break in the jars so finally figured why bother with the boil and so after I sparge, I can the wort. One thing to do is to plan your runoff so the gravity is what you desire for your starters.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: brewboy on January 16, 2010, 04:38:58 PM
Quote
When you pull the can from the canner it will still be boiling inside, so absolute no worries about it.

If it's still boiling when you open or pull it from the canner, then you're not letting things cool long enough.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 16, 2010, 05:42:14 PM
I disagree. I've left it until the pressure equates and still had some bubbles rising as if boiling was occurring. I've never had an issue either and have been pressure canning wort for a long time.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 16, 2010, 05:45:01 PM
I also disagree.  I always let it cool down completely on it's own until the little pop-up thingy drops back down (No cheating by removing the weight early).  Even then, when I take the jars out, the liquid inside them continues to bubble and boil for another 10-15 minutes.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: tubercle on January 16, 2010, 06:06:27 PM
I also disagree.  I always let it cool down completely on it's own until the little pop-up thingy drops back down (No cheating by removing the weight early).  Even then, when I take the jars out, the liquid inside them continues to bubble and boil for another 10-15 minutes.


 That's because when the vessel pressure equalizes you are just getting down to the boiling point of water under the pressure of 1 atmosphere.

  Don't remove the weight early. The liquid in the jars will be way above the boiling point of 1 atmosphere and the liquid will be basically super-heated and the jar lids won't be able to let pressure escape fast enough and the jars may explode.

 If for some reason you can't wait for the pressure to equalize by ambient cooling, run water over the outside of the cooker.

 Just don't remove the weight or screw around with it with a wooden spoon, no matter how fun it might be ::)
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: 1vertical on January 16, 2010, 06:29:17 PM
I also disagree.  I always let it cool down completely on it's own until the little pop-up thingy drops back down (No cheating by removing the weight early).  Even then, when I take the jars out, the liquid inside them continues to bubble and boil for another 10-15 minutes.


 That's because when the vessel pressure equalizes you are just getting down to the boiling point of water under the pressure of 1 atmosphere.

  Don't remove the weight early. The liquid in the jars will be way above the boiling point of 1 atmosphere and the liquid will be basically super-heated and the jar lids won't be able to let pressure escape fast enough and the jars may explode.

 If for some reason you can't wait for the pressure to equalize by ambient cooling, run water over the outside of the cooker.

 Just don't remove the weight or screw around with it with a wooden spoon, no matter how fun it might be ::)

OMG man you are spot on!!  I have picked up jars out of properly cooled canners by the ring and found the bottom of the jar detached and sitting on the bottom of the canner....like are you wanting hot scalding liquid to get out of it's container???
The difference in pressure is how you achieve steralization.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: brewboy on January 16, 2010, 07:25:49 PM
Just let it cool properly with the weight on. Only takes a few minutes longer.  Are you really in that big of a hurry?
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Hokerer on January 16, 2010, 10:48:33 PM
Just let it cool properly with the weight on. Only takes a few minutes longer.  Are you really in that big of a hurry?

Sorry, looks like I wasn't clear.  When I said no cheating by lifting the weight, I meant that I don't cheat by lifting the weight.  I wait the full time.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: MDixon on January 17, 2010, 02:50:26 AM
Let's be clear, not everyone pressure cans with a small unit. With an All American Pressure Canner there is no weight. From my page www.ipass.net/mpdixon
(http://www.ipass.net/mpdixon/Homebrew/Starters&Canning_files/image004.jpg)
(http://www.ipass.net/mpdixon/Homebrew/Starters&Canning_files/image006.jpg)
(http://www.ipass.net/mpdixon/Homebrew/Starters&Canning_files/image008.jpg)
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: brewboy on January 17, 2010, 01:52:45 PM
The other reason to wait is to allow the lids to seal while it's in the canner. If they are brought out while still boiling, then when they cool a small amount of room air may be sucked into them. I imagine this is minimal, but I'd prefer the air remaining in the canner to sucked in rather than outside air.

Maybe I'm being too anal, but I haven't had a spoiled jar yet.

I use a canner similar to Mike's in size, but it still has a pressure weight on it.
Title: Re: Pressure Canning Wort For Starters
Post by: Kaiser on January 17, 2010, 02:01:18 PM
If you rush the cooling by either placing the pot in cold water or lifting the weight, the wort in the jars is going to boil rather strongly and some of the wort may be pushed out from under the lid. I'm afraid that that would leave a residue around the seal which provides a growth medium for microbes. Not to mention the loos of wort. But I don't know how much it would be. If the steam cannot escape quickly enough the jar may even explode.

Kai