With the high porosity wouldn't there be a high chance of contamination?
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+1 providing you gave it ample time to sanitize. You should try to use that saved yeast within a couple days or so. If not, then a starter should be utilized.
I hear you Joe, just took me a year's worth of usage to realize this was the way to handle it.
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If it only took you a year, your a faster learner than I am.
Occasionally I get a slight drip from where the water hose connects to the wort chiller, and we were trying to place the paper towel in such way as to prevent drippage. That's another question I need to ask. How to create a secure, drip free connection?As others have said - you'll be fine. I doubt paper towels are teaming with beer spoilage microbes right off the roll. In fact I'd bet they are pretty clean. Maybe if you had been cleaning up grain dust with it, you could possible have a problem....
That's what I was thinking: what was the towel used for prior to contact? If just off the roll - no issue. If used to wipe your hands after sneezing - maybe an issue.
I mash my grains in a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. Works great. I have a strainer that fits over the top of my kettle so I can put the bag in the strainer and let it drain and/or rinse it/sparge it.
For conversion from grain to extract of vice versa, a good rule of thumb is 1 lb of grain = 2/3 lb DME or 3/4 lb LME.