Author Topic: Boiling starters in a flask  (Read 7363 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2011, 11:55:23 PM »
most of the time I boil my starters in a sealed pint or quart jar with a two piece lid under 15 psi.

I have boiled in a flask with no problems. I can see the benefit of a more or less sterile environment for your starter, at least until you remove the foil. but flasks are expensive and I am cheap and one gallon jugs are also cheap thus...
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Offline kgs

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2012, 10:41:58 AM »
I boil in a small saucepan and chill it quickly with an ice bath before transferring. Never had a boilover, no need for Fermcap, etc.
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2012, 08:06:32 AM »
To avoid the boil over, simply move the flask to the side such that only 1/4 to 1/3 of the flask is receiving heat from the burner.  Then, turn the heat down.  This will allow you to create a low, rolling boil in the flask like you do in your brew kettle.  Just monitor the heat so that you maintain only enough heat to keep it rolling  Any more is unnecessary and will cause a boil over. 

One thing to be cautious of is making a starter with pilsner malt that you intend to pitch whole.  The flask, by its shape, is designed to minimize vapor loss.  The vapors collect on the side of the glass and slide back down into the base liquid.  Thus, you do not boil off any DMS from pilsner malts or extra light DME.  If after you make your starter you are going to chill and decant the liquid, then no big deal.  If I need to boil down my wort or am worried about boiling off flavors compounds out, then I will boil in a pot first, then transfer to the flask.  Then I will boil in the glass for 5 minutes just to make sure everything is sanitized.

Lab grade glassware will handle any stove and can be immediately dunked into ice baths.  The only concern is the depth of the ice bath.  Make sure it is not much deeper than the liquid inside the flask.  If you have 1-2" of wort in your flask and you dunk the flask in 6-8" of ice, then you do risk cracking the upper part of the flask that is not also in contact with liquid inside. 
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2012, 08:01:43 AM »
The problem I had with simply reducing heat is that I have a ceramic cooktop stove and the elements cycle on/off at low settings. Even at vary low settings the flask would boil over when the element cycled on.

But I did get some Fermcap S last weekend and my starter last night boiled hard without foaming all over the place. Praise Jebus.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2012, 09:19:43 AM »
A lab flask shouldn't be much worry on the stove - this is what they are made for. Hot stove to ice water might be a little too much for it though.
They are designed to go from boiling to an ice bath.   I do starters when I go home for lunch, my wife hates the smell of boiling wort so I make them while she's at work.  I take them off the stove and put them directly into an ice bath so I can pitch the yeast before I go back to work.  I've been making starters this way for 10 years.
The trick is to use medium heat just until you see bubbles coming off the bottom, and then slow the heat down very low so the wort simmers for 15-20 minutes.
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2012, 09:49:52 AM »
The problem I had with simply reducing heat is that I have a ceramic cooktop stove and the elements cycle on/off at low settings. Even at vary low settings the flask would boil over when the element cycled on.

Mine is a ceramic top too, and I don't have any problems.  Try moving it off to the side.  Also, how full is your flask?  I always limit mine to 1/2 to 2/3 full. 
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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2012, 10:04:24 AM »
I did move the flask to the side yesterday, about 1/2 way off, and I think that also helped. Besides less heat, it seems to help that the bubbles are all coming up one side then settling on the other - instead of rushing up on all sides of the flask.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2012, 02:35:13 PM »
I'm in line with the last couple of posts.  I boil in a 5L Pyrex flask, then allow to cool a bit on the stove before transferring to an ice bath.  No problems, thanks to Pyrex....
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Offline positiverpr

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2012, 05:18:40 AM »
i've broken a 2 liter and a 6 liter flask heating on the stove. after the second one(slow learner) i just got one of those diffusers(little metal plate) that better distributes the heat and have had no problems. fermcap works great as long as you dont push the volume in the flask. i'm way to paranoid to transfer cooled wort to another container. its gotta stay in the boiling container unless im transferring in a hood and my wife ixneyed that idea. anyone working figured out how to implement that walk-in autoclave?

Online tygo

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2012, 07:07:11 AM »
i've broken a 2 liter and a 6 liter flask heating on the stove.

What kind of stove?  Heating on a gas stove works fine (at least for me).  Heating on an electric range is a no-no.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2012, 07:14:24 AM »
I'm on electric with no problems.  But it of course has to be Pyrex....
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Offline positiverpr

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2012, 08:29:55 AM »
mines gas but instead of a solid platform it has the spiderweb design. pretty easy to see why i should have been using a defuser anyway with those concentrated hot spots.

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2012, 09:51:55 AM »
I'm on electric with no problems.  But it of course has to be Pyrex....

Google "pyrex flask on electric stove" for hundreds (thousands?) of people who have broken Pyrex flasks by placing them directly on an electric stove.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2012, 09:21:04 AM »
I used my 2L Erlenmeyer flask for the first time last night (on a gas range) and not only did it eliminate several potential contamination points, but it was fascinating to watch the wort boil. Plus there was almost nothing to clean up--no pan, no funnel. I had been using a one-gallon growler for the starter, and it had such a narrow neck it was a pain to clean.  This is one of those small "convenience" upgrades I'm glad I made.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Boiling starters in a flask
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2012, 11:07:15 AM »
For all 5 (!) of the starters I have done I have just taken the flask straight from the stove boiling into the sink, which I then fill with tap water, and once it is full I put ice in the sink - it takes close to an hour and its ready to pitch, though I've never timed it.

As far as boiling over, I use a bamboo skewer.  I just stick it down in the bubbles and flick it back and forth rapidly.  This breaks the bubbles up and releases the heat.  It works pretty good!

Steve
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