Author Topic: Crazy fermentation and first starter  (Read 2534 times)

Offline duboman

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Crazy fermentation and first starter
« on: February 25, 2012, 07:37:58 AM »
I know I read something somewhere but can't find it now so here's my questions:
Made my first starter for a German Hefe with WY3068. I made a 2 liter with 2 cups of Munton's Extra Light DME 3 days prior to brew day and it took off like crazy and made a mess. I forgot about cold crashing and pitched the entire thing in a 6 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy, I know, not a lot of headspace.......

I rigged up the primary with a sanitized blow off tube and vessel and fermentation began in earnest in about 12 hours with major fermentation a little later. It appears that quite a bit of yeast made into the blow off vessel as there appears to be a nice cake at the bottom. My fermentation temp is right at 59 degrees.

Is the lack of head space a reason why there is so much yeast in the vessel?
Will this cause any overall issues with complete fermentation?
Was my starter made correctly with the amounts of DME-OG is 1.052
Should I be using the Fermi stuff now since I'm doing bigger batches to help keep the krausen down inf the starter and primary?

In addition, I wanted to do my first yeast harvest as well. Can I harvest both the vessel and the primary? Should I cold crash both the primary and the vessel once fermentation is complete, I can bring them in the garage which is about 35-40 degrees for a day, and then harvest when I transfer to bottle. If I'm planning on using the cake for the same beer again do I need to wash the yeast or can I save the whole thing as it is. The cake in the vessel looks pretty clean but I will assume there is a fair amount of trub in the primary.

Thanks for the help, love this place!
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline majorvices

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 08:04:33 AM »
Your starter OG was  alittle high but I wouldn't worry about it. 1.020-1.040 is the range, and I shoot for the lower end. But you didn't do any damage.

The head space is probably the problem plus hefeweizens just throw up a lot of top cropping yeast. If you are capturing the blow off in a sanitized vessle use that yeast over the bottom. Hefeweizen strains are top cropping strains and you will be better off top cropping than collecting the yeast on the bottom. Top cropping hereweizen yeast tends to preserve all the great flavor characteristics of hefeweizen while bottom cropping tends to select the more flocculant yeast. That said, I have bottom selected hefe strains often with fine results.

IMO you don;t need to wash any yeast. It's a waste of time and a potential contamination hazard.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 08:44:22 AM »
Thanks for the reply, just so I understand, when you say top cropping you mean I should only worry about harvesting the yeast that is in the sanitized blow off vessel and forget about the bottom of the primary?

In addition, I assume I should cold crash as mentioned above?
Is using Fermicap worthwhile when confronted with these issues?
Is it better to cold crash the starter, decant and only use the cake?
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 12:21:25 PM »
What is the blow off vessel?  If it is indeed sanitary then you can definitely use that yeast, but I often use a pitcher with some starsan in the bottom, in which case no, don't use that.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline duboman

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 01:19:44 PM »
What is the blow off vessel?  If it is indeed sanitary then you can definitely use that yeast, but I often use a pitcher with some starsan in the bottom, in which case no, don't use that.

I am using a growler that is partially filled with 50/50 star san and water
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2012, 01:48:13 PM »
Like Tom said, if you're using StarSan in your blowoff vessel I definitely wouldn't use that yeast. If you did want to collect the yeast in a blowoff vessel I would only do so if; you sanitized the vessel thoroughly, added only sterile water to create the airlock and finally, used a dual drilled stopper that would allow a blowoff tube to pass through to the bottom of the vessel and also allow you to place an air lock on the blowoff vessel to prevent nasties from getting at your blowoff yeast/vessel while allowing gas to escape. Using  a blowoff hose narrow enough to do this may also increase your risk of a clog and a mess.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 04:36:54 PM »
Agree with these guys. I would use a clean and sanitized vessel, not one filled partially with sanitizer.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 09:54:30 AM »
Thanks for the assistance, I think I'll just harvest from the primary this time around and pay more attention to the blow off vessel for the next batch!
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The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline duboman

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Re: Crazy fermentation and first starter
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 09:27:18 AM »
To continue from where we left off.........

So I just bottled up my German Hefeweizen that I used WY3068 for. I have a nice yeast cake sitting on the bottom of the bucket and would like to be able to save it for a future batch. After bottling, since we stirred up a bit of the yeast I sealed the primary back up after racking and placed it back in my "cold" room to settle it back out. There is about 1/8" of beer sitting on top.

What is the safest way to remove this cake from the bottom of the bucket? Since there is some beer on it should I just collect the entire slurry?

Can I store the yeast in a clean and sanitized mason jar in the fridge?

How long can I expect to keep the yeast for before needing to use it?

How much of this yeast should I consider using for the next batch in a starter? The cake is easily an inch thick with very little hop debris.

I've never done this before and would like to learn the proper ways of doing this so I can begin creating an inventory of my yeast? I am not looking to become a professional yeast master, just looking to save some yeast for the next batch without compromising the integrity of the beer to be made. :)
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010