Author Topic: Table Sugar Starter  (Read 1620 times)

Offline davidgzach

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Table Sugar Starter
« on: March 26, 2012, 12:15:03 PM »
I plan to buy another chest freezer and use it as my primary lager making fridge so I can brew more than 1 lager over a 3-4 week period.  I currently use our wine cooler in the basement which my wife loves......

However, that means buying a lot of DME to make starters.  As I purchased a 3lb bag for $13.75 at my LHBS, I got to thinking about ways to reduce this cost. 

Since we are only making yeast and not beer, why not use just plain table sugar?  I'm sure there is a scientific reason as to cell walls and mutations due to the sucrose versus maltose, but please enlighten me!

Zacher

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Offline a10t2

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 12:25:02 PM »
There are a couple reasons:
1. Simple sugar wouldn't contain any of the materials needed for yeast health, let alone new cell production (FAN, trace minerals, etc.).
2. In order to change metabolic pathways, the yeast have to flip a "switch" that could result in stress factors and off-flavors, and possibly lead to reduced attenuation of the wort sugars. Whether this is a practical concern or not is open to debate.

If you want to save money on starters, collect and store the tail runnings from a previous batch.

ETA: I did some starter trials a few years ago. All else being equal, using DME grew 93% more yeast than sucrose. http://seanterrill.com/2010/01/14/aeration-and-yeast-starters/
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 12:30:52 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 12:25:41 PM »
Yes, the yeast will adapt to fermenting sucrose instead of maltose, which is it's own problem. But more important, starters are about producing healthy yeast and table sugar contains zero nutrients, so you'd produce some very stressed yeast cells.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 12:28:01 PM »
you can save a bit of cash by looking around on line for other suppliers. morebeer has 3 lbs for 11.25 for instance.

as I understand it the problem with using plain sugar is that it is really nutrient poor. That combined with the 'lazy yeast' issue in which the yeast become accustomed to eating simple, easily fermented sugars and then are shocked by the more complex malt sugars. However a 3 lbs bag of DME should make alot of starter.

The other thing to do, if you are an AG brewer is to sparge a little (either fly or another small batch if batch sparging) more after you get your pre-boil volume and can that in a presure cooker for later use. I have done this and it works great. Then you can have quart jars of ready to go starter in the cupboard already fully sterile and ready to pitch. I have complemplated experimenting with canning 1 quart in a 2 quart jar so it's just a matter of cracking it open and pitching the yeast but I am not sure how well it would work to can with so much headspace.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 12:44:44 PM »
ETA: I did some starter trials a few years ago. All else being equal, using DME grew 93% more yeast than sucrose. http://seanterrill.com/2010/01/14/aeration-and-yeast-starters/

On "another" brewing forum, someone was arguing that pure sucrose would work just as well as a malt-based starter medium. It's nice to see some numbers support my position. My gut told me sucrose wouldn't work as well, but I didn't have any numbers to back it up.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 12:45:56 PM »
i usually try to brew right on top of the previous yeast cake.  that will save you one round of starters
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Offline narvin

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 12:46:13 PM »
If you don't have a canner, you can also freeze leftover wort from the second runnings as long as you boil it before using it.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 12:47:51 PM »
It only means buying DME once though right?  I'm assuming you are going to re-use the yeast from some of these other lagers you'll have going?  You have a great big pitch of yeast coming off a 5 gal batch that you can rinse and re-use several times if you are careful about your sanitation.  I re-use lager yeast 1:1 and ale yeast 2:1 (that is, take the yeast from one lager and make a new one, take the yeast from one ale and split it to make two new ones).  May not be right but it's worked pretty darn well for me so far. 

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 01:24:30 PM »
I thought there were solid reasons as if it worked, everyone would be doing it!

Some replies:
Yes, I save and wash my yeast.  However, when I brew a lager I still typically make a starter to make sure the yeasties are healthy and ready to go.

I typically buy from Midwest for $11.00, however I had some time to kill and needed DME for my BoPils starter for this weekend's brew.  Had to spend the $$.

The 3# typically lasts me a while.  I was just wondering the specific reasons why we cannot use sucrose.

As always, thanks all!

Zacher
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 01:28:26 PM »
One of the dry yeast manufacturers porduces the yeast using sugar and nutrients.  The ones that say they are gluten free - forget which one. There is a trick to do this.  They continuosly feed the yeast a 10 Plato solution of the sugar and nutrients.  The fermentation pathways are never switched on, so the yeast just grow. Too hard for the homebrewer, as you need to keep the solution in a tight range. I think I read about this on the HBD about 5-10 years back.

If I am out of DME I mash up a couple of pounds of malt.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 01:31:55 PM »
One of the dry yeast manufacturers porduces the yeast using sugar and nutrients.  The ones that say they are gluten free - forget which one. There is a trick to do this.  They continuosly feed the yeast a 10 Plato solution of the sugar and nutrients.  The fermentation pathways are never switched on, so the yeast just grow. Too hard for the homebrewer, as you need to keep the solution in a tight range. I think I read about this on the HBD about 5-10 years back.

If I am out of DME I mash up a couple of pounds of malt.

You know, I've got 40# of 2-row in the basement.  Should have just done that......next time!
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Table Sugar Starter
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 01:57:01 PM »
I have had success with a 50/50 DME/sucrose mix.  I then add about 1/4 tsp of wyeast nutrient for each 2L of starter and put it on a stirplate.  Here's how it goes for 10 gallons (2x6.5 gallon fementers)
2l starter in 4l flask with 1 pack of yeast, aerate with o2 about  30 secs
48hrs to finish then 48hrs in fridge
decant spent wort and add 4L new starter
put on stir plate for a couple of hours to break up clumps
pour 2l into a clean 4l flask and aerate
finish on a stir plate for 36 hours
24 hrs in fridge to settle then decant and pitch
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 01:58:51 PM by dak0415 »
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