Author Topic: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter  (Read 1271 times)

Offline Pi

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Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« on: April 05, 2012, 07:10:55 AM »
I'm gonna do a starter for a Munich Dunkle. Wyeast 2308 Mr Malty says2.4L with a stir plate. Reading some threads on this, most would agree to decant. So do i make a 2.4 starter than decant/pitch like a liter? Do you just shut off the stir plate and let things settle? At what point is the starter ready to be decanted? And how critical is the timing? I am trying to estimate how long it will take to prepare a starter and have it ready when my wort is ready. Does the smack pack mfg. date effect how long it will take? Should I pitch the swollen pack onto the full 2.4L, or step up?
Whoaa, i need to RDWHAHB, but it's too early. 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 07:22:53 AM »
Yes! first off RDWHAHB. Next, to the answer. Give yourself at least 4 days preferably a week. Make the starter with the 2.4 litre volume suggested (you could step it up but that will take longer). Pitch the smack pack into the starter and put 'er on the stir plate. after about 3 days it should be pretty well done so pop it in the fridge till brew day.

On brew day take it out of the fridge. and something that seemed to work well for me last time was to take it out of the fridge at the begining of your brew day, when you have the wort boiling draw off a pint or two and chill it down to pitching temp. decant as much of the starter 'beer' as you can manage, there shouldn't be much more than a few oz left on the yeast cake. Add the pint or two of chilled wort and set it aside until pitching time and pitch as normal.

You can skip the extra wort step but it does seem to wake the little buggers up!
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 07:25:59 AM »
Assuming you're starting from a fresh pack, make the starter 4-5 days before brewing. After about 24 hours on the plate, it should have fermented out. Once it's finished, just stick it in the fridge. When you're ready to pitch, take it out of the fridge and pour off as much "beer" as you can without pouring out any yeast. Swirl up what's left and pour it into the fermenter. If there's any yeast left, pour some wort or pre-boiled water in and swirl until you have most of it in suspension, then pitch.

If the pack is more than a couple months old, give it an extra day on the stir plate, just in case. A few extra days in the fridge won't do any harm. Much worse to make the starter too late and have to postpone your brew day. I'm assuming you're starting from a very fresh pack; otherwise MrMalty would be recommending a larger starter.

Edit: Or, you know, what he said. ::)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 07:28:41 AM by a10t2 »
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 07:49:02 AM »
+1 to above.  Pretty much sums it up.  Good luck!
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 07:52:15 AM »
Assuming you're starting from a fresh pack, make the starter 4-5 days before brewing. After about 24 hours on the plate, it should have fermented out. Once it's finished, just stick it in the fridge. When you're ready to pitch, take it out of the fridge and pour off as much "beer" as you can without pouring out any yeast. Swirl up what's left and pour it into the fermenter. If there's any yeast left, pour some wort or pre-boiled water in and swirl until you have most of it in suspension, then pitch.

If the pack is more than a couple months old, give it an extra day on the stir plate, just in case. A few extra days in the fridge won't do any harm. Much worse to make the starter too late and have to postpone your brew day. I'm assuming you're starting from a very fresh pack; otherwise MrMalty would be recommending a larger starter.

Edit: Or, you know, what he said. ::)
+1
We have a Wyeast employee at our club speak from time to time and one of his main points is to generally pull the starter off of the plate and crash cool after 24-36 hours depending on the viability (age) of your yeast.  The goal being to quiet the yeast down before they have consumed ALL of the available sugars and nutrients and are still raring to go when you warm them up and pitch to your wort.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 08:05:01 AM »
Well, it's 11:00. I'm gonna HAHB. These posts give me some clarity. I'm going to pitch my swollen pack onto 3 Liters 1.048 at 68-70*, let it ferment a couple days and brew on sunday. Thanks for the advice.
" give a homebrewer a starter, he brews for a day- show him how to make one, he brewes for a lifetime!".
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2012, 08:13:16 AM »
1.035 or so wort is generally what you you want to use to propagate.
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Offline harbicide

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 09:26:41 AM »
After emailing with Wyeast a few years ago the only time I decant is if I am doing a delicate style or a volume that is approaching the limits of my fermenter.  For 20 gallon batches I generally make a two step, two gallon starter, beginning 48 hours before brew day, on a stir plate with constant O2 feed.

The Wyeast pitch calculator is a great tool:

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrate.cfm
 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 09:53:19 AM »
After emailing with Wyeast a few years ago the only time I decant is if I am doing a delicate style or a volume that is approaching the limits of my fermenter.  For 20 gallon batches I generally make a two step, two gallon starter, beginning 48 hours before brew day, on a stir plate with constant O2 feed.

The Wyeast pitch calculator is a great tool:

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrate.cfm

wow! you pitch 2 gallons of starter 'beer' into 20 gallons of wort? that's like 10% of the total volume! I feel like that has to have an effect on the final flavor. What is the concern with decanting?
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Offline denny

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Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 09:55:11 AM »
I don't care what Wyeast says about it.  I've tasted my starter wort and I don't want that stuff in my beer.


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Offline Pinski

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 10:03:12 AM »
I don't care what Wyeast says about it.  I've tasted my starter wort and I don't want that stuff in my beer.


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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 10:08:36 AM »
After emailing with Wyeast a few years ago the only time I decant is if I am doing a delicate style or a volume that is approaching the limits of my fermenter.  For 20 gallon batches I generally make a two step, two gallon starter, beginning 48 hours before brew day, on a stir plate with constant O2 feed.

The Wyeast pitch calculator is a great tool:

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrate.cfm

I have to agree that this has to effect the final beer.  Do you account for this in your recipe?  A two gallon starter has to be about 1.75# of DME? 

I definitely pitch some of the beer but decant as much as I can.

Dave
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Offline harbicide

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 06:54:56 AM »
While I do not necessarily pitch at high krausen when stepping up, I feel the 48 hour process is growing fresh yeast.  In fact, I pitched 3 gallons of starter into 15 gallons of 1.122 gravity wort and the resulting beer did well at the NHC finals last year.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Decant starter with a stir plate? Timing a starter
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 07:04:38 AM »
The starter beer becomes oxidized while it's fermenting assuming you are leaving a loose foil cover on it.  If you keep an airlock on it it might not be so bad. I use a loose foil cover to allow plenty of O2 into the starter vessel which will allow for oxidation.  Therefore I decant the spent (oxidized) wort and only pitch the slurry.

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