Author Topic: Do I need a starter??  (Read 2973 times)

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Do I need a starter??
« on: July 18, 2012, 10:28:35 AM »
Made 5 gallons of a sessionable Belgian Blonde on July 8th, 1.049 OG. Initial starter of 1.25L pitched into that, oxygenated for 45 seconds with pure O2. Got the beer cold crashing now, and will pull it off the yeast cake tomorrow.

I want to use this yeast for 10 gallons of a BIG belgian quad. 1.103 est OG. Should I split the cake up and make some starters for the big beer? How much do you reckon would be adequate? Normally I would just pitch the whole cake into 5 gallons of big beer, but I only made 5 gallons of this blonde, as the other 5 gallons of blonde got 100% Brett fermentation, so ive only got 5 gallons worth of blonde fermented with WLP500. thanks!
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 10:37:03 AM »
Personally, I'm in favor of rebuilding two starters from some slurry in this case. I like the idea of active fresh yeast vs yeast cake which is full of scarred, dead or pooped out yeast that are likely to begin to autolyse even if the previous batch was excellent.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 10:45:52 AM »
Thats what I was thinking Euge. I should have time to do 1 quick wash of the cake.

Assuming I split the cake, wash it once, and make 2 individual starters. How much you think were looking at? About 1.5L each?
Jason
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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 11:13:24 AM »
I would pitch it right on the cake and save the small amount of work in building two starters.

Basically, your blonde was a 5 gallon starter.  It was low enough gravity that the yeast shouldn't really be stressed.

But, if you prefer to take the extra steps go right ahead.
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 11:29:48 AM »
I would pitch it right on the cake and save the small amount of work in building two starters.

Basically, your blonde was a 5 gallon starter.  It was low enough gravity that the yeast shouldn't really be stressed.

But, if you prefer to take the extra steps go right ahead.

Also a good point! Thanks Joe. Decisions Decisions!
Jason
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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 11:34:54 AM »
Are you any better off now? ;)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 11:39:51 AM »
Are you any better off now? ;)

Haha, only in the fact that I know the 2 options I was teetering back and forth on in my head are both valid processes. Makes me more interested in knowing who would do what! So please, add some data points for reference!

EDIT: I should note, the base grain for the beers will be the same, as well as the hop used(sterling). So Im not concerned about transferring flavor per say.
Jason
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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 11:44:55 AM »
Brew a double batch.  Split the cake, grow a starter from one half, pitch direct on the other.  Ferment and compare?

Honestly, I've done it both ways including (perhaps the third way) of using only a portion of the cake.

If you're ready to ferment the next batch right after you keg or bottle, I see no reason not to go right onto the old cake (or transfer all or a portion of the old cake to a new fermenter).

If you'll be ready a week or so later, save the cake in a santized container and grow up a starter if you want.  You can also just pitch the slurry directly at that point, too, as there will be plenty of viable cells.

Too me, it's more about timing and convenience.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 11:58:50 AM »
While I do repitch without a starter it isn't my preference since my results have not been consistent. I did repitch on a whole cake last batch and it tasted "muddy" or muted not bright and fresh like the previous batch was.
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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 12:11:31 PM »
Was it the same recipe back to back?

In that case, (your pitching rate was very different and perhaps the difference in flavors is from over pitching?

Since he's going from a blonde to a quad, over pitching shouldn't be as much of a concern.

That said, when I brewed my quad I took the cake from my blonde and built a starter.  But I did not have the quad ready when I kegged the blonde or I may have just gone right on top.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 12:23:32 PM »
Was it the same recipe back to back?

In that case, (your pitching rate was very different and perhaps the difference in flavors is from over pitching?

Since he's going from a blonde to a quad, over pitching shouldn't be as much of a concern.

That said, when I brewed my quad I took the cake from my blonde and built a starter.  But I did not have the quad ready when I kegged the blonde or I may have just gone right on top.

I will be kegging the blonde tomorrow and brewing/pitching Friday into the quad. So it will be quick turnaround!
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 01:01:24 PM »
Since he's going from a blonde to a quad, over pitching shouldn't be as much of a concern.

It could be *if* he wasn't also doubling the batch volume. The rule of thumb is that a typical fermentation will result in about two doublings of the yeast population, so depending on gravity and pitching rate the small beer will probably yield about 500-700 billion cells. To pitch the quad at standard rates would require ~700B, so if anything this will result in under-pitching, albeit not by a whole lot.
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2012, 11:45:54 AM »
I ended up brewing the quad Friday, racking the  blonde Saturday morning and pitching immediately after racking. Ended up with about 600mL of thinnish(left about a cup of the blonde in the fermenter to loosen things up) slurry going into each carboy. Both are making my blowoff bucket assplode.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 11:49:01 AM by jmcamerlengo »
Jason
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Do I need a starter??
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2012, 01:07:10 PM »
Jason,

I would have racked directly as well.  Let us know how it turns out.

Dave
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