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yeast starter

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For my first batches, I have made a starter the night before, kept it going on the stir plate until time to pitch and then dump the whole thing in.  I assume the starter is sitting at 70* as that is the temperature in the house 24/7.

Is this acceptable practice?  What would be better?  I've read about putting the yeast starter in the fridge and then decanting the 'beer' off of the yeast cake before pitching.  What is gained by doing this-anything?

If the fridge/decant method is best, how long does it need to be in the fridge?


If you are using liquid yeast, I would give it a few more days to build up a better yeast count.

One reason to do the fridge/decant method is when you are pitching a lot of starter into a beer and you don't want to affect the taste, color, and/or gravity of your wort with the starter beer.  The reason for putting it in the fridge is to get the yeast to drop as quickly as possible. 

This method is also what you'd do if you were going to do a multi-step starter where you would decant off the starter beer and replace it with fresh starter wort.  The length of time you keep it in the fridge depends upon how long it takes to cool it and for the yeast to drop, which is strain dependent.  Since I'm not worried about trying to cut the time to a minimum, when I do it I would prepare my starter the weekend before and let it sit in the fridge until about Thursday.

By the way, I do my starter the same way as you, except I will give it a little more time to ferment.  If I'm brewing Saturday, I'll usually get my single-step starter going Thursday night.

I get my starters going two days in advance (when I can remember) and put it in the fridge.  I rarely decant my starters before pitching.  I just let it sit out a room temp about 30 minutes or so, swirl and pitch. 

I haven't noticed any difference in my beer when I get my starter going two or one day in advance.  The beer starts fermentation a little quicker w/ the one day starters, but the final products are the same.

Go here and scroll down to White Lab's Neva Parker's presentation about yeast.  Great info regarding starters.

What he said.

have you ever tasted the starter 'beer'? ask yourself how much of that flavour do you want in your finished product.

I like to give starters a week, I start them the weekend before my brew day and let them ferment out for 3 or 4 days then stick them in the fridge till I am ready to pitch. I pitch the day after brew day so that the wort can chill out the rest of the way to pitching temps so it's the day after brew day. If I am stepping the start up I give it a week per step. this may be overkill but it seems to work and it only takes an hour or so (less really) to get the starter going.

I like to do this also because I can't brew every weekend but between making starters, checking gravities, kegging, and bottling I can have some little brewing related task to accomplish pretty much every weekend.


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