Author Topic: yeast starter  (Read 1918 times)

Offline yso191

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yeast starter
« on: December 11, 2012, 10:35:34 AM »
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?

Steve
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Offline firedog23

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 10:44:44 AM »
If you are using liquid yeast, I would give it a few more days to build up a better yeast count.
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Offline hubie

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 10:47:49 AM »
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.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 10:48:10 AM »
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 http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/homebrewing-seminars/2012?cid=mRU4M7Vq1z%2bFt43k1cfoEw%3d%3d&redirect=http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/homebrewing-seminars/2012 and scroll down to White Lab's Neva Parker's presentation about yeast.  Great info regarding starters.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 10:53:57 AM »
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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Offline davidgzach

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 10:54:55 AM »
There are definitely times when you do not want to pitch the entire starter, especially when making lagers.  You make a lager starter at room temp, so the "beer" is filled with esters and sulphur.  It's not as much of an issue when making ales so if you want to figure it in to your recipe, pitching the entire starter keeps the yeast from going dormant. 

However, I think most let the starter finish out and place in the fridge until brew day.  The yeast typically falls out in a day, but I find that waiting 2-3 days allows for a more compact yeast cake.  This makes it easier to decant. 
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 11:50:31 AM »
I do three gallon batches, so I only do starters for big beers.  I can't taste a difference between when I decant and when I don't w/ my larger ABV beers.  Now when I start doing 5 gallon batches, I'll be doing starters for every beer and probably decant more often if it makes a difference.
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Offline yso191

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 08:56:39 PM »
And this is why I am a member of the AHA and participate in this forum.  You all are such a wealth of info.  Thank you.  I have not had any trouble with fermentation even with the 1.093 IPA I just brewed, but you all make good points and I am just a bit of a perfectionist.  I'll start it sooner, refrigerate, and decant.  Especially good to know about the lager issue as I am brewing a Baltic Porter with lager yeast next.

Steve
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Offline yso191

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2012, 04:19:27 PM »
So check my thinking...

I am going to brew five gallons of Baltic Porter with an OG of 1.065 using Wyeast's 2124 lager yeast.

My limitations are that I have one stir plate and two, 2 liter flasks.

For my previous ales I have made a 1 liter starter wort to which I add the yeast packet.  My thinking is to start the same with a 1 liter wort, leave it on the stir plate for 3 days, in the fridge for 2 then decant.  Then make a 1.5 liter wort and combine that with the 1st starter (I'm assuming this will get me close to 2 liters total which makes me a bit nervous).  Then let the second step for for 3 days, 2 days in the fridge, decant and pitch into the oxygenated Baltic Porter wort.  At each step and in the boil kettle I will use the appropriate amount of yeast nutrient.

Obviously this would be a lot better/easier if I had a second stir plate or a bigger flask, but is there an easier or better way?

Steve
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 05:01:39 PM »
So check my thinking...

I am going to brew five gallons of Baltic Porter with an OG of 1.065 using Wyeast's 2124 lager yeast.

My limitations are that I have one stir plate and two, 2 liter flasks.

For my previous ales I have made a 1 liter starter wort to which I add the yeast packet.  My thinking is to start the same with a 1 liter wort, leave it on the stir plate for 3 days, in the fridge for 2 then decant.  Then make a 1.5 liter wort and combine that with the 1st starter (I'm assuming this will get me close to 2 liters total which makes me a bit nervous).  Then let the second step for for 3 days, 2 days in the fridge, decant and pitch into the oxygenated Baltic Porter wort.  At each step and in the boil kettle I will use the appropriate amount of yeast nutrient.

Obviously this would be a lot better/easier if I had a second stir plate or a bigger flask, but is there an easier or better way?

Steve

not sure about the math off the top of my head but check this site out. It's great for multistep starters which is an area the mrmalty does not so do well.

http://yeastcalc.com/
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 05:26:19 PM »
+1 to yeastcalc Mort!  It's great for calculating stepped starters.  Of great use when you have an older pack of yeast and need to ramp it up.

Dave
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Offline erockrph

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Re: yeast starter
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 05:53:39 PM »
Here's another good pitch rate/multi-step starter calculator:

http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/
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