Author Topic: Yeast starter life span.  (Read 2824 times)

Offline Gordonwerks

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Yeasty Boys to the Rescue!
    • View Profile
Yeast starter life span.
« on: December 16, 2013, 11:06:52 PM »
I made a yeast starter two days ago, with hopes to brew yesterday. That did not happen. So, three days later, I'm wondering what my time limit is. Should I let it continue to stir? Should I add more DME mixture? I may get to brew tomorrow at the best.

Thanks for your replys!

Yeasty Boys (and girls) United!
Pappy

Offline Pinski

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1944
  • Portland, Oregon
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 11:14:05 PM »
I don't know what volume your starter is but fate has done you a favor. Had  you brewed yesterday your starter would almost certainly not have finished and absolutely would not have had enough time to crash/settle out prior to decanting and pitching.  My starters generally sit on the stir plate 36-48 hours and then get at least a day (unless I'm impatient or lazy) to crash in the fridge. A few hours before I pitch I decant off the starterbeer and let the yeast warm to pitching temps.
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
Clubs: Oregon Brew Crew & Strange Brew
BJCP Certified

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 11:47:27 PM »
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline jamminbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 820
  • theAntipunk
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 11:59:25 PM »
According to White/Zainashef in "Yeast", "Most starters... ...reach their maimum cell density within 12 to 18 hours. Low inoculation rates and low temperatures can both extend that time out to 36 hours or more, but the bulk of growth should always be complete within 24 hours." If you keep the yeast in the starter vessel for 8-12 hours after they reach terminal gravity, it helps them to build up their glycol reserves. Then cool it down in the fridge for 24 hours, decant the "beer" in the vessel, and pitch your yeast. You can keep it in the fridge for a week or two, but after that you should make a new starter, and wake them up again.
You can pitch the starter within 12-18 hours, but you can't decant the liquid. I think you'll be fine, just chill the yeast until you are ready to brew. I've made starters a week out, to no ill effects. Just chill them in the fridge after 36-48 hours, like Pinski said. If you've gone longer than 3 days, add a little more wort, let that finish, then chill.
Member, AHA
Member, Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak
BJCP judge# D1248
In caelo cerivisiae nil, hic igitur bibimus.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 12:07:53 AM »
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.

An old school starter maker too !   I have used pretty much this method for a long, long time. I know there are lots of good reasons to get a stir plate, but I keep getting quick, strong fermentations, good attenuation, and good beers. I must be pragmatic too.   ;)
Jon H.

Offline Gordonwerks

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Yeasty Boys to the Rescue!
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 01:01:44 AM »
Thanks to all that responded. This is good info from good sources. Man, only if the government could work this close. I've not stated this before, but thanks to the ABA and the forum, I had 65 views on this inquiry in less than an hour. So, my yeast is safe! On with the creation of Caribou Slobber. It a brown ale and I can wait!
Pappy

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 06:32:58 AM »
glad to help. Apparently it's what we do for fun ;D
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 02:08:37 PM »
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
I've done this with lagers, it works out nicely. For all my lagers, I usually chill the wort the rest of the way down 6-12 hours after brewing. Now that I'm fermenting in kegs, I can pressurize the keg with co2 so wild yeast can't have as much of a chance to take hold in that time.  Or am I just making that up? Could wild yeast still thrive just as easily if I didn't pressurize the keg?
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 03:31:44 PM »
Yup. plenty of time. particularly if you pop it in the fridge.

I generally get my starter all set up about 5-7 days before brew day. I don't have a stir plate so things take a little longer for me. After 3-4 days I usually see signs that it is winding down then I will pop it in the coldest part of the fridge and let it settle out for a day or two (or three).

I also generally pitch 12-24 hours after I finish brewing because I use my temp controlled fridge to get the wort temp down the 20 degrees or so. So I will often pull off a quart or so of the actual wort on brew day, chill it quickly in an ice bath (easy with just 1 quart) and decant and pitch the starter into that to give it an extra boost. This gets pitched into the full batch. I am quite lazy... err... pragmatic rather, and I only do this when I didn't quite have the starter size I should have in the first place.
I've done this with lagers, it works out nicely. For all my lagers, I usually chill the wort the rest of the way down 6-12 hours after brewing. Now that I'm fermenting in kegs, I can pressurize the keg with co2 so wild yeast can't have as much of a chance to take hold in that time.  Or am I just making that up? Could wild yeast still thrive just as easily if I didn't pressurize the keg?

pretty sure you're just making that up ;) I don't think yeast mind the pressure much, unless you're talking really scary high pressure. They certainly don't mind co2
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 03:41:26 PM »
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 03:42:45 PM »
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.

well it will prevent air from coming in that's true. might make a difference. positive pressure and all that.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline beersk

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3484
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 04:22:22 PM »
Damn...well, oh well. Maybe, if anything, it'd keep from air getting sucked in. I don't know. Just theorizing. Perhaps I won't worry about it then. Thanks for your input.

well it will prevent air from coming in that's true. might make a difference. positive pressure and all that.
Roight. That was my thinking. Couldn't hurt, I suppose.
die Schönheit der bier...

Jesse

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 04:24:09 PM »
If I had the kegs available I would ferment in a corny for sure. every time I see those shiny 10 gallon cornies it makes me think. Being able to ferment at pressure is a big advantage!

"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline BP79

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 07:21:07 PM »
Would two weeks in the fridge, covered in foil with a rubber band around it, be pushing it?  My brew-day last Saturday turned into a snow day with the kiddo.   

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Yeast starter life span.
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 07:25:01 PM »
Would two weeks in the fridge, covered in foil with a rubber band around it, be pushing it?  My brew-day last Saturday turned into a snow day with the kiddo.   

not too much. If you've got the time to wake it up again with fresh wort or make a fresh starter it wouldn't hurt though.

If you do make a new starter you can save most of that first one for future brews and only use about a tablespoon of the slurry. Easier than harvesting from the fermenter
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce