Author Topic: Another Starter Question  (Read 2399 times)

Offline 69franx

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Another Starter Question
« on: April 16, 2014, 10:21:44 AM »
From everything I have read here, and in my own limited experience, starters are beneficial for fermentation. I am wondering why LHBS store owners and employees still question the need for starters. I have been to 2 different shops and received the same blah response about starters. In one store, I was told that 1056 is a crazy good yeast that will get through almost any 5 gallon batch... I could understand if they were pushing for the purchase of another smack pack, but they keep saying the one pack is plenty. General opinion here is pitch according to wort needs( I am aided by beersmith for the appropriate size to pitch) and I just wonder if anyone else sees the same issues at LHBS. At both stores, the employee or owner in question is also a brewer with good reputation in the area. I do not plan to stop using starters, as i have seen great results pitching properly, I just dont understand why the people out there selling the product dont understand its limitations and best handling procedures. Any thoughts folks?
Frank Laske
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Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Saison (w Belle Saison) on raspberries, Saison with 3724&3711
In Bottles: House IPA,German Pils w 830, German Pils w 833
In the works: Oktoberfest, Ballantine clone, Evil Twin, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline a10t2

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 10:32:42 AM »
I was told that 1056 is a crazy good yeast that will get through almost any 5 gallon batch...

This is undeniably true. If "getting through" fermentation is your foremost concern – if, for example, you were a new brewer with questionable sanitation and a limited budget – then pitching one pack is the cheapest and easiest way to ensure you'll make beer.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 10:37:50 AM »
Overworked, lazy or contrary....who knows. We experienced the same thing here until our club came into being, local brewers started getting good information and went shopping armed with that knowledge. The LHBS have had to up their game. They've increased refrigerated storage, increased their inventory and are listening. The two local stores are also members and now support our club. There is strength in numbers Frank. Join that local homebrew club. Discuss this issue. Make it clear you want to do business locally, but won't hesitate to go elsewhere if they can not provide the goods or the expertise you expect.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 10:56:40 AM »
I think shops are in the same predicament as the yeast companies. They want to sell an easy product. To a beginner, saying 'This yeast is good but you'll need a starter' might sound like 'This is an incomplete product'. It makes the yeast sound like it's not up for the job and it makes the process more complicated when they're trying to convince you that their product is simple. Add to that - some shop employees may live and breath homebrewing, but are so familiar with it that they haven't learned anything new in 10 years. This is similar to them selling beginner kits with secondary fermenters. And ingredient kits with secondary fermentation steps. And BeerSmith has two-step fermentation as it's default. And ...
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 11:28:55 AM »
Thanks all. I think I am just frustrated thinking back about my first 3 batches from kits from the 2 stores. All came with only 1 pack of yeast, even the Pliny Clone. Was never really happy with any of those 3, am plan on revisiting with all the knowledge I have gleaned from this forum!
Frank Laske
Franx Brew Works
Fermenting:
Conditioning: The Queen's Diamonds EBW, Saison (w Belle Saison) on raspberries, Saison with 3724&3711
In Bottles: House IPA,German Pils w 830, German Pils w 833
In the works: Oktoberfest, Ballantine clone, Evil Twin, You're my Hero Hazelnut Double Brown

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 12:23:17 PM »
I dunno.  I like my LHBS and the people there seem really nice.  But the couple of times I've had questions (one was about the Belle Saison yeast, I think) they haven't been particularly knowledgeable.  I've come to the realization that I probably have more brewing experience than they do. 

Of course, their largest customer base is also new brewers, so simple easy answers are probably the best way to go.

That said, they're probably fed up with know-it-all douches coming in and acting like they know everything.
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 06:18:26 PM »
This is similar to them selling beginner kits with secondary fermenters. And ingredient kits with secondary fermentation steps. And BeerSmith has two-step fermentation as it's default. And ...

It looks like someone has been spending too much time on Home Brew Talk. 

Fact #1 - The cell death clock starts the moment that the yeast cells enter the stationary phase during fermentation.  From that point forward, it's only a matter of time before the cells consume their glycogen reserves and lyse.  Cool storage temperatures slow yeast metabolism, but the cells will eventually lyse.  The delta between the time that the culture enters the stationary phase and the time that autolysis begins is strain dependent.

Fact #2 - There are advantages to separating the green beer from the break and other organic material at the end of fermentation.  Trub stimulates yeast metabolism, which, in turn, shortens the time delta between the end of active fermentation and autolysis.

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 07:12:15 PM »
Go ahead and transfer if that's what you want to do.

I've yet to observe off flavors from autolysis and I haven't used a secondary in years.

So, in my experience your facts are irrelevant.  They may still be facts but not ones  concerned with.
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 10:20:41 PM »
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

With that said, I do not always use a secondary fermentation vessel.   I only use a secondary if I will not have keg space within a week after the end of active fermentation.  Sometimes, I will let green beer sit on the trub for up to ten days because I have other obligations.  However, I am under no illusion that the beer is getting better by remaining with the trub. 

Mark

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 04:14:56 AM »
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

With that said, I do not always use a secondary fermentation vessel.   I only use a secondary if I will not have keg space within a week after the end of active fermentation.  Sometimes, I will let green beer sit on the trub for up to ten days because I have other obligations.  However, I am under no illusion that the beer is getting better by remaining with the trub. 



As recently as last year, I espoused the set it and forget it regimen for beer fermentation, but with larger re-pitching recently, I have gone to racking to keg as a bright tank shortly after reaching terminal gravity and then later pushing by CO2 to the serving keg, more like the pros do.  The beers seem at least as good, so maybe terminal gravity plus a few days is all that is needed.  Merely hitting terminal gravity is a crap shoot, so now I have to check more to be comfortable that the beer is truly done, but taking a thief of beer a couple three times in three days is not exposing it to too much of an additional oxygen risk I hope.  Smaller ales go right to serving keg, typically in three weeks.  Plus, this way the re-harvested yeast is beastly healthy!
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 05:48:39 AM »

The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis. In the absence of a controlled study in which identical worts were pitched with identical quantities of yeast and subjected to the same primary fermentation protocol up to the point at which one batch was racked to a secondary fermentation vessel, the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

I do not thing that fermentation fundamentals have changed at all. To my opinion using pressure vessels to finish fermentation was done due carbonation.

There is more ways how to make beer. If you like using another vessel when you reach FG, more Power to you.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 06:03:08 AM »
IMO oxidation is a much more real ,tangible risk at the home level than any theoretical risk of autolysis. Brewers who aren't very careful while racking to secondary might (and eventually will) have to dump oxidized beer. Autolysis just isn't an issue at home, unless you leave the beer on the yeast for a very long time.
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Offline rabeb25

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 07:29:18 AM »
This is merely a guess, but maybe its not an issue to homebrewers because of the size of our fermentation vessels.  5 gallons of beers has a lot less pressure at the bottom of the tank then say 3-5bbls to 100bbls. would that pressure rupture dead cells?
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 07:29:29 AM »
the claim is nothing but conjecture masquerading as fact.

I think you're drawing bright lines where reality is a continuum.  Rather than go by "rules" I will follow my experience.

My beers typically sit in the fermenter for up to a month.  I have not experienced autolysis.  Perhaps, as you say, my beers are not getting better by being exposed to the trub but experience tells me they are not getting worse.  I'm sure there is an outside date at which this would change, but I haven't hit it yet (not that I am trying to or tempting fate).  I do my aging in cornies, so for anything that will get extended aging it comes off the yeast.

Bottom line is you should try it both ways and do whichever you prefer.  But I don't think anyone is well served by being alarmed at bugaboos that may not be relevant at the home level.
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Re: Another Starter Question
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 07:31:53 AM »
The point that I was trying to make is that the rules of fermentation have not changed in the last twenty years.  Those who claim that the use of a secondary fermentation vessel to clear and age beer is out of date and more harmful than beneficial have yet to put forth any real scientific data supporting their thesis.

All the "scientific data" I need is to taste the beer.  What other measure matters?
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