Author Topic: Yeast starter time question  (Read 12403 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #75 on: October 23, 2014, 04:13:40 AM »
You who are technically inclined, please keep up the debate.  Civil debate among the trained and experienced is what brings us homebrewers closer to the ultimate point of meaningful input.  I appreciate all that has been posted here and I think that your high level debate advances our hobby immensely!  Plus, what a wonderful example of civil discourse.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #76 on: October 23, 2014, 09:54:04 AM »
All models are wrong, but some are useful.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #77 on: October 23, 2014, 11:26:22 AM »
In theory, theory and practice are the same, except in practice.
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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #78 on: October 23, 2014, 10:24:44 PM »
I have a significant amount of engineering experience, and this is one of the biggest red flags we see.  You can teach people with inexperience...

Once again, your assumption is incorrect.  One does to enjoy a technical career as long as I have without the ability to take in new data and remain current. 

With respect to models, well, most models of complex processes are loaded with errors, as they are based on what we know, and what we do not know often outstrips what we know by several orders of magnitude.  A decade ago, we were certain that Saaz-type lager strains were diploids with one set of S. cerevisiae chromosomes and one set of S. eubayanus (S. bayanus at the time) chromosomes.  Now, we know that they are actually triploids with one set of S. cerevisiae chromosomes and two sets of S. eubayanus (S. bayanus at the time) chromosomes.  In ten years, this knowledge will be replaced with knowledge that we could only dream of having today.


With that said, the only way to know for certain that one has the correct pitching rate with any given yeast strain is to experiment, collect data, and adjust one's pitching rate from that data.  Assuming that a pitching rate calculator provides anything other than an arbitrary number is placing faith where it does not belong.  A pitching rate calculator has absolutely no idea of how the yeast cells that are grown in a starter are going to behave once pitched into a batch of wort. 

I have yeast culture from the old ACME Brewing Company.  It is a bear to grow on solid media.  We are talking about a major pain in the backside.   If I based what this yeast culture would do based on that observation, I would seriously consider pitching a different strain.  However, this strain performs beautifully when pitched into wort.  That's what I am try to get at when I say that yeast calculators on the Internet are of little use when determining the proper pitch rate. 



Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #79 on: October 23, 2014, 10:34:23 PM »
I have a significant amount of engineering experience, and this is one of the biggest red flags we see.  You can teach people with inexperience...

Once again, your assumption is incorrect.  One does to enjoy a technical career as long as I have without the ability to take in new data and remain current. 

With respect to models, well, most models of complex processes are loaded with errors, as they are based on what we know, and what we do not know often outstrips what we know by several orders of magnitude.  A decade ago, we were certain that Saaz-type lager strains were diploids with one set of S. cerevisiae chromosomes and one set of S. eubayanus (S. bayanus at the time) chromosomes.  Now, we know that they are actually triploids with one set of S. cerevisiae chromosomes and two sets of S. eubayanus (S. bayanus at the time) chromosomes.  In ten years, this knowledge will be replaced with knowledge that we could only dream of having today.


With that said, the only way to know for certain that one has the correct pitching rate with any given yeast strain is to experiment, collect data, and adjust one's pitching rate from that data.  Assuming that a pitching rate calculator provides anything other than an arbitrary number is placing faith where it does not belong.  A pitching rate calculator has absolutely no idea of how the yeast cells that are grown in a starter are going to behave once pitched into a batch of wort. 

I have yeast culture from the old ACME Brewing Company.  It is a bear to grow on solid media.  We are talking about a major pain in the backside.   If I based what this yeast culture would do based on that observation, I would seriously consider pitching a different strain.  However, this strain performs beautifully when pitched into wort.  That's what I am try to get at when I say that yeast calculators on the Internet are of little use when determining the proper pitch rate.

so are you saying that there is no way beyond empirical observation and exhaustive documentation to decide how much yeast to pitch in a given batch of beer? you have offered several algorithms for determining yeast population after time given starting population and starter volume but now you seem to be saying that no algorithm can possibly offer anything but an arbitrary number. it's possible that your algorithms are more accurate than those used in the current yeast calculators but from what you are saying I'm getting the message that this can't possibly be true because any model short of empirical knowledge is hopelessly flawed.

Am i missing something?

and by the way, as a lowly software engineer who has been in the industry for a mere 15 or so years I can say that there are PLENTY of folks in this tech industry who have been here a very very long time without taking in new data or learning new methods.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2014, 10:44:20 PM »
I can only speak for myself, but when I use a new strain for the first time, obviously having no prior experience with it, I use a calculator which gets me in the ballpark of what I need to pitch. And it does. But now having used it once, the calculator doesn't override my experience the second time I use it. I consult my notes as to prior starter quantity and method, lag time, attenuation, etc., as well as final impressions on the beer/yeast character. I'm sure several others here do something similar. A calculator is just a tool in the toolbox. I don't throw away my ball peen hammer because the claw hammer was the better tool for a given job.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2014, 10:48:46 PM »
What resources are there for a rookie brewer with no experience with a given strain. Are you saying such a brewer should plod through several trials with such strain hoping for success but tracking all results? How long will it take me blindly trying before I can hit the sweet spot without an idea of where to start? I'm new enough that I'm willing to change, but I'm just looking to be on the right playing field. If all data from"these online calculators" is worthless, where do I start? I, like others I'm sure, cannot afford ingredients to experiment with over and over, and would rather have something give me an idea where I should be. I'm not the smartest brewer by a long shot but I do have a desire to learn.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2014, 11:00:23 PM »
I'm not the smartest brewer by a long shot but I do have a desire to learn.



That's 95% of the fight, Frank. Do what I do on that last post, or for that matter use a calculator every time, entering your info carefully, and you WILL make good beer consistently.
Jon H.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #83 on: October 23, 2014, 11:08:37 PM »
Thanks Jon, think I just type slow. I was starting my post and while typing it, you and Jonathan pretty much got in there and said exactly what I was trying to say, only better. You're method is what I have been trying to do, and it has been working well, but I have not been remaking very many batches yet to compare. I really need to settle down and get one recipe down as well as my processes. Now is the time to get to it, as I now have a new, bigger kettle as well as a new, bigger, stainless fermenter. Time to learn my new system
Frank L.
Fermenting: Ringler Pilsner (thanx Ron)
Conditioning: BVIP (thanx Denny)
In keg: Traquair House Clone (Skotrat style)
In the works:  Czech Dark Lager, American Pale Ale

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #84 on: October 24, 2014, 12:27:30 AM »
I can only speak for myself, but when I use a new strain for the first time, obviously having no prior experience with it, I use a calculator which gets me in the ballpark of what I need to pitch. And it does. But now having used it once, the calculator doesn't override my experience the second time I use it. I consult my notes as to prior starter quantity and method, lag time, attenuation, etc., as well as final impressions on the beer/yeast character. I'm sure several others here do something similar. A calculator is just a tool in the toolbox. I don't throw away my ball peen hammer because the claw hammer was the better tool for a given job.
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« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 12:31:23 AM by wort-h.o.g. »
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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #85 on: October 24, 2014, 12:42:11 AM »
so are you saying that there is no way beyond empirical observation and exhaustive documentation to decide how much yeast to pitch in a given batch of beer? you have offered several algorithms for determining yeast population after time given starting population and starter volume but now you seem to be saying that no algorithm can possibly offer anything but an arbitrary number. it's possible that your algorithms are more accurate than those used in the current yeast calculators but from what you are saying I'm getting the message that this can't possibly be true because any model short of empirical knowledge is hopelessly flawed.

What I provided was little more than simple growth rates.   I kept the calculation simple to demonstrate that yeast grow exponentially, not linearly.  If I attempted to do what the yeast calculators attempt to do, I would have given you a way to determine the exact time that a culture was ready to pitch. The times that I quoted leave a lot of room for variability.  If you track cell growth in a lab, I can guarantee that you will find starters that are ready to pitch in as little as 4 hours.

Quote
and by the way, as a lowly software engineer who has been in the industry for a mere 15 or so years I can say that there are PLENTY of folks in this tech industry who have been here a very very long time without taking in new data or learning new methods.

That's not been my case.  I have been a computer scientist and engineer for thirty-five years (the first machine on which I worked was a MIL-SPEC computer that had discrete logic and ferrite-core memory).  I have seen a lot of people come and go during my career.  Most did not go of their own free will. 


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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #86 on: October 24, 2014, 01:29:08 AM »
What resources are there for a rookie brewer with no experience with a given strain. Are you saying such a brewer should plod through several trials with such strain hoping for success but tracking all results?

What is your batch size and normal gravity ranges?  If you are 5-gallon brewer who brews mostly 1.065 or lower ales, a 1L starter made with 1.030 to 1.040 gravity wort will get you into the ballpark.  If your brewing 5-gallons of lager in the same gravity range, double the starter size. 

A 1L starter is capable of supporting up to 200 billion viable cells (double that amount for 2L).  You should be able to approach 400 billion cells in a 2L  starter of the gravity listed above if you are using a relatively new White Labs vial.  However, the thing remember here is that starters are like atomic bombs in that you do not have to be exact.  You just do not want to be off by an order of magnitude.  The only way to be off by an order of magnitude when pitching a normal gravity beer is to pitch an old White Labs vial without making a starter, and even then, I guarantee that the sky will not fall.  I knew a guy who routinely pitched the old-style Wyeast smack packs of 1056 without making a starter (something that I would never recommend), and his beers turned out fine. The old smack packs were smaller than the current smack packs.

In my humble opinion, high gravity beers are best fermented with slurry cropped from a 1.050 to 1.060 beer (see my post about stepped starters if you insist on growing a starter).  Three to four hundred milliliters of thick slurry should attenuate 5-gallon batches up to 1.100 if you aerate the wort well.  You are on your own above that gravity range.


Offline 69franx

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #87 on: October 24, 2014, 01:39:39 AM »
Ok so here's a new variation on my question S.: I am brewing a Dunkel Sunday. 6 gallons at 1.054. My WLP833 was harvested 9/15/14 and (I'm sorry for the reference) beersmith roughs it in at almost 70% viability. I have 2L, 5L, and 1G vessels. What is my best path to about 400-450B cells? I made a 1.25L starter of 1.031( measured) tonight and pitched to this with the plan of then crashing, decanting and pitching to 2.75L of 1.04 wort. Am I in good shape, or in the future would you suggest just a larger 1 step starter. This plan came mainly from my understanding of what you had stated earlier in the thread
Frank L.
Fermenting: Ringler Pilsner (thanx Ron)
Conditioning: BVIP (thanx Denny)
In keg: Traquair House Clone (Skotrat style)
In the works:  Czech Dark Lager, American Pale Ale

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #88 on: October 24, 2014, 01:45:11 AM »
A calculator is just a tool in the toolbox.

That's the correct way to look at it.  Software is a tool, not a replacement for knowledge. 

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Yeast starter time question
« Reply #89 on: October 24, 2014, 01:49:29 AM »

Ok so here's a new variation on my question S.: I am brewing a Dunkel Sunday. 6 gallons at 1.054. My WLP833 was harvested 9/15/14 and (I'm sorry for the reference) beersmith roughs it in at almost 70% viability. I have 2L, 5L, and 1G vessels. What is my best path to about 400-450B cells? I made a 1.25L starter of 1.031( measured) tonight and pitched to this with the plan of then crashing, decanting and pitching to 2.75L of 1.04 wort. Am I in good shape, or in the future would you suggest just a larger 1 step starter. This plan came mainly from my understanding of what you had stated earlier in the thread

I like that plan. I two step my lagers at 1.030 from 1800-2000 volume. It works and I all have is an educated guess based upon experience and yes, a tool


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Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest