Author Topic: How important is it to decant the starter?  (Read 2277 times)

Offline slats

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
How important is it to decant the starter?
« on: November 28, 2014, 03:22:48 AM »
When I make starters I never decant. I just pitch the whole flask (1000ml). I've never had any problems and always get a good quick start. So the question is, how important is it to decant the starter before pitching?

Thanks in advance for your input!

Offline yso191

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1785
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 03:50:00 AM »
It's not critical in that you are not going to spoil a batch of beer.  But you are putting a liter of bad tasting beer into what you hope is good tasting beer.  It takes no time to decant and it's not hard, so no reason not to.

The proof is in the starter.  Take a taste next time then ask yourself if you want that flavor in your beer.
Steve
All Hands Brewing
BJCP #D1667

Offline bboy9000

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 703
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 06:59:38 AM »
I pitch an entire 1.5L starter into 5.5 gallons of ale wort.  I try to time it so I'm pitching the starter when it's at high Krausen.  I start it 12-18 hours before the estimated pitching time.  This was recommended by a friend who got this advice from a brewer at a very successful craft brewery.  I do intermittent shaking without a stirplate.  If I'm making a light lager I chill and decant the starter because the size of an entire starter would significantly increase the volume in my fermentor and because I don't want the DME starter wort discoloring a wort made from Pilsner malt.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 07:03:28 AM by bboy9000 »
Brian
mobrewer

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8477
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 09:39:17 AM »
It's not critical in that you are not going to spoil a batch of beer.  But you are putting a liter of bad tasting beer into what you hope is good tasting beer.  It takes no time to decant and it's not hard, so no reason not to.

The proof is in the starter.  Take a taste next time then ask yourself if you want that flavor in your beer.
Totally. But in fairness, taste any beer that has been fermenting for a day and ask if you want that.... nevertheless,  I decant 90% of the time or more.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 12:34:52 PM »
i aways decant. you'll find a great majority of folks on this forum do decant....reasons have been mentioned. biggest reason why i do-its not necessary to add the whole starter to be effective, and sub standard partially or fully fermented beer is not what i want in my batch.

having said that, if so inclined try it both ways and see which you like and what you do and don't notice....you'll have your answer and direction.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

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

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3263
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 01:54:09 PM »
I only decant when the starter is bigger than 2 liters.  Otherwise not necessary.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2805
  • Da mihi sis cerevisiam.
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2014, 02:22:18 PM »
Welcome to the forum, slats!  You will find that this is a place for great input from darn good Brewers.  One thing that happens is that reasonable minds may differ, so you will find some things that are a clear consensus, where other things may vary by practice - often with good results regardless.  What is consistent among the posters is the advice to try things out and do what works best for you - a wise brewer from Noti Oregon put that out there quite a while back and it holds true for many many Homebrew practices.  Finally, you will hear that pro Brewers do it one way, but it is purely a function of size - they need to do it that way based on their batch size and functional limitations of their breweries, shelf life concerns, etc...at the HOMEBREW level, some of the pro techniques and processes are either inapplicable or unnecessary.  Again, try it for yourself and see what works best for you - doing what works, is not extra work for no reason and fits your system limitations is always the right answer for you.

Best of luck (and I tend to decant, but I repitch slurries when possible).
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8878
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 02:45:04 PM »
It depends. If I have a 1.5 liter starter for an ale and am pressed for time I will pitch the whole thing, don't seem to be any problems. If I am doing a lager and have a 5 liter starter, well that is 25%+ of the beer, and since my starters are not the same grain bill and usually no hops, I will not dilute the recipe that much with starter liquid.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline mharding73

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2014, 03:38:48 PM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.   

Online tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1998
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 03:44:59 PM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.
I cut an 18" piece of tubing. I suck on one end and carefully siphon into the sink. I loose very little yeast and siphoning takes 30 seconds or less. I soak the tubing in my starsan bucket first. I also usually cold crash the starter.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4439
  • Play Nice
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 03:51:13 PM »
generally i just pour it off slowly.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

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

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19470
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 06:36:09 PM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.

Refrigerate for 1-3 days.  That will cause the yeast to drop to the bottom of your starter vessel and make it easier to pour off the wort.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3225
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2014, 09:30:54 PM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.

Refrigerate for 1-3 days.  That will cause the yeast to drop to the bottom of your starter vessel and make it easier to pour off the wort.

+1.  Easy and Simple. 

Offline chinaski

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 135
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2014, 02:00:55 AM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.

Refrigerate for 1-3 days.  That will cause the yeast to drop to the bottom of your starter vessel and make it easier to pour off the wort.
If I decant, I'll do it this way.  I prefer to have mine at full krausen with as active yeast as I can have.  I assume that they will clean up any off-flavors from the starter fermentation during the conditioning of my beer.  I generally don't like the idea of providing yeast a great place to hang out and grow and then throw them in the cold.  I'm guessing this puts some selection pressure on them and I might be getting less of the genetics of the culture that I want.

I reuse yeast a lot, which mean I am probably selecting the yeast that does best in my brewery, not necessarily the ones I originally paid for, or cultured up from a can of Heady Topper.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2014, 02:05:46 AM »
What is the proper way to decant?  I always pour it but loose yeast.

Refrigerate for 1-3 days.  That will cause the yeast to drop to the bottom of your starter vessel and make it easier to pour off the wort.

+1.  Easy and Simple. 

Yep, same here. All things equal, I prefer to pitch yeast and let the spent wort go down the drain.
Jon H.