Author Topic: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)  (Read 2651 times)

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« on: February 27, 2015, 09:41:33 PM »
So, boiled up a batch of Arrogant Bastard clone a couple weeks ago. Hit my OG on the head at 1.068. Had a fresh vial of WLP 001, no starter, pitched that bad boy straight in my shaken up wort and threw it in the fermenteezer at 62F.  Got a good strong start to fermentation about 8-10 hours later. Big old krausen on top, airlock bubbling away, it was beautiful.  Bumped up the temp controller by 2 degrees every couple days until I got to 70F and then let it ride from there.   Fast forward to today... Just transferred it over to my keg. Did a little gravity test while I was at it. Boom! 1.010. The beer tastes like warm Arrogant Bastard. Clean, no off flavors that I could detect. Nice dry finish.
So why the extended prose you may ask? Well, this is my third batch where I've pitched a straight vial, no starter. Third time the beer has taken off quickly. Third time it's finished right at where I wanted or even a little lower. Third time it's come out tasting great.
So, in summary let me say this. Brewing beer seems to me to be 50% science and 75% art.
Relax, have a beer.
Cheers!

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 10:02:07 PM »
I can't disagree that most of the time it works just fine for ales.  Lagers really do need starters to finish out properly though.  Every beer is different.  Making starters has become a habit for me so every beer gets one but they may not all need one.

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Offline duboman

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 11:26:30 PM »
Good on ya! Although I'm not really sure what your point is.

I don't really recall anyone saying not doing a starter won't produce a good beer, its just not best practice to under pitch and I'm not sure 3 batches should be extrapolated to mean consistent success;)

Not trying to be snarky, just saying that perhaps your next batch could be the one that doesn't work out so well....
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 11:47:59 PM »
You can make beer with one yeast cell.

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2015, 02:01:53 AM »

Good on ya! Although I'm not really sure what your point is.

I don't really recall anyone saying not doing a starter won't produce a good beer, its just not best practice to under pitch and I'm not sure 3 batches should be extrapolated to mean consistent success;)

Not trying to be snarky, just saying that perhaps your next batch could be the one that doesn't work out so well....
It's the interwebz, is a point needed? . Honestly it was just a conversation starter (see what I did there?) about starters in general. I have never done em, and the beers have come out great. And yes, more than 3 .

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 02:18:05 AM »
I have been stating that a White Labs vial has an enormous amount of yeast cells for quite some time.  In fact, White Labs entered the market with the claim that their cultures were "ready to pitch," which was believable when compared to an original smack pack.  Making a starter just gives the culture an opportunity to wake up and double or quadruple in cell count.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 05:12:26 AM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2015, 03:04:28 AM »

I have been stating that White Labs vial has an enormous amount of yeast cells for quite some time.  In fact, White Labs entered the market with the claim that their cultures were "ready to pitch," which was believable when compared to an original smack pack.  Making a starter just gives the culture an opportunity to wake up and double or quadruple in cell count.

I thought a White Labs vial had 70-90 billion cells.  For 5 gallons of 1.068 wort wouldn't one need more like 250 billion cells?   Mark, are you saying this isn't true?  Or is the yeast from White Labs so healthy and ready to go that the cell count doesn't doesn't matter?  Or am missing something else?  Will there be 250 billion cells by the end of the lag phase?  If so, why is it considered best practice to make starters?
Brian
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Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2015, 03:09:00 AM »
In full disclosure I've only ever used dry yeast or White Labs vials. I have been contemplating actually doing a starter to see if I could detect any difference in the beer itself. Maybe on my next batch I'll give it a try.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 03:49:46 AM »
Are you gonna let us know when you have a 72 hour lag? No? Didn't think so.

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 04:08:00 AM »

Are you gonna let us know when you have a 72 hour lag? No? Didn't think so.
Actually I've never had a beer lag more than 15-20 hours. I would be happy to let everyone on here know if/when that happens. I'll be sure to send you a special private message just to keep you in the loop buddy. cheers.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2015, 04:11:14 AM »

Are you gonna let us know when you have a 72 hour lag? No? Didn't think so.
Actually I've never had a beer lag more than 15-20 hours. I would be happy to let everyone on here know if/when that happens. I'll be sure to send you a special private message just to keep you in the loop buddy. cheers.

great! cause it is only a matter of time. (save the pm. and the emojis)

Offline Rattlesnake44

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 04:16:02 AM »


Are you gonna let us know when you have a 72 hour lag? No? Didn't think so.
Actually I've never had a beer lag more than 15-20 hours. I would be happy to let everyone on here know if/when that happens. I'll be sure to send you a special private message just to keep you in the loop buddy. cheers.

great! cause it is only a matter of time. (save the pm. and the emojis)
And you can save that bitterness for your next IPA. .

Offline bboy9000

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Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2015, 04:35:15 AM »
I've made good 60/- and bitter by just pitching a smack pack but would never consider not making a starter for something with a 1.068 OG.  I'd be afraid of too much yeast character with such a low pitch but all of the Chinook in Arrogant Bastard may cover any yeast flavors up.

EDIT:  actually I didn't make a starter for 5G of 1.060 beer a couple of months ago and it tasted bad.  This was the exact same recipe that I won a local competition with so I know the recipe and everything was solid.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 04:48:07 AM by bboy9000 »
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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2015, 05:48:11 AM »
I thought a White Labs vial had 70-90 billion cells.  For 5 gallons of 1.068 wort wouldn't one need more like 250 billion cells?   Mark, are you saying this isn't true?  Or is the yeast from White Labs so healthy and ready to go that the cell count doesn't doesn't matter?  Or am missing something else?  Will there be 250 billion cells by the end of the lag phase?  If so, why is it considered best practice to make starters?

If we are talking about achieving maximum cell density in a 5-gallon (19L) batch, well, it's a lot more than 250 billion cells, more like 3.8 trillion cells (200 billion cells per liter).  That's why I take the values that are quoted by yeast calculators with a grain of salt. 

Most home brewers assume that yeast biomass growth is linear when it is actually exponential.  Yeast cells bud into two cells roughly every 90 minutes after the exponential phase has been entered.  The difference between 90 billion cells and 250 billion cells is log(250 / 90) / log(2) = ~1.5 replication periods after pitching, where a replication period is roughly 90 minutes long.

If the maximum cell density for 5-gallons (19L) batch is 3.8 trillion cells, then the amount time necessary to reach maximum cell density starting with 90 billion cells is:

log(3,800 / 90) / log(2) = ~5.4 replication periods or 5.4 x 1.5 = 8.1 hours

If the maximum cell density for 5-gallons (19L) batch is 3.8 trillion cells, then the amount time necessary to reach maximum cell density starting with 250 billion cells is:

log(3,800 / 250) / log(2) = ~4 replication periods or 4 x 1.5 = 6 hours

What pitching a larger number of cells does when pitching high gravity wort is allow for cell loss due to osmotic  pressure.  Osmotic pressure is a phenomenon that causes water to be drawn to the side of a semi-permeable membrane that has the highest level of solute, which is the wort.  This loss of water causes the cells to lose something known as turgor pressure.  The loss of turgor pressure is known as plasmolysis.  Turgor pressure pushes the cell membrane against the cell wall. Loss of turgor pressure causes the cells to shrink, resulting in shock, if not outright death.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 05:50:07 AM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2015, 06:04:04 AM »

What pitching a larger number of cells does when pitching high gravity wort is allow for cell loss due to osmotic  pressure.

So how does less cell loss translate to quality of the finished product, in terms of flavor and FG?
Brian
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