Author Topic: How long to let a starter cook?  (Read 1452 times)

Offline BrodyR

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How long to let a starter cook?
« on: July 13, 2015, 07:50:42 PM »
How long does everyone typically let a starter go for before pitching? I've usually waited a day and try to pitch than the krausen is up but was thinking about pitching one around hour 14 tonight.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 07:56:07 PM »
Depends on the size of the starter and the style I'm brewing.  For your average ale, I will pitch at high krausen, which for me is around 18 hours.

For lagers and larger ale starters, I'll step them up and ferment them all the way out, crash in the fridge, decant the wort and pitch the yeast.

Pitching at 14 hours to me seems a little short.  How long before you starter got going?
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 08:19:18 PM »
It's a one liner starter of WLP002 thats been showing some life (made it around 9:30am this morning). Basically I'm debating if I should pitch it around midnight tonight or let the wort sit in a corny overnight and pitch in the morning (so 22 hour starter/delay pitch or 14hr starter pitched as soon as the wort hits 70f).

The beer is pretty light, 1.033 ordinary bitter. 

Offline denny

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 08:22:58 PM »
I give it about 36 hours on a stir plate, then crash, decant and pitch.  So maybe 3 days total.
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Offline toby

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 08:33:42 PM »
I typically make my starter wort on Saturday morning while drinking coffee (I use the side burner on our grill on the back porch).  I'll let it cool and then pitch the yeast (normally wort will be cool around the same time that smack packs are ready).  So... roughly sometime Saturday mid-afternoon.  Sunday is then brew day, so that process is typically wrapped up around 5pm.  I guess that means a little over 24 hours for 2 smack packs into ~2.5L of wort for a 10 gallon batch.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 08:38:41 PM »
It's a one liner starter of WLP002 thats been showing some life (made it around 9:30am this morning). Basically I'm debating if I should pitch it around midnight tonight or let the wort sit in a corny overnight and pitch in the morning (so 22 hour starter/delay pitch or 14hr starter pitched as soon as the wort hits 70f).

The beer is pretty light, 1.033 ordinary bitter. 

I'd wait until morning, but that's me.  For a 1.033 beer though, the vial alone would probably have been enough.  So I guess 14 hours is may be ok...basically waking the yeast up.  5 gallon batch right?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 09:44:29 PM »
It's a one liner starter of WLP002 thats been showing some life (made it around 9:30am this morning). Basically I'm debating if I should pitch it around midnight tonight or let the wort sit in a corny overnight and pitch in the morning (so 22 hour starter/delay pitch or 14hr starter pitched as soon as the wort hits 70f).

The beer is pretty light, 1.033 ordinary bitter. 

I'd wait until morning, but that's me.  For a 1.033 beer though, the vial alone would probably have been enough.  So I guess 14 hours is may be ok...basically waking the yeast up.  5 gallon batch right?

Yeah, with such a low OG the vial probably would've been plenty (based on how old it is).  As is, I think you would be fine to pitch once you see some activity in the starter even without crashing.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 11:42:35 PM »
Yea, the vial would probably be fine with the gravity. I figured I'd error on the side of a starter since beer smith suggested more cells and I hear that a heartier pitch with 002 should reduce esters and diacytel

Offline erockrph

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2015, 04:10:10 AM »
Yea, the vial would probably be fine with the gravity. I figured I'd error on the side of a starter since beer smith suggested more cells and I hear that a heartier pitch with 002 should reduce esters and diacytel
Esters, maybe. I'd still bump up the temps and rouse the yeast at the end to insure against diacetyl. When 002 is done it drops like a stone. If there's diacetyl left at that point it may stick around.
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Offline bboy9000

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2015, 05:31:38 AM »
You will get differing opinions on this.  I either pitch the whole starter at high krausen or chill the starter at high krausen then decant the beer then pitch.  Search the forum and you will find some extensive threads on this in the past year or so.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 12:22:36 PM »
I recently pitched 002 into a mild of similar gravity to yours. A short-on-time starter is fine. I'd rouse the yeast once a day for the first three days because, as someone already mentioned, 002 drops out really easily. Makes a hell of a clear (and tasty) beer but you've got to goose it along a bit.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 01:00:33 PM »
Appreciate all the advice - I ended up waiting until this morning and I'm crashing the yeast out now then will decant and pitch. My plan was to throw the whole starter in but I decided I should have more headspace in the keg.

I'm pretty excited to try out two new things with this batch, fermenting in a corny and a corny to corny transfer into the serving keg.

Offline stmicbarr

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2015, 05:28:29 PM »
I think brulosophy.com recently did an experiment on this, and it showed no statistical significance either way.  Worth checking out to get you comfortable with whatever approach you land on.


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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 01:49:58 PM »
How long does everyone typically let a starter go for before pitching? I've usually waited a day and try to pitch than the krausen is up but was thinking about pitching one around hour 14 tonight.

Fourteen hours of incubation time is more than long enough for a 1L starter that was inoculated with a vial of White Labs yeast that is less than 4 months old.   Most strains take less than 6 hours to exit the lag phase (many will exit the lag phase in less than 3 hours). The average White Labs vial contains 50 billion viable yeast cells when pitched (100 billion at time of packaging).  Yeast cells divide approximately every 90 minutes after the lag phase has been exited, which means that the culture will contain approximately 100 billion cells 90 minutes after exiting the lag phase.  A 1L starter that was pitched with 50 billion viable cells will reach maximum cell density approximately 3 hours after exiting the lag phase, or roughly 9 hours total for most yeast strains.  Given enough O2, carbon, physical room to grow, the time to reach 400 billion cells is approximately 10.5 hours, and the time to reach 800 billion cells is approximately 12 hours.

A key point to remember is that the yeast biomass grows exponentially, not linearly.  The growth rate is 2n, where n equals the number of minutes that have elapsed since exiting the lag phase divided by 90.  The equation for calculating the approximate number of cells at any point during incubation given an initial cell count is:

cell_count_at_time_n = initial_cell_count * 2(elapsed_time_since_exiting_the_lag_period_in_minutes / 90)

The equation shown above is bounded by O2, carbon, and media volume. 

One last thing, starters should be incubated at room temperature.

Offline johnnyb

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Re: How long to let a starter cook?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 02:22:35 PM »
If the goal is to crash or pitch at max cell density without letting it get too far past that, how can you tell it's there when the starter doesn't necessarily form a krausen?

Should you just assume that as soon as you have activity that they are past the lag phase, then calculate the time from there to max cell density based on the estimate of starting cells and the size of the starter?

Is it really bad if you crash or pitch prior to reaching max cell density?

Is it better to crash a little too soon or a little too late?

Thanks!