Author Topic: A Twist on Starter Technique  (Read 1475 times)

Offline blatz

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A Twist on Starter Technique
« on: September 11, 2015, 05:55:47 PM »
Maybe this is old hat to everybody, but it was new to me.  Just thought I'd pass this along, although the final product isn't in kegs yet...

I'd read in a few spots - Tasty and I think our own Mark (S. Cerevisae) do this (I think) about getting your yeast good and ready on brew day by pitching the yeast into a some of your newly made wort and letting it get to high krausen and then pitching into the main wort.

I tested this out with a recent pils - grew up the first step in a 2.75L wort in a 5L stirred flask, crashed a few days prior to brewday and then decanted, running 4.5L of fresh main batch wort onto the yeast cake in the flask and placing it in my fermenation fridge alongside the closed up conical.  once it reached high krausen (about 6-8 hours later), I aerated and pitched into the main wort. 

When I awoke the next morning fermentation was underway - appeared to be strong and after tasting a gravity sample last night, the fermenation appears to be flawless - hoping for a point or two more but it does appear to be winding down.  Very clean even at this stage.

I think I like this method - it saved me from having to do a second step on a lager starter, and it kickstarted the main fermentation off.

Sort of similar to what i learned SN does (i just visited the MR facility on the Beer Geek Tour) - they have a 200bbl brewhouse, yet use 800bbl fermentors, so they will brew 1 batch and pitch yeast, get it going and then brew 3 more successive batches pitching on top of the already fermenting wort. 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2015, 07:00:01 PM »
Glad to hear you're having good results with this. I have been using the "shaken, not stirred" method and pitching at high krausen with good results, but I'd still prefer not to have 20% or more of my lagers made from DME. I have considered doing something similar to what you've been doing and making my starter from some wort from the batch I'm brewing, then pitching it in the morning once the main batch has cooled to pitching temp.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2015, 07:06:51 PM »
I've been kicking this idea around for a while. I may give it a go on a batch soon. Thanks for the info, Paul.
Jon H.

Offline brewday

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2015, 07:16:55 PM »
I've used this "self-starter" method for my last few batches and I love it.  No more DME, no more pre-brewday stove work, and fermentations have been fast and flawless.
Jon Weaver

Offline blatz

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2015, 07:22:45 PM »
I recommend you guys try it once and see what you think.

After hearing SN's process which is vaguely similar, I became more intrigued and confident in this method.

for an ale it would be possible to work the ratio (size, number of vials, etc)  to be able to keep it to one starter on that day, which if you're brewing spontaneously is cool.

of course the starter wort is bigger than optimal but that's a trade off i guess.
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Offline brewday

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 07:52:59 PM »
My 6 gallon ale/hybrid batches all got 1L "indigenous wort" starters with 10 seconds of oxygen.  And yes, being able to brew spontaneously is a big plus!
Jon Weaver

Offline brewinhard

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2015, 10:47:15 PM »
My only issue with that is just having to add that extra wort that is not part of my initial recipe.  Besides that I love the idea. 

Offline blatz

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 11:07:27 PM »
My only issue with that is just having to add that extra wort that is not part of my initial recipe.  Besides that I love the idea.

No I think you missed it - you are using part of the main wort.  If you are brewing a 5.5 gal batch, run .5 gal into your starter flask, the remaining 5 gal into your fermentor and close up the fermentor.  Once the starter is at high krausen - add the whole thing to the fermentor.
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Offline brewday

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 11:12:39 PM »
My only issue with that is just having to add that extra wort that is not part of my initial recipe.  Besides that I love the idea.

No I think you missed it - you are using part of the main wort.  If you are brewing a 5.5 gal batch, run .5 gal into your starter flask, the remaining 5 gal into your fermentor and close up the fermentor.  Once the starter is at high krausen - add the whole thing to the fermentor.

Yep, exactly - it is part of the original recipe!  Nothing extra - I brew as usual, chill and transfer to the fermenter.  Then I "borrow" 1L of that chilled wort, hit it with O2 and add yeast.  A few hours later I pour it all back at high krausen.
Jon Weaver

Offline brewinhard

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2015, 11:17:42 PM »
Ahhhhh..... I "see" said the blind man to his deaf dog! 


Might have to give that one a try.  How fast does the yeast typically reach high krausen with a liter in this method?

Offline brewday

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2015, 11:26:16 PM »
Ahhhhh..... I "see" said the blind man to his deaf dog! 


Might have to give that one a try.  How fast does the yeast typically reach high krausen with a liter in this method?

Depends on the strain of course, but usually 6 or 7 hours?  I've recently used 2565, 3711 and 1968.  Even if it's not at its peak, if I see that it's active I'm comfortable pitching.

Basically my day is now brew, make the starter, clean, play with the kids, eat dinner, watch TV, pitch the starter, go to bed.  It's nice.
Jon Weaver

Offline narcout

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2015, 11:30:09 PM »
I have been using the "shaken, not stirred" method and pitching at high krausen with good results, but I'd still prefer not to have 20% or more of my lagers made from DME.

Have you tried crash cooling at high krausen and then decanting/pitching only the slurry?

Offline brewinhard

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2015, 11:32:17 PM »
Wouldn't that greatly extend the time before the yeast is being pitched?

Offline narvin

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2015, 05:43:59 AM »
Sounds like drauflassen.  In fact, you will probably get more yeast growth if you use a lot more of the wort for the first step.  My last pils I was short on yeast, so I pitched it into only 5 gallons (half the batch), then siphoned the other 5 gallons into the fermenter 24 hours later.  Seemed to produce excellent results for what was about half the yeast "needed" (for 1.5 m cells/ml/Plato).
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Offline riceral

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Re: A Twist on Starter Technique
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2015, 12:25:17 PM »
I plan on brewing a porter tomorrow using WLP006, Bedford British.

Was planning on making a starter tonight before heading out to the football game but after reading this, I plan on giving this a try.

Thanks for the tip.

Ralph R.