Author Topic: Decanting starter question  (Read 793 times)

Offline syncopadence

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Decanting starter question
« on: December 08, 2017, 01:19:23 PM »
Hey everyone, I've never decanted my starters, and would like to start. So after the starter has reached terminal gravity, I understand you refrigerate it to help drop the yeast from suspension to decant the spent wort. But then after decanting do I just pitch the yeast straight into the fermentor? Am I missing steps? Did I get anything wrong? Any help on this topic would be very much appreciated.

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Offline Robert

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2017, 01:46:55 PM »
Decant leaving enough liquid (2 or 3 times the thickness of the yeast layer) to swirl up the yeast easily, then once all the yeast is unstuck from the bottom of the jug or whatever, straight in it goes!  Just make sure you refrigerate long enough (not just overnight, but several days) to settle ALL the yeast.  You don't want to leave the least flocculent cells in the liquid you discard, or you may not fully attenuate or reduce diacetyl, etc.  [This is a bigger concern if you repitch for the next batch because over generations you'll be selecting only the most flocculent cells.] You don't need to worry about the yeast being refrigerated for days and days, and don't warm up the starter before decanting and pitching: as soon as it's pitched into the relatively warmer wort it'll wake right up!
Rob
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2017, 09:11:01 PM »
Decant leaving enough liquid (2 or 3 times the thickness of the yeast layer) to swirl up the yeast easily, then once all the yeast is unstuck from the bottom of the jug or whatever, straight in it goes!  Just make sure you refrigerate long enough (not just overnight, but several days) to settle ALL the yeast.  You don't want to leave the least flocculent cells in the liquid you discard, or you may not fully attenuate or reduce diacetyl, etc.  [This is a bigger concern if you repitch for the next batch because over generations you'll be selecting only the most flocculent cells.] You don't need to worry about the yeast being refrigerated for days and days, and don't warm up the starter before decanting and pitching: as soon as it's pitched into the relatively warmer wort it'll wake right up!

I would add to this to be sure to properly sanitize the rim or lip of your yeast vessel prior to decanting and pitching to minimize infection risks.

Offline stpug

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2017, 09:13:03 PM »
Decant leaving enough liquid (2 or 3 times the thickness of the yeast layer) to swirl up the yeast easily, then once all the yeast is unstuck from the bottom of the jug or whatever, straight in it goes!  Just make sure you refrigerate long enough (not just overnight, but several days) to settle ALL the yeast.  You don't want to leave the least flocculent cells in the liquid you discard, or you may not fully attenuate or reduce diacetyl, etc.  [This is a bigger concern if you repitch for the next batch because over generations you'll be selecting only the most flocculent cells.] You don't need to worry about the yeast being refrigerated for days and days, and don't warm up the starter before decanting and pitching: as soon as it's pitched into the relatively warmer wort it'll wake right up!

I would add to this to be sure to properly sanitize the rim or lip of your yeast vessel prior to decanting and pitching to minimize infection risks.

Excellent point! I use a flame to sterilize lips of containers that can take the heat.

Offline Robert

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2017, 10:44:22 PM »
Decant leaving enough liquid (2 or 3 times the thickness of the yeast layer) to swirl up the yeast easily, then once all the yeast is unstuck from the bottom of the jug or whatever, straight in it goes!  Just make sure you refrigerate long enough (not just overnight, but several days) to settle ALL the yeast.  You don't want to leave the least flocculent cells in the liquid you discard, or you may not fully attenuate or reduce diacetyl, etc.  [This is a bigger concern if you repitch for the next batch because over generations you'll be selecting only the most flocculent cells.] You don't need to worry about the yeast being refrigerated for days and days, and don't warm up the starter before decanting and pitching: as soon as it's pitched into the relatively warmer wort it'll wake right up!

I would add to this to be sure to properly sanitize the rim or lip of your yeast vessel prior to decanting and pitching to minimize infection risks.

Excellent point! I use a flame to sterilize lips of containers that can take the heat.

Thanks for catching this important point I neglected, guys!  I guess I took it for granted, but sanitation can't be overemphasized.  You've grown up a nice healthy pitch of yeast --  make sure that's all you pitch!
Rob
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Offline denny

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 11:20:30 PM »
I guess I'm crazy, lucky, or both...I figure that if my starter container is sanitized and I keep it covered, there's no need to flame the lip.  That's worked for me for several hundred starters.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 11:38:29 PM »
I guess I'm crazy, lucky, or both...I figure that if my starter container is sanitized and I keep it covered, there's no need to flame the lip.  That's worked for me for several hundred starters.

I sanitize (swab a little StarSan)  but don't flame.  I do the same for the starter and many subsequent generations harvesting, rinsing and repitching.   No flame. Always thought I was testing my luck too, but no problem. Now I'm thinking, if it's good enough for Denny ... come to think of it though I guess he is pretty lucky living the brew-centric life.  So flame or don't, whatever makes you feel safe.
Rob
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2017, 12:43:12 AM »
I guess I'm crazy, lucky, or both...I figure that if my starter container is sanitized and I keep it covered, there's no need to flame the lip.  That's worked for me for several hundred starters.

I hear ya Denny!  And I think that is probably doable for 99.99% of the time. I only spray the lip with starsan usually but as you said, my opening is always covered with aluminum foil from the get go. So probably over kill.


It does help me sleep at night though.... ;)

Offline Robert

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2017, 01:04:38 AM »
^^^^
Yeah, I have foil on all the time so like you and Denny anything else might be overkill.  But not knowing the OP's procedure, they should just be aware of sanitation.  Probably already well aware, as it sounds like starters are already old hat.  If using cotton or an airlock -- well why would you? Moreover, just having an adequate, vigorous supply of yeast is itself some insurance.
Rob
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Decanting starter question
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2017, 11:57:27 PM »
^^^^
Moreover, just having an adequate, vigorous supply of yeast is itself some insurance.

Most definitely!