Author Topic: Big starters for big batches  (Read 500 times)

Offline zorch

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Big starters for big batches
« on: August 10, 2010, 12:02:12 PM »
I'm curious how you guys who brew 10+ gallon batches deal with creating enough yeast.    I'm toying with the idea of upgrading my capacity to handle 10 gallon batches, but I am a little unsure about how I should handle my starters.   For example, when I'm building up yeast for a typical 5 gallon lager batch, I've got a 4 liter starter on a stir plate (in a 5 liter flask), and I feel like that's _barely_ enough yeast.

Do you guys run two stir plates at the same time?    Or perhaps make a smaller batch and re-pitch a bunch of slurry?  Or...?

Given the rest of my setup, I will probably ferment in 2 6.5 gallon carboys (since that's what I have, and I can get them both in my chest freezer).   So that tends to suggest that I'd be better off with a second stir plate... Splitting a batch of yeast into two equal pitches seems tricky and error-prone.    But I'd love to hear how others approach this.

Offline babalu87

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Re: Big starters for big batches
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 12:21:56 PM »
Make a small beer first using a small starter.

If you plan things you can do something like this

FRESH pack of Wyeast 1968
or appropriate starter.
Brew a 1.035 Mild or a 1.040 Bitter
You now have a nice fresh cake of yeast slurry.
Split that into two mason jars

Brew an ESB, English IPA, Porter or a Stout
Split that into two mason jars

Your now at the point where you can brew an Imperial Stout, English Barleywine or Old Ale

Subsitute for an American yeast and you can

Brew a small Cream Ale, then an APA followed by an IPA and then shoot for the moon with a Bigfoot clone.

Jeff

On draught:
IIPA, Stout, Hefeweizen, Hallertau Pale Ale, Bitter

Primary:
Hefeweizen,Berliner Weisse, Mead

Offline narvin

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Re: Big starters for big batches
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 12:30:30 PM »
I'm curious how you guys who brew 10+ gallon batches deal with creating enough yeast.    I'm toying with the idea of upgrading my capacity to handle 10 gallon batches, but I am a little unsure about how I should handle my starters.   For example, when I'm building up yeast for a typical 5 gallon lager batch, I've got a 4 liter starter on a stir plate (in a 5 liter flask), and I feel like that's _barely_ enough yeast.


Two stirplates/flasks is an option, but that's a lot of work.

One easy option is 2 vials/packs of yeast in your starter. I just made a 1.070 ale and only needed 2 vials in a 2.5 L starter according to MrMalty.

Another is to make multi-step starters. Making a 2L starter and then pitching that into another 2L will grow significantly more yeast than starting with a 4L starter.  The Wyeast pitching rate calculator is good for calculating 2-step starters.

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrate.cfm
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Chris S.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Big starters for big batches
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 12:39:06 PM »
For my last APA I used two smack packs (Wyeast 1450 and Wyeast Pacman) in two one gallon carboys
for two 6 gallon batches of beer.

I made 7 quarts of starter wort...chilled and pitched using intermittent shaking.

Works like a charm!

Ron Price