Author Topic: Plastic starter vessel...  (Read 1033 times)

Offline gmac

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2165
  • London, Ontario
Plastic starter vessel...
« on: July 12, 2011, 09:55:48 pm »
I made some starter today and put 2L in two different plastic jugs.  The jugs used to hold distilled water.  So, now I'm wondering if I can just boil 2L of starter and cool it and put it back into a the same jug (after sanitizing it).  Is there a problem with plastic and alcohol?  I'm not going to drink it so would it matter for a starter?  I'm going to start a kolsch tomorrow, please let me know if I need to use a glass vessel or if this is OK?

Offline Jimmy K

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 3643
  • Delaware
Re: Plastic starter vessel...
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2011, 10:18:11 pm »
 I want to scream NO, but I can't really justify it. The main concern is sanitizing. Remember that sanitizing the vessel for your starter is far more critical than sanitizing a carboy because you're offering a chance for any contaminants a chance to multiply. That's why many, like me, use flasks that the starter can be boiled in. Glass will be easier to clean. I also use growlers and gallon wine jugs.
Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup - former president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP Certified: B0958

Offline jamminbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 820
  • theAntipunk
Re: Plastic starter vessel...
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2011, 10:37:31 pm »
I agree with mtnrockhopper. My inclination is to say no, but if you are confident in your ability to sanitize a plastic jug, you will probably get  by. Not sure about long term use, though. I prefer growlers myself, and have 4 I use for starters, and for storing yeast.
In caelo cerivisiae nil, hic igitur bibimus.

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2336
Re: Plastic starter vessel...
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2011, 06:07:51 am »
I use 3L plastic apple juice jugs for starters. If I couldn't properly sanitize the starter vessel, there's no way I could sanitize my better bottles or pales either. Knock-on-wood, I've never had an issue with infection I could trace back to the starter.

I alternate between starsan and an acidified bleach solution. I did run into an issue a few years ago where I was only using starsan and developed a house bug, so mix up your sanitizing media if you're relying on sanitizing, not sterilizing.

I've always heard that, to avoid infection, when you pitch into wort, the idea is to have the yeast outnumber any bugs. If you're pitching, say, a smack-pack into 2L or 4L, that's a much higher pitching rate than a 2L starter into a 20L batch. So by that logic, a starter should be more safe from infection than a whole batch. Am I missing something here? I know hops are slightly antibacterial, but besides that, what else is going on?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 06:12:10 am by nateo »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
Re: Plastic starter vessel...
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2011, 07:41:39 am »
I used to use plastic water jugs all the time until I got my 5L flasks.  Like has been said, if you're careful about your sanitation it shouldn't be more of a problem than using a better bottle. I never had a problem.  I guess, thinking back, I didn't reuse them too many times before replacing with a new one.
Wort Hogs