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Jdub

yeast starter

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Just an observation....I was talking to my local HBS guys recently and they were talking to me about doing a yeast starter. They said I really don't need it for a 2.5 gallon batch, but I made one for my Octoberfest i brewed up this past weekend. I have to say, that I haven't seen fermentation start that quickly or that strong with any other yeast I have pitched. Probably an inch of krausen in less than 24 hours. Used a Wyeast Octoberfest Lager yeast.

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25 minutes ago, Jdub said:

Just an observation....I was talking to my local HBS guys recently and they were talking to me about doing a yeast starter. They said I really don't need it for a 2.5 gallon batch, but I made one for my Octoberfest i brewed up this past weekend. I have to say, that I haven't seen fermentation start that quickly or that strong with any other yeast I have pitched. Probably an inch of krausen in less than 24 hours. Used a Wyeast Octoberfest Lager yeast.

I never make starters anymore. With all these yeasts having 100 million kajillion viable cells, theres no need to. However, i use yeast nutrient on every brew and i too can say that almost always, 8 hours later im off to the races. I always hated the day or two or three of waiting for activity when I regularly used dry yeast. 

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10 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

I never make starters anymore. With all these yeasts having 100 million kajillion viable cells, theres no need to. However, i use yeast nutrient on every brew and i too can say that almost always, 8 hours later im off to the races. I always hated the day or two or three of waiting for activity when I regularly used dry yeast. 

ive started using the nutrient recently. just saying that I noticed a quicker start to fermentation.

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Most of my batches are 2.5 to 3 gallons and I always make a starter.  Yes it is true that Wyeast and White labs yeast are 100 billion cells but that is at packaging.  They degrade over time and in most cases the calculated number of cells available is short of what is recommended.  So because of this, I make a starter and I always have signs of fermentation the morning after an afternoon pitch.  I also use yeast nutrient in both my starters and my wort. 

 

Healthy yeast is one of the best tools for brewing good beer and I don't take chances.  There is virtually no way to overpitch at the homebrew level so why not err on the side of too many yeast cells rather than too few.

 

Just my $0.02.

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I went to a beer tasting event last year and one guy had excellent home brew. I asked him his secret and he said “always make a starter“. I dont even make starters for a lager. I dont even pitch two packs. Ive never been a good listener but I do get the job done 

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I've  never used a starter and only one liquid yeast up to now. I just got some Fast Pitch for a WLP yeast, so since I have it I'll make a starter and see how that works out. Yeast nutrients I guess I've technically used that by dropping some MB yeast packs in the boil.

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1 hour ago, Cato said:

I've  never used a starter and only one liquid yeast up to now. I just got some Fast Pitch for a WLP yeast, so since I have it I'll make a starter and see how that works out. Yeast nutrients I guess I've technically used that by dropping some MB yeast packs in the boil.

i think it's pretty cool actually. it's like making a little beer batch to pour into your beer batch. Hey i don't know if it's necessary or even better, but I do know that there is so much waiting time invested in a batch of brew that I figure whatever I can do on the front end to make it better is worth while. that fast pitch sounds like a good product.

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2 hours ago, Cato said:

I've  never used a starter and only one liquid yeast up to now. I just got some Fast Pitch for a WLP yeast, so since I have it I'll make a starter and see how that works out. Yeast nutrients I guess I've technically used that by dropping some MB yeast packs in the boil.

 

I do that too with excess MRB yeast packets.  It keeps the little cannibals happy.  😀

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If you have a home canner you can make your own Fast Pitch wort.  I make up seven 800ml jars each time I do it and it is a lot cheaper than Fast Pitch.

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24 minutes ago, BDawg62 said:

If you have a home canner you can make your own Fast Pitch wort.  I make up seven 800ml jars each time I do it and it is a lot cheaper than Fast Pitch.

Ah, something new for me to learn, like it's not bad enough waking up around 3:30-4 ish couple nights a week thinking about beer recipes! :)

 

However, I do have some brews coming up that I plan on using liquid yeasts that are style specific, and so in theory should make for a better dubbel, irish, Witbier, etc. 

 

So my 4 pack of Fast Pitch and my little 1000ml flask will give me an intro into yeast starters.

 

Until last week I thought people just dumped the liquid yeast packs in like dry yeast. It's what I did for some Omega Barbarian yeast and it took off pretty good, but I want to see and learn how this process works.

 

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Cato,

 

I use a 2000ml flask and that has never not been big enough.

 

There are many yeast starter calculators out there.  I have links to several below, there is also one in the current version of Beersmith.  Take a look at them and then just pick one and use that one all the time.  That way you have consistency.  I used to use the Brewers Friend one but now use the one in Beersmith.

 

https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

http://www.brewunited.com/yeast_calculator.php

http://www.yeastcalculator.com/

 

I always make my starter on Thursday evening for a Saturday brewday.  On Friday evening I take the stir rod out of the flask and put the flask in the refrigerator to cold crash.  On Saturday when my boil starts I decant the wort on top of the yeast and then leave it on the counter to warm up to room temperature so that I can pitch when my wort is at pitching temperature.

 

Dawg

 

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1 hour ago, Cato said:

 

Until last week I thought people just dumped the liquid yeast packs in like dry yeast. It's what I did for some Omega Barbarian yeast and it took off pretty good, but I want to see and learn how this process works.

 

This is exactly what i do. I typically use omega but i also use wyeast smack packs. Never had a problem

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1 minute ago, Creeps McLane said:

This is exactly what i do. I typically use omega but i also use wyeast smack packs. Never had a problem

i've always just dumped the liquid in the fermenter. works great.......i've only done a starter once just for fun.

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On 9/27/2018 at 9:16 AM, BDawg62 said:

Cato,

 

I use a 2000ml flask and that has never not been big enough.

 

There are many yeast starter calculators out there.  I have links to several below, there is also one in the current version of Beersmith.  Take a look at them and then just pick one and use that one all the time.  That way you have consistency.  I used to use the Brewers Friend one but now use the one in Beersmith.

 

https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

http://www.brewunited.com/yeast_calculator.php

http://www.yeastcalculator.com/

 

I always make my starter on Thursday evening for a Saturday brewday.  On Friday evening I take the stir rod out of the flask and put the flask in the refrigerator to cold crash.  On Saturday when my boil starts I decant the wort on top of the yeast and then leave it on the counter to warm up to room temperature so that I can pitch when my wort is at pitching temperature.

 

Dawg

 

question on the starters. i made a starter for a belgian dubbel a week or so ago. starter was 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup DME. i left on stir plate for like 3 days. pitched it in my 3.5 gallon fermenter with an airlock on it. all was good, but after about 24 hours, there was beer/krausen blowing out of the airlock and i had to take my fermenter lid off and install a blowoff tube to just contain it. is it possible my yeast was too much for the brew? was a 3 gal batch into a 3.5 gal fermenter.

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52 minutes ago, Jdub said:

question on the starters. i made a starter for a belgian dubbel a week or so ago. starter was 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup DME. i left on stir plate for like 3 days. pitched it in my 3.5 gallon fermenter with an airlock on it. all was good, but after about 24 hours, there was beer/krausen blowing out of the airlock and i had to take my fermenter lid off and install a blowoff tube to just contain it. is it possible my yeast was too much for the brew? was a 3 gal batch into a 3.5 gal fermenter.

If youre asking if you over pitched, the most common answer is no. People say its nearly impossible to over pitch on a home brew level. I kinda have my own feelings but who cares about me. Youll know if you over pitch because you may get a slight lingering sulfur quality to the beer. 

 

I would ask what yeast you used. I rarely make a starter though i do believe it is a good idea. For a 3 gallon batch, one pure pitch or smack pack would be enough unless its older yeast. 

 

I would just say that you had a vigorous fermentation, which is a good thing. You want that yeast to be happy and rip through the wort.

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24 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

If youre asking if you over pitched, the most common answer is no. People say its nearly impossible to over pitch on a home brew level. I kinda have my own feelings but who cares about me. Youll know if you over pitch because you may get a slight lingering sulfur quality to the beer. 

 

I would ask what yeast you used. I rarely make a starter though i do believe it is a good idea. For a 3 gallon batch, one pure pitch or smack pack would be enough unless its older yeast. 

 

I would just say that you had a vigorous fermentation, which is a good thing. You want that yeast to be happy and rip through the wort.

the reason why i did the starter, was b/c the date said July 2018 so i knew i might be pushing it from an expiration standpoint. It was Omega Belgian Ale A. The starter really took off, and obviously it started chewing through the wort quickly.

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1 minute ago, Jdub said:

the reason why i did the starter, was b/c the date said July 2018 so i knew i might be pushing it from an expiration standpoint. It was Omega Belgian Ale A. The starter really took off, and obviously it started chewing through the wort quickly.

That makes more sense. Then i really dont blame you for making a starter. If you remember a few days ago i said the most important tip for a intermediate brewer was to assure yeast health. A starter is an absolute great thing to do in almost every liquid yeast batch. 

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7 hours ago, Jdub said:

question on the starters. i made a starter for a belgian dubbel a week or so ago. starter was 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup DME. i left on stir plate for like 3 days. pitched it in my 3.5 gallon fermenter with an airlock on it. all was good, but after about 24 hours, there was beer/krausen blowing out of the airlock and i had to take my fermenter lid off and install a blowoff tube to just contain it. is it possible my yeast was too much for the brew? was a 3 gal batch into a 3.5 gal fermenter.

JDub,

 

The blowoff you experienced had nothing to do with the fact you made a starter.  I almost always make a starter and when I do my calculations, I am normally at least double the recommended number of yeast cells and sometimes even triple.  While you can overpitch, at the homebrew level you would have to pitch so much yeast it would be rediculous.  At least that is what I have found from all of my research over the past couple of years. 

 

I have brews that experience a blow off on occasion and sometimes it is with a yeast that I already used on a previous brew that behaved fine.  I have had it where I used the same yeast for 5 generations and had Krausens that barely formed foam on the surface to Krausens that required a blow off tube to contain them.

 

Remember, Yeast are living creatures and different generations behave differently (just like humans 🤣). 

 

Reading that you had a 3 gallon batch in a 3.5 gallon fermenter also contributed to the blow off.  I used to ferment 2.5 gallons in a 3 gallon carboy and on occasion still do, but I also had quite a few blowoffs doing that.  I now usually ferment my 2.5 gallon batches in a 5 gallon carboy.  Even with that amount of headspace, I have had a batch where I needed a blowoff tube because the krausen came up to the airlock.

 

I will say that 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of DME sounds like a higher gravity starter than I would like.  Did you check the gravity of the starter?  It should be somewhere between 1.032 and 1.040 with 1.036 being the optimum gravity to grow your yeast.  Remember with starter, you are not looking to make a beer just grow up your yeast.

 

Dawg

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23 minutes ago, BDawg62 said:

JDub,

 

The blowoff you experienced had nothing to do with the fact you made a starter.  I almost always make a starter and when I do my calculations, I am normally at least double the recommended number of yeast cells and sometimes even triple.  While you can overpitch, at the homebrew level you would have to pitch so much yeast it would be rediculous.  At least that is what I have found from all of my research over the past couple of years. 

 

I have brews that experience a blow off on occasion and sometimes it is with a yeast that I already used on a previous brew that behaved fine.  I have had it where I used the same yeast for 5 generations and had Krausens that barely formed foam on the surface to Krausens that required a blow off tube to contain them.

 

Remember, Yeast are living creatures and different generations behave differently (just like humans 🤣). 

 

Reading that you had a 3 gallon batch in a 3.5 gallon fermenter also contributed to the blow off.  I used to ferment 2.5 gallons in a 3 gallon carboy and on occasion still do, but I also had quite a few blowoffs doing that.  I now usually ferment my 2.5 gallon batches in a 5 gallon carboy.  Even with that amount of headspace, I have had a batch where I needed a blowoff tube because the krausen came up to the airlock.

 

I will say that 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of DME sounds like a higher gravity starter than I would like.  Did you check the gravity of the starter?  It should be somewhere between 1.032 and 1.040 with 1.036 being the optimum gravity to grow your yeast.  Remember with starter, you are not looking to make a beer just grow up your yeast.

 

Dawg

Thanks Dawg. No i didn't check grav of the starter. I will next time. and I got that starter recipe online somewhere. good to know that i didn't mess it up. just a very active fermentation it sounds like. 

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Personally, I shy away from yeast starter directions that use volumes instead of weights.

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