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Old 01-09-2008, 07:25 PM   #1
mjs483
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Default Yeast starter flask size?

I'm new to yeast starters and I'm trying to figure out which size pyrex/erlenmeyer flask size I should buy to do starters in. I'd like to be able to do up to 2 (maybe even 3) liter starters. I'm assuming that a 2000ml flask is does not have enough head space for a 2 liter starter....is this true? I'd like to know before I spend the money on a pricey 4000ml - 5000ml flask. Are there other alternatives to the flasks that are just as good?

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Old 01-09-2008, 07:51 PM   #2
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You wouldn't want to start with 2 liters anyway so you're not going to have explosive krausen. You'd start smaller and build it up. I just got my first flask, 2 liters... and it seems a little big to be honest. It will barely fit on my DIY stirplate in the works. I think for most 10 gallon batches, a 1 liter would be fine. I might go 1.5 with an Imperial somethingorother. A 4 liter starter is like half a batch size.. you might as well pitch on a yeast cake.

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Old 01-09-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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I like my 5 litre flask from morebeer. Gives me lots of head room, and my experience is I need 1 litre of space. A 3 litre starter is good for higher gravity beer, I harvest the rest for future use.

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Old 01-09-2008, 08:16 PM   #4
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Cymar has some good flask deals.
http://www.cynmar.com/productdetails/11533101.aspx

Check out Jamil's page for everything you want to know about pitch size. See the Yeast Pitch Rate Calculator.

http://www.mrmalty.com/

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Old 01-09-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the links, that one on how to make a starter is actually an excerpt from the book I'm using to learn about how to make a starter =)

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Old 01-09-2008, 09:48 PM   #6
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Also, Bobby M, I don't understand why I wouldn't want to start with 2 liters. You mentioned "building up to 2 liters". According to the above link and the book I have, to make a 2 liter starter I'd add water to 200 grams of DME until I have 2 liters total. Then boil etc etc.

It also says that a 2 liter starter generally doubles the cell count in a white labs vial or smack pack. So if I have a recipe that calls for 2 vials of yeast (which I do) then I could use 2 vials alone or make a 2 liter starter from 1 vial. Is that right or am I missing something? I don't wanna end up with franken-yeast...

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjs483 View Post
Also, Bobby M, I don't understand why I wouldn't want to start with 2 liters. You mentioned "building up to 2 liters". According to the above link and the book I have, to make a 2 liter starter I'd add water to 200 grams of DME until I have 2 liters total. Then boil etc etc.

It also says that a 2 liter starter generally doubles the cell count in a white labs vial or smack pack. So if I have a recipe that calls for 2 vials of yeast (which I do) then I could use 2 vials alone or make a 2 liter starter from 1 vial. Is that right or am I missing something? I don't wanna end up with franken-yeast...
I know Bobby M knows a lot more about brewing than I do, but what he wrote also contradicted what I have been told and read.

I brew 11 gallon batches, split that into two fermenters. I make two 2L starters (one for each fermenter) and pitch the slurry after decanting most of the beer. I also use stirplates and foam control (fermcap). I have not had a problem with overflow since I started using the fermcap. All of the high-gravity beers I have made this way have come out excellent. OG's have ranged from 1.084 down to about 1.060. Also, I have pitched the slurry cold with no negative results. Some people (Denny Conn) even advocate pitching cold.

To sum it up, I like the 2L size and would like to add a 5L to step-up for those really big beers.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:40 AM   #8
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I started with a 4L flask. I don't know how the heck I would have made a 2L work. For 10g batches, I grow a lot of yeast (4L, decant, 4 more).

Also, if you boil in the flask, you'll want a large one to avoid boilovers.

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kedash View Post
I know Bobby M knows a lot more about brewing than I do, but what he wrote also contradicted what I have been told and read.

I brew 11 gallon batches, split that into two fermenters. I make two 2L starters (one for each fermenter) and pitch the slurry after decanting most of the beer. I also use stirplates and foam control (fermcap). I have not had a problem with overflow since I started using the fermcap. All of the high-gravity beers I have made this way have come out excellent. OG's have ranged from 1.084 down to about 1.060. Also, I have pitched the slurry cold with no negative results. Some people (Denny Conn) even advocate pitching cold.

To sum it up, I like the 2L size and would like to add a 5L to step-up for those really big beers.
I've been doing almost exactly what you describe for a long time with excellent results. I often pitch cold and always do so for lagers.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
I started with a 4L flask. I don't know how the heck I would have made a 2L work. For 10g batches, I grow a lot of yeast (4L, decant, 4 more).

Also, if you boil in the flask, you'll want a large one to avoid boilovers.
I boil in 2 liter flasks regularly and typically fill them in excess of 2200 ml to just below the narrow neck level. I do use foam control. I also use a small hot plate to heat the flask. I know what setting will bring the wort to a boil without causing a boil over.
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