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Old 12-28-2005, 05:05 AM   #1
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Default Yeast starter container: does size matter?

Sounds like a National Enquirer title, no?

I recently brewed a porter clone recipe with OG of 1.068. I used one Wyeast pack, and after a few days, fermentation stalled at 1.037, where target FG is 1.016 or so. My home brew store suggested that for such a high OG, I should have used two yeast packs or a serious starter. Live and learn.

Never having used a starter before, I did some research here and elsewhere, including the "How To Brew" site which was very straightforward, so I think I have the basics.

The question: I am going to be adding my yeast starter to the secondary and then racking from primary to secondary. Can I simply use the sanitized secondary as the container for the starter, and then rack onto it in a couple of days?

Put another way, is there any risk in using a 5g carboy vs. a 2 quart jar as the container for one's starter?

Related question: I bought a powder-form pack of yeast nutrients. When does one add that to the wort? While boiling? After?

As always, I appreciate the feedback.



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Old 12-28-2005, 06:17 AM   #2
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My wife says that it does!

First off, I'm not the best person to answer this, but at 12:48, I'm all you've got at the moment. Keep in mind, I've never had one, so am definitely not an expert. So you are planning on fixing the stalled ferment by using yeast in your secondary? Dude, I don't think that's the way to fix a stalled ferment. Have you shaken your fermenter? what's your temp? At any rate I think you should add yeast to your primary and not your secondary.

On your actual question, though...Seems like you could get by with that. The only concern would be oxygenation of your starter, but I don't think that would affect the flavor of your brew much. Still, it's not much trouble to find something to make your starter. An old beer bottle is popular, I use a maple syrup jar. The same bubbler I use on my secondary fit it.



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Old 12-28-2005, 06:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor
Sounds like a National Enquirer title, no?

I recently brewed a porter clone recipe with OG of 1.068. I used one Wyeast pack, and after a few days, fermentation stalled at 1.037, where target FG is 1.016 or so. My home brew store suggested that for such a high OG, I should have used two yeast packs or a serious starter. Live and learn.

Never having used a starter before, I did some research here and elsewhere, including the "How To Brew" site which was very straightforward, so I think I have the basics.

The question: I am going to be adding my yeast starter to the secondary and then racking from primary to secondary. Can I simply use the sanitized secondary as the container for the starter, and then rack onto it in a couple of days?

Put another way, is there any risk in using a 5g carboy vs. a 2 quart jar as the container for one's starter?

Related question: I bought a powder-form pack of yeast nutrients. When does one add that to the wort? While boiling? After?

As always, I appreciate the feedback.
Yes, you can create a starter in the 5 gallon carboy, but you will have to transfer the beer from the primary to the secondary as soon as the starter is done. The correct way to add yeast nutrient to beer is to add as soon as it starts your boil in your kettle, but if your talking about adding them now you can put them into the secondary after you have transferred the beer, and make sure you slowly stir and mix the nutrients in. Food for thought Yeast nutrients are only preffered in high adjunct or gravity beers where yeast would have a problem.
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Old 12-29-2005, 02:11 AM   #4
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Just be sure you know why it stalled to begin with ok. You know... if it stalled because the temp is so cold that the yeast died... tossing a starter in there will get you to the same place.

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Old 12-29-2005, 02:22 AM   #5
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By the way.. in another thread in the Extract section (Double the Yeast Fuel?? ) it was found that you can have too much yeast too. The person in this thread doubled it with not good results.

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Old 12-29-2005, 02:33 AM   #6
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You run a greater risk of contamination using your secondary. I would just use a small container for the starter, even a 22 oz. bottle will work well. Then pour it into the primary.

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Old 12-29-2005, 04:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
You run a greater risk of contamination using your secondary. I would just use a small container for the starter, even a 22 oz. bottle will work well. Then pour it into the primary.
If everything is sanitized and sealed a 2 to 4 quart starter will be just fine. Everyone says to use a 22oz bottle, milk jug, etc... to make a starter thats because if its going to sit for a while like a week or two you can put it into the fridge, but if your racking your beer onto the yeast then there is no fear of contamination unless you dont sanitize.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Schaap
By the way.. in another thread in the Extract section (Double the Yeast Fuel?? ) it was found that you can have too much yeast too. The person in this thread doubled it with not good results.
The reason this happens is that if you add too much yeast, the greater population of the yeast soaks up all the oxygen and nutrients, leaving really hungry and malnutritioned yeast. Think of it this way, let say you had to work outside in the yard by yourself, and you were given a good meal. You could probably work all day long right. Well lets say you had about a hundred people to help you with that same job, good right, but you had to split that meal with everyone. not so good right especially if the meal is a slab of ribs with tons of bbq sauce, potatoes.... sorry im hungry. This is the basic principle.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:44 AM   #9
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Don't you think using something as huge as a 5 gallon carboy for a starter could severely oxidate the wort of the start and impart off-flavors and aromas (sulfur in particular) to the rest of the beer? That's a lot of airspace for a starter.

Also, I agree with Michael_Schaap--know (or try to reason out) why your yeast stalled before going through the time and effort of creating a starter in whatever kind of container you decide upon.

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Old 12-29-2005, 06:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brackbrew
Don't you think using something as huge as a 5 gallon carboy for a starter could severely oxidate the wort of the start and impart off-flavors and aromas (sulfur in particular) to the rest of the beer? That's a lot of airspace for a starter.

Also, I agree with Michael_Schaap--know (or try to reason out) why your yeast stalled before going through the time and effort of creating a starter in whatever kind of container you decide upon.
No. If everything is sanitized and sealed a 2 to 4 quart starter will give off a considerable amount of co2. Co2 is heavier than air and will float on top of the starter, and if you dont believe me then stick your nose about 2 to 3 inches from the top of the starter when its done and breath in. You wont be able too because the co2 burns the heck out of your nose. Sulphur is not a problem if your pouring your beer over the top of your starter right after its done. Yes, your right i would definately look at my notes and play the elimination game and find out where he went wrong before making a starter. All of us homebrewers though can only eliminate so many variables, ending up with 5 or 10 answers. Thats allot. Cant really pinpoint exactly only guess at this point. Or you could break out a dissolved oxygen meter, flask's, lab equipment, gerbal......


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