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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Yeast Invigoration Time
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:49 AM   #1
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Default Yeast Invigoration Time

I like the idea of decanting the extra beer off of a starter after letting it sit in the fridge for a couple days. I always cringe when I pitch a starter full of extract beer into a batch. Ideally then, you'd make a small starter just before you brew to invigorate the yeast and get them ready for some big work. I've been pondering how to go about using the beer I'm making for that starter so I'm not dumping a bunch of different beer in with the yeast at pitching time. The one perfect moment would be during the sparge when the runnings hit that 1.040 mark. I was thinking about grabbing a liter or so at that moment and boiling it for 10-15 minutes to use for reinvigorating the yeast. The problem is, I'd usually be ready to pitch maybe two hours later. What would be the minimum amount of time the yeast should sit in that secondary starter? Is two hours enough? We're not really fermenting, we're just letting the yeast soak up some nutrients to bolster their cell membranes. Would it be more detrimental to hold off on pitching for a few hours than making the effort to use the same beer to invigorate the yeast?

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Old 03-10-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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What I like to do may be the answer you are looking for, dunno. I brew a lot of the same beers over and over, with new stuff mixed in. When I am making an old faithful, like Arrogant Bastard, after I sparge I add about 1-1.5 gallons of left over sparge water to my mash tun. I proceed with my brew and about the time I am at a rolling boil and past the foam over stage, I then grab a gallon jug or two and drain the tun again. This wort is generally in the 1.035-1.040 range. If it is lower, I boil it to hit 1.040 and then freeze it. NEXT time I make my AB clone, I thaw out some of this wort and grow my yeast in it. Then when I dump it all into the carboy, I don't worry about slight changes in my mash because it is (more or less...I do tweak recipes) the same. This has several advantages to me like I don't have to buy and boil DME or LME to make a starter, I use similar wort to grow the yeast to the beer I am fermenting, and I always have wort on hand. I also make a pretty vanilla beer that is mostly 2 row with just a tad bit of C40. I use this wort for other beers that I do not brew as often, as I do not think it makes any real impact of flavor. YMMV...

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:06 AM   #3
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Yeah that is definitely an option. Seeing as the starter beer would be fairly close, the starter wouldn't be that far off. Certainly closer than just dry extract. Does freezing have any adverse effects on wort? It will destroy yeast, veggie, and fruit cells but seeing as we're just worried about sugar, it should be fine. If you've done it in the past sound like it works. I'd assume, even if you are on target gravity wise, you still boil a bit to pasteurize correct? Just more when it's low? I like how you'd be warming to pitching temp as opposed to a huge noise pouring ice into a sink to chill. Sounds much more relaxed.

The other obvious method would be buying some extra grain when you buy the grain for the entire batch and steal a little for starter wort. Would be cool to steal part of your method, make the extra wort for the big starter and freeze some for the wee starter.

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Old 03-12-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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If I am brewing the next weekend, I don't bother freezing the wort. I have not tasted a difference in the wort I freeze versus that I don't. It is basically sugar and water with some proteins mixed in. I have not boiled to pasteurize but might think about it and do a little research...that is a good point which I considered briefly and decided that freezing would be adequate protection. Probably need to rethink that a bit, though I have had no problems to date. One bad batch, however, would ruin my day, as I do 10G at a time...

I find that there is residual sugar in every mash I have made. Can't wash it all out at a homebrew level. Maybe the pros can, or maybe I am doing something wrong. I use beersmith for my recipes, and I generally am at or over my OG. Dumping extra strike in and letting it sit seems to get more good sugar out so I decided a while back to take advantage of it and use it for starters. I get great results doing it this way...YMMV. Good luck and let me know if this works for you.

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:32 PM   #5
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I will crash the starter like you mentioned and decant the oxidized beer the morning of my brew session. Once I hit the boil, I'll wait ~5 minutes and pull off a quart or so into a pot and cool it on the side. I can then add my first hop addition and set my timer for the boil. I'll wake the yeast back up with that quart of cooled wort. 2 hours and it's definitely chugging along - I like doing it just to pitch at high krausen (or close to it) but not by pitching a ton of oxidized mess into the beer that may contrast with the recipe I've just made.

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Old 03-12-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PseudoChef View Post
I'll wake the yeast back up with that quart of cooled wort. 2 hours and it's definitely chugging along - I like doing it just to pitch at high krausen (or close to it) but not by pitching a ton of oxidized mess into the beer that may contrast with the recipe I've just made.
Cool. So a couple hours may indeed be enough. Do you just swirl the yeast around in the quart of wort? Probably no need for a stir plate or anything at that point right? I'd imagine we're essentially just creating a smack pack environment. Might not even hurt to toss a tiny pinch of yeast nutrients in that quart too.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:55 PM   #7
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This sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Save yourself the time and aggravation and stick to your original plan of refrigerating your starter 2 days before brewing, decant it on brew day and pitch the yeast into your primary. No need to wake up the yeast or even let them warm up - you can safely pitch cold into your primary.

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Old 03-13-2013, 12:13 AM   #8
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You're probably right but...

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you can safely pitch cold into your primary.
This I have trouble agreeing with.

You should always match yeast and wort temp as close as possible to avoid shocking the yeast. If not, you'll end up with a portion of cells that do not work as well as they should. I want my entire population as ship shape as possible. By creating a small starter just before pitching, you are providing a period for the cells to suck up nutrients that they may have used to stay alive during cold storage. Granted, if the first starter was only cold for a day or less, they should still be pretty healthy and may not need to be reinvigorated.

I'm not really out to save time or aggravation. If a method is better for the yeast and/or the beer, I'm willing to go through the effort. The way I see it, this hobby isn't going away. Either it will become a profession or I'm going to brew really good beer at home until I croak holding a mash paddle. Either way I don't want to brew safely. I want to brew well. Otherwise I'd just buy three vials of yeast each time rather than making starters in the first place. I'm just in the process of replacing safe or easy methods with good ones.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:30 PM   #9
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I would agree that pitching warm yeast into cold wort would be shocking, but not the other way around. Consder this

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/cold-pitching-yeast

Also, from Dr. Clayton Cone at Danstar when asked why cold pitching works:

" I have not seen any studies done using this protocol. If I had to take a guess it would be centered around the Trehalose content in the yeast cell. Trehalose seems to be an all around stress related factor. Almost immediately upon the cold storage of the yeast, trehalose begins to build up to help the yeast to adapt to its new environment. Upon pitching this stress factor assists the yeast to adapt to its new environment; warmer temperature and higher osmotic pressure. If the pitching yeast is allowed to warm up for any appreciable time before pitching the carbohydrate reserve, trehalose being one of them will be quickly used up as an energy source. The yeast would then take a longer time adapting to its new environment in the wort thus increasing the lag phase."

Dr. Clayton Cone

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
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Interesting. Now I'm curious. My only concern is the more vigorous fermentation. More vigorous usually means more esters fusels yada yada. I'll have to break out my gallon jugs and do some experimenting.

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