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Old 03-12-2008, 01:55 AM   #1
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Default Best way to decant a starter

I usually ferment my starters in a growler. I have concerns about pouring out the "top part" of the starter because:

a) the growler is brown so I can't really see what's going on in there or know if I'm pouring out too much yeast.

b) I worry about decanting the more active yeast cells -- the ones that haven't flocculated yet. I have read that the less flocculant cells are the ones you really want to keep, as the flocculated ones can be "tired" and not ferment as well.

So what's the best method to get rid of all the DME/water, yet retain the most (and best) yeast when decanting from a growler?

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Old 03-12-2008, 01:59 AM   #2
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chill in fridge to drop out yeast and use an autosiphon to pump off extra wort might work for you. seems like more trouble than its worth though, why not just get a container where you can see whats going on?

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Old 03-12-2008, 02:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottfro
why not just get a container where you can see whats going on?
...in the process...I broke my last clear growler.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:34 AM   #4
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You don't necessarily need to get all of the liquid out. Do as last poster replied and cool it down to drop the yeast. Then decant into a measured container until 75% to 85% of the original liquid is gone - ie. if you made a 1L starter, decant into a measured container until it is up to the 750ml mark. I use an Erlenmyer flask and I have noticed that when I decant mine and start seeing yeast coming out (my stopping point), I have about 15% to 25% of my original wort volume.

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Old 03-12-2008, 02:56 AM   #5
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Why even bother decanting?
If you use extra light DME for the starter it's not going to affect the taste of your final product.

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Old 03-12-2008, 03:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenster
Why even bother decanting?
If you use extra light DME for the starter it's not going to affect the taste of your final product.
Those of us with stirplates that continuously aerate end up with starters that have off flavors in them. Even the starter volume is enough to make a batch taste funky. Before my stirplate, I dumped the whole thing but not any more.
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:48 AM   #7
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I was recently told stirplates don't really "aerate" per se but just re-suspend flocculated yeast in the starter. What is the definition of "aerate" in this sense? Maybe I don't quite understand.

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Old 03-12-2008, 05:22 AM   #8
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They are aerating a bit unless you use and airlock. Many of us with stir plates use loose tin foil or a foam stopper so you can get some air exchange. That air will have some oxygen that goes into solution, not nearly as much as if you blast it with pure oxygen from a tank, but some nonetheless.

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Old 03-12-2008, 05:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew
I was recently told stirplates don't really "aerate" per se but just re-suspend flocculated yeast in the starter. What is the definition of "aerate" in this sense? Maybe I don't quite understand.
Taste will tell you, all the stirplate starters I ever sampled tasted like cr#P
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenster
Why even bother decanting?
If you use extra light DME for the starter it's not going to affect the taste of your final product.
That just is not true, especially if you prepare a large starter. A two liter or half gallon starter would make up almost 10% of a five gallon batch if you added it all.


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