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Old 07-03-2008, 02:54 AM   #1
knowltonm
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Default First Yeast Starter! ...does it look good?

Well guys, after brewing 20 batches I've finally gotten around to setting up a yeast starter. I had a Wyeast 125ml smack pack of Belgian Saison. Added 83gm light DME and water to make a total volume of 750-775ml in a 1L erlenmeyer flask. Heated to boiling, boiled 10 minutes, cooled in ice bath to 78 degrees, shook, pitched yeast, shook again, left aluminum foil on top (no stopper that fits the opening for an airlock) and it's currently sitting in a room that should hold a constant temp of about 78 degrees. I figured this temp would be good for the Saison yeast.

Some questions: I forgot to add yeast nutrient until after I pitched so I tossed in a little bit afterward and shook it up. Any problems with that?

The total volume after pitching was about 875ml. Should I be prepared for the krausen to escape the top of the flask?

Any help/comments are greatly appreciated!

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Old 07-03-2008, 04:03 AM   #2
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You shouldn't get that big of a krausen on top, there isn't a lot to ferment in there. As far as the volumes go, I have no idea, I'm not good with metric. The yeast nutrient goes in the wort, not the starter I believe. I think it gets added to the last 10 minutes of the boil, at least the kind I used did.

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Old 07-03-2008, 05:22 AM   #3
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Here's a tip for you-
make a stir plate.
your starter will grow much more yeast cells, much quicker, and will start a fermentation so quick you will wonder how you got along without it.
You have the right idea!
A couple things:
I put yeast nutrient in my starters at first.
Then I changed and put it in the wort for fermentation.
I used to put 1/4 tsp in the starter.
Now I put 1/2 tsp in the wort. It is much better in the wort. Give that a try!
Same with oxygenation. You need it in the wort. you really don't need it in the starter, esp if you do the below.
Next: you will get (or I will) a lot of opinion on this.
I have used this now long enough to be convinced it works.
I cover my flask (on the stir plate) with a piece of cotton cloth. It allows the vessel to breathe- this is what the yeast need to multiply. It will not allow foreign bacteria to enter.
It was explained to me and makes sense: Bacteria don't have legs or wings. They move on air currents or other bodies from place to place. Once your sterile environment is established, as long as gravity cannot bring bacteria in thru an open area, it can't enter.
Using the stir plate and a cotton filter on the opening, I can make a starter that really rocks! I fix the cotton with a rubber band.
Starters are the best thing that's happened to my brewing this year!

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Old 07-03-2008, 07:54 AM   #4
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you can use the nutrient in the starter or the batch, but you don't need to. no worries. all you gotta do now is swirl that puppy good and splashy for the next day or two to let some oxygen get taken in and to keep those yeast in suspension.

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Old 07-03-2008, 08:49 AM   #5
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Nutrient is nice for yeast unless your starting from dry yeast., then you hydrate, let sit, then pitch into a starter.
I love these the yeast harvesting, culturing threads. I hated my microbiology class and did a brain dump after it with the help of copious amounts of beer. Now I wish I remembered all the details.

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Old 07-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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A stirplate was a possible purchase in a little while or even a project. Next time I'll try the cotton cloth instead of foil over the top, and I'm going to swirl it up right now...there's not any visible change after 9 hours. Thanks for the input!

By the way, Kauai rocks. I was just there last month for the 2nd time and we had a blast!

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