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Old 08-05-2009, 02:46 PM   #1
BNVince
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Default Pitching Rate

I'm brewing up an IPA on Saturday and I'm going to get a starter going tonight. I've already smacked the Wyeast smackpack to get it going a bit.

The expected OG of the IPA is 1.067. According to the Mr. Malty Pitching Rate Calculator it says I should have a starter of around 3.45 liters. That sounds ridiculously large to me. It's almost another entire gallon!

What I'm wondering is, should I make a starter of that size and then just decant the liquid and only pitch the slurry? Do you guys make your starters this big when dealing with a beer of this gravity?

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:05 PM   #2
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I’ve been trying to make sense of the starter business myself.

I’m sure you’re looking for more seasoned brewers, but I’ll tell you what I’d do. (ie. What I’m going to do.)

I’d do exactly as you suggest. I’d make a 3.5 L starter 2 days before pitching and decant the liquid prior, pitching only the slurry. But I think it’s somewhat important to give the starter a couple days for the yeast to settle. If the yeast is still fairly well in suspension, you’d end up decanting yeast as well as starter wort, and you don’t want that.

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:08 PM   #3
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A gallon? That's nuthin. I made a starter a couple weeks ago for 10 gallons of 1.070 Helles Bock...started with 2 vials of WLP833 in a 4 liter starter, let it ferment out, then chilled, decanted, and added another 4 liters. Pitching rate is, along with fermentation temp and sanitation, absurdly important. While JZ's calculator errs on the high side, I don't think it'd be a good idea to go with too much less. Just boil up 400g of DME in 4L of water, and be done with it. That's not even a pound! What do you pay per pound for extract...a few bucks? So you're talking about maybe 2 bucks to make sure your beer is better. Do it!

And yes, ferment it out, crash-cool it, then decant off the spent wort and just add the slurry. You don't want that starter wort in your main beer, as it will throw off your calcs and possibly be detrimental to the quality just because the growth phase in the starter might have created some unwanted compounds.

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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I'm also very interested in re-using the slurry from a previous batch.

The genius part about that is you can tell your wife that by brewing two weekends in a row, you're saving money.

It's interesting though... when I get my numbers from Mr. Malty, it seems like he's asking me to use a lot less yeast slurry doing it that way (as opposed to making a starter from scratch). I plugged in 1.072 for the Weizenbock I plan on brewing this weekend and it told me I only needed 200mL of slurry (after I estimated a fairly thin yeast concentration of about 1.5). Whereas from scratch I'm making a 3.6L starter, which would probably result in more than 200mL of slurry.

Or would it? I guess I don't know.

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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Last weekend I re-pitched my WL001 into a 70GU IPA using Mr. Malty's calculator, where I used 150ml of the slurry, And it worked perfectly. I was a little concerned because it was a 200+ IBU beer.

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #6
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Sigh. I guess I knew the answer before asking. I'm going to have to find something quick that can become a 1 gallon starter vessel.

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Old 08-05-2009, 03:34 PM   #7
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If you don't want to have such a larger starter, you could buy another smack pack, which would lower the required starter volume.

Just an option.

-Steve

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Old 08-05-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Sigh. I guess I knew the answer before asking. I'm going to have to find something quick that can become a 1 gallon starter vessel.
Pickle jars work in a pinch...and can be had for about $5 and you get a gallon of pickles in the deal.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNVince View Post
Sigh. I guess I knew the answer before asking. I'm going to have to find something quick that can become a 1 gallon starter vessel.
Those 1-gallon glass jugs that apple cider sometimes is sold in are perfect, if you don't have an LHBS. If you DO have an LHBS, they might have flasks. Mine has 5L erlenmeyers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageSteve View Post
If you don't want to have such a larger starter, you could buy another smack pack, which would lower the required starter volume.

Just an option.

-Steve
Or you could split it up into 2 vessels. Smack packs is x-pensive!
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:18 PM   #10
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I was thinking about one of those big glass wine jugs. I think Carlo Rossi is the brand. Maybe my dad has one laying around somewhere.

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