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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Is it possible to use a yeast starter too early?
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Old 11-13-2005, 07:00 PM   #1
Johnwongfat
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Default Is it possible to use a yeast starter too early?

I fired out a couple of yeast starters late last night and I wanted to use one today for brewing. They've been sitting for about 8 hours now and there is a small layer of foam on the top (maybe 1/4"). My other 2 starters had sat for about 2 days and had about 1-2" of foam residue on the sides. My question is if I use it today am I going to kill the yeast? Is this a complete waste of a starter, patience is not a virtue I possess and I want to brew today, but I don't want to kill my brew. Any thoughts?

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Old 11-13-2005, 07:23 PM   #2
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There are many reason for making a starter, but one is to verify the yeast is good. If you have activity already then you know it's good.

Go ahead and pitch it ("pitch" - to add yeast to the wort, not "pitch" to throw out).

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Old 11-13-2005, 07:33 PM   #3
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Thanks, that was sort of the theory I was running on. The brew I'm going to do today is a Newcastle clone with a fairly low OG, so I don't think I need it for the added yeast count.

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Old 11-13-2005, 07:34 PM   #4
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The short answer: no. Eight hours isn't much time for you or I, but in a good starter that's three or four doublings. So, you have 8-16 times as much yeast as you started with.

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Old 11-13-2005, 07:59 PM   #5
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I won't disagree with you that it may not be the desired population of yeast, but the question was "is it too early". Under an "optimum" situation the answer would certainly be "no".

But at this point he has a viable yeast and he wants to brew now. I still stand by my answer to his question - "no" it is not too early.

Overall, he is in a much better position to pitch his yeast than someone who just pitched dry yeast of did not make a starter.

He'll just have to plan better next time, or put off brewing until tomorrow which may not be possible for him.

It's OK to have different brewing techniques. We all pick and choose which techniques are best for us (grain vs DME vs kit) and we all learn where we can take a shortcut here or there (2 oz of 5%AA vs 1 oz 10%AA), dry yeast vs a full blown liquid yeast starter, but in the end it's us brewing something we like whether or not we want to imitate a style of modifiy it to our tastes.

Happy Brewing!

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Old 11-13-2005, 08:01 PM   #6
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Would the fact that this was White Labs liquid yeast change anything?

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Old 11-13-2005, 09:09 PM   #7
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I've pitched WL straight from the bottle & had very good results. But, more yeast is better (yah, I know adding a gallon of yeast to a 5 gallon batch is a bad thing, but who ever does that?)

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Old 11-14-2005, 01:00 AM   #8
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True.

When I make a large starter (sometimes) I'll just split it in two and brew another batch. You don't want something that valuable going to waste.

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Old 11-17-2005, 06:07 AM   #9
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So conversly, is it possible to use my starter too late? I.e let it sit out all week. Will this kill my yeast or does it just increase the likelihood of contamination?

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Old 11-17-2005, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnwongfat
So conversly, is it possible to use my starter too late? I.e let it sit out all week. Will this kill my yeast or does it just increase the likelihood of contamination?
I wouldn't recommend it unless you are planning to keep feeding it to increase the yeast cell yield. You can add more wort daily to keep it producing.

Alternatively, you could grow your starter and then refrigerate it for a week, warm back up and add more wort to restart it.

Or you could do as you said, I don't guess it's any different than a mini-primary a week shouldn't hurt a thing I just don't see a reason to do it that way.
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