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Old 05-06-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
kombat
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Default Problem with yeast starter

This weekend, I brewed an Oktoberfest, and Mr. Malty said I needed a 4.5 liters starter. I was excited to finally get to use my giant 5L Erlenmeyer flask. So Saturday night, I boiled up 4.5 liters of water and 400g of DME. Chilled in an ice bath in the sink, poured into the flask, pitched some White Labs Oktoberfest/Marzen yeast, dropped in the stir bar, and let it ride the stir plate overnight. Sunday morning, had a nice krausen and lots of CO2 bubbles. So I set to work brewing the beer.

I've recently (the last 4 batches) had a problem with my batch size. I brew 5 gallon batches, but ever since switching to a plate chiller and Hop Stopper, I've been having trouble getting a full batch into my fermenters. The Hop Stopper loses suction with several quarts still in my BK, and I was losing wort in the lines and chiller.

Well, this weekend I was proud of myself. I still lost suction with the Hop Stopper and had to dump 2 quarts of wort down my driveway (the horror!), but I meticulously drained all the remaining wort from my tubing and plate chiller to end up with a solid 5 gallons in my fermenter.

I aerated with a Fizz-X on the drill, and worked the frothy foam almost all the way up to the mouth of the carboy. Perfect! Time to pitch the yeast.

I put the sanitized funnel on the mouth of the carboy, picked up my flask of 4.5 L of yeast, and then realized there was no stinkin' way this was all going to fit. Crap.

I poured as much as I could, then waited for the foam to subside, then poured some more. In the end, I got almost all the yeast in, and only had to dump maybe 500 mL down the drain. The beer/yeast now fills the carboy all the way up to where the glass starts to curve inward at the top. I'm a little worried that the krausen will blow through the top, but it's a lager, so I'm hoping maybe the slower fermentation and colder temperatures will keep it in check. Now I wait - nervously. I could have a mess in my fermentation chamber when I get home.

Moral of the story - Make sure to leave room for your starter, especially if it's a big one!

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Old 05-06-2013, 12:57 PM   #2
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Yeah, you're going to need a blowoff tube for this one.

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Old 05-07-2013, 01:50 AM   #3
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Hopefully those 4.5 liters of fermented starter won't bring down the flavor of that five gallon batch of Octoberfest. You might consider crashing, decanting and then pitching just the yeast on a future batch, just to compare...

Cheers!

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