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Old 09-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default The 2L starter: what's it good for?

I think I've got myself organized now. Someone please tell me this is a good 2L starter system.

Tuesday:
Boil 3 oz DME and yeast nutrient in 1L water in a 2000mL Erlenmeyer. Cool, shake, pitch Wyeast packet and set on a stir plate with loose foil cap for 24 hours…

Wednesday:
Entire flask goes in fridge.

Thursday:
a) Pull flask from fridge, decant wort, allow yeast to reach room temp. Meanwhile…
b) In a pan, boil 6 oz DME and yeast nutrient in 2L water. Cool to 70-75, and dump it onto yeast cake in the 2L Erlenmeyer.
c) Erlenmeyer goes back on stir plate w/ loose foil cap for 24 hours…

Friday:
Entire flask goes in fridge.

Saturday – Brew Day:
a) Start mashing.
b) Pull flask from fridge, decant almost all wort leaving just a little for swirling purposes, allow yeast to reach room temp.
c) Brew and pitch.

*****************************

Second question: Can anyone tell me how many cells can I expect by the end using this method? I’d like to know how high of an OG I can safely go with this method before I start having to resort to scheduling back-to-back brewing weekends and pitching onto entire yeast cakes. Mr. Malty tells me how many cells I need for a given OG, which is really nice of him, but for bigger beers he insists on telling me to begin with 2 packets of yeast at the start of the yeast growing process. I don’t want to buy two packets. I want to buy ONE packet and grow it as much as I can. Hence the above.

Thanks!

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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I can't speak to the first question as I've never required a yeast starter that big.

If you're looking at the mrmalty calculator, there is a slider bar at the bottom that you can use to change the number of yeast packs you're starting with. If you use less packs, the starter size will go up.

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:25 PM   #3
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According to Mr. Malty...with 2L of starter on a stirplate, that will allow you to ferment 5.25 gallons of wort at 1.135 OG!!!

Are you sure you need that much? Stirplates do a great job of getting maximum cell #s from a starter.

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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What the... !@#?

Well... I'll be. You're right. I'm an idiot. Thanks!

Now that I'm reading his advice it's still rather discouraging. Even using the wonderous stir plate, a 2L starter will only serve me well up to an OG of 1.065.

I gotta be honest. That kinda sucks. I had hoped for a better yeast count out of 2L and a stir plate. But then I'm wondering if he's talking about a 2L starter right from scratch, as opposed to this 'step-up' method I'm considering, and if the latter promotes more yeast growth?

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
According to Mr. Malty...with 2L of starter on a stirplate, that will allow you to ferment 5.25 gallons of wort at 1.135 OG!!!
Gah! I'm an idiot all over the place! For some reason I had my production date set back in early August and my viability was @ 55%.

I don't know about 1.135. (I think you are still accounting for 2 packets of yeast at the start.) But you're right that it's not as bad as I thought if I use fresher yeast.

To be honest, I've never checked the born-on date on my Wyeast packs. It seems they make a pretty big difference. I'll start looking at those from now on.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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I doubt you'll have many issues if you overpitch.

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #7
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I've done plenty of starters w/ 6oz DME to 2 quarts water w/ a single tube of white labs and its handled 1.070-80 no problem. Start it a couple days beforehand and let it run on the stirplate until time to pitch.

How big of a beer are you looking to ferment that requires that size of starter?

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Old 09-29-2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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Yeast concentration is mostly dependent on volume so whether you pitch a pack into 2L or build it up you should end up with roughly the same cell count which will be around 300B cells.

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Old 09-29-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
I've done plenty of starters w/ 6oz DME to 2 quarts water w/ a single tube of white labs and its handled 1.070-80 no problem. Start it a couple days beforehand and let it run on the stirplate until time to pitch.
Do you know if starting right off with 2L of wort as a starter ends up with the same # of cells as opposed to stepping up from 1L to 2L?
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
How big of a beer are you looking to ferment that requires that size of starter?
I suppose I'm approaching brewing without limits. I mostly plan to dabble with stuff in the 1.040-1.080 range, but certainly I'll creep up to and beyond 1.100 from time to time.

Pitching "enough" yeast is the rule. I just need to know that "enough" is what I'm getting. I'm trying to reach a simple and safe system. Something like:

OG 1.035-1.055... 1L starter
OG 1.056-1.080... 2L starter
OG 1.081+.... pitch onto cake from previous batch
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
Yeast concentration is mostly dependent on volume so whether you pitch a pack into 2L or build it up you should end up with roughly the same cell count which will be around 300B cells.
Why all the talk about ramping up starter sizes then?

If the end result is a 4L starter (for a big lager, say), why not just start with your 12 oz DME and 4L of water right off the bat?
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