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Old 03-20-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Best way to set up a starter so it doesn't overflow??

Ok...so first beer....first yeast starter. I figured I had done all of my reading...I've got a 2L flask...made a starter that was 1.5L figuring it would be just fine. I know one wants oxygen exchange when on the stir plate, so I have one of those sponges to 'cork' off the flask. Set up the starter yesterday afternoon....this morning it is all over the floor. Typical story. I have seen a ton of threads on this. What I have not seen yet though is any suggestions for preventing this in the future. It seems silly to set up a 1.5L starter in a 2L flask if it is going to overflow all of the time. What are you guys doing to set up your starters so you don't end up with a mess every time?

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:06 PM   #2
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A) Use a rubber stopper with a blowoff tube run to a small pail of sanitizer.
B) Use two drops of Fermcap-S, which is a food grade anti-foaming agent.

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
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Yeah, I thought about the stopper and blowoff tube, but I thought the whole point of maximizing growth was to allow air exchange..hence the foam stopper or aluminum foil. With a stopper/blowoff tube you have no air exchange going on.

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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I just put some aluminum foil loosely over the opening. I use fermcap when I boil the starter. I never have blow off.

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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I refuse to use Fermcap, and got tired of my starters 'exploding'. Especially with WLP001. I finally said enough was enough. I purchased two 5000ml flasks. No worries now.

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Old 03-20-2013, 11:12 PM   #6
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Any other suggestions?

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Old 03-21-2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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Was the starter a 1.040 gravity? Higher isn't desireable, hard to believe a 1.040 would blow off.

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Old 03-21-2013, 01:07 AM   #8
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That is a good question. I was going to check it, but after boiling I ended up with less than I had planned on. I figured I followed the recipe provided by Midwest Supplies so it should be good to go. I am using White Labs 300 Hefeweizen yeast.

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Old 03-21-2013, 01:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiptasia View Post
B) Use two drops of Fermcap-S, which is a food grade anti-foaming agent.
Be careful with Fermcap, there's alot of literature coming out about silicon based anti-foam agents. FDA only allows breweries to use this if they filter it out before bottling because it could cause health issues.

There are other olive oil based alternatives and ive read that some big name breweries have been using olive oil to oxygenate their wort. There may be more of a reason to use that other then just the blow off prevention.

Im also surprised for the blowoff. How fast did u have the stir plate going? I've noticed when i use mine, if i have a tighter swirl or stronger whirlpool or what have you, there isn't alot of foaming as i expected.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:30 AM   #10
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I had the stir plate going full blast. By this afternoon it appeared fermentation was done (~24 from start). I put the flask in the fridge and it appears as of this evening there is only about 1/4" to 3/8" of yeast settled in the bottom of the 2L flask. I expect it is more than was originally in the tub, but it doesn't seem like I got a lot out of this starter (probably because half of it ended up on the floor). Hopefully it will be good enough for my BIAB batch tomorrow. I guess it is all a learning process.

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