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Old 01-01-2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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Default bottle harvest starter size?

title says it all.

I just harvested (or attempted to anyway.. jury is still out) from a bottle of deschutes 09 abyss.

I pitched the slurry from the bottle into a 1L starter... then, this morning I realized that 1L may have been a bit big. Will this stress my yeast out? Or, will it just take longer to ferment the wort?

thoughts?

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:28 PM   #2
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I've made starters in 1.5L and 1 gallon bottles/jars with no issue (or bad results)... More important is how much starter did you have in the bottle and what was the OG of the starter? Depending on the OG of the brew the yeast will be going into, will determine how much yeast you want the starter to produce. If your brew/wort is going to have an OG of over 1.060, then a starter is advised. If it's going to be a 'big brew' with an OG approaching (or over) 1.100, then you'll want a bigger starter.

I find that about 1/2 cup of light DME in about 2 quarts of water is a good starter. I've been also adding the remaining must from a batch of mead I've had fermenting (never made it to the yeast, so I wanted to use it up). I added a little more water to offset the higher gravity of the must, which this last starter really liked.

I made the current starter around Wednesday (of this past week) for a brew being made tomorrow. Right now it's just settling so that it will be easier to separate out from the rest... It's forming a nice sized yeast cake in the jar...

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:49 PM   #3
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I've made starters in 1.5L and 1 gallon bottles/jars with no issue (or bad results)... More important is how much starter did you have in the bottle and what was the OG of the starter? Depending on the OG of the brew the yeast will be going into, will determine how much yeast you want the starter to produce. If your brew/wort is going to have an OG of over 1.060, then a starter is advised. If it's going to be a 'big brew' with an OG approaching (or over) 1.100, then you'll want a bigger starter.

I find that about 1/2 cup of light DME in about 2 quarts of water is a good starter. I've been also adding the remaining must from a batch of mead I've had fermenting (never made it to the yeast, so I wanted to use it up). I added a little more water to offset the higher gravity of the must, which this last starter really liked.

I made the current starter around Wednesday (of this past week) for a brew being made tomorrow. Right now it's just settling so that it will be easier to separate out from the rest... It's forming a nice sized yeast cake in the jar...

thanks for the long reply, but I think you mis-read my question.

I completely understand how to make a starter for a brew. Im trying to figure out what type of wort prep needs to be done to harvest from a commercial bottle. In other words, what will give me the best new colony growth from a likely very small pitch.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:56 PM   #4
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I wouldn't use that yeast at all. From what others have said, you don't want to use yeast from secondary fermentation. Plus, unless you know (for a fact) that the bottle was primed with sugar, that's probably not good yeast on the bottom of the bottle.

I'm not familiar with the brew you're trying to capture out of. If it's a small brewery, you could reach out to them to get the characteristics of the yeast (or what it brings to the brew) then see how close you can match that.

Even if the trub in the bottle is yeast, you would probably need to do several starters in order to get it to replicate enough to be of a size sufficient for even a 5 gallon batch. There's also no guarantee it won't mutate into something completely different during all that time (and steps along the way)...

Actually, I just looked up some info on the brew... With the aging in different wood barrels, I wouldn't advise trying to capture the sediment to use in your own brewing...

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Old 01-02-2011, 12:21 AM   #5
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Transplant,
check out this page http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/making-starter-bottle-conditioned-beer-technique-bad-tom-hamilton
Aloha!

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Old 01-02-2011, 12:38 AM   #6
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I wouldn't use that yeast at all. From what others have said, you don't want to use yeast from secondary fermentation. Plus, unless you know (for a fact) that the bottle was primed with sugar, that's probably not good yeast on the bottom of the bottle.

1. How would you define "secondary fermentation?" Im not sure there is such a thing.

2. The yeast in the bottle is yeast that was in solution when the beer was bottled. So, I guess Im unaware of any reason why the bottling technique should matter.


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Actually, I just looked up some info on the brew... With the aging in different wood barrels, I wouldn't advise trying to capture the sediment to use in your own brewing...

Again, I appreciate your help, but this isnt really the question I asked.

I just want to know if my harvesting technique, and, more specifically, the size of the medium the yeast was pitched to, will stress the yeast (like underpitching). Or, is this a different scenario since Im just trying to step up the colonies.

anyone else care to chime in?
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:51 AM   #7
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It will stress the yeast, but not necessarily beyond the point of no return. Generally when you bottle harvest you want to start with a very small starter and ramp it up every 24-48 hours. When I harvested last I started with about 10 ml for 24 hours, and then started doubling it in size from there, until I hit about 1.5 liters. It takes a while, but it works eventually.

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Old 01-02-2011, 12:54 AM   #8
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1. How would you define "secondary fermentation?" Im not sure there is such a thing.
Actually, once you remove the brew from the primary fermenter, it's in secondary. Each additional racking/move after that adds another level, so tertiary, etc...

Quote:
2. The yeast in the bottle is yeast that was in solution when the beer was bottled. So, I guess Im unaware of any reason why the bottling technique should matter.
Actually, it will matter. The yeast left behind after moving from the primary is the most active. Secondary is yeast that was still in solution when pulled out of primary, which since flocculated out. It won't ferment nearly as well as the yeast from primary. It can also give the brew a completely different characteristic.

Also, if the priming was done with CO2, as many commercial breweries do, or with a different yeast, then who knows what you actually have there.

Quote:
Again, I appreciate your help, but this isnt really the question I asked.

I just want to know if my harvesting technique, and, more specifically, the size of the medium the yeast was pitched to, will stress the yeast (like underpitching). Or, is this a different scenario since Im just trying to step up the colonies.

anyone else care to chime in?
IF you really want to go down that road, start with small, low gravity worts and step them up each time until you get a reasonable volume.

Do keep in mind, you probably have about a 10-25% chance of getting yeast that will come out even close to the original this way.

I STILL say contact the brewery to get as much info as you can before you waste time and resources on something that will not produce what you imagine it would. What difference will a couple of days worth of emails, or a phone call to the brewers make? You could find out that they use a yeast with a list of characteristics that you can actually get pretty easily. Or you can get a yeast that will match it much better than what you're thinking of doing. You can always harvest the yeast from your own brewing to keep the strain alive and see how it progresses.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:00 AM   #9
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great resource... thanks.

So, he suggests starting with a half pint, much smaller than a L.

is this yeast going to be stressed after its done hammering through this large starter volume?
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:13 AM   #10
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The yeast will be fine. It will just take a long time for the cells to replicate to the required quantity for that size starter. Let it go, and in a couple of weeks cold crash and give it new wort; maybe 0.5 liter next time.

Contrary to what gold said, most places that bottle condition add fresh (first generation) yeast at bottling to ensure good carbonation. What you really need to find out is; does this beer use the primary strain for bottling, or do they use a different strain.

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