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Old 10-29-2010, 06:26 PM   #1
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Default Canning to make yeast starters easier?

I have been kicking this idea around in my head for awhile and was going to run it by the collective to see if anybody else has already perfected it. Most of my best ideas have already been done so it wouldn't surprise me.

The idea is this. Make a small (2 gallon or so) extract batch. I would not likely hop it as I wouldn't want to impart any hop flavor aroma to a starter for a beer that might not use the strain I had on hand when doing this.

I would make something using Jamil's 10 to 1 ratio suggested for starter wort in BCS. I would also likely add an appropriate amount of yeast nutrient.

Boil for 10-15 min and transfer to glass mason jars. I'm figuring I would package it in volumes of both 500ml and 250ml to give me some flexibility when making starters (or stepping up a starter) at a later date.

Once I filled and affixed the lids to the mason jars, I would just boil it in my canning pot. I have a pot with a rack in it that I use to can Salsa in the summer.

After that, I would think it could just be stored like any other canned material. A couple of questions though:

1. Do you think I would need to refrigerate it? I have boiled and sealed my salsa this way before and been able to store it in the pantry unopened for several months.

2. How long would the shelf life be? Canned, it could theoretically be years. Since you're likely decanting the starter beer, you're mainly wanting a nutrient source for the yeast.

I would think if I did this right, I could eliminate one of my few headaches surrounding yeast starters. I usually try to make them after work during the week before a brew weekend. It's a hassle getting home from work at 7:30, eating dinner, then making a starter and waiting for it to cool enough that you won't kill your yeast. It would be much better if I could just come home, sanitize my flask, dump in a pre-measured starter wort, plop it on the stir plate and get on with my evening.

Thoughts?

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Old 10-29-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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Boiling AFTER you add the yeast? That wouldn't work, you'd kill the yeast and just have cans of unfermented wort laying around.

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Old 10-29-2010, 06:30 PM   #3
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If you're using a water bath canner, you'd need to keep it in the fridge. Wort is susceptible to things like botulism, so if you want it shelf-stable, you'd have to use a pressure canner and can it like you would spaghetti sauce or other low acid foods. Not like salsa, where a boiling water bath canner may be fine.

Lots of brewers can starter wort, with a pressure canner, with good results.

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Old 10-29-2010, 07:00 PM   #4
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I have a pressure cooker I inherited from my grandmother. The seal around the lid is suspect and I have never used a pressure cooker. The concept concerns me a tad. It feels like putting a bomb on my stove.

However, refrigeration would not be an issue using my water bath canner. I have a spot in my keezer (on top of the compressor) where I could store them.

Just out of curiosity though, what's the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning in terms of shelf stability? I thought the concept for both was the same. High heat to kills germs and form a stable seal on the lid.

I am open to the fact that like most things in my life, I am probably oversimplifying this.

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Old 10-29-2010, 07:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericd View Post
Boiling AFTER you add the yeast? That wouldn't work, you'd kill the yeast and just have cans of unfermented wort laying around.
No no. The order of events is:

1. Make the wort
2. Can the wort by boiling it in a water bath
3. Store the wort for later use
let time pass, then
4. Sanitize my flask
5. Open jar of "canned" wort and pour it into my flask
6. Pitch yeast and proceed with starter schedule as usual.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winvarin View Post
I have a pressure cooker I inherited from my grandmother. The seal around the lid is suspect and I have never used a pressure cooker. The concept concerns me a tad. It feels like putting a bomb on my stove.

However, refrigeration would not be an issue using my water bath canner. I have a spot in my keezer (on top of the compressor) where I could store them.

Just out of curiosity though, what's the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning in terms of shelf stability? I thought the concept for both was the same. High heat to kills germs and form a stable seal on the lid.

I am open to the fact that like most things in my life, I am probably oversimplifying this.
Well, some things CAN be canned with a water bath canner- usually high acid foods that don't really spoil like jams, jellies, tomatoes (with lemon juice or other acid added), etc.

Other foods, like green beans, should only be canned with a pressure canner because of the risk of botulism.

The difference is that water bath canners only get up to boiling- at my house that's 208 degrees. But the way pressure canners work is that the temperature inside the canner gets up to over 240 degrees. That means all pathogens are chilled. Assuming the jars then seal properly, the item can be kept on the shelf.

It's too much to go into further here, but I've been canning food for ages. Following the USDA guidelines is the only way to ensure your canned food is totally safe. Botulism is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, and kills people.

Check into these guidelines for info: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general...ned_foods.html
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winvarin View Post
I have a pressure cooker I inherited from my grandmother. The seal around the lid is suspect and I have never used a pressure cooker. The concept concerns me a tad. It feels like putting a bomb on my stove.

However, refrigeration would not be an issue using my water bath canner. I have a spot in my keezer (on top of the compressor) where I could store them.

Just out of curiosity though, what's the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning in terms of shelf stability? I thought the concept for both was the same. High heat to kills germs and form a stable seal on the lid.

I am open to the fact that like most things in my life, I am probably oversimplifying this.
The reason you can water bath can is because food like salsa, pickles, and most fruits have enough acid in them to prevent botulism from growing in the product. Low acid foods MUST be pressure canned. Boiling the wort will not guarantee that botulism will be killed. By using a pressure canner you can heat the product to 250F+ and successfully kill botulism.

This is nothing to take lightly as you may not have a second chance if you drink botulism tainted food - it really can kill you.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
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So I usually do about a 30 min boil when I water bath can. If I were to use a pressure cooker, how long would that need to go? (am reading the link in another tab now. Forgive me for jumping the gun if the article you linked speaks to that)

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Old 10-29-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
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Probably 30 min at 250F. Make sure you read the directions for pressure canning. It's a little different than the water bath.

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Old 10-29-2010, 07:24 PM   #10
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And then I read 2 more minutes and answer my own question

"At temperatures of 240° to 250°F, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned food ranges from 20 to 100 minutes."

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