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Old 06-09-2010, 05:06 PM   #1
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Default Could you forgo making a new starter every time you used washed yeast?

If you pitched a greater quantity of washed yest slurry, could you forgo making the new starter? I typically collect slurry from the carboy after pouring off excess beer. I use these for three generations and then buy new smackpacks, make a new starter and start the process all over again. I never use slurry that is more than six months old.

I see how easy washing is, but wonder if it is worth the cost of making a new starter every time. I also see how many people advocate the practice, so I wonder if there is an advantage over my current methods that I am not seeing.

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:49 PM   #2
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You probably could just pitch more slurry, but using a starter requires 1/2 cup of DME. That's probably only costing you pennies, so if your concern is cost, I don't see why making a starter is a problem.

Personally the main advantage I see with a starter is less lag time between pitching and active fermentation.

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:52 PM   #3
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If I've stored the yeast for any length of time, then yes I make a starter. It helps to wake them up and get them working.

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:55 PM   #4
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As someone who just pitched a large month-old slurry and suffered through almost 2 days of lag time, I will advise against doing this.

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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When using a starter, pitching washed yeast, etc. the primary goal is to pitch the correct amount of healthy yeast (see this for the correct starter size and/or how much yeast you should use for re-pitching). So if you have the yeast from a previous batch, IMO, it does not make any sense to use less and make a starter. However, if you want the yeast to be active you can do a small starter.

What I do is wash my yeast and save in the fridge until ready to use again. On brew day I get the correct amount ready (using the above link), and then run off .5-1L of extra wort after the mash is over. I boil and chill that and throw my yeast in there. By the time I am ready to pitch, that is at high krausen.

EDIT: But, I have skipped the small starter step with excellent results. I really only use this small starter step if I have been storing the yeast for a while (maybe like 2+ weeks).

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Old 06-12-2010, 12:54 AM   #6
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I think I am using waaaay too much DME then. Whenever I make a starter, I use a ratio of one cup DME to one quart water. Do you make very small little starters to wake up the washed yeast slurry?

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Old 06-12-2010, 01:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkinman View Post
I think I am using waaaay too much DME then. Whenever I make a starter, I use a ratio of one cup DME to one quart water. Do you make very small little starters to wake up the washed yeast slurry?
That sounds like too much alright. Here is a calculator: http://brew.stderr.net/starter_wort_calc.html.

I don't make a small starter. I use Mr Malty's calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html to calculate how big a starter I need to pitch into my beer. I use that volume, an SG of 1.040 and the date the yeast was harvested to determine how much slurry to pitch into the starter and then let it go 24-36 hours, crash chill decant and pitch.

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Old 06-12-2010, 01:31 AM   #8
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+1 for doing a starter when using washed yeast. I do a 1L using 4oz of DME. Should probably do a 2L but equipment only allows for 1L at the moment.

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Old 06-12-2010, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merkinman View Post
I think I am using waaaay too much DME then. Whenever I make a starter, I use a ratio of one cup DME to one quart water. Do you make very small little starters to wake up the washed yeast slurry?
That looks about right to me. I weigh my DME, and use 100g per qt. 100g is slightly less than 1 cup.

As Revvy said, if the yeast is more than 2 - 3 days old, I would always make a new starter.

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Old 06-13-2010, 05:11 AM   #10
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Repitching slurry from one batch to the next is SOP in the vast majority of microbreweries, where it's routinely done for ten generations or more. As others have said, if the time between propagations gets over a week or so, you'll probably need to increase the cell count via a new starter.

As a general rule of thumb, 1/3 of the slurry from a recent fermentation is about what's required to ferment the next batch at the same gravity. (Assuming adequate aeration.)

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