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Old 01-31-2012, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Decanting yeast starter

When decanting a yeast starter should the starter be allowed to do its thing for two or three days and then put it in the fridge to let all the yeast settle at the bottom? How long should the starter sit in the fridge to allow it to settle? Also can the excess beer just be poured out or should a siphon be used?

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:17 PM   #2
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there are a couple different approaches to starters. one approach is to get the yeast active and pitch the active yeast into the batch. another is to get the population of yeast up to a bigger number than the packet came with originally so you have enough to ferment. The first way requires you pitch the whole starter because the yeast is every where within the liquid and they are actively going. these starters are normally started the night before. if you simply want to grow the population and pitch only the yeast I would let the starter ferment for 3 days and chill for one. I would simply pour the remaining liquid until the yeast starts to flow out. any remaining liquid would be negligible.

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
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When decanting a yeast starter should the starter be allowed to do its thing for two or three days and then put it in the fridge to let all the yeast settle at the bottom? How long should the starter sit in the fridge to allow it to settle? Also can the excess beer just be poured out or should a siphon be used?
I let my starters go for 24 hours, then let them settle in the fridge overnight. Remove the container from the fridge when you start brewing, gently decant (as in pour off, not siphon) most of the the "beer" which will leave you a yeast cask at the bottom that you can swirl around when you're ready to pitch.

There is an absolutely fantastic how-to video "Billy Broas" made that makes creating a starter really, really easy: http://billybrew.com/how-to-make-a-yeast-starter

here's the thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/how...-video-177635/
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:21 PM   #4
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I have previously been doing the method of pitching the whole starter, liquid and all, but I wanted to try making a bigger starter and just pitching yeast. How much wort should be used for this method for 5 gallon batches?

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:22 PM   #5
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Personally, I prefer to siphon out the starter beer. You can get more liquid out this way without disturbing the yeast layer. As for cold crash time, over night should be good. Just throw it in the fridge the night before brew day and by the time you're ready to pitch it should nice and clear. Make sure you leave enough liquid behind to swirl up the yeast and make a slurry though or you'll have a hard time getting the yeast out.

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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I have previously been doing the method of pitching the whole starter, liquid and all, but I wanted to try making a bigger starter and just pitching yeast. How much wort should be used for this method for 5 gallon batches?
depends on your planned OG. Try using a yeast calculator like Mr. Malty.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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I have previously been doing the method of pitching the whole starter, liquid and all, but I wanted to try making a bigger starter and just pitching yeast. How much wort should be used for this method for 5 gallon batches?
http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:47 PM   #8
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Is there any advantage to making a bigger starter than mrmalty recommends or will that produce negative effects?

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:54 PM   #9
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I've done both pitching the whole thing and decanting - haven't noticed a difference in results (i.e. lag time, attenuation, flavor, etc.). If your starter is bigger than 1.5 liters, I think decanting is the way to go. If it is 1.5 liters or less, I think you can get away with just pitching the whole thing without it affecting your flavor.

Definitely use Mr. Malty's pitching rate calculator (at the link Tinga provided) to determine what volume of starter you need for the batch you are making. Boil 1 gram of DME for every 10 mL of water that Mr. Malty suggests, which works out to 100 grams of DME for a 1 liter starter - that will give you a starter gravity of about 1.040, which is ideal for giving your yeast a good amount of sugars to feed on and multiply with, but not too heavy to stress them out.

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:05 PM   #10
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I bought 1/4" polyethylene tubing from Home Depot to attempt decanting my next starter (1/2 gallon starter for a 3 gallon lager) with a 3' chunk. That tubing is very stiff so it should be easy to siphon near the surface and next to a wall to avoid disturbing the yeast.

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