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Old 11-06-2012, 04:56 PM   #301
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They ARE miniature soda bottles, though possibly not in the sense you're thinking. They are called preforms, and are typically used by the bottling facility by expanding them to full size by heating them and blowing air into them (an effect that resembles glass blowing). They are exactly what White Labs uses, and ARE fairly thick-walled because they contain enough material to make a typical 2L bottle... the walls get thinner as air is blown into them to "stretch" to full-size.

They are popular because they are already manufactured on a massive scale for the beverage industry, making them a very cheap (literally pennies when bought in bulk) alternative to purpose-made labware. Notice how the caps are *identical* to soda bottles? It's not a coincidence.
Thanks for the clarification emjay. That is actually pretty interesting. Good multiple use product! Probably should be way cheaper than some of those links on Amazon. You can buy 2 liters of soda for the price of one of those.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:14 PM   #302
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I wish there was a cheaper way to get those soda bottle types, but I can't find them locally. I just went with 4 oz canning jars I got at Ace for 9.99 for a 12 pack.

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Old 11-06-2012, 08:40 PM   #303
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What's the consensus on the best way scale up cultures? Should I just add fresh wort to the culture, or is it better to let the yeast drop out and dump the supernatant first? I feel like it's better to drop the yeast and dump the supernatant, but if so, is it best to put it in the fridge or leave at room temp? I wish there was a faster way that didn't involve centrifugation.

It seems like you'd definitely want to dump the supernatant from the starter before pitching to make actual beer, especially if the starter volume is quite large.

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Old 11-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #304
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What's the consensus on the best way scale up cultures? Should I just add fresh wort to the culture, or is it better to let the yeast drop out and dump the supernatant first? I feel like it's better to drop the yeast and dump the supernatant, but if so, is it best to put it in the fridge or leave at room temp? I wish there was a faster way that didn't involve centrifugation.

It seems like you'd definitely want to dump the supernatant from the starter before pitching to make actual beer, especially if the starter volume is quite large.
You might get varying opinions on that. If I've got plenty of room in the starter vessel, I just dump in some fresh and don't worry about decanting. If the vessel is at or near capacity, then I'll decant. I normally don't do more than two steps though and the first step is usually much smaller than the second.
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Never Ending Liquid Yeast - How to Farm Yeast and Freeze it.

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Old 11-06-2012, 09:09 PM   #305
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If starting from a small number of cells, I step up to my 1.5-3 liter starter. However, if you start with a frozen tube containing around 100 billion cells there is no reason to step up. You can go directly into a large starter volume. You are only looking for a couple doublings of the viable cells in the tube. After growing overnight, I usually cold crash and pour off the spent wort. If I have the motivation and the wort, I resuspend in some fresh room temperature wort while I am brewing and then just pitch. Otherwise I just pitch the slurry of cold crashed cells. It doesn't take much wort to wake them up and it gets the fermentation going quicker but it is definitely not necessary.

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Old 11-07-2012, 05:36 PM   #306
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My article on Freezing Yeast has been approved and posted:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/freezing-yeast.html

Hope you like it and, if you have comments, please make them. I presume I can make edits at a later date or at least post changes and updates in the comments.

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Old 11-07-2012, 05:38 PM   #307
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I should say thanks to everyone who has contributed to the thread and whose data or suggestions led to the procedure suggested in the article.

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Old 11-07-2012, 05:58 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by Brewitt View Post
My article on Freezing Yeast has been approved and posted:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/freezing-yeast.html

Hope you like it and, if you have comments, please make them. I presume I can make edits at a later date or at least post changes and updates in the comments.
Very nice write-up. Thanks for spending the time and effort!

I've only done the freezing once, but I was surprised to read that you can get 100 billion cells to fit into a volume of 25ml. When I centrifuged my slurry to pellet the cells, 30 billion took up 15 ml. I would've guessed 100 billion would take up almost the entire 50 ml tube. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #309
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Very nice write-up. Thanks for spending the time and effort!

I've only done the freezing once, but I was surprised to read that you can get 100 billion cells to fit into a volume of 25ml. When I centrifuged my slurry to pellet the cells, 30 billion took up 15 ml. I would've guessed 100 billion would take up almost the entire 50 ml tube. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Thanks. I have to admit, I only counted the first time I did it and I was dealing with the equivalent of WLP001. That was approximately what I found. Since I am normally dealing with haploid yeast which are much smaller I was not surprised by that. However, I have not counted a range of yeast. I will check it out again.

That all said, if one uses the cells to inoculate a starter, I think it is a moot point. An overnight starter should give you about a 10X increase in cell number which way exceeds the necessary cell number for a 5-10 gallon batch.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:12 PM   #310
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That all said, if one uses the cells to inoculate a starter, I think it is a moot point. An overnight starter should give you about a 10X increase in cell number which way exceeds the necessary cell number for a 5-10 gallon batch.
I agree that if you're doing a starter, it shouldn't matter much. However, I've been doing some playing around with the Wyeast calculator and have generated the following graph on the top showing the 'Expected Fold Expansion' vs. 'Starting Cell Concentration'. I think this is the most useful way to represent the data because it can be used for any culture as long as you know your volume and cell #. From it, you can estimate the expected final cell #. The second graph, titled 'Actual Fold Expansion' is data generated from my own cultures. It comes very close to the Wyeast data.

I'd like to point out a few interesting things. 1st, you get more expansion if you start at a lower conc. than at higher. For example, if you made a 1L starter with 100 billion cells, that'd be 100e6/ml, and you could expect the cells to expand 2 fold for a final # of 200 billion. If you made the same 1L starter with only 10 billion cells, i.e. 10e6/ml, you can expect a 7 fold expansion for a final # of 70 billion. This is definitely something to keep in mind when planning your step-ups.

My data pretty much confirms the Wyeast data, except I've been getting better expansion at low concentrations, and worse expansions at high concentrations. The Wyeast data also predicts cultures higher than 200e6/ml to roughly double, whereas I am unable to get hardly any expansion above that concentration, which is why I cut the graph off at that point. I'm pretty sure the Wyeast Pitch Rate Calculator is based on data from cultures with starting concentrations near the middle of the graph, and that the numbers it gives you for higher and lower concentrations are extrapolations, which are not accurate. I should also remind those who haven't been following along that I start all my cultures by oxygenating with pure oxygen and a diffusing stone, and then use a stirplate along with an air pump to provide continuous aeration.
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