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Old 08-06-2011, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Erlenmeyer starter starter process tips?

Do you guys add DME prior to putting on the stove? I have always done my starter in a pot and moved to gallon jugs - which then are placed on my DIY stirplate. I just picked up a 5L erlenmeyer for lager starters and wondering what the best method is for glass stove heating in one shot. DME is instant caramel over steam so guessing you add prior to boiling as that narrow opening seems would be a mess. Any problems with it sticking to the bottom and caramelizing? Any tips to make it simple and avoid a mess and the resulting wrath of SWMBO?

Not sure how I ended up with two starter's in the title - but thank you thank you for the input!



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Old 08-06-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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When boiling in a flask I warm the water up slightly first, move the flask off the heat, add DME, swirl until fully dissolved, then place it back on the heat. There's no sticking or scorching this way.

Also keep an eye on it during the boil watching for boil overs. It also helps if you boil it lightly instead of super hard.



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Old 08-06-2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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I found it impossible to get the DME in the little neck of the flask without it clumping up. Now, I boil the water and DME in a pot on the stove, cool it in the sink and pour it into the sanitized flask using a funnel. Much easier.

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Old 08-06-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Tip #1: use a funnel for getting your DME into your flask. A kitchen funnel will likely be too narrow. I make a funnel by rolling up a sheet of paper; that lets it be as wide as possible and it extends a good way down into the flask so you minimize the amount of DME that sticks to the side of the flask. Realistically the easiest thing to do is to mix in a separate pot or whatever then pour into your flask, but that's an extra step.

Tip #2: use foam control (I cannot emphasize this enough). Because of the shape of flasks they are incredibly prone to boilovers. Fermcap or whatever (several drops) really help with this, but you still need to keep an eye on things.

Tip #3: don't forget the yeast nutrient!

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Old 08-06-2011, 02:20 PM   #5
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I tried the paper funnel over the hot, near boiling water, and ended up with a mess. Hoping there is some alternative tricks as I was hoping to avoid having to use a pot. I guess boiling water putting the DME in the flask and then adding it to the flask is ok, as that makes clean up on the pot basically drying it off. Any other ideas?

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Old 08-06-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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I also use the paper funnel method, ussually a magazine or piece of news paper.
To mix the dme I've been putting it on the stir plate before boil then move it to the heat when it looks mixed.
I just started using fermcap and am impressed. It really cut down the mess.

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Old 08-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewham View Post
I found it impossible to get the DME in the little neck of the flask without it clumping up. Now, I boil the water and DME in a pot on the stove, cool it in the sink and pour it into the sanitized flask using a funnel. Much easier.
I do it this way ^^^, not because I couldn't get the DME in, but strictly speaking I don't trust cheap Chinese flasks and I would kill myself before my wife did if the flask broke on the new stove. I've done the clean up a stove boil over before and it is not a pretty site.
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Old 08-06-2011, 03:01 PM   #8
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Even with a degree in Biology and a former job as an analytical chemist, I don't trust the flasks the HBS sell. Unless it is Pyrex, or another definite lab glass mfg. I just boil in a pot and pour through a small funnel right after flameout and then chill in the sink. No worries about boilovers either.

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Old 08-06-2011, 03:26 PM   #9
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I pressure cook dme and water and store for future starters. Using the large Mason jars which make 1 liter. Next let the stored starter wort hit room temp and dump the yeast.

Before doing this, I would boil everything in a pot then transfer it over to the flask after it cools. Next dump the yeast and let the stirplate do its thing. Cover with foil.

Many ways to do it.

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Old 08-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makomachine View Post
I tried the paper funnel over the hot, near boiling water, and ended up with a mess.
I put the correct weight of DME in the flask, then add water as per Mr. Malty to get to the correct volume. Put my hand over the top (a big enough bung would work) and shake the hell out of it to mix, then boil on the stove. Yeah, trying to funnel DME over hot water would suck!


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