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Old 04-21-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
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Default First yeast starter...question!

I am going to brew my first batch Monday. I made a stir plate and a yeast starter last night and put it in my fermentation chamber at 70 degrees. I see a very little amount of foam on top and I didn't take a gravity reading. So my question is while using a stir plate, does it nullify most of the foam? I used 2 cups of water and half a cup of light DME.

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That was my in process and then the flask on my stir plate. Does it look normal? Thanks ahead of time for any advice or for just easing my worries (hopefully)!

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Old 04-21-2013, 02:42 PM   #2
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I don't get more than a thin ring or foam on my stir plate. The mixing just keeps the foam down I think. The more you do them the more you will start to notice a difference in the color helping you visually indicate when you are getting close to done. It should start clear and become more milky? in appearance as the yeast reproduce. I always rock it for 24-36 hours just to be sure I'm finishing up.

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Old 04-21-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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I can already see a significant difference in the color and consistency. I am planning to brew tomorrow after lunch so that should be a little over 36 hours. Since I did a small size starter, should that be enough time?

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Old 04-21-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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For sure that should be plenty of time. I would just let it ride until then and then pitch the whole thing in there. If I do bigger yeast starters I like to allow a few days extra time so I can let it ferment out and then toss in the fridge so the yeast will settle out and I can decant off the liquid. But since yours is a smaller starter I would just toss it all in there, no harm.

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Old 04-21-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubrious View Post
So my question is while using a stir plate, does it nullify most of the foam?
Yes, it can keep the foam down. Don't worry. If you pitched a viable pack/vial, you're still growing the cell count in an accelerated fashion.

One thing I notice which confirms the yeast eating the wort sugars is that the speed of the stir bar slightly increases on its own over time as the gravity of the wort drops.

On a video I saw of the yeast lab guy from Wyeast, he suggested 18-24 hours on the plate. He said that going much beyond that w/o stepping it up with fresh wort was simply "beating up the culture".
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:58 AM   #6
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+1, I never get much kraeusen on my starter.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:01 AM   #7
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Ok, thanks for easing my mind. I will just take it off the stir plate and pitch the entire flask tomorrow.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:12 AM   #8
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Stir plate starters definitely have less krausen than ones without. You can get a good thick krausen sometimes, but it depends on the yeast and how fast you spin it. You'll get more krausen with a slower spin. Nomally I'll have just a slight foaminess and once it's done it'll go completely smooth. If you spin pretty hard though, you can whip up froth and there will always be a little foam on top even once it's done. Color is a great indicator. Once it gets lighter and milkier it's pretty much done. I can also see wavy lines in the starter where yeast is trying to settle out, but can't. 24 hours is usually all you need with healthy yeast. Maybe longer with old or harvested yeast. If you made it last night, I would throw it in the frige for a cold crash before you go to bed. Unless you're gonna pitch the whole thing.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:27 AM   #9
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Which would be better? Cold crash or just pitch the whole thing? The whole thing is 2 cups water, 1/2 cup DME, and the yeast vial.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubrious View Post
I can already see a significant difference in the color and consistency. I am planning to brew tomorrow after lunch so that should be a little over 36 hours. Since I did a small size starter, should that be enough time?
According to the folks at Wyeast, and backed up by JZ's yeast book, even a 2L starter is done in 18-24 hours.
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