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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Frozen yeast starter.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:08 AM   #1
kmat123
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Default Frozen yeast starter.

So I brewed an Oktoberfest today (I know better late than never right?) and tossed my fermenter in my fermentation chamber set to 50 degrees. I was only able to cool the wort to 75 degrees with my IC because it was hot in Bend today and figured I'd let the freezer do the rest of the work. Well my yeast starter had also been in the fermentation chamber and being a much smaller volume was frozen when I came back home tonight to pitch. I made a 3.5L starter for this batch using a Wyeast Munich Lager smack pack. The starter wasn't completely frozen but very slushy. Do you think I should allow the starter to thaw, pitch it and see what happens, or should I build a new starter? Thanks!

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Old 07-23-2012, 04:47 PM   #2
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For what it's worth, I had something very similar happen on my last brew. Threw the smack pack in the fridge the day prior and brewed the next day; when I went to get it out of the fridge and "smack" it...well I couldn't find the nutrient pouch because of the slushy ice crystal mix that was inside the pack. I ended up breaking the nutrient pack, and let it sit on my counter for 3 hours. I finished brewing, chilling, and was ready to pitch. I figured I'd just go with the smack pack and repitch later if it didn't take off.

So, I didn't let it start in time (I think it recommends 12 hours? I had 3 hours, and starting from ~32F), pitched at about 78F; and fermented at 72F. Fermentation was happily bubbling away by the next morning and ran for three days. Haven't bottled yet, as it's now sitting on some toasted coconut flakes to become a coconut brown ale; but it certainly smelled fine when I threw in the coconut.

My experience was, thaw, pitch, hope. It worked, but if you're looking for the most possible consistency in the brewing...there is a case to be made in starting from known good yeast. Just a thought, either way I hope it turns out!

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Old 07-23-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
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Well, considering ice will destroy the cell walls of yeast, I can't say that I would pitch that into my beer. You won't be close to as viable as you originally had. Yes, you'll probably have some yeasties left, but if you're making a lager, you'll need all the yeasties you can get.

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Old 07-24-2012, 04:30 AM   #4
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Well I decided to pitch it an hope for the best. If it doesn't start fermenting in a few days I'll build up a new yeast starter and repitch.

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Old 07-25-2012, 03:16 AM   #5
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Update: I woke up this morning and the fermenter was happily bubbling away. We will see how it goes...

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Old 07-27-2012, 03:36 PM   #6
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I found the same thing, I'm still letting it go so no post-gravity taste test just yet. Fingers crossed that it turns out for you. I'll let you know when mine comes out so you'll have something to dread or hope for as the case may be.

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #7
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Just one last update, beer has been bottled for a couple of weeks and came out exactly like I wanted it. Good brown ale that sat on coconut for two weeks; great flavors. Hope yours comes out to your liking too!

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