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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Growing big starter
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Growing big starter

I am just starting to get the brewery rolling after a 2 year hiatus. I am almost out of all the beer I made 2 years previously.

I usually brew big beers in 10-12 gallon batches. Even for smaller beers in batches this size I need a significant starter. Having just watched this video http://billybrew.com/stepping-up-a-yeast-starter

I have a better understanding to the process needed to get the yeast count right. Before I just used either a 2000 ml flask on my stir plate or a gallon jug (which does not work as well) to create a larger pitch quantity.

Billy's tutorial tells how to bring the yeast cell count up to required levels with limited flask sizes. This often requires multiple step ups and decantings and repitching with diminishing returns. So I am thinking of alternate ways of accomplishing growing large quantities of yeast colonies. Start with a one gallon container of starter. Pitch the yeast vial on it and place on the stir plate. After the starter krausens, chill, decant and split half of the slurry into a second gallon starter jug, keeping half in the original. Top off both jugs to reach 1 gallon in each and let it multiply. So using the chart from the tutorial and extrapolating I can go from 1 billion yeast cells to 7 B in 2 steps.

I am looking for anyfeedback on my proposed method.

I only have one stirplate but two magnets should I alternate between the two vessels or just stirplate one and hand agitate the other?

Any idea where to get a cheap 1 gallon or larger starter vessel? The apple juice jug I have has a curved bottom making the magnet sometimes fly away from the stirring mechanism.

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Old 01-05-2013, 01:38 AM   #2
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Did you mean 100 billion to 700 billion? A vial of yeast leaves the factory with 100 billion cells in it.

I have tried a gallon jug of organic apple juice I thought would work but it throws the bar. The gallon jug of carlo rossi wine does work, and I've been using it for over a year. I think it's $12 for the jug and wine.

You're right that you aren't going to get anywhere with that 2,000mL flask. A gallon jug or even a 5,000ml flask would be nice. I would look into investing in a 5,000 if you can afford it, it is easier and more convenient and you could get into yeast harvesting.

As far as yeast levels, I'm not sure how big you mean by big, but an 11 gallon batch of 1.080 needs 600 billion cells. You can get that with one vessel and 2 steps. Assuming you have yeast that is a few weeks old when you start, you'll go with 1.5 liters in the first step, chill, decant, then go with 3 liters in the 2nd step. You'll have about 630 billion cells.

Do 5.2 ounces of DME in the 1.5 liter step and 10.4 ounces in the 3 liter step.

You can figure out all your steps at yeastcalc.com. My rule of thumb is growth rate under 3.

*Also, pick up a vial of foam stopper and put a drop in your starter wort when it starts boiling. You'll be able to get your work right up to the neck of the wine jug without blowoff.

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Old 01-05-2013, 03:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theveganbrewer
You're right that you aren't going to get anywhere with that 2,000mL flask. A gallon jug or even a 5,000ml flask would be nice. I would look into investing in a 5,000 if you can afford it, it is easier and more convenient and you could get into yeast harvesting.
I second this, plus the 5000ml looks awesome sitting around the house.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:24 AM   #4
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I second this, plus the 5000ml looks awesome sitting around the house.
Currently not working so funds are for grain only, but I did see the 5000 ml flask at the lhbs for $40. They also had a massive Pyrex growler that looked like it could work.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:31 AM   #5
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The 12 dollar wine jug is great. I use it 90% of the time I do starters. The wine, not so great, but I feel like I get at least 5 dollars worth of wine value.

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Old 01-05-2013, 05:46 AM   #6
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No stir plate here, but for the moderately high gravity lagers I've been doing (1.070-1.080), I've been doing roughly 6L starters split between a pair of one gallon jugs. While a stir plate would give better reproduction rates, this has been adequate (based on the yeast calculator calculations and the rapid fermentation starts I've seen).

Given a single stir plate, my inclination would be to put one vessel on the stir-plate full time and hand-agitate the other. With this, you know that at least the one vessel got the full benefit of the stir plate. I'm not sure how effective intermittent stir plating would be.

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Old 01-05-2013, 05:46 AM   #7
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Rebel Brewer has a good price on 5L flasks....but I think I'll check out the Carlo Rossi option and toss the wine

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Old 01-05-2013, 05:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post
No stir plate here, but for the moderately high gravity lagers I've been doing (1.070-1.080), I've been doing roughly 6L starters split between a pair of one gallon jugs. While a stir plate would give better reproduction rates, this has been adequate (based on the yeast calculator calculations and the rapid fermentation starts I've seen).

Given a single stir plate, my inclination would be to put one vessel on the stir-plate full time and hand-agitate the other. With this, you know that at least the one vessel got the full benefit of the stir plate. I'm not sure how effective intermittent stir plating would be.
I was thinking of getting my wife one of those vibrating foot massagers so I could steal it and use it as a shaker table when I'm doing multiple starter....
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cgreen042389 View Post
I second this, plus the 5000ml looks awesome sitting around the house.
Since my 2000 ml erlenmeyer volcanoed over. I went in to buy the 5000ml and got this instead, just in case I need to make a 10000ml starter someday. It is pyrex like the erlenmeyer so it could be used in the same way as the an erlenmeyer.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photopilot View Post
Since my 2000 ml erlenmeyer volcanoed over. I went in to buy the 5000ml and got this instead, just in case I need to make a 10000ml starter someday. It is pyrex like the erlenmeyer so it could be used in the same way as the an erlenmeyer.
Nice! What is it called, its not a flask, is it a wine jug? It was at the homebrew shop?
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