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Old 06-06-2011, 09:09 PM   #1
hiphops
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Default how do i know my starter is ready?

I'm brewing with my first starter. My wort is ready and has been siting in the airlocked carboy for about 6 hours now. My starter has been at it for about 20 hrs. There airlock activity in the starter, some slurry at the bottom and just a bit of krauesen.

Is this yeast ready for pitching?

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:13 PM   #2
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This post of mine should help.

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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
What do you mean by "start?" What activity are you believing is an indicator that a starter has or hasn't started.? I've never had a starter not start. Modern yeast just doesn't NOT WORK these days, contrary to what most new brewers may believe. If yeast can survive 40 million years preserved in amber and a beer can be brewed out of it, then why do you believe your MODERN yeast isn't doing it's job?

Most of the time the person is looking at the wrong "signs of fermentation." And ignoring what is right in front of them.

Activity in a starter really only means one thing and one thing only.

It doesn't matter one blip in your fermenter or your starter flask if the airlock bubbles or not (if you are using an airlock and not tinfoil if you are using tinfoil, you aren't getting bibbling anyway,) or if you see a krauzen. In fact starter fermentation are some of the fastest or slowest but most importantly, the most boring fermentations out there. Usually it's done withing a few hours of yeast pitch...usually overnight when we are sleeping, and the starter looks like nothing ever happened...except for the little band at the bottom. Or it can take awhile...but either way there's often no "activity" whatsoever....

I usually run my stirplate for the first 24 hours, then shut it down, if you are spinning your starter it is really hard to get a krausen to form anyway, since it's all spinning, and there's often a head of foam on it from the movement.


All that really matters is that creamy band o yeast at the bottom.





This is a chilled sample so it's flocculated, but even with an unchilled sample you should see a band of yeast at the bottom. Here's an unchilled version



Same thing, a band.

As it is I've only ever seen two or three krausens actually on my starter (one blew off a bunch of krausen and knocked the tinfoil off the flask,) and the evidence of one on the flask at the "waterline" once. But I've never not had a starter take off.

Look for the yeast at the bottom, don't worry what it looks like on top.

If you have yeast on the bottom....that's all you really need.

If it looks anything like that, your are ready to either feed it again, or use it.

And....starters were made for years before people started using stirplates, so that's not a determing factor in if a starter works or not.
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:16 PM   #3
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It seems to me if you're wort is ready, you should dump the starter in regardless if its reached high krausen or not. I generally do the chill and decant method, but in your case, I'd dump the whole thing in now.

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:19 PM   #4
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I've probably only caught and pitched a starter at high krausen 3 times. Most of the time the krausen has come and gone by the time I'm ready to pitch. If you are lucky enough to catch them at high krausen at pitching time that's great, but not necessary.

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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Not to hijack, but not seen this discussed anywhere.

Logically thinking, it would seem that if there is enough O2 and nutrients, yeast will propagate exponentially until the environment becomes less than optimal.

So, with that line of (clearly incorrect) thinking, it would seem that if you pitched 1 billion yeast cells, that they would propagate to an optimal number in slightly more time than if you pitched 5 billion cells.

So, as I know that somewhere my "logical thoughts" are not correct, can someone please explain this to me.

This comes after underpitching a HG stout and only fermenting down to 1.03.

Thanks

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Old 06-06-2011, 11:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiphops View Post
I'm brewing with my first starter. My wort is ready and has been siting in the airlocked carboy for about 6 hours now. My starter has been at it for about 20 hrs. There airlock activity in the starter, some slurry at the bottom and just a bit of krauesen.

Is this yeast ready for pitching?
One thing I read that you may want to look into, you don't want to use an airlock in your starter. Unlike fermenting beer, you want a supply of oxygen in your starter. I don't pretend to understand the science behind it, but it seems to be the concensus for starters.

Also, I just did a starter myself and posted a video today on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yea...-video-249831/

Fermentation started and finished in less than a day.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:30 AM   #7
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Pitch that starter man! 20 hours is good enough. As long as you are pitching the entire thing then pitch now. If you are waiting to let it ferment out, then you should have started the yeast starter two days from brew day, giving it 24 hours to build, then chill overnight, decant and pitch just the slurry.

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:22 AM   #8
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This was very helpful. Boiling my 2L flask as we speak, sterilized my foam stopper in a microwave bag. Will let cool overnight and pitch the yeast tomorrow. This will be my first 2 stage starter for brewing on Friday. Brewing a Burton Ale w/OG of 1080. Need lots of yeasties.

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Old 06-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #9
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The growth phase in a typical starter is done within 18 hours, that's really what the starter is for, to grow the yeast to the proper numbers. If you're pitching the whole starter then go for it!

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