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Old 12-02-2009, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default How large of a flask should I get for a yeast starter?

I want to start making starters but I need to get the flask. How large of a flask should I get? Is 1L big enough or should I definitely get a 2L flask?
My beers are usually not too big, I'd say typically between 1.050 and 1.080.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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I'd get at the very least a 2L flask.

I regularly make 2 liter starters for 6 gallon batches, using two half-gallon growlers.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:07 PM   #3
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i'd also recommend growlers for starters.

why spend money on a flask when you can get a 1/2 gallon glass container full of beer for a lot cheaper? granted, you can't boil in a growler....

otherwise, i'd go at least 2 liters. i bought a 1 liter and wish I bought a 3. but then my 1L broke and I haven't missed it since I started using growlers.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:19 PM   #4
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1L is too small. 2L is a good size for most beers. I end up using 1 gal jugs or growlers for high gravity beers, though. They aren't as convenient as the Pyrex Ehrlenmeyer flasks, though, as someone previously mentioned.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. The only reason I don't like the idea of using a growler is because you can't see the yeast activity through the brown glass. Maybe that doesn't matter? For those of you that use growlers do you just wait until you see bubbling through the airlock?

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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I use 1L flasks because they were half the price of 2L flasks at the time I bought them and I'm a cheap bastard.

Pitching 600-800mL of liquid, I still notice a huge decrease in lag time over just dumping a vial, so I'm not that fussed about it. Someday I'll probably step up to a 2L flask but it's one of those "when it's convenient" things.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
bubbling through the airlock?
You don't want to use an airlock. A sanitized piece of aluminum foil is easier, cheaper, and allows O2 to enter the flask.

And def get at least 2L. 1L is fine if you're doing small 5-6g batches, but if you ever want to do bigger batches/beers and/or lagers...you'll be glad you went bigger.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beavdowg View Post
Thanks for the responses. The only reason I don't like the idea of using a growler is because you can't see the yeast activity through the brown glass. Maybe that doesn't matter? For those of you that use growlers do you just wait until you see bubbling through the airlock?

thanks
Don't use an airlock. Just put tin foil over the top of the growler/jug/flask. You want to let out the CO2 and let in the O2.

And yes, the brown glass is a pain, but you can usually see krausen if you hold a light behind it. Glass jugs are more convenient from that perspective (I like the thick-walled cider jugs best). Alternatively, you can always pull a sample and taste for sweetness (i.e. lack of fermentation) or check its gravity.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:26 PM   #9
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i don't use an airlock. i use a piece of tin foil. i might grab a few foam stoppers next time i'm at the LBS and try those out.

i usually just make my starter 24-36 hours ahead of time. night before brew day i put it in the fridge, then morning of brew day I take it out of the fridge. then I decant, add a bit of fresh wort right before pitching, swirl it around and dump it in.

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:38 PM   #10
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Do we really get O2 in a container that has actively fermenting beer inside? It's giving off CO2 and there is a positive pressure...i.e. gas is flowing out, not in. And it's not mixing at the mouth of the container and somehow getting in that way either (in my estimation, I can be convinced otherwise).

Just look at what the stir-plate manufacturers say. They say we're not using a stir plate to get O2 in the solution, just to keep the yeast in suspension and drive off CO2.

I know the popular opinion is foil over airlock in a starter but I just don't think the rationale for doing so makes sense. I really don't think it makes much difference, I don't think O2 isn't getting in either way.

EDIT: IMO, 1L flask is too small even if you use a stirplate. 2L is what I consider minimum size with a stirplate. 1 gal. without.

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