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Old 06-17-2010, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default Increasing Cell Counts in Starters

I just wanted to share what i have recently learned. I used to make my starters and just leave them sit until they were done. I would add nutrient to the boil of the wort and aerate..then pitch and forget about it.

To experiement, this week i have two big starters going and about 15 times a day I have been taking the airlocks off of the starters and vigoursly shaking and aerating the wort.

If I had to take a guess, I would say, that visually it appears as if I have at least 4 times the yeast as I normally would have if I simply would have left it alone.

I am sure there is oxidation in the wort, so I am sure to dicant and just pitch slurry, but wow does shaking and aerating constantly increase cell count....from what I can see.

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Old 06-17-2010, 04:36 PM   #2
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Yeah, I think that's why people put them on stir plates. If you're like me and don't have one, shake n bake is the way to go. Doing the same thing while culturing commercial yeasts.

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Old 06-17-2010, 04:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ouroboros View Post
Yeah, I think that's why people put them on stir plates. If you're like me and don't have one, shake n bake is the way to go. Doing the same thing while culturing commercial yeasts.
I don't think a stirplate would help oxygenate though, I think that is helping as well.

I think I may have to look at making myself a stirplate however.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Supposedly the stirplate does help with oxygenation by constantly turning the wort over at the surface. It also helps keep more of the yeast in contact with the wort, instead of clumped together.

Shaking accomplishes the same thing, but a stirplate is hands-off.

I also prefer to chill the starter and decant the wort before pitching, but have been known to pitch the whole thing due to time constraints. Never had a problem with oxidation, but I'm not sure I know how to notice it either.

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Old 06-17-2010, 04:50 PM   #5
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Supposedly the stirplate does help with oxygenation by constantly turning the wort over at the surface. It also helps keep more of the yeast in contact with the wort, instead of clumped together.

Shaking accomplishes the same thing, but a stirplate is hands-off.

I also prefer to chill the starter and decant the wort before pitching, but have been known to pitch the whole thing due to time constraints. Never had a problem with oxidation, but I'm not sure I know how to notice it either.
I have noticed oxydiation in a few of my beers, as a sherry like, spicy, unwelcomed flavor.....not related to my starters, but rather me being an idiot.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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I recently made a stir plate and due to technical difficulties, I don't quite have it in production yet. I made a starter on Monday night in my brand new 3000ml erlenmeyer flask using 4 cups of water and a cup of light DME. Added the yeast (wyeast 1968 London ESB for my Lagunitas IPA clone) and have been swirling it every morning and evening. There is a think layer of yeast on the bottom, and when I swirl it it breaks up and spins around the wort. It settles out in several minutes though, so a stir plate would keep all of that in suspension much better which would make a much larger cell count. I am going to pitch another 4 cups water and 1 cup DME into the starter tonight and continue to swirl for my brew day Saturday. That should give me a 2000ml starter with a decent cell count. I plan decant the liquid to get rid of any oxygenation (doubtful it matters), and split the solid yeast into another container for later use. I will pitch the other half right into the chilled wort and let it rip.

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Old 06-17-2010, 05:05 PM   #7
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My understanding is when creating a starter you are not trying to make beer... you are simply trying to generate more yeast cells. To that end, don't worry about oxidation. In fact don't use an actual airlock. You want to keep bugs out but not oxygen. I have used sanitized aluminum foil before, and now use a sanitized foam stopper to allow oxygen to get into the flask.

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Old 06-17-2010, 05:09 PM   #8
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My understanding is when creating a starter you are not trying to make beer... you are simply trying to generate more yeast cells. To that end, don't worry about oxidation. In fact don't use an actual airlock. You want to keep bugs out but not oxygen. I have used sanitized aluminum foil before, and now use a sanitized foam stopper to allow oxygen to get into the flask.
+1 I totally agree

I use an airlock between shakings, but when I am shaking I am violently aerating and shaking the wort, I get a 2-3 inch layer of foam going. The yeast seem to really like it! The pacman starter I have going is getting so thick it is almost like the consistincy of pea soup...so much yeast!
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I have noticed oxydiation in a few of my beers, as a sherry like, spicy, unwelcomed flavor.....not related to my starters, but rather me being an idiot.
That is NOT oxidation. Oxidation is a wet cardboard like taste. Once you get it you will NEVER forget it. It is NOTHING like sherry or spicy.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:35 AM   #10
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That is NOT oxidation. Oxidation is a wet cardboard like taste. Once you get it you will NEVER forget it. It is NOTHING like sherry or spicy.
Oxidation has more than one attribute. The cardboard flavor is unmistakable.....the weird sherry like flavor is more subtle. .... but oxidation none the less.
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