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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Large yeast starter and timing for decanting
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:13 AM   #1
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Default Large yeast starter and timing for decanting

Finally fed up with my small flask (500 ml) I bought a 2l flask that I will use for the starter on my next batch. I am brewing on a Saturday and my plan is to make a 1.5l starter ahead of time. I am going to be pitching a single vial of white labs yeast into 1.5l of starter wort and using a stir plate. That being said, I have some questions:

1. I'd like to cold crash the starter so that I can pour off the starter beer. Is taking the beer off the stir plate Friday night after work, refrigerating overnight, then pulling it out of the fridge Saturday morning before I brew going to give me enough lead time to drop most of the yeast out of suspension? (I'll be using the white labs american hefe if my LHBS has it. Since it's an American wheat/rye, I will use Calif ale if I cannot get the American hefe)

2. If cold crashing Friday is my goal, when should I make the starter and pitch the vial for optimum yeast growth? Is Monday too early? Is Wednesday too late?

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:26 AM   #2
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There is no too early, only too late.
12 hours in the fridge should be fine, but any time up to 2 weeks ahead will be fine.

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:38 AM   #3
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I usually make my starter Wednesday evening and put it in the fridge Friday evening.
Take it out Saturday morning, decant, and let it warm up before pitching.

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:39 AM   #4
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Getting hefe strains to floccate is hard (at least for me). I'd be sure to use the lightest DME for the starter you can find, and cold crash as long as possible. In the same vein, I'd start your starter as soon as possible to maximize your cold crashing time. If you're using WLP001 Wednesday is fine for a Saturday brew day, that's what I usually do with that one myself.

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Old 08-09-2010, 04:47 AM   #5
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i find that to get a good decant, you need at least 2 days of good cold crashing. it totally depends on the yeast strain, but that has been my experience. otherwise, i can only get about half the starter wort off before i'm pouring out good yeast.

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Old 08-10-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livErD69 View Post
Getting hefe strains to floccate is hard (at least for me). I'd be sure to use the lightest DME for the starter you can find, and cold crash as long as possible. In the same vein, I'd start your starter as soon as possible to maximize your cold crashing time. If you're using WLP001 Wednesday is fine for a Saturday brew day, that's what I usually do with that one myself.
Wound up with the hefe yeast and will be making the starter tonight. Would Thursday night be too soon to take it off the stir plate and cold crash for a saturday brew day? Will 48 hours give it enough time to grow to a reasonable level before the cold crash?
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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What's the OG of your beer going to be? As long as it's not over 1.070ish I'd think 48 hours is plenty on a stir plate.

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Old 08-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winvarin View Post
Wound up with the hefe yeast and will be making the starter tonight. Would Thursday night be too soon to take it off the stir plate and cold crash for a saturday brew day? Will 48 hours give it enough time to grow to a reasonable level before the cold crash?
Yes, 48 hours is more than enough time on the stir plate unless the yeast doesnt get started right away.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:35 PM   #9
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I used the WLP 320 and made a 1.5l starter last night. Actually, my flask has markings at 1200 and 1600 ml so I think my final volume after boiling the starter wort is closer to 1300 ml.

I put it on the stir plate around 11 last night. When I checked on it this morning (6:45 am) the stir plate was whirling away and the wort was murky as expected. But the airlock was flat and there were no bubbles on the surface of the starter. I have a lot of headspace in this 2l flask but I expected to at least see something.

The best by date on the vial is November 2010. I let it warm to room temp for about 3 hours before I pitched it into a starter at 70F.

Should I actually see active fermentation in a starter this size? I can't judge by the trub on the bottom since there is none (wlp320 is a low flocctuator of course).

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Old 08-11-2010, 08:46 PM   #10
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Putting an airlock on a stirred starter is counter-productive. The stir plate does two things: keeps the yeast in suspension and continually oxygenates the wort, which encourages healthier and faster reproduction. Given that your yeast is already a low flocculator (i.e., #1 isn't a concern for you), it's almost pointless to be using the stir plate unless you have an oxygen-permeable cap on it. A loose foil cap or an upside-down beaker with spacers (as described in http://www.primetab.com/yeaststarter.html ) is going to give better results than an airlock.

To address your question more directly, I've had starters with no visible krausen and I've had starters go absolutely crazy (harvested yeast from Delirium Tremens made 3+ inches of krausen in my 2L Erlenmeyer flask!). The gravity will tell you what's going on...

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