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Old 06-16-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
Geordan
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Default Losing more yeast than we think when decanting a starter

Every time I go to decant my starters, I can't help but think of how much of the "balance" of my grown up yeast is still trapped in suspension -- after all, unless the solution itself is more or less clear (like in washed yeast in mason jars kept in the fridge), doesn't that insinuate there's a significant balance of yeast still suspended in solution? I'm looking at a starter right now, and it only appears that I've got about 100ml of yeast cake on the bottom... shouldn't that look like more for 2.5b cells?

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Old 06-16-2012, 01:25 AM   #2
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I don't know what you mean by "balance" of the yeast..

They are microorganisms. And I don't think anyone could eye-out the amount of cells in billions.. Have you ever tasted the starter beer that you decant out? When you do, you'll understand why people don't want that in their beer. I'm sure some is still in solution, but the amount is insignificant compared to the yeast cake

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Old 06-16-2012, 01:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geordan
Every time I go to decant my starters, I can't help but think of how much of the "balance" of my grown up yeast is still trapped in suspension -- after all, unless the solution itself is more or less clear (like in washed yeast in mason jars kept in the fridge), doesn't that insinuate there's a significant balance of yeast still suspended in solution? I'm looking at a starter right now, and it only appears that I've got about 100ml of yeast cake on the bottom... shouldn't that look like more for 2.5b cells?
If it concerns you then cold crash longer so all the yeast drop out,

I use a flask and cold crash for 24 hours and when I decant I go til I see yeast moving and then use whatever is left to make the slurry to pitch
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:12 AM   #4
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I like to trick myself into thinking I am playing god, and am helping along natural selection by eliminating some of the less floculating organisms. That and I am usually too lazy to cold crash...







Actually come to think of it I am usually too lazy to decant at all.

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Old 06-16-2012, 03:11 PM   #5
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I'd avoid forcing dormancy. If you want all of your yeast, let it ferment out in the starter for three or four days before chilling it to drop. "Crashing" is not something yeast like to do. Forcing them to go dormant before they finish taking up their reserves will make for a stressful start in the new wort.
If you want to see how much you're losing, just decant into another vessel and cold crash that. Assuming a small start (1-2L) I'd prefer to lose the starter beer's yeast over missing the window on the end of lag phase (~15-22 hours.) For lagers or big ales when I'm up to a 5L starter I definitely let that last step-up go for a few days then refrigerate. On brewday I let it warm, decant and add about 1L fresh, chilled, aerated wort, pitch a couple of hours later. Seems to work well.

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