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Old 07-25-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
JayMac
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Default Making Large enough Starter to use extra yeast for growth

Hey Guys,

I'm not sure how to prices are down in the States, but up here in Canada we pay about $10 for a vial of liquid yeast. This is a massive cost when considering a 5g batch, this is approximately 1/3 the price (about $15 for 10lbs of grain, about $3-5 for hops).

I just bought myself a 2L Erlenmeyer flask, and I'm planning on making a DIY stir plate (I'm not looking at doing 10g anytime soon, so a 2L should be enough for me).

Anyways, on to my quesiton:

If I make a 2L starter for a normal size batch which only requires 1L, could I decant the wort, split up the yeast into two sanitized prep jars, pitch one, then create a starter with the other half? If so, how many generations would this be good for? I understand splitting up the yeast in the jars will be exposing it to quite a bit of air... but hopefully it can be done at a quick pace.

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Old 07-25-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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I've done pretty much that. Bought a pack or vial, made a ~2L starter, decanted and split the yeast in half or thirds to use in multiple batches. I've kept jars in the fridge for a month or so and had great luck. I make a new starter with each jar to ensure pitch rates are right, but it's a great way to get more than one beer out of one vial/pack of yeast. If you're interested in really saving dough on your yeast, look into washing and reusing yeast from batches of beer. You can get a single package of yeast to go quite a long way.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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I've done pretty much that. Bought a pack or vial, made a ~2L starter, decanted and split the yeast in half or thirds to use in multiple batches. I've kept jars in the fridge for a month or so and had great luck. I make a new starter with each jar to ensure pitch rates are right, but it's a great way to get more than one beer out of one vial/pack of yeast. If you're interested in really saving dough on your yeast, look into washing and reusing yeast from batches of beer. You can get a single package of yeast to go quite a long way.
When you say put them in the fridge, are you talking about JUST the yeast, or did you leave some liquid in there?

I've heard all about washing yeast, but I have a question. When you split up the liquid (after letting the the trub settle out), and let the yeast settle, do you decant, and make a starter with pure yeast (as in just add 3oz of DME and fill to 1L).
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Well, you need to leave a little bit of liquid in with the yeast. WHen I make a starter, I boil the volume of the starter, then cool and pitch yeast slurry after decanting off the bulk of the liquid from the yeast.

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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NordeastBrewer77 View Post
Well, you need to leave a little bit of liquid in with the yeast. WHen I make a starter, I boil the volume of the starter, then cool and pitch yeast slurry after decanting off the bulk of the liquid from the yeast.
Ok cool. So when you make a starter with the second half of the slurry (say you piched the first half to a fermenter), how much DME and water do you add? do you add the normal 6 oz and fill to 2 litres? or do the ratios change?
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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Your plan will work great, its the way I do all my yeast.

I make a larger starter than I need then save what's left over after pitching.
Process:
put extra starter in fridge overnight to get the yeast to settle out.
decant extra wort
boil small mason jar of water (with jar in boiling water)
cool small mason jar of water
add cooled water to the yeast left in the flask
swirl
pour back into jar
seal up an label with date.

Works great!

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Old 07-26-2012, 02:55 PM   #7
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Ok cool. So when you make a starter with the second half of the slurry (say you piched the first half to a fermenter), how much DME and water do you add? do you add the normal 6 oz and fill to 2 litres? or do the ratios change?
When I make a starter, the size is dependent on the batch, I either use MrMalty or BeerSmith's calculator. I make the starter with 1g DME for every 10 ml water, so 100 g DME per litre of starter.
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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NordeastBrewer77 View Post
When I make a starter, the size is dependent on the batch, I either use MrMalty or BeerSmith's calculator. I make the starter with 1g DME for every 10 ml water, so 100 g DME per litre of starter.
Hmm, okay. So say I made a 2L starter with 1 vial, and 6oz of DME. I would put it in the fridge once ready, then decant 80% of the beer once settled, pitch half to my wort and then placed the rest in a sanitized mason jar in the fridge. Then, when required, I could place the second half into the newly sanitized erlenmeyer, add 6oz of DME, fill to 2L, boil, and repeat? Or will this second half of the starter contain too much yeast, which by adding to a 2L starter would cause the amount of yeast pitched to be overboard (possibly causing off-flavours). I'm just wondering if the amount of DME added wouldn't need to be the same 6oz as it was before
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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Hmm, okay. So say I made a 2L starter with 1 vial, and 6oz of DME. I would put it in the fridge once ready, then decant 80% of the beer once settled, pitch half to my wort and then placed the rest in a sanitized mason jar in the fridge. Then, when required, I could place the second half into the newly sanitized erlenmeyer, add 6oz of DME, fill to 2L, boil, and repeat? Or will this second half of the starter contain too much yeast, which by adding to a 2L starter would cause the amount of yeast pitched to be overboard (possibly causing off-flavours). I'm just wondering if the amount of DME added wouldn't need to be the same 6oz as it was before
I wouldn't worry about over pitching with those amounts. If you want to be really sure, spilt the original 2 L, after decanting, into 4 jars and use each of those jars to make starters. Make the starter according to MrMalty or whatever software or calc you prefer.
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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Another route that I have been doing is to freeze vials of yeast.

I start with a new vial/smack pack. I make a starter about 1/2 liter larger than needed for my recipe.

I then take the yeast and mix in 20ml vials: 5ml yeast, 5ml glycerin and 10ml water. I make 4 vials, chill them in the fridge overnight then put in the freezer. I use ice packs in an ice cream bucket with the vials to counteract the defrost cycle.

If you take those 4 samples and stick to 4 generations you can make 256 brews out of one purchase. Some brewers say you can go to 10 generations which would equal 2056 brews from the initial purchase.

I'm guessing that I use about $1 of dme to make a starter. I'm going to start canning wort from my brews to make starters with which will bring down the cost even further.

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