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Old 12-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Old Wyeast Activator / Viability

So my supplier was nice enough to send me an Activator that was 6 months minus 1 day, on ordering day. So basically, 11$ for a yeast that will be almost 8 months when I'll use it. Anyways, there are my questions.

That is going to be a lager, and I need 400 billion cells from that smack pack.
According to yeast calc (www.yeastcalc.com), a 8 months yeast has a viability rate of 10%, wich means I would need I would be impossible to reach 400 billion in a simple starter. To accomodate my 2L erlen, I would need to proceed a 3 step starter like this:

1st - 1.4L
2nd- 1.4L
3rd - 1.25L

So 1st question: Could I rely on that 10% rate of viability or it could be more?

2nd question: How should I proceed for the stepped starter? The activator will take few days to inflate (1 week? room temp? fridge?) then 24h per starter, 24h of decant each time?

3rd question: Instead of going three times in the boiling/chilling wort thing, could I make a big batch of wort and bottle it in sanitize bottle, fridge it, and take it off when I need it?

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:03 PM   #2
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Do the three steps. You don't need to wait for it to swell just make the first step and get it on the stirplate. When thst first one finishes cold crash it until it settles and then decant for the second step. Rinse and repeat.

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Old 12-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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Do the three steps. You don't need to wait for it to swell just make the first step and get it on the stirplate. When thst first one finishes cold crash it until it settles and then decant for the second step. Rinse and repeat.
I should count, what, a week before brew day?

When I do starter, I boil / chill my wort directly in the erlenmeyer, wich works really great, but since I have only one, I won't be able to do it with step 2 and 3. Is my bottled wort a not-stupid idea?
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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I should count, what, a week before brew day?

When I do starter, I boil / chill my wort directly in the erlenmeyer, wich works really great, but since I have only one, I won't be able to do it with step 2 and 3. Is my bottled wort a not-stupid idea?
Depending on the age, plan on 6+ days. A lot depends on how flocculant the strain is, as well as how long it takes to get going in the first step. I typically plan a full week with ale yeasts.

I cook the starter in a stainless pot, chill it in the sink, then pour into my flask. Works great for all steps (no risk of a foam-over from the flask burning you).

I simply make the starters per each step while the slurry in the flask warms up (after decanting). IMO, this helps the yeast get ready for the next round of starter wort. If you have cold starter wort (fridge) you'll need to get that to warm up before the yeast takes off. Much longer to get 1-2L up to the temp where the yeast will get going than chill down more starter wort and get the yeast cake up towards that temp. IMO, trying to save a few minutes making a starter will actually have you spend more time getting things going/ready.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:24 PM   #5
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The way I would do it is a little unconventional, but I'll put out there.

1) the viability is likely much better than 10%, although I've done cell counts, but not on yeast that old. There is more to yeast health than viability, and that's what I would worry about. The stir plate will help the yeast regenerate the sterols that have been depleted during storage, so that's good. I would wader that the viability is between 25 and 50%.

2) It will take a while for the first step to get going. Maybe even three or four days. I wouldn't do a starter in the traditional sense, but use about 1-2 litters of actual wort on a stir plate and store the rest of the wort as in the no-chill method.

3) if you dont chill and decant, but just step it up you will save some time, but your cell count is going to be all by the numbers. Perhaps the following steps:

1) 1-2 liters of your wort with the yeast on a stir plate at ambient for 3 days to replace depleted sterols and increase cell count
2) Put in the fermenter, at lagering temperatures, and top off with wort to 1 gallon. wait 48 hours
3) Add remainder of wort.

(If you use the standard 1.036 wort for starters then you will want to double the volumes of the first two and decant before adding to the fermenter)

If you use sanitized sealable containers you should be fine, but if you are worried, give the wort a smell before you add it. If it doesn't smell sweet then pasteurize it by bringing it up to a boil and chill.

Details about the no starter method:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...-starters.html

The post about viability of yeast stored in the fridge is coming on 12/27, but in short, there is no noticeable change in viability over the course of one month. The calculators are very conservative.

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Depending on the age, plan on 6+ days. A lot depends on how flocculant the strain is, as well as how long it takes to get going in the first step. I typically plan a full week with ale yeasts.

I cook the starter in a stainless pot, chill it in the sink, then pour into my flask. Works great for all steps (no risk of a foam-over from the flask burning you).

I simply make the starters per each step while the slurry in the flask warms up (after decanting). IMO, this helps the yeast get ready for the next round of starter wort. If you have cold starter wort (fridge) you'll need to get that to warm up before the yeast takes off. Much longer to get 1-2L up to the temp where the yeast will get going than chill down more starter wort and get the yeast cake up towards that temp. IMO, trying to save a few minutes making a starter will actually have you spend more time getting things going/ready.
I don't know what is worst... cleaning/sanitzing bottles (let say 4 x 750 ml) once or washing, sanitizing, boil, chill, pour from a big pot into a small flask, 3 times. I think I'll give it a try. If I decant the yeast at cold temp, I just have to get out both wort and starter from the fridge at the same time. Anyways... if it's a bad idea, I'll find it, and I'll know for sure after

Thanks for the reply, again!

Last question: does cold crashing (2 or 3 times) can affect or stress the yeast in some way.. ?
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
The way I would do it is a little unconventional, but I'll put out there.

1) the viability is likely much better than 10%, although I've done cell counts, but not on yeast that old. There is more to yeast health than viability, and that's what I would worry about. The stir plate will help the yeast regenerate the sterols that have been depleted during storage, so that's good. I would wader that the viability is between 25 and 50%.

2) It will take a while for the first step to get going. Maybe even three or four days. I wouldn't do a starter in the traditional sense, but use about 1-2 litters of actual wort on a stir plate and store the rest of the wort as in the no-chill method.

3) if you dont chill and decant, but just step it up you will save some time, but your cell count is going to be all by the numbers. Perhaps the following steps:

1) 1-2 liters of your wort with the yeast on a stir plate at ambient for 3 days to replace depleted sterols and increase cell count
2) Put in the fermenter, at lagering temperatures, and top off with wort to 1 gallon. wait 48 hours
3) Add remainder of wort.

(If you use the standard 1.036 wort for starters then you will want to double the volumes of the first two and decant before adding to the fermenter)

If you use sanitized sealable containers you should be fine, but if you are worried, give the wort a smell before you add it. If it doesn't smell sweet then pasteurize it by bringing it up to a boil and chill.

Details about the no starter method:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...-starters.html

The post about viability of yeast stored in the fridge is coming on 12/27, but in short, there is no noticeable change in viability over the course of one month. The calculators are very conservative.
I'm not buying this method. Not because I don't think it works, but because there are too many downsides, at least for me.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiroux View Post
I don't know what is worst... cleaning/sanitzing bottles (let say 4 x 750 ml) once or washing, sanitizing, boil, chill, pour from a big pot into a small flask, 3 times. I think I'll give it a try. If I decant the yeast at cold temp, I just have to get out both wort and starter from the fridge at the same time. Anyways... if it's a bad idea, I'll find it, and I'll know for sure after

Thanks for the reply, again!

Last question: does cold crashing (2 or 3 times) can affect or stress the yeast in some way.. ?
At normal fridge temps it should be fine. As long as you're not freezing your lettuce with the settings, you should be fine. I've done 2 and 3 step starters with cold crashing in the fridge without issue.

BTW, just get a good sized funnel. You know, like the ones the LHBS/HBS sells for pouring beer into a carboy. Works really well for pouring the starter wort into the flask. I pour the starter wort into the flask with the flask (and funnel in it) sitting in the kitchen sink. I also cover the funnel opening with a Star San soaked paper towel until I'm ready to pour, and then before I put the foam stopper in the opening.

Oh yeah, do NOT use an airlock on the flask. You want a gas exchange, not just to vent the CO2 out.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
At normal fridge temps it should be fine. As long as you're not freezing your lettuce with the settings, you should be fine. I've done 2 and 3 step starters with cold crashing in the fridge without issue.

BTW, just get a good sized funnel. You know, like the ones the LHBS/HBS sells for pouring beer into a carboy. Works really well for pouring the starter wort into the flask. I pour the starter wort into the flask with the flask (and funnel in it) sitting in the kitchen sink. I also cover the funnel opening with a Star San soaked paper towel until I'm ready to pour, and then before I put the foam stopper in the opening.

Oh yeah, do NOT use an airlock on the flask. You want a gas exchange, not just to vent the CO2 out.
Ahahah, thanks! I was kind of half-joking. I do have a f-ing large funnel. And yhea, I know about the no-airlock. The goal is to oxygenate so.. I figured out. But thanks to mention it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:34 AM   #10
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I'd do a .5L,1L,1.75L

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