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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Perpetual Starter Using Activator Packs?
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:48 AM   #1
HighGravity
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Default Perpetual Starter Using Activator Packs?

First time using liquid yeast and don't want to mess it up....

My plan is to brew at least 10 five gallon batches of pilsner over the winter using two types of Wyeast 50mL packs: Czech Pils and Pils Urquell. I've made a 1.5 litre starter for each, but only one seems to have taken off and may be ready today for pitching. The other shows the smallest amount of life, it was also the pack that never swelled after smacking. Could someone help me out with the questions below?

1 - Is it possible to delay doing both batches until the slow starter catches up? I missed my free time for brewing and can't brew for another 4-6 days now. Today is the starters day 2, and I am adding another 450 mL of LME wort to the bottles.

2 - I didn't realize that I needed to refridgerate the starter and pour off most of the beer before pitching the slurry into either a new starter or the wort. Could I cheat and use some yeast nutrient and dextrose instead of LME? With the cost of the LME and smack packs I've already spent $23 for these 2 starters and the slow one may never build up.

3 - If the starters are successful, can I keep 1/4 of them when pitching for the fridge, then do a new starter a week early for the next batch and repeat?

Sorry for the long post, there seems to be so many methods of reusing yeast out there but I still don't get it. I'm not using a stir plate, just sanitized 2L pop bottles in the closet that have a hole drilled in the cap, with a rubber seal with a tiny hole that only vents under pressure.

Thanks!

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Old 10-03-2010, 03:53 AM   #2
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1. What was the date on that pathetic package? I've had smack packs that really didn't do much in terms of swelling, but when I pitched them to a starter, they eventually took off.

2. Really, all you need to do is keep the starter in the fridge for about a day or so before you are ready to brew, then warm up to room temp, decant.

3. Sure, you can do another starter off of each one, but I would suggest washing the yeast.

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Old 10-03-2010, 04:01 AM   #3
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The date of Mfg was either June or August, I tossed them bc I though it would easily last 6 months from mfg

So should I keep feeding it in the meantime? Could I use the dextrose and yeast nutienet?

Thanks

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Old 10-03-2010, 04:09 AM   #4
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I wouldn't recommend dextrose in a starter. If you feed the yeast sugar, they will eventually lose the ability to ferment maltose.

Sugar is much easier for the yeast to break down, so they will prefer it over maltose which requires some effort on their part. Feeding your starters sugar will essentially make for lazy yeast that can't ferment your wort.

If you plan to keep building up your starter to use for multiple batches just stick to DME and a little yeast nutrient.

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Old 10-03-2010, 04:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response! DME is $5 for 2 cups here in Canada, so this starter process is starting to look crazy expensive for a high gravity brew. LME is $2.50 for 3 cups, but it still adds up when you need to do a wort of 3 litres that you have to toss out.

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Old 10-04-2010, 05:08 PM   #6
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Are you brewing ag? What I do, since I generally have a high mash efficiency, which often means extra in the boil pot (and still sometimes over my intended gravity), is save what's left over after I fill my primary and freeze it for starter (it usually needs to be diluted). I think I may at some point do a mash/lauter/sparge for the sole purpose of making starter wort, skip the boiling entirely and freeze it for later. I hate the idea of having to buy dme just for starters.

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