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Old 11-25-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
blakelyc
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Default Plastic flasks for starters?

Hi folks:

I was just browsing Fischer Scientific, and I noticed that 2000ml polycarbonate flasks can be had for $80/pack of 4. I have already broken 1 flask so the polycarbonate is interesting to me.

The downside is that you cant expose them to direct heat like on a stovetop. Assuming that I sanitize these things like anything else with starsan, is the heating step really necessary for starter preparation? Have any of you done this?

-Blake

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Old 11-25-2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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Since it's such an important step, I wouldn't risk unsanitized starter wort. If you have a pressure cooker and can make sterile wort, then you could just use starsan on the poly flasks.

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Old 11-25-2012, 09:05 PM   #3
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There are plastic flasks out there that you can autoclave/pressure cook. I remember seeing some on homebrewfinds a few months back. http://www.calpaclab.com/1-gal-Mason...-109160000.htm are similar, not too cheap though.

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:02 AM   #4
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I would be worried about longer term survivorship of the plastic flasks. Much like plastic fermenters, i worry about them scratching and harboring bacteria, though im not sure of durability of what you are wanting. I personally do starters in old growlers or in 2800 ml flasks. While the flasks i use are supposed to be lab grade and heatable, i have broke one With heat. Now i do my starters in a 3 gallon pot and cool it in sink, much like brewing extract.
I think for the $ part, that seems like a hefty price to pay. If your not using stir plates, a growler is easiest.

My 2 cents

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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I have a borasilicate 2L flask and have never used it to heat wort directly. I use a saucepan to boil the wort, cool to pitching temps, pitch and then pour into the sanitized flask. I sanitize the flask with a squirt of starsan. When I am through with the flask, I store it with a squirt of starsan in the bottom and a foil cap to keep out dust. When I'm ready to make a new batch, I pull it out, dump the month old starsan and apply fresh to both the flask and the foil cap.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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1/2 or 1 gallon pickle jars work great.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakelyc View Post
Hi folks:

I was just browsing Fischer Scientific, and I noticed that 2000ml polycarbonate flasks can be had for $80/pack of 4. I have already broken 1 flask so the polycarbonate is interesting to me.

The downside is that you cant expose them to direct heat like on a stovetop. Assuming that I sanitize these things like anything else with starsan, is the heating step really necessary for starter preparation? Have any of you done this?

-Blake
I'm curious as to your process for making starters. How would you make a starter without heat, and why do you feel the need to heat only in the flask? I make mine with DME, so heat is required to dissolve the extract, and I boil it in a pot on the stove, cool in a small ice bath in the sink, then pour into my flask.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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I suppose there's no reason why one couldn't boil in the microwave in your plastic labware. I've heard of steam sanitizing methods in the microwave but can't find the direct link right now, though products exist to sterilize baby bottles this way.
In backpacking 60s of rolling boil(and the pre/post heat time period) is enough to kill everything that would harm a person, so assuming you start with potable water and boil it in the microwave for the same amount of time I'd consider it sterile.
I use this exact process for my priming sugar and have yet to encounter an infection. Perhaps I'm just lucky.

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Old 11-27-2012, 12:27 AM   #9
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I follow pretty much the process demonstrated by Dawson on an old episode of brewingtv in which he heats directly in the flask. That was the first example I saw and it has just become habit. I have tried with various jars but many of them have a slightly domed bottom that made it difficult to keep the stir bar going. That may just be an artifact of the magnets that I am using?

Btw, leithoa, I also do my priming sugar solution in the microwave with zero issues encountered.

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Old 11-27-2012, 12:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by blakelyc View Post
I follow pretty much the process demonstrated by Dawson on an old episode of brewingtv in which he heats directly in the flask. That was the first example I saw and it has just become habit. I have tried with various jars but many of them have a slightly domed bottom that made it difficult to keep the stir bar going. That may just be an artifact of the magnets that I am using?

Btw, leithoa, I also do my priming sugar solution in the microwave with zero issues encountered.
At $20 per flask, and the requirement to buy four of them, I'd just stick with the glass ones, and not heat directly in the flask. For under $30 you can get a glass one off Amazon.
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