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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Refrigerate my starter or let it sit on the counter?
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:05 PM   #1
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Default Refrigerate my starter or let it sit on the counter?

Tomorrow is brew day. Last night I made a starter with some yeast that I harvested from my last batch, and this morning it was happily chugging away. I was originally planning on sticking it in my refrigerator after work this evening and decanting it tomorrow at pitching time (which will be in the afternoon), but it occurred to me that it might not be necessary to do that, since pitching time isn't that far off, relatively speaking. Or is it? Will my yeast suffer for sitting on the counter for another 24 hours?

Tell me, brewing hive mind! Refrigerate and decant, or let sit?

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:07 PM   #2
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I would let it sit - especially since it will be into fermentation phase. Yeasties don't like dramatic changes in temperature.

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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I leave mine out...If you fridge it, you are cold crashing the yeast and putting it to sleep....which is fine, some folks cold crash their starters, but that's after they've grown all the yeast they're going to . If it's still growing then you don't want to interrupt their work cycle by forcing them to nap.

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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I say it depends on how you ferment your starter, how early you start it and whether you want to decant or not. If you ferment it warm and fast, the beer in the starter probably is not the best tasting, and then you might want to decant that rather than dumping everything in the fermenter. If you are more carefull with you fermentation temps of the starter, then the beer might be fine and go ahead and dump it all in.

Since your starter is still pretty young, if it was fermented relatively warm (many stir plates generate a decent amount of heat), I'd put in in the fridge when you start brewing. I should be settled within a couple hours. If you think the temps were OK, then I wouldn't bother. You can always give it a quick sniff and decide based on that.

If you give the starter an extra day, it will settle on its own if you turn off the stirring 12hr or so earlier.

The best of course is to have good quality wort, ferment it carefully at the temperature you will be fermenting the batch at and then pitch everything at high krausen. Or maybe better is access to a large centrifuge so you can spin it down at room temp and easily decant.

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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There's two general stirplate methods.

  1. Spin/Crash/Decant/Rise/Pitch
  2. Spin/Rest/Pitch

Method one is spin the yeast on a plate until growth is complete, crash in a fridge, and then on brew day decant the "beer" and then let rise to pitching temp naturally while you brew.

Method two is spin the yeast on a plate until growth is complete, and pitch the whole deal.

Neither method is "better". It simply depends on your process, and how far in advance you like to make your yeast. If you are spinning the day before you brew, Revvy is spot on. Don't crash them right before you use them. They won't like it.

Personally, I use method 1 on a 36/24/*/12 schedule. I spin for 36 hours, cold crash for at least 24 hours, and then on brew day decant and allow to rise. I target the rise step to be as close to 12 hours as possible. That allows the yeast to rise to pitching temp gently, without sitting at room temp unnecessarily long. The * represents 0-5 days maximum of refrigeration storage. Generally I target 24 hours exactly in the fridge, but I will extend that by up to 5 days if circumstances demand it.

If I'm crunched for time and have to spin right before brew day, I will omit the crash and pitch the volume. I try to avoid that method though, because I don't like the starter beer being part of my real beer.

So far, I have yet to find a yeast that doesn't respond well to the 36/24/*/12 method. I do what I do because I believe that for my process, it gives me the most reliable viability at pitching, without introducing an element of artificially selecting for more or less flocculent cells.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:53 PM   #6
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I follow cscade's method 1 also.

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Old 12-01-2011, 10:56 PM   #7
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you don't want to interrupt their nap cycle by forcing them to work.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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The OP didn't mention a stirplate. I don't have one, though, and I say it depends on the yeast. I have had an English yeast finish and floc out in a starter in a day or two. In which case you can pout off the starter beer and pitch. Otherwise you have to way the additional bad taste of including the starter beer versus the diminished cell count of discarding it.

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Old 12-01-2011, 10:59 PM   #9
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Is growth complete when activity is no longer visible?

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Is growth complete when activity is no longer visible?
I'm not sure on this but after the activity stops, I put it into the frig as long as I'm not brewing until the next day. Then on brew day, I pull out the starter, decant, and leave it out until pitching time. The reason I decant is that I don't want 1500 mL. of extra 1.040 liquid dumped into a beer that I carefully created.
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