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Old 10-27-2010, 05:17 PM   #1
pretzelb
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Default Starter calculation for only 1 pack

I hope to brew a tripel this weekend and use my new stir plate to make the starter. I checked with LHBS and they only have 1 package of the yeast I want. Looking at MrMalty for a 1.077 estimated OG I should use 2 packages and 1 liter. I notice that you can adjust the slider for more/less packages. Adjusting for 1 package I can do a 1.87 liter starter.

Anyone had good results with a single package for something in the 1.077 range? I haven't tried moving the growth factor slider before so it's uncharted territory for me.

My other concern is the volume. I have a 2 liter flask so measuring 1.87 is going to be near the top. I'm a bit worried about trying to boil for 15 minutes in the flask. I'm also worried about the starter fermenting over the top while on the stir plate.



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Old 10-27-2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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I wouldn't even consider using two vials of liquid yeast for a 1.077 brew.

My starters don't really make much krausen and that's without a stir plate. I think the low 1.030 - 1.040 starter wort just doesn't get too crazy and it ferments out quickly. With a stir plate I don't think you'll have any krausen cause it just won't be able to form with all that motion.

As far as boiling, if you're worried about boil-over, why not boil 1 or 1.5 L with the DME, then top up to 1.87 L with water that was boiled separately?



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Old 10-27-2010, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
I wouldn't even consider using two vials of liquid yeast for a 1.077 brew.
Why not? I thought the general rule of thumb was to use the MrMalty calculator guidelines. Besides cost, what would be wrong with 2 packages?

I do admit I was disappointed to see a recommendation of 2 packages even with a stir plate but I am not experienced enough to argue.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
Why not? I thought the general rule of thumb was to use the MrMalty calculator guidelines. Besides cost, what would be wrong with 2 packages?
I wasn't saying to buck the Mr. Malty guidelines, I was implying that I wouldn't consider using two liquid yeast vials to make a starter because of the cost... You can build up the number of yeast from one vial by making a starter - that's the primary purpose.

If cost were not a factor then I wouldn't even bother with a starter - I'd just buy enough vials of liquid yeast (at over $6/each) and pitch however many were required.

Aside from that, 1.077 isn't a REALLY big beer. No need to pay over $12 for the yeast alone.

You are talking about liquid yeast right?
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:49 PM   #5
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If you are at all worried about boiling over an Erlenmeyer flask when you're making a starter, use a couple drops of Fermcap and bring it to a boil slowly. I do that for all of my starters just to eliminate the possibility of that happening (and yet another round of speechifying by SWMBO about "her" kitchen.)

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Old 10-27-2010, 08:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
I wasn't saying to buck the Mr. Malty guidelines, I was implying that I wouldn't consider using two liquid yeast vials to make a starter because of the cost... You can build up the number of yeast from one vial by making a starter - that's the primary purpose.

If cost were not a factor then I wouldn't even bother with a starter - I'd just buy enough vials of liquid yeast (at over $6/each) and pitch however many were required.

Aside from that, 1.077 isn't a REALLY big beer. No need to pay over $12 for the yeast alone.

You are talking about liquid yeast right?
Correct - liquid yeast.

I agree with you on the cost and the idea behind a starter. That's what made the recommendation so confusing to me. I just got the stir plate recently and was when it came time make a large beer I would be saving money yet the calculator tells me to use 2 packages even with the stir plate. Disappointing.

Plus, as I said before, I don't know enough to argue with the calculator so I thought I'd ask here.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
I just got the stir plate recently and was when it came time make a large beer I would be saving money yet the calculator tells me to use 2 packages even with the stir plate. Disappointing.

Plus, as I said before, I don't know enough to argue with the calculator so I thought I'd ask here.
I guess the way I'm seeing it is that you don't need 2 pkgs yeast; you can make the 1.87 L starter with 1 pkgs and you'll be good. On the other hand, if you didn't have the stir plate, according to the calculator you'd need closer to a 3 L starter. Plus I imagine with the stir plate you'll have healthier yeast than without it. I'd like to have a stir plate myself, but just do the intermittent shaking thing with my starters.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:06 PM   #8
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The basic idea is that if you start with a lower cell count (1 vial), you need more reproduction to occur than if you start with two in order to reach your intended cell count. In order to fuel this reproduction, you need more food (a larger starter), more 02, or both.

That's not to say the yeast actually use up all the food before the peak cell count is reached. They don't... obviously... or you'd have to wait until your starter fermented dry before using it. But at a certain point based loosely on availability of resources, they slow way down on reproduction and get into the business of producing gas & booze. That's the point where the cell count is - effectively - as large as it's going to get.

Same goes for oxygen. You can get by with less food if you add more 02, because doing so keeps the yeast in 'reproductive mode' longer.

It's almost as if the yeast all got together, took stock of the food & air available to them, and accordingly set mandates on how many children each yeast cell could have. In reality, the budding of yeast cells is determined by their chemical environment - but the effect is the same. Once certain nutritional factors start to become scarce, they stop budding.



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