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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Using sugar (cane, corn, table, etc) to make a starter?




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Old 07-21-2010, 03:04 AM   #1
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Default Using sugar (cane, corn, table, etc) to make a starter?

Hello all,

Just like the title says, should it be done? I am guessing it could be done but would any one advise this?

I am asking because I live 40 miles away from my "local" HBS and it is a big pain in the ass. If I am in a pinch and need to make a starter, could I just use some sugar to feed the yeast I have saved from a previous batch? Is this advisable?


Thanks all



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Old 07-21-2010, 03:07 AM   #2
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Ummm. I don't think that's a good idea. Feeding sucrose or dextrose to yeasts is like feeding desert before the main course. They won't like the maltose cuz' it's too much work, and they are already full.



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Old 07-21-2010, 03:33 AM   #3
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http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.htm
Quote:
Use an all malt wort for starters. The sugar in the starter needs to be maltose, not simple sugar. Yeast that have been eating a lot of simple sugars stop making the enzyme that enable it to break down maltose, which is the main sugar in wort. The yeast quickly learn to be lazy and the ability to fully attenuate a batch of beer suffers.
How old is the previous batch you harvested from? If it's less than a month, you don't really need to make a starter for it.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, The yeast is only about two weeks old, so I will just pitch appropriate amounts, per Mr. malty calculator

Thanks guys

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Old 07-21-2010, 07:33 PM   #5
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A few months ago I made a starter from a slant of WLP002 using 1/2 DME and 1/2 cane sugar to make the wort. Everything worked perfectly. In fact I'm currently drinking the batch and it tastes great.

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Old 07-22-2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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Hey edecambra,

I have been using table sugar for starters for about a year now. I use the same ratio as I did when I made my starter wort from DME: about 100g to 1L of water. I am always sure to use some yeast nutrient to increase nitrogen content; also I usually throw in some plain bread yeast into the boil to provide a source of lipids. You can also boil some of the dregs from a primary or secondary fermenter if you don't keep any bread yeast on hand.

I've not had any issues with the starters, nor the primary fermentation of the beers that they were made for. I pitch the starter at high krausen (yeah, the whole darn thing), or I sometimes chill and decant before pitching if I have the time. My yeast (usually WLP001 / US-05, more recently Bell's) seem to like to eat any type of sugar they can get their greedy hands on, rather than turning up their noses at maltose like so many homebrewers have reported in the past.

You will get plenty of naysayers on this forum when discussing this subject, even though it is clear they are simply parroting an old myth without any practical experience in the matter. Do yourself a favor and try it first before making your decision.

40 miles is a long drive....

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Old 07-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #7
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+1 to grove's statement.

I think the bigger concern with sugar starters isn't that yeast lose their appetite for maltose though I'm sure that could happen over several generations of such propagation. Growing yeast on pure sugar would be like trying to feed a person on nothing but sugar. Wort has all sorts of other necessary nutrients and chemicals necessary to synthesize new cells. You could probably get away using sugar for propagating yeast if you supplement it with a 'complete' nutrient like other dead yeast cells that have been broken down by a boil (or the wyeast/white labs complete nutrients that are available).

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Old 07-22-2010, 07:29 PM   #8
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it is a long drive, and thanks for all the help everyone.

I am still pretty new to this, only having brewed a handful of batches, and this is what I have picked up so far: there are plenty of tried and true methods, and then there are alternatives that when measured may not produce the same results, but when it comes to taste, produce very little discernible difference. I just appreciate hearing it from all angles.

One question: why supply old yeast/ bread yeast as a nutrient? I had no idea that was a possible source of nutrients, anyone care to expand? Thanks all.

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Old 07-22-2010, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grove View Post
Hey edecambra,
You will get plenty of naysayers on this forum when discussing this subject, even though it is clear they are simply parroting an old myth without any practical experience in the matter. Do yourself a favor and try it first before making your decision.
If you're going to throw around a line like, "parroting an old myth" I think it would be advisable to either establish your own credentials or at least validate in some manner how you arrived at your conclusions.

Mr. Malty (Jamil Z) writes on his site, "Use an all malt wort for starters. The sugar in the starter needs to be maltose, not simple sugar. Yeast that have been eating a lot of simple sugars stop making the enzyme that enable it to break down maltose, which is the main sugar in wort. The yeast quickly learn to be lazy and the ability to fully attenuate a batch of beer suffers."
(Source: http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.htm)

Given that he's won numerous medals in homebrew competitions and is currently working on a book about beer yeast I'm more inclined to trust his practical experience than yours.
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispykid View Post
Given that he's won numerous medals in homebrew competitions and is currently working on a book about beer yeast I'm more inclined to trust his practical experience than yours.
All the "experts" use to say that the world was flat too.


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