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Old 05-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default What's the difference?

I'm researching the ingredients and techniques for a barleywine. I was good right up until I asked Mr. Malty how much yeast I needed.

He said that since I had a stir plate I only needed a 1.17 liter starter with 2 vials.

Awesome.

And then it occurred to me that I have a pretty big Erlenmeyer flask (not bragging, just stating the facts). I have regularly done 2 liter starters with just one vial.

So. What's the difference? 2 liters with 1 vial vs. 1 liter with 2 vials? This is assuming the Mr. Malty 10 to 1 ratio of ml water to grams DME.

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:22 PM   #2
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money.

Whats the cost of a vial and 2L worth of DME?
Whats the cost of 2 vials and 1L worth of DME?

do a 2L starter with one vial.

I typically use 2 dry packs of nottinghams or US-05 in my Barleywines. Heck sometimes I'll do one of each HAHAH! You're going to want to aerate the wort well, add in a yeast nutrient, and really control the temperature of the fermentation (low!). If you are doing all grain I recommend mashing lower than you typically do for smaller brews... something like 148F works well.

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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Use the slider at the bottom of the MrMalty Calulator, and you can adjust the growth factor to use less vials with a larger starter or more vials for a smaller starter.

Basically, the yeast can only occupy a certain volume of wort, there is only enough sugar (food) for x amount of growth. If you make a smaller starter with more vials, you are waking up the yeast and ensuring viability, however, the yeast will not be able to multiply to the extent if you had one vial in a larger volume of wort.

For instance if you used 1 vial to make a 2L starter then your single vial is going to multiply, or grow at a much larger rate. If you are to use 2 vials in 1L, then the yeast will multiply on a much smaller sale because their food source will be depleted sooner.

FWIW, depending on your estimated OG for your barleywine, I would make a 4L starter with a single vial. I would start it by making a 2L starter, then stepping it up by 1L 24 hours later, then another 1L 24 hours after that. I would then let it ferment out completely allowing the yeast to build their glycogen reserves. Then I would refrigerate for 48 hours to flocc out the yeast. I would definitely decant the starter wort for a starter of this size to reduce any off flavors from the starter present in the beer.

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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So I went to this website and did some calculations: http://yeastcalc.com/

1 vial= about 100 Billion yeast cells. With a 2 liter erlenmyer flask, you'd get about 1.5 L starter. Given an 1.037 SG for the starter the rest is true.

Done by intermittent shaking, you'd get about 225 billion yest cells with this, which isn't enough yeast for even the low end of the barleywine style. You'd need 288 billion for a 1.080 barleywine.

With two vials (assuming 100 billion in each), you'd get 327 billion yeast cells. Enough for a 1.090 Barleywine.

The website I used is awesome for figuring out how much yeast you need. I use it every time I brew.

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Old 05-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #5
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You're over-thinking this.

Put a vial in 2L worth of 1.040 starter. Wait a couple days. Brew your bwine... whatever the OG is... 1.080-1.120... dump in the yeast. Aerate with a O2 stone if you have one, or agitate the HELL out of it. Use a yeast nutrient like servomyces. It will ferment.

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Old 05-28-2012, 09:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziyahu View Post
So I went to this website and did some calculations: http://yeastcalc.com/
Awesome yeast calc website. It doesn't quite agree with Jamil's algorithms, but then I'm not sure anybody can really give accurate calcs for homebrewing. All I really need now is to add a micro biology lab to my brewery and I'll be set.

In the meantime... yeastcalc.com pretty much gave me a similar answer as Mr. Malty. I need two vials. They disagree on starter size (1.17 L vs 1.4 L), but in my experience beer brewing is a forgiving hobby.

I had considered stepping up the starter as Schnitzengiggle suggested, but I would have no way of measuring my results in cell count. There's also my concern for "over-pitching" (it's in quotes because I don't actually use the term, but I read it in BYO and it's supposedly a bad thing) the yeast. And my lab (kitchen) all too often has tiny people in it touching and touching and touching...

I'll be using White Labs California Ale Yeast. I've had good success with it in big beers before.

And sirsloop, you are absoluely right. I am over thinking this. But if I didn't over think things, I wouldn't have a garage full of awesome diy projects dedicated to beer.

Next up... fermentation CHAMBER. That's right. Chamber.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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With liquid yeast a LOT depends on when it was packaged. Be sure to enter that into the field on the site to get a true calculation on starter size...

What's the OG and batch size of the BW? Date on the yeast vials (assuming you have it already)? If you don't have the yeast yet, wait to figure out the starter size until you do. Depending on where you get the yeast, it could already be a couple of months old (or more).

I typically make my starters somewhere in the range that BeerSmith 2.x and Mr. Malty list. If they list different sizes, I'll often split the difference, or go with the one that I have a flask size for. I'm typically using a single Wyeast 'smack pack' of yeast in mine.

Since you have a stirplate, you're already set for making smaller starters. My normal method is to make the starter about 3 days before brew day. I start it when I get home from work (so typically a Thursday evening). I let it go until Friday evening. At that point I know it's done, so I cover the top with sanitized foil (I use the foam stoppers in the flask now) and put it into the fridge to cold crash until Saturday evening. I take it over to my brew-buddy's place and let it get up to room temp while I'm brewing. Then I decant (using a magnet to hold the stir bar in the flask) most of the spent starter leaving just enough behind to make a slurry of the yeast. That then gets pitched after I oxygenate the wort (with pure O2 via a stone). With this method I typically get [fully] active fermentation sign within 12 hours.

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Old 05-28-2012, 11:34 PM   #8
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What's the deal with this chamber? Don't over think it too!!! Fridge off CL, temp controller, done.

You can have even more awesome projects if you don't over complicate them...

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Old 05-28-2012, 11:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsloop View Post
You can have even more awesome projects if you don't over complicate them...
Use the age-old K.I.S.S. principle... Keep It Simple Sh*thead... Depending on your DIY ability/level, you could take a low BTU window AC unit, build a box for it, with good insulation. and then just have temperature control within. If you have an AC unit already, that's too small for your needs... BINGO!! Or that old dorm fridge that looks like ass... Take the door off and extend out the chamber... Done... Score a small chest freezer on CL, or get one cheap, and you'll need to add a good temperature control unit (or modify the internal one to hit the range you want). There's many ways to go to get a ferm chamber online...
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:18 PM   #10
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FWIW if you are going to use a chest or upright freezer as a fermentation chamber, make sure you figure out how to deal with the condensation. These units are not meant to operate at temperatures below freezing, so you will definitely have issues with condensation.

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