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Old 11-08-2012, 05:00 AM   #1
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Default Why make a starter when you can make a S(DME)aSH

I'm new to brewing (almost a year), so I've come up with an easy way to combine the hassle of making a starter for each new batch of beer with learning about the flavour and aroma of different hops. It takes a little more planning, but I've found it invaluable to my homebrewing education. Instead of making a 1-2L starter for each batch, I make up a gallon of wort with a OG of 1.040 using DME, and add a single hop over a 20min boil to get a final IBU ~30. It ferments out in about a week, after which I cold crash and bottle. Not only do I get enough yeast for a new batch of beer, I also get to try out small batches (femtobrew? zeptobrew?) of different pale ales. So far I've made 1 gallon each of Magnum, Mt. Hood, Summit, and Galaxy hopped pale ales. Just thought I'd share - cheers!

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:12 AM   #2
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This is some good ingenuity, I may have to adopt the technique. Are you fermenting in gallon jugs or 3 gal. Carboy perhaps? I have both just worried about 1 gallon blowoff. It happened to me with a big starter.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyhawkins View Post
This is some good ingenuity, I may have to adopt the technique. Are you fermenting in gallon jugs or 3 gal. Carboy perhaps? I have both just worried about 1 gallon blowoff. It happened to me with a big starter.
I have two 1 gallon jugs that I use, and, depending on the yeast, I use a blow-off tube.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:31 AM   #4
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You won't find me doing that. I use the absolute lightest DME I can find, make my starter, cold crash, decant the spent starter (down the drain), then make a slurry (retaining about 1/4" of spent starter, in the flask, to do so) that then gets pitched into the BEER it's to be used for. I use a stirplate to get maximum cell growth in the shortest amount of time. Constant aeration/degassing would make for some NASTY beer. Besides, I'm not about to waste my good hops on such a tiny batch (I have yet to make more than a 3L starter).

With fairly fresh yeast packs, my starters are done fermenting within 24 hours. They then cold crash for another 18-24 hours before they're prepared to be pitched into the beer wort. I also size my starters according to what I need for yeast cell count. I have yet to have even a three step starter schedule take more than a week total. That includes cold crashing between, and the initial step taking longer (due to older yeast).

IMO, if you want to experiment with different hops and such, then make a TRUE SMaSH brew with it. Brew it properly and you'll really learn about the flavors from both ingredients. Otherwise, IMO, you're just wasting DME and hops.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:56 AM   #5
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I normally just make a starter and leave it at that.
Depending on the size I either just dump the whole thing in the wort or cold crash, pour off most the liquid and use what's left.
I have been known to end up with a gallon starter though.
Last night I made a batch while watching the election results and I used a gallon starter I made.
I cold crashed it, used about half of it or a bit more for the beer and used the rest to make another starter.
I'll either use the next starter this upcoming weekend or I'll cold crash it and harvest the yeast.
I've been wanting to try yeast harvesting and storing it so it seemed like the time was right.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:07 AM   #6
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Sounds like a neat way to keep your house yeast strain up and running and learn different hop tastes

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:10 AM   #7
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If you can get a reasonably fresh pack of yeast, you can make a 5 gallon batch of a 1.030-1.040 session beer without a starter and then harvest the yeast from it.

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