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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Yeast Sarter in Flask - Lesson Learned the Hard Way
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default Yeast Sarter in Flask - Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I have made many yeast starters on the kitchen stove in a regular pot and using a growler to grow my yeast in. Always wanting to improve my process, I purchased a stir plate and a couple of 2000 ml flasks. This seemed like the way to go because you could heat the flask and never have to transfer the cooled liquid before adding the yeast. Not to mention the added yeast growth. So I decide to use my propane camping stove instead of the electric range inside to make my first starter in the flask. After getting the water to boil I went to add my 5 ounces of DME in the 1.5 liter of liquid. Now in hindsight I'm not sure why I never saw this coming, but I was rushing thing a bit to go meet some friends for a playoff game. As I dump the DME into the flask using a paper funnel, It comes shooting out immediately like a volcano going all over my hand and down my leg. Minor burns and a very large mess is what resulted from my lack of thinking this thing out better. I have read quite a bit about starters and haven't really seen this mentioned before or if I did it apparently didn't stick. As dumb as this makes me feel I am posting this to maybe help save someone else a burnt hand and very large mess. It was a good thing I used the camping stove in the garage! My second attempt went quite well as I heated the water to almost boiling, removed the flask from heat, added and mixed the DME and then placed it back on the heat. The brew day went great which made it all better. Hopefully this will help someone in their brewing journey.

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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I was expecting to read about the flask breaking when it was heated but the volcano flask was a great twist.

I also learned the hard way to take boiling water off the heat before adding anything. I was boiling some sugar, water, and lemon juice to make a batch of Skeeter Pee. I went to add about a tsp of yeast energizer and nutrient and as soon as it hit the boil, it foamed up all over the stove. Talk about a sticky mess.

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Old 01-14-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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I was expecting to read about the flask breaking when it was heated but the volcano flask was a great twist.
I thought the same exact thing lol
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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yeah, those flasks suck when it comes to making the starter. I just make the starter on the stove and transfer it to the sanatized flask. Too scared of the glas breaking from the hot liquid or the boil over getting out of hand.

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Old 01-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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Erlenmeyer flasks can be dangerous when boiling substances that will foam, as you just discovered.

A pinch of hydrophobic silica and a drop of food grade silicone oil will take care of the foaming problem, or the antifoam stuff they sell at the LHBS.

Another trick is to put the flask half on and off the burner. This allows the boil to take place and an area for the foam to subside.

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Old 01-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #6
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I thought the same exact thing lol
Heh, heh. Me too!
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:59 PM   #7
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Whats funny is I put quite a bit of thought into not breaking the flask which is why I ended up doing it in the garage on a propane stove. I heated it up slowly (which still didn't take long) as to not change the temp. of the glass to rapidly. Didn't really consider that the physics of the whole process would change in the confinement of a flask. It was definitely the stickiest mess I've had. At any rate I am laughing at myself now......not so much when it happened though.lol

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Old 01-14-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Short answer: If you want to heat it that way, you must have something in the water like the stir rod or a boiling chip. This will allow the water to boil when boiling temp is reached. This happens to folks a lot when they heat in a clean, unscratched flask in the microwave.

Long answer: Well, do you really want to know? Unless small air bubbles already exist in your liquid or on the surface of the flask, the bubbles that come from boiling cannot form and overcome the force of surface tension. So water does not boil at 212 (give or take) and we think it's not "hot" enough yet. The water goes above 212 (superheats). Then when you drop something in it or mix it, then blammo, boiling with a vengance and at a higher temp. Sorry, its the science teacher in me (and BTW I've done it too)

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Old 01-14-2013, 05:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Satisfaction View Post
Erlenmeyer flasks can be dangerous when boiling substances that will foam, as you just discovered.

A pinch of hydrophobic silica and a drop of food grade silicone oil will take care of the foaming problem, or the antifoam stuff they sell at the LHBS.

Another trick is to put the flask half on and off the burner. This allows the boil to take place and an area for the foam to subside.
Thanks for the info. I will try that and see how it works.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cider123 View Post
Short answer: If you want to heat it that way, you must have something in the water like the stir rod or a boiling chip. This will allow the water to boil when boiling temp is reached. This happens to folks a lot when they heat in a clean, unscratched flask in the microwave.

Long answer: Well, do you really want to know? Unless small air bubbles already exist in your liquid or on the surface of the flask, the bubbles that come from boiling cannot form and overcome the force of surface tension. So water does not boil at 212 (give or take) and we think it's not "hot" enough yet. The water goes above 212 (superheats). Then when you drop something in it or mix it, then blammo, boiling with a vengance and at a higher temp. Sorry, its the science teacher in me (and BTW I've done it too)
I knew someone would be able to explain it. Great info! I didn't figure I was the only one this ever happened to. It all makes perfect sense now. Thanks
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