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Old 10-10-2008, 12:14 AM   #1
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Default When to crash chill a yeast starter

I have read somewhere that after a cerain number of hours, the yeast count of a starter does not increase, but that the yeast are simply tiring and ageing as they complete the starter fermentation. The suggestion was that - I think - at high krausen the starter could be crash chilled to keep the yeast young before pitching.
Can anyone confirm / deny this as a desirable brewing practice?

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Old 10-10-2008, 12:17 AM   #2
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Boy, I've never heard that. I've heard to pitch the starter at high krausen, though, if you can. If it's after high krausen, I've always let it ferment out fully, THEN put it in the fridge and decant the spent wort after the yeast all drops out.

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Old 10-10-2008, 03:38 AM   #3
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It's good for 7 days if refrigerated after building the required volume for a batch. Just remember that the viability drops each day. I have had good results after 2 weeks in the fridge so I know it still will make good beer. If you want to save it for a while then wash the yeast with distilled water and save in sterilized mason jars.

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Old 10-10-2008, 03:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Boy, I've never heard that. I've heard to pitch the starter at high krausen, though, if you can. If it's after high krausen, I've always let it ferment out fully, THEN put it in the fridge and decant the spent wort after the yeast all drops out.
Yeah I'm with Yooper on this one. I let it go for 24 hours and then put it in the refrigerator. I may leave it there for only a day or two before using.
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:18 AM   #5
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I have actually heard this, but I don't remember enough to give any definate answers. I believe it is around the 16hr mark, but I don't know how to test, and being that yeast are living things, a timetable for their lifecycle can be pretty unpredictable. It does make since to me though, because the act of fermentation stresses the yeast, so crashing them before hey really get to fementing, just after the reproductive stage, seems like it could be beneficial.

Things I do know. According to the Dan Gordon, of Gordon Biersch and graduate of Weinstephan, it is best to pitch the yeast while in a "logarithmic growth stage". This is just before fermenting begins, as the yeast are in the peak of cell division and growth. This reduces lag to almost nothing as long as the yeast are not shocked, and aerated well when added to the wort. But, this requires the entire volume of wort to be pitched, which shouldn't be done if you have used a stirplate to grow your yeast. You get more cells using a stir plate, at the cost of having to chill and decant, because you don't want to pitch a super oxygenated, nasty tasting starter beer into your wort.

So perhaps crashing, during this logarithmic growth phase, will help preserve the yeast in their best state.

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:43 AM   #6
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If you crash the starter you are basically shutting it down and getting yeast out of solution, If you crash it, you really aren't gaining anything over letting it ferment out, Pitching at high krausen will generally reduce lag time, but if you crash it and reactivate it, you lose the advantage of most of the yeast still being active when pitched.

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"logarithmic growth stage". This is just before fermenting begins
That makes no sense, the yeast eat then reproduce, then eat and reproduce, the fermentation is the by product of that cycle
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:08 PM   #7
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I wouldn't crash cool a starter unless it was fully fermented out and I wanted to settle the yeast and decant the beer off the top. Pitching while the yeast have gone through adaptive phase makes sense: the highest viable yeast count prior to fermentation. But practically speaking I just make a starter 2 days prior and decant most of the beer off if it's a big (+2 qt starter) otherwise the whole shebang goes in.

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Old 10-10-2008, 05:30 PM   #8
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Most of my starters ferment out in 24 hours. I made a starter yesterday and will brew tomorrow. It'll go into the fridge tonight or tomorrow morning (early) depending on whether the activity has died down or not.

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Old 10-10-2008, 05:37 PM   #9
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Most of my starters ferment out in 24 hours. I made a starter yesterday and will brew tomorrow. It'll go into the fridge tonight or tomorrow morning (early) depending on whether the activity has died down or not.
Is there a benefit to putting it in the fridge in the morning if you plan on brewing tomorrow?

I just put mine in the fridge for tomorrow's brew.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:38 PM   #10
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I thought you should pitch starter at the same temp as wort temp.

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