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Old 07-11-2007, 04:42 PM   #1
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Default Woops, forgot DME for starter

Hey i was going to attempt my first all grain beer which would be a Pale Ale in a couple of days but i realised i forgot to buy DME for a yeast starter. A week ago i split a White Labs California Ale vail into four containers and froze them with sterile water and glycerin.

now i wanted to thaw one container and make a 1litre/quart starter but i dont know what to do without any DME. i hear that using brewers sugars isnt a good idea i was considering mashing a small amount of grain in a pot in my oven to maintain the temperature, boiling for 15 minutes and then pitching the little test tube of yeast.

I know that i will need to boost my cell count as a quarter of a white labs vail would take forever to start fermenting if i pitch it without starter. My HBS is much too far away for me to get DME at this stage.

The other option is to use my one and only pack of Nottingham dried yeast but i was looking forward to using the caifornia since it is an APA. Anyone have a suggestion?



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Old 07-11-2007, 04:50 PM   #2
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If you have any honey around i wonder if that would be a quick fix for you. highly fermentable.



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Old 07-11-2007, 05:03 PM   #3
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yeh i have some honey that i could use but i think i read somewhere that its better to use malt itself to prepare the yeast for similar sugars in the primary?

id love to just go ahead with honey if it was ok.

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:07 PM   #4
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You definitely don't want to use a alternate sugar for your starters. You will grow yeast that are better suited to the wrong environment if you do that. If you don't want to go the route of mashing a small starter but still want to use the yeast, I would just thaw all your samples and pitch them as a whole.

I use nottingham all the time, it should make a nice pale ale.

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:18 PM   #5
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I don't see why doing a little mash wouldn't work. DO a mini mash, then boil it til it's a real high gravity.

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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Stick with DME. It's really your best choice for making a starter. While you could ferment just about anything, I wouldn't recommend honey, sugar, LME,....etc

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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The problem it would seem is that he is a good distance from a LHBS thus making what a god sub for DME a question of ease and convienece. While i agree honey is not the ideal substitute it is fater and easier than the mini-mash.

If you have the time then by all means do the mini mash.

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:47 PM   #8
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You definitely don't want to use sugar to make a starter. It can actually do more damage than good. Yeast that get conditioned to fermenting simple sugars can actually develop an inhibition to fermenting maltose (the sugar in wort).

It is definitely possible to make a small mash and produce some worth this way. In fact, there was a good podcast on Basic Brewing Radio about this. I think the guy was using a French press coffee maker to do the mash. Here is a link to the podcast:
http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/mp3/bbr12-08-05.mp3

Or go here and scroll down to the Dec 8, 2005 show:
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=61

Just remember that you want to extract a moderately light wort, about 1.020 - 1.040 range. Going too low won't produce much yeast, and going with a higher SG will compromise the health of the yeast.

While DME is probably the easiest and most convenient way to make starters, doing an AG mash is by far the cheapest. If you are an AG brewer, a good trick is to make a gallon or two extra wort the next time you brew a pale ale or mild or ordinary bitter (something around 1.030 in OG), and freeze the excess in plastic yogurt or margarine containers. Then to make your starter, all you have to do is thaw and boil it (to sterilize it), cool and pitch your yeast.

Best of luck!

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Old 07-11-2007, 05:59 PM   #9
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i ran into this issue once. i just took a bit of base grains, and made a mini wort on the stove, and cooled it and pitched into that. it worked fine.

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Old 07-11-2007, 06:12 PM   #10
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ok guys thank you all very much for your help. i have a mini mash on the way it was very easy i have in the oven as per instructions from this article:
http://byo.com/feature/986.html

i have an oatmeal stout in the fridge getting ready to suck on and if this doesnt work well **** it, not all is lost i can just chuck in my nottingham. learning experience if nothing else. the gravity will work out around 1.038 assuming good efficiency which i probably wont have but thats fine if FLYGUY suggests to shoot for around 1.020-1.040.



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