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Old 08-13-2010, 12:29 AM   #1
spiffcow
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Default Building up a starter -- am I doing it wrong?

So I got some yeast from the LHBS a week ago, and didn't realize until I got home that it was about 2 days from expiration. According to MrMalty I would need a 22L starter, which isn't exactly feasible. Instead I made a 1L starter with my stir plate, then decanted, and used the yeast trub to make a 2L starter. I'm thinking of decanting again and making another 2L starter with the trub.

My question is, am I actually getting any benefit out of this? Or am I just increasing my risk of infecting my beer?

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Old 08-13-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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If you're stepping up a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about how old a yeast is, if it's properly stored.

we just need to think in terms of making starters. Viability isn't really an issue if you are reproducing a lot of healthy cells. Which is what you are doing when you make a starter.....

Really even with "old yeast" if there is a few cells, they will reproduce.

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Old 08-13-2010, 12:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
If you're stepping up a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about how old a yeast is, if it's properly stored.

we just need to think in terms of making starters. Viability isn't really an issue if you are reproducing a lot of healthy cells. Which is what you are doing when you make a starter.....

Really even with "old yeast" if there is a few cells, they will reproduce.
Thanks Revvy. I'm still confused though about how to properly step up the yeast, and how much good I'm getting out of the "decant, then throw the trub back into the same amount of wort" method that I'm employing. I can't really use anything larger than 2L because I'll lose the benefit of my stir plate. I'm making a 1.105 OG beer with this yeast, so I need it to be fruitful and multiply. Should I maybe store half the yeast, then make a starter out of the other half? Are 2 2L starters as good as a 4L starter?
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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to properly step up a starter you start small and gradually build it up to a larger and larger size till you get to the size you want. you don't absolutely need a stir plate. for a beer that big i would make a normal batch of beer, bottle it, then pitch the new 1.105 OG beer onto that.

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