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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > First attempt at a yeast starter
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:18 PM   #1
sterno74
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Default First attempt at a yeast starter

So I'm attempting my second run at a belgian quad that turned out delicious last time. When I got the kit together, my advisor at the brewing store I go to suggested that I should either buy more yeast packs or do a starter. For the first attempt I went the easy/expensive route and just bought yeast packets.

I'm attempting to recreate the beer and so this time I'm trying it with my first yeast starter. So I made a two liter yeast starter and when I went to add it to my beer, I ran into a question. I'm doing extract brewing, and so when I add top off water, do I incorporate the two liters of liquid from the starter into my top off or not? So, basically when I'm done should I have 5 gallons, or 5 gallons + 2 liters?

I couldn't find a quick answer at the time so I assumed that I'd want it to be 5 gallons including the starter. Was I right?

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Old 07-30-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
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You will want to end up with 5 gallons total for the flavor and IBUs of the recipe. Best would be to chill the starter when it is finished to compact the yeast at the bottom. Pour off almost all of the starter wort, keeping enough to swirl up the compacted yeast for pouring into your fermentor. The starter wort is unhopped and not very tasty.

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Old 07-30-2013, 05:37 PM   #3
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For a starter that big, I would definitely cold crash the starter and decant most of the spent wort off it. Then you are only pitching a small amount of volume, probably not enough to even worry about.

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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So if I didn't crash and decant, I'm assuming the downside is that it will have some effect on the flavor?

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterno74 View Post
So if I didn't crash and decant, I'm assuming the downside is that it will have some effect on the flavor?
True but likely you wouldn't notice the difference.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterno74
So if I didn't crash and decant, I'm assuming the downside is that it will have some effect on the flavor?
A 2L starter poured in will probably be noticeable. It will definitely affect your ibus and OG as well.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IL1kebeer

A 2L starter poured in will probably be noticeable. It will definitely affect your ibus and OG as well.
Yeah, you gotta figure 2L is about 2 qt or 1/2 gal... So 10% of your total 5 gal volume. You prob won't taste the unhopped starter wort itself, but it'll dilute the calculated flavor your were shooting for. +1 for decanting!
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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There's many threads on this subject, but suffice to say the flavor contribution of pitched starters is worried about far more than any actual observed problems. If you are worried about it, go ahead and chill it for a few days and decant as described above. I personally pitch the whole thing into most batches without any noticeable ill effect. Do what makes sense to you, but know that off flavors from starters are kind of a boogeyman...

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Old 07-31-2013, 03:19 PM   #9
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In the end, brewing is a lot of trial and error, so we'll find out if this is an error in another week or two . I will say that the starter definitely got the fermentation going a lot faster than when I used multiple yeast packs. If the flavor is a bit off on this batch, then next time I'll do the chill and decant and see how it goes.

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Old 07-31-2013, 11:48 PM   #10
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So the part that confuses me is, If I am going to decant the liquid off of a large starter do I have to let it complete fermentation first (3-5 days) then chill and decant the night before brew day? Or can I just make my starter two days before, shaking it every time I pass by, and then toss it in the fridge the night before I brew?

Does that make sense?

-hutch

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