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Old 02-18-2013, 04:42 AM   #1
pjhurl
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Default First yeast starter -- sanitation fail -- pitch it or pitch it (out)

Decided it was time to start trying out yeast starters, especially since I'm about to brew a relatively big OG beer. Until now I have always directly pitched primarily white labs (but also wyeast smack packs) and have had good results.

Anyway, I haven't bought a flask for growing starters in, so I'm trying this time with a growler: bought a stopper that fits one of my two liter growlers, boiled up 100grams DME in 1 liter of water, put the lid in near the end of the oil to sanitize it, sanitized the growler, sooner, airlock, spoon, funnel, thermometer,etc.

Here's the fail: the all clad pan I used to boil the DME/water was absolutely awful at pouring from -- some percentage of the wort dripped down the side of the pan -- which was sitting in ice water in my sink to chill -- on its way into the funnel and growler. I pitched the yeast into the growler and then realized that the wort was potentially unsanitary.


I'm brewing tomorrow and its an IPA with lots of Simcoe and Nelson Sauvin that were both expensive And very hard to get -- so I'd hate to get an infection. But I don't have time to make a new starter.

Trying to figure out if I should pitch this starter or pitch it down the sink and just go buy a new vial of yeast. Any way to tell? It's not hard to grab another vial of yeast... I live about 2 mlles from white labs.

Advice appreciated. Definitely going to buy a flask before I do another starter.

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Old 02-18-2013, 04:53 AM   #2
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First, you don't want an airlock on the starter. You need to let oxygen get in there to help the yeast grow. Use a piece of sanitized foil loosely over the top so it can breathe.

On the sanitation, it's really hard to infect stuff. But, I don't want to be the guy that says it's ok and then you get an infection. You really have to mess things up good to get an infection. I myself would not hesitate to use it.

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Old 02-18-2013, 04:59 AM   #3
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If it was a real expensive recipe 2 get all the ingredients for like u said. Me personally i would rather be safe then sorry and just toss it. Seeing you have easy access to more yeast. Now for a big beer you still need a starter. So you could post pone brew day and make another. Or just pitch double yeast straight from the vial depending on how high of an OG u have. But in reality this is something thats your call. I mean you know how bad is was when it happened. Either you have to risk it or start working on Plan B. Your call at this point.

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:06 AM   #4
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Thanks vegan. I had read both approaches (airlock vs foil), mainly used the airlock since I bought that cute little stopper :-). I'm probably going to use it...just looking for someone to say "no you idiot, don't pitch that!!!

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:07 AM   #5
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You'll probably wind up with 50/50 on use/trash it and be back to square 1. Good luck!

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:13 AM   #6
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Figured it wasn't a slam dunk answer either way...it's a 10.65 OG so I can probably get by just throwing a vial of wlp001 in there...

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:19 AM   #7
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http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

This is what i use enter in your volume and OG etc... And it will tell you how much yeast you need.
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