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Old 05-14-2010, 11:40 PM   #1
dmbnpj
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Default Liquid yeast starter

I used Mr. Maltys yeast pitching rate calculator to tell me how to do my starter. I am making a 10 gallon batch so it told me to start with 2 yeast packages and there will be 1.01 liters of starter required.

I started off with 1/2 quart of wort boiled and cooled and then added that to my 2000mL flask. I then added both packages of yeast. I have had it on a stir plate now for about 24 hours. It is only measured out to be about 600mL so far. So, do I need to just keep adding cooled wort to it to achieve a volume of 1000mL in order to get the 1.01 liters required?

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Old 05-14-2010, 11:44 PM   #2
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yes thats what you have to do.

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Old 05-14-2010, 11:47 PM   #3
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So how do I know if this yeast is alive? I think I might have missed the action last night when I went to bed. So far, I have an air lock on the flask and havent seen any bubbles. If I turn off the stir plate should I see movement?

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Old 05-14-2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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well first take the airlock off and put some sanitized foil on top. you want the starter to oxidize. makes it easier for the yeast to grow.

its entirely posable you missed all the action. take a gravity reading. or turn the plate off and let it settle. then measure the yeast layer on the bottom. if its more than you started with you know it worked.

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Old 05-14-2010, 11:54 PM   #5
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Gotcha, I thought I didnt need an airlock but upon reading it told me to put one on there. I wont know if its more than I started with because I just put it on the stirplate and away it went. What should the gravity reading be? I do have a refractometer I can use.

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Old 05-15-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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I hope my yeast is alive. Is there any way to tell?

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Old 05-15-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dmbnpj View Post
I hope my yeast is alive. Is there any way to tell?
Just like in the fermenter, fermentation isn't always dynamic...It doesn't matter one blip in your fermenter or your starter flask if the airlock bubbles or not (if you are using an airlock and not tinfoil,) or if you see a krauzen.In fact starter fermentation are some of the fastest or slowest but most importantly, the most boring fermentations out there. Usually it's done withing a few hours of yeast pitch...usually overnight when we are sleeping, and the starter looks like nothing ever happened...except for the little band at the bottom. Or it can take awhile...but either way there's often no "activity" whatsoever....


All that really matters is that creamy band o yeast at the bottom.
Even if you don't cold crash, you should see a band of creamly looking stuff at the bottom of your starter vessel.




Also, read what about how there really is no such thing as "bad" yeast these days. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/bad-smack-pack-repitch-134189/#post1513865
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:29 PM   #8
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Cool, makes me feel better about it.

When it comes to brewday (tomorrow) and I am ready to pitch, should I let the yeast settle to the bottom and pour off some of the wort on top? And then just try to pitch the slurry of yeast at the bottom?

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Old 05-15-2010, 01:51 PM   #9
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Cool, makes me feel better about it.

When it comes to brewday (tomorrow) and I am ready to pitch, should I let the yeast settle to the bottom and pour off some of the wort on top? And then just try to pitch the slurry of yeast at the bottom?
It's really up to you, some decant, or some just swirl it all in. One factor to consider is whether or not the "starter beer," the liguid on top smells sour or not. Often, especially in the summer it may sour in only a few hours. Some folks add a hop pellet as a preservative/preventative measure. The couple of ounces of sour beer wont really affect the taste of your finished product (unless maybe you were brewing an extremely light tasting beer.) It's really up to you.

Another factor is whether or not the yeast is a low flocculating yeast and there may be a lot still in suspension. The "beer" will be cloudy rather than clear-ish. If it's a witbier or hefe yeast for example it might be better just to swirl and pour it all in, you'll get the max number of yeast cells that way.

My starter flask is huge and often I will build up a starter over a few days and end up with 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of "beer" in it. If the yeast has pretty much flocculated I will, if I have time cold crash it like the web pic above, but even if I don't I will carefully pour off all but about 2 cups of the liquid, then swirl the remainder to re-suspend the yeast and dump it in my fermenter.
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:02 PM   #10
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you pitched 2 packets of yeast in 500ml of wort with a stir plate. I usually pitch 1 packet in 1000ml of wort and for a 10g batch I would of pitched 2 packets in 2000ml of wort or just step up 1 packet to 1l then add another 1l on a stir plate.

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