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Old 05-13-2011, 03:21 AM   #1
redshift
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Default NB Black IPA Questions - Yeast Starter or no?

First, I'm relaxed, and I've got a home brew.

OK, so I've chosen my 3rd kit and ordered and received my Northern Brewer Black IPA kit, but I'm hoping you guys can clarify a couple of points for me - Brewing this Saturday afternoon. Let me start with I chose the liquid option and I got a Wyeast American Ale II smack pack.

So the first point of confusion is that they recommend "2 stage fermentation and yeast starter" in the product description. 2 stage no problem, but yeast starter? I've read about 300 pages on the topic and don't see why I'd have any problems making one - the question is should I? The directions sheet from NB don't say a thing about it (yet their website does). The Wyeast pack says direct pitch. <sigh> This is where I need advice... I'm leaning towards making the starter just 'cause.

Last question, in the sheet, it mentions 1lb corn sugar late addition (0 min). Do I do this before (flame out), after, or as I'm cooling to pitching temperatures?



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Old 05-13-2011, 03:33 AM   #2
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Kits always tailor their instructions for those who read their instructions -- which means they are assuming you will be using their provided kit yeast. Pitch the Wyeast right in and you'll be fine.

What exactly does it say about the late addition fermentable?



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Old 05-13-2011, 03:40 AM   #3
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In the Procedure section it says absolutely nothing. In the kit inventory, it says "1lb Corn Sugar late addition (0 min)". The kit inventory/instructions can be found here:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/BlackIPA.pdf

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Old 05-13-2011, 06:16 AM   #4
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In the procedure, at the end of step 5 it tells you what to do with the corn sugar.

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Old 05-13-2011, 06:25 AM   #5
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Play it safe.....ALWAYS make a starter

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Old 05-13-2011, 12:15 PM   #6
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Mr Malty says without a starter you would need 270 billion yeast cells, or 2.8 packets of liquid yeast for this beer. So yes, I would make a starter.

If you are brewing Saturday, the starter should have been made on Tuesday or Wednesday to give the yeast enough time to reproduce sufficiently. Making it a few days earlier will also give you time to cold-crash and decant the spent wort from the starter - if you are one who likes to decant before pitching. I would still make the starter ASAP to get the yeast reproducing then just pitch the whole thing on Saturday when you are ready.

You can boil the corn sugar in 1 to 2 cups of water then add it to the boiling wort 10-minutes before the end of the boil. This way the corn sugar is fully dissolved when you add it to the wort. Pre-boiling the corn sugar makes it easier to add to your wort and the boil sterilizes the sugar.

The Black IPA (all-grain) is one of my favorite kits from Northern Brewer. I definitely plan on making this one again. I'd suggest letting this beer age for at least a month after bottling/kegging since the flavors mellowed a lot and the caramel/toffee notes were really popping at about 2-months old.

Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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There's no smack pack or liquid vial that has enough yeast for optimal pitching of a 5 gallon batch. You always need a starter to ramp up to optimal pitching.

I ignored starters for a long time, then joined a brew club. Everyone tasted acetylaldehyde (green apple/cidery off flavor) in my beers.

So I started making starters and paying a little more attention to my yeast health.

No more green apple.

I know guys that won't even make an IPA unless they have a cup of yeast slurry off a previous batch (like a pale ale) to use. A starter isn't even sufficient in their eyes...and they make some really good beer so I won't even debate it with them.

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Old 05-15-2011, 02:43 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for the advice and, well, helping me read what was printed on the sheet - if not so clearly! I made a 2L sized starter and let that work for a bit over 24 hours. I'll make it another day or two sooner next time. Note to self, swirling a working starter can be a very messy thing! That being said, the brew went smoothly and it sure didn't take very long until it was bubbling and foaming away. I switched to fermenting in a carboy with blow-off tubing this time which sure is a lot more interesting than staring at a bucket hoping it bubbles!

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:04 PM   #9
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Nice man, I'm brewing this as soon as my St. Paul porter finishes in primary. I plan on racking the porter to secondary and then racking the cooled wort right onto the safale-05 cake. 5 gallon decanted starter baby!

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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I personally brewed this kit and did not use a starter. It turned out great and finished out at 1.014 after 5 weeks in Primary. Of course using a starter would only help, but in my experience it was not necessary.

Tom



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