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Old 10-28-2011, 02:06 AM   #1
Groo
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Default Starter (Not Enough Vials) Help

I'm hoping to brew a porter in the next couple of days but I checked with Mr. Malty and it says that I need 3 vials of yeast to make a 1.36 L starter. The problem is that I only have one vial and can't get any more yeast vials.

I'm new to the starter thing so I'm wondering if I can step up the starter to get the right amount. If possible how would I do this (volumes please)? Or would I be better off just making a 2L starter and pitching that.

Brew Details
Yeast Production Date: 8/5/2011
WLP002
1.062 gravity
5.5 gallons - no stir plate but I shake it a lot.

Thanks

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Old 10-28-2011, 02:11 AM   #2
SilverZero
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How big of a starter can you make (what size is your starter vessel)?

According to Brewzor, you can do a 2000mL starter, crash it and decant it, then pitch that into a 2500mL starter and get your 237b cells. That's for a simple starter, setting it to "stir plate" says that even a 1000mL starter stepped up into another 1000mL starter will be over 300b cells.

So I think, if you're shaking often and you do it right, you can do a 1000mL starter, crash it and decant it, then pitch that into another 1000L of wort to get you where you need to be. 1L is a lot of "bad beer" to pitch into a proper batch of wort, so I would decant the second step as well and then pitch the slurry, but lots of people don't bother.

A 2000mL starter even on a stir plate will only get you 186b cells. You'd actually need a 4500mL starter on a stir plate to get it in one batch.

Having said all that, any starter is going to help you out. It's not like it won't ferment if there's not enough yeast. A starter is basically meant to (a) test the viability of the yeast and (b) get a jump-start on fermentation to edge out any contaminants that might have found their way in. If you're clean and careful, even just the original vial would do the job, it just might take a little longer.

Do what you can, don't stress about it. Oh, and I do recommend Brewzor if you have an Android device, it's quite handy and lets you do things like calculate step-up starters, which is a serious pain with Mr. Malty IMHO.

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Old 10-28-2011, 02:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help. Adding a new element to my brewing is always stressful. I need to remember that it's only beer we're making!

I have a 2 L jug and a 3 L jug. Do you think 2500 mL in the 3L jug will erupt from the jug?

Any idea on a time frame between the first starter/2nd starter/pitching?

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Old 10-28-2011, 02:29 AM   #4
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I've only made two starters (on stir plates) and they didn't make any foam at all, except maybe a layer of bubbles like you'd get on a cup of coffee pouring from the carafe. You should watch it for sure, but I've heard that most starters don't really form much foam.

A starter is usually done by 36 hours, you could probably get away with 24 if you were in a rush, then crash it overnight if you can before decanting. I used a 1gal jug last time, and ended up actually siphoning the beer off the yeast instead of trying to tip it and decant it. Personal preference. If you aren't decanting, you can pitch the 2nd step at high krauesen (even though I'm not sure it will form one) pretty much anytime after a few hours. Some people do their starters in the morning and pitch that day.

If you have time, start one tonight, put it in the fridge Saturday morning, decant it and pour in a new batch of wort Saturday night, and pitch it Sunday when you brew (if that is in fact your brew day). If not, let it go until Sunday evening, then put it in the fridge and pull it out the morning of your brew day to let it come up to pitching temp (or decant it when it comes out).

Got less time? Start 1L tonight, put it in the fridge tomorrow night, decant and add your 2nd step (another 1L) Saturday morning, then pitch it Saturday afternoon. Everything helps.

If anybody else has a better method or better advice, feel free to correct or improve.

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