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Old 03-28-2007, 09:34 PM   #1
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Default starter question

I have never made a starter before and tomorrow will be my first time. I don't have all the right equipment for it (flask for the airlock) so I will use a jar and just cover with plastic wrap or something. However, I have a question (after reading several posts and websites on starters.)

The yeast I have is Pacman yeast that came from a stout I made 3 months ago. I have it sitting in the fridge in a quart size jar. The yeast itself is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick on the bottom. Is this enough yeast for a 5 gallon brew? From the pictures I have seen on websites, it seems some get about 1/2" at most in a 1 L flask before pitching. I think my yeast is easily more than that.

Thanks for any help. I may do the starter anyway to make sure the yeast is viable, but I am not concerned there since it has only been three months.

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Old 03-28-2007, 09:58 PM   #2
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My pacman was washed and put in my fridge in January, but 2 weeks ago I opened it and it smelled bad! I threw it out and felt like crying and used dry yeast. So, smell it and make sure it's good!

Yes, you NEED to do a starter. If the yeast is about an inch thick, that's a good start! Make the starter (a s.g. of 1.040 is about right) and cool it. Put the yeast into an appropriate container- I put it in a growler or gallon jug with the cooled starter wort.

You need a starter for several reasons- one is to "wake up" the yeast a bit before throwing it into your beer. Of course, yeast proprogation is going on, and is the most important part. This also ensures your yeast is viable. You don't need a flask (although I covet Yuri's stirplate), any sanitized container will work.

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Old 03-28-2007, 10:46 PM   #3
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I just checked (as the quart size jar has gradations) - there is 100ml of yeast cake. I hope mine didn't go bad! I will check tomorrow when I make the starter.

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Old 03-28-2007, 11:15 PM   #4
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Smelled bad in what way Yooper?

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Old 03-29-2007, 12:14 AM   #5
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Like fecal material. It was nasty! It looked beautiful, but when I opened it I thought "dirty diaper" bad. It was washed several times (so no trub, just yeast), and my sanitation was good. It had been used once before. It was fine about a month before (I had two containers, and I used one) but it turned that last month. I don't know why.

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Old 03-29-2007, 12:16 AM   #6
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The nose knows...and if you can get it past the tongue...

That's why I always recommend those tests. If the yeast passes those chances are it's still good yeast.

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Old 03-29-2007, 04:44 AM   #7
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If someone has time:

Can you explain how to wash yeast? I have a batch in my primary now... would I rack my primary and just rinse the trub or is there more to it than that? I used Wyeast (I think was the name), the smack pack yeast and it is crusing in my primary.

Do you only keep special types of yeast because they are hard to find or do you maintain samples of any type of yeast you use? I feel like yeast is something that ultimately will be very important to understand (as best as possible) as I learn more and more.

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Old 03-29-2007, 12:04 PM   #8
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Do a search for "yeast washing". There are countless threads. Actually, 164! Great information.

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Old 03-30-2007, 03:00 PM   #9
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Well mine fortunately wasn't bad. I didn't wash it nearly like you did. Still had some hops smell and very diluted "beer" above it. I made a starter and hope to see some action in it today as I plan on brewing up the Dead Guy clone tomorrow night!

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Old 03-30-2007, 03:08 PM   #10
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If you have an airlock and a #2 drilled stopper, these make great starter containers (sanitized of course). I used a 5/8's paddle bit to drill the plastic cap.

Even if you don't have a stopper, a 2" section of vynil tubing connecting the airlock into the hole will provide a pretty secure seal.

yeaststarters_1.jpg

yeaststarters_2.jpg

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