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Old 10-30-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
GalenSevinne
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I am brewing a barleywine this Saturday and the LHBS guy encouraged me to use a starter for the yeast since this is a big beer. I have never done a starter and haven't really researched it much. So I did it last night and want to run what I did by you guys for feedback as well as ask what to do next.

I mixed about 600 ml of water with just over a cup of powder extract. Boiled it my 1000 ml beaker for about 5-10 minutes. Let the temps lower to 75 degrees and threw in the liquid yeast. This morning is was bubbling like crazy...so much that I put the beaker into my kettle and put the lid on just in case it blew the stopper out. I will let it do that for about 40 hours until I plan on pitching it into my 5 gallons of wort.

My question is do I pitch the entire contents of the beaker into the wort? Trub at the bottom and all? All of the liquid at the top? Where exactly is the yeast? After I empty the contents in should I also splash some water (sanitized of course) in the beaker and pour out the remaining crud into the wort so the entire remains of the starter are in the wort?

Obviously I am new to this and looking to do it right. I am planning on letting the barleywine sit until next fall before drinking so I want to give it the best chance for success.

Thanks!

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by GalenSevinne View Post
My question is do I pitch the entire contents of the beaker into the wort? Trub at the bottom and all? All of the liquid at the top? Where exactly is the yeast? After I empty the contents in should I also splash some water (sanitized of course) in the beaker and pour out the remaining crud into the wort so the entire remains of the starter are in the wort?
There's a lot of discussion regarding the best way to do this, so the first answer is that either way is acceptable at minimum.

Some people like to wait until the fermentation is done, decant the liquid, and pitch the yeast cake. The reasoning for this is that any "leftovers" from the yeast growing gets decanted. The thing to note here is you have to let the starter ferment out, and then let all the yeast drop to the bottom before pitching-- might not be something that's accomplished in 3 days. Seems borderline to me. When I was growing Pacman, I did this and waited a week.

Some people like to dump it in while it's fermenting vigorously so the yeast can "hit the ground running," so to speak. This is my personal preference. The reasoning for this is that you know that the beer is fermenting the second you pitch that yeast, and that the yeast doesn't have any lag time to come out of dormancy at all.

Again, either way is acceptable, since you're pitching a good quantity of a fresh and healthy dose of yeast. The manner in which you do it is something that some people do one way, and some another.
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Ya, what he said. I have done it both ways, but it find it easier to dump it in while fermenting instead of waiting for it to all settle out which usually requires refrigeration. If I'm making a big starter, I don't want all that starter beer in my carboy though, so I will put it in the fridge after a couple days (that's really all the time it takes to ferment out a 1.040 starter, especially with a stir plate), and decant the liquid off the top before pitching it. Either way works fine, it's really up to personal preference I guess.

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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I've been doing a lot of research on starters recently, because I'm really trying to perfect my yeast pitching rate practices, and I'll share what I've found out with you in regards to your circumstances.

600 mL of water with 1 cup of DME is going to be roughly a gravity of 1.040 (give or take) which is good. 40 points works out to about 10 Plato. According to a equation I've been working out from Saccharomyces post (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/cell...7/#post1454219):

600 (mL) * 10 (Plato) * 10M cells/(mL *P) = 60B cells.

You're not going to get much yeast growth in starter this size. With a barleywine, which has a minimum OG of 1.080 (according to BJCP) you probably should pitch at least 300B cells. To do this, you probably want a starter of at least 3 Liters.

However, like I said, I'm new to the whole pitching calculations thing. I've sent a PM to Sac (as far as I know, one of the most knowledgeable people here on the forums regarding yeast) to see if he can put in his 2 cents, and correct my f-ups.

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Old 10-30-2009, 05:17 PM   #5
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I am new to starters as well, and I have a question. I made a 2L starter from a smack pack, using 2C DME boiled for 10 minutes. I smacked the pack ~3hrs before making the wort, but I did not see the package balloon up. I have not seen any indicators of serious activity: krausen, major bubbling, etc, but I understand that this can happen in just a few hours with a small volume and you can miss it. How do I know if my starter is any good? I was planning to brew Saturday but I am a bit nervous about a bad starter. Thanks!

EDIT: I'd like to add that since the morning after adding the yeast to the starter wort, there's been about an inch thick layer on the bottom of the pitcher, but the liquid above does not appear particularly cloudy.

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Old 10-30-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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The layer on the bottom is your flocculated yeast and other trub. The best way to tell if your yeast did anything in your starter is the same way you would do it in your primary, take a hydrometer reading. 2 cups DME to 2 Liters will put you around 1.040, so if you had successful fermentation in your starter, you should be able to see a drop to at least 1.020, but I would think it should be a little lower than that. If you're still hovering around 1.040, then your yeast was probably bad.

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Old 10-30-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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The best way to tell if your yeast did anything in your starter is the same way you would do it in your primary, take a hydrometer reading.
Of course, excellent! An analytical way to set my mind at ease, or know for sure I need to go out for more yeast. Many thanks.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #8
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First take the stopper off replace with sanitized tin foil loosely covering the top then every so often you will need to swirl the starter to get some exchange of O2 and CO2.Remember a starters main objective is to up cell count without O2 they will stop reproducing . The starter you made isn't large enough for a barleywine you will need to step it up a few time if you don't have a large container you will need to refrigerate the starter then decant the liquid leaving a little liquid behind with the yeast that is on the bottom. Then start over with more wort.

Alternatively you can make up 2-3 quarts of wort in a pot cool then put it into a larger container 2 liter soda bottles work as do milk jugs just clean and sanitize as per usual then dump the entire flask into the wort and shake the crap out of it . Again loose tin foil and agitate it every so often.. Here is a starter I made in a 3 quart apple juice container the cap is on because I had just shaken the crap out of it .

there was about a 1/4 inch of yeast on the bottom before I stepped it up again this was for Lager so I needed a lot of yeast

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Old 10-30-2009, 07:21 PM   #9
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LHBS guy recommended a 600mL starter? Gaad... that isn't enough to have much if any yeast growth at all, unless your yeast is really old. I would pitch a minimum of a one gallon starter for a Barleywine unless you have a stir plate in which case you need 2L. DRoyLenz is right

Ref:
http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

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Old 10-30-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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First take the stopper off replace with sanitized tin foil loosely covering the top then every so often you will need to swirl the starter to get some exchange of O2 and CO2.Remember a starters main objective is to up cell count without O2 they will stop reproducing . The starter you made isn't large enough for a barleywine you will need to step it up a few time if you don't have a large container you will need to refrigerate the starter then decant the liquid leaving a little liquid behind with the yeast that is on the bottom. Then start over with more wort.

Alternatively you can make up 2-3 quarts of wort in a pot cool then put it into a larger container 2 liter soda bottles work as do milk jugs just clean and sanitize as per usual then dump the entire flask into the wort and shake the crap out of it . Again loose tin foil and agitate it every so often.. Here is a starter I made in a 3 quart apple juice container the cap is on because I had just shaken the crap out of it .

there was about a 1/4 inch of yeast on the bottom before I stepped it up again this was for Lager so I needed a lot of yeast

I have some dried extract left over from the 600ml mixture I made. maybe another 2 cups or so. Should I take that 2 cups tonight, boil it into 2-3 qrts of water..cool...pour it into a larger sanitized container and then pour the 600 ml mixture into that? And it will be ready enough to throw into my 5 gallon batch tomorrow afternoon by 4:00 or so?

Sorry about the OCD nature of my question...never done this before and just want to be right. Thanks!
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