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Old 10-10-2009, 03:22 AM   #1
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Default Wyeast Activator Starter

After the pack is smacked, how long does it need to sit before being added to the starter? Once it is added, how long should the starter sit (on the stir plate) before pitching?

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Old 10-10-2009, 03:44 AM   #2
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For the pack, it can be used in as little as a few hours (esp. since you're pitching to a starter) or up to a day or so - the bag will become obviously inflated which indicates healthy yeast activity.

For the starter on stir plate, I generally give it about 12-24 hours or so (depends more on my schedule) for a 1.5L starter.

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Old 10-10-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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I make my starters a few days ahead of time. The starter itself should finish up in 12 to 36 hours. I then pop it in the fridge for 2 days so it can settle. Decant off the liquid and pitch just the slurry. This way if you're doing constant aeration with a stirplate you're not introducing oxidized wort into your tasty beer.

For me, if I'm brewing on a Sunday, I pop the yeast pack on Wednesday night if it's fresh. Thursday morning I make a starter, Friday night I put it into the fridge, Sunday around 6PM I pitch it. If I'm concerned about the pack being older or taking longer, I'd just go ahead and do this all a day earlier. That's me, anyway.

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Old 10-10-2009, 02:09 PM   #4
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You can pitch the yeast immediately after smacking, but most people wait for the pack to swell first, just to verify that the yeast is alive and well. It takes anything from a couple hours to several days for the pack to swell depending on the variety of yeast and the age of the pack.
With a stir plate, I like to make the starter the evening before brew day, which gives it about 18 hour on the stir plate. For a propagator pack, an old pack, a small sample of washed yeast, or a pack that takes a long time (more than 12 hours) to start swelling; I leave it on the stir plate for an extra day.
Most of my starters are less than 1.5 liters, and I just pitch the whole starter into the fermenter. For larger starters, I chill for about 12 - 24 hours, decant the clear liquid, and just pitch the slurry.

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Old 10-10-2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
You can pitch the yeast immediately after smacking, but most people wait for the pack to swell first, just to verify that the yeast is alive and well. It takes anything from a couple hours to several days for the pack to swell depending on the variety of yeast and the age of the pack.
With a stir plate, I like to make the starter the evening before brew day, which gives it about 18 hour on the stir plate. For a propagator pack, an old pack, a small sample of washed yeast, or a pack that takes a long time (more than 12 hours) to start swelling; I leave it on the stir plate for an extra day.
Most of my starters are less than 1.5 liters, and I just pitch the whole starter into the fermenter. For larger starters, I chill for about 12 - 24 hours, decant the clear liquid, and just pitch the slurry.

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I smacked my pack last night around 7 and inoculated my starter this morning at 9; The pack was nice and swollen. If I brew tomorrow, it would have been on the plate for over 24 hours. If I brew later today, would I be giving the starter enough time?
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:30 PM   #6
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I'd leave it till tomorrow, but if you smacked last night and it was well swollen this morning, the yeast was active overnight, and you would probably be OK brewing later today.

Good luck.

-a.

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