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Old 07-23-2012, 01:36 PM   #1
Mongzilla
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Default Yeast Pitching for Heavy Gravity Beers

Hi everyone.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be attempting a heavy gravity beer (target original gravity 1.085). This beer will be produced by a partial mash technique.

For such a heavy beer I have read it is recommended to produce a starter, to have enough yeast to ferment the beer completely. Below is the description of how I will produce my starter, and I would like to know if I'm approaching it in the correct way.

Yeast to be used: White labs, Abbey ale yeast, WLP530.

Step one: Tate yeast vial from fridge, leave 24 hours too warm to room temperature.

Step two: Boil 650 mL of water, adding half a cup of liquid malt extract. Gently boil for 15 min (aiming for an original gravity of 1.040)

Step three: Clean and sanitise, container and tinfoil lid.

Step four: When wort is at appropriate pitching temperature add to container and pitch yeast, and shake vigourously to aerate.

Step five: Allow yeast fermentation 24 hours, and a height of fermentation pitch into beer wort.

So is my procedure okay or is there any other things I should do.

I also heard if I allow my yeast to ferment, storing fridge for 24 hours, decant liquid above the base layers and the correct temperature add more starter wort. The starter will have double the strength.

Should I have a go at doing this for such a heavy beer, and also is it worth looking at washing my yeast after primary fermentation to use again. Or will the yeast be no good due to the beer being brew been of such high gravity.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 07-23-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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I'd highly recommend a stir plate from http://www.stirstarters.com/. I have one and it's great!

Then, you need to calculate your actual starter volume as I'm sure 650mL is not enough. Check out http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

According to Mr. Malty, you'd need a 4.63L starter with 1 vial or just pitch 3 vials. With intermittent shaking (i.e. shake the starter every time you walk by it for the first 24 hours) you can reduce your volume down to 2.67L. If you use a stir plate the volume reduces even further to 1.74L.

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Old 07-23-2012, 02:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Should I have a go at doing this for such a heavy beer
Definitely. Assuming you're doing a 5gal batch, 1 tube into a 1.085 OG beer will really stress out the yeast. As mentioned above, 650mL will probably not be enough by itself. The Mr. Malty calculator is a good starting point, but keep in mind it's a curve fit of an extrapolation, so the answers you get will change a lot depending on how you play with the parameters.

At a minimum, you'd probably want to do a 1L starter for a beer that big (2-3L would be better). If you've got the time, a 2 stage starter would be even better. This is basically what you're referring to here:

Quote:
I also heard if I allow my yeast to ferment, storing fridge for 24 hours, decant liquid above the base layers and the correct temperature add more starter wort. The starter will have double the strength.
If you did a 1-2L starter and then pitched the yeast from that into another 1-2L starter you should have plenty of yeast.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

I am going to have a go at doing a two-stage 1 L starter, for this beer.

I'll pop up a post to tell everyone how it goes, as soon as I have a chance

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Old 07-24-2012, 01:10 PM   #5
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If you go to http://yeastcalc.com it will set you up with a stepped starter

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Old 07-24-2012, 01:11 PM   #6
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Yeastcalc.com is a good source of information on making step starters. It gives the amounts for each step and what cell increase you will get from each. The cell count does not double with each step.

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Old 07-24-2012, 01:46 PM   #7
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I would pitch your liquid yeast into a 1-1.25L starter of 1.035-1.040 gravity. Let it ferment out for a day or two, cold crash, and decant off starter beer. Then make a 2.5-3L starter of 1.045 gravity and let that ferment, cold crash, and decant. Now you should have enough yeast for your 1.085 belgian.

BTW, I've found an easier way to make high gravity Belgians. Direct pitch the yeast vial or packet into a modest five gallon batch of Patersbier (~ 1.050 OG). Underpitching some, but it works for belgians where you want some esters. Makes a delicious session beer. After you rack the Patersbier off primary, use a sanitized measuring cup to pitch 1/3 or 1/2 of the yeast cake into your high gravity belgian. You will have an awesome ferment, get 2 belgian batches for your work, and will likely make a higher quality Triple/Quad.

I did this same thing for a high gravity RIS. I like to schedule 2 or 3 beers of the same yeast in a row to avoid some of the work with starters.

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Old 07-27-2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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Thanks all for your help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
I would pitch your liquid yeast into a 1-1.25L starter of 1.035-1.040 gravity. Let it ferment out for a day or two, cold crash, and decant off starter beer. Then make a 2.5-3L starter of 1.045 gravity and let that ferment, cold crash, and decant. Now you should have enough yeast for your 1.085 belgian..
Thanks for the info this is a starter plan I'm going to use for this beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
BTW, I've found an easier way to make high gravity Belgians. Direct pitch the yeast vial or packet into a modest five gallon batch of Patersbier (~ 1.050 OG). Underpitching some, but it works for belgians where you want some esters. Makes a delicious session beer. After you rack the Patersbier off primary, use a sanitized measuring cup to pitch 1/3 or 1/2 of the yeast cake into your high gravity belgian. You will have an awesome ferment, get 2 belgian batches for your work, and will likely make a higher quality Triple/Quad.

I did this same thing for a high gravity RIS. I like to schedule 2 or 3 beers of the same yeast in a row to avoid some of the work with starters.
That's a great idea all I need now is some more fermenting vessels.

Just a couple of quick questions.

I have three options for what containers to use for my starter. I have a 1 gallon (UK) glass demijohn, a 2 L soft drinks bottle (plastic, unknown type), or a 2 L plastic milk bottle.

I am worried about using the 1 gallon demijohn as there will be a lot of headspace, will this cause problems with infection?

The two plastic bottles I have; are these container suitable for yeast starters, and sterilisation with starsan.

Again thanks for your help.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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I would go with the 1 gallon glass demijohn. No issues with infection if you sanitize everything first. I like glass better since its harder to harbor bacteria (no scratches). All of my starters are done in a 1 gallon glass carboy. That said my primary fermenters are 6.5 gallon buckets and no infections yet. So you could probably use the soft drinks bottle too. I wouldn't use the milk bottle, just might be too hard to get completely clean.

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Old 07-27-2012, 12:04 PM   #10
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PET soda bottles are actually really nice for starters because you can clamp down the cap, shake to degas, vent, squeeze out the CO2, unsqueeze to intake air, then shake again to aerate. Hope that made sense.

Borosilicate flasks are even better because you can boil then cool the wort in the same vessel. But then you'll want a stirplate O2 and all that noise.

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