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Old 03-18-2010, 12:18 AM   #1
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Default Yeast starter

How long is too long to wait before pitching a starter? im assuming as long as 2 months or so....i wanna do my first starter tonight and I am going out of town this weekend so instead of brewing friday and then leaving my newly brewed beer completely unmonitored for the first two days i think i wanna brew on monday. im assuming my yeast will be good as long as i throw it in the fridge on friday

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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The starter needs 24 hours for the yeast to grow. It's fully finished after 48 hours. After that it should really be stored in the fridge. With nothing to eat, the yeast will slowly start to die. I'd say anything past 7-10 days and you should be making a new starter.

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:13 AM   #3
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so besides increasing yeast cells what is the advantage to a starter if you make one then chill it in the fridge over night to have the yeast cells drop...wouldnt this practically be the same thing as pitching right out of the vial but just with more cells?

i could see if you didnt refrigerate it that the yeast would be in full motion but if you put in the fridge doesnt that leave back at square 1 but with just more cells?

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by loxnar View Post
so besides increasing yeast cells what is the advantage to a starter if you make one then chill it in the fridge over night to have the yeast cells drop...wouldnt this practically be the same thing as pitching right out of the vial but just with more cells?

i could see if you didnt refrigerate it that the yeast would be in full motion but if you put in the fridge doesnt that leave back at square 1 but with just more cells?
Yes, that's pretty much the point of a starter. The vials (and smack packs) just don't have adequate cell counts, even though they say "pitchable" on them. So, if you make a starter and increase the cell count, they do become pitchable.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:29 PM   #5
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Not only do you have more cells but if you have very healthy cells at the end of the starter. The reason to make a starter is to provide enough (number of cells) healthy yeast to properly ferment your beer.

As an alternative your could buy several packs of yeast and avoid the starters. Most people do the starter because it's easy and way cheaper then buying multiple tubes of yeast.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:36 PM   #6
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i think i wanna brew on monday. im assuming my yeast will be good as long as i throw it in the fridge on friday
Many observers suggest pitching at "high krausen." I think you have two options here: (1) delay making your starter as late as you can, make a small starter, then pitch it all into your beer as soon as you can upon your return which should be close to coinciding with high krausen (2) make a bigger starter immediately, go away as planned, wait for it to ferment out which could be largely completed by the start of next week depending on the yeast strain, decant the beer off of it, and pitch the yeast cake that settles out into your new batch.

Be sure to add yeast nutrient to your starter if you have some.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:50 PM   #7
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For my second batch, I made a yeast starter with 600ml of water, and 1/2 cup DME. It was almost exactly 36 hours from pitching the yeast in the stater to pitching the yeast in the fermenter.

Reading some threads on the topic, it seems I might have done a few things wrong.

For next time, should I use more water (1L), more DME (1 cup) and a yeast nutrient? What do you recommend as a nutrient?

I think I had about a 10 hour lag time or so with this batch @63 degrees. My first brew, which was dry yeast, started up in about 6 hours at 70 degrees.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:56 PM   #8
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For my second batch, I made a yeast starter with 600ml of water, and 1/2 cup DME. It was almost exactly 36 hours from pitching the yeast in the stater to pitching the yeast in the fermenter.

Reading some threads on the topic, it seems I might have done a few things wrong.

For next time, should I use more water (1L), more DME (1 cup) and a yeast nutrient? What do you recommend as a nutrient?

I think I had about a 10 hour lag time or so with this batch @63 degrees. My first brew, which was dry yeast, started up in about 6 hours at 70 degrees.
I would recommend measuring DME by weight (ounces) instead of by volume (cups). It is much, much, much more accurate. After that, 4 ounces of DME per 1L of starter (after boil) always gets me a gravity of 1.040.

A lot of people don't like it when I say they should go buy a scale. Scales are cheap. I really don't understand the aversion. You don't need a fancy digital one.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:04 PM   #9
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I would recommend measuring DME by weight (ounces) instead of by volume (cups). It is much, much, much more accurate. After that, 4 ounces of DME per 1L of starter (after boil) always gets me a gravity of 1.040.

A lot of people don't like it when I say they should go buy a scale. Scales are cheap. I really don't understand the aversion. You don't need a fancy digital one.
I have a scale. I'll use it next time. Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:07 PM   #10
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By the way, the amount of starter you need depends on the viability of your yeast, the type of yeast (ale or lager), the size of your batch of beer, the original gravity of your beer, and how much/often you are aerating the starter. The Mr. Malty Pitching Rate Calculator has never let me down.

It seems that the minimum starter it recommends, though, is 1L.

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