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Old 06-11-2011, 03:34 AM   #1
DonnieZ
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Default Yeast Starter Blowout - Is my yeast still suitable to pitch?

Let me start out by saying this is my first post. I've been lurking here for a couple of months and I'm sure this is going to be an RDWHAHB moment. I always swore my first post wouldn't be one of those, but here it is. (My first problem is that I don't have any HB that's ready to drink yet!! My first batch is still bottle conditioning/carbonating!)

Working on my second batch of beer and I chose to brew the Hop Head Double IPA kit from Midwest supplies. 9.3LB of LME, what looks to be about 1.5 pounds of specialty grains and 6 ounces of hops (2 oz is for dryhopping..) The recipe calls for a SG in the 1.070-1.074 range and I plan on hitting that

I ordered the Wyeast 1056 packet with this kit. I've never dealt with the liquid yeast, however it was recommended to me at the by two different folks at Midwest Supplies. Both guys said to just pitch it as it comes out of the packet, however the packet says it's good for beers that are less than / equal to 1.06 SG and Mr. Malty said that I should have about a 2L starter with a fresh packet using a stir bar. 2L seems pretty big to me and I've read that Mr Malty can be a little excessive. However, I still wanted a starter to ensure that I had a good amount of healthy yeast that would get fermentation going sooner rather than later, and to ensure that there was enough yeast to get the job done.

So down to it..
This post and my starter were created on Friday evening. Brew day is on Sunday morning.

Made my starter wort - 1L water and 1 Cup DME. Boiled for 20 minutes and lost a good bit of volume, maybe around 300ml. Pitched yeast into the flask, added stir bar, stopper, and airlock. Set it on my homemade stir plate and finally got the bar spinning. Set it and went out to dinner with some friends.

Came back and I discovered this...


The fermentation of the starter wort blew out the stopper and started oozing out kraeusen. (This is about 2-2.5 hours after I pitched the yeast..) I put the stopper back on and now it's coming out through the airlock! I know it's probably not going to make it through the night without another blowout let alone all through the day tomorrow.

Now I understand with beer in the fermenter that blowouts happen and it's usually not a big deal. However, this is the yeast I'm going to be pitching in a day or so and if it's infected it's absolutely no good to me. Would you still roll with this or should I just forget the starter and go get a pack of 1056 from my LHBS tomorrow while I still can?

I made a "test starter" the other day - My first packet of yeast burst during shipping. Midwest Supplies replaced it promptly, however my curiosity got the best of me and I pitched about 1.5 tablespoons of what was left in the packet plus the yeast nutrient into a .75 litre starter wort. After about 48 hours I had lots of what I determined to be good looking yeast, however I didn't want to use it on the off chance it was infected. I did not have a blowout issue like this though!

Advice from all you seasoned brewers is seeked and appreciated!

-Don

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:50 AM   #2
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it's fine go ahead and pitch it. you don't need to boil the wort for 20 min, that's a lot of wort to lose.

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:52 AM   #3
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in the future don't use an airlock just run some foil over a flame (or sanitize it somehow) and mold it over the opening.

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:57 AM   #4
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Update:

It's pretty much blown out, filled the airlock and blew out all over my stir plate and countertop.. Definitely some healthy yeast here!!!

Thanks for the replies.

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Old 06-11-2011, 04:21 AM   #5
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umm...yeah its fine bro! pitch those monsters!

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Old 06-11-2011, 04:39 AM   #6
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Update - Dunked some foil in starsan and crimped it around the flask and tossed the airlock. So far it's not all over my kitchen counter.

I'm still a little skeptical, but I did some more reading and everybody seems to be doing the foil thing so I'm in...

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Old 06-21-2011, 05:31 PM   #7
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Wow that's some serious activity. Never seen it do that before.

I'm thinking of upgrading my 1L to a 2L. I was afraid this might happen to me some day.

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Old 08-08-2011, 02:09 PM   #8
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I've read that the yeast wants oxygen to grow/multiply. That is why a foil cover is good. Northern Brewers sells open cell foam stoppers. I put mine in the sanitizer and just squeezed out the extra liquid and installed in the flask after pitching the yeast. When I was boiling my wort it started to foam so I added 1 drop of FermcapS. The foam immediately disappeared.

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Old 08-08-2011, 02:53 PM   #9
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Here's the thing though... It wants oxygen in the wort, not above it. So, stir it up really good and mix some air into the wort. then let it sit.

CO2 is heavier than air (which remember, is ~80% nitrogen and only 19% oxygen), so with a foil or an airlock, the entire flask will fill up with CO2 and push the air out. The only way to introduce oxygen into wort is with an O2 tank and a stone (or an air pump, hepa filter, and a stone).

Foil has no advantage over an airlock. An airlock will keep bacteria out, foil will not. I suppose the only benefit is that it's easier, but an airlock certainly isn't witchcraft.

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Old 11-12-2011, 03:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonnieZ View Post

Made my starter wort - 1L water and 1 Cup DME. Boiled for 20 minutes and lost a good bit of volume, maybe around 300ml. Pitched yeast into the flask, added stir bar, stopper, and airlock. Set it on my homemade stir plate and finally got the bar spinning. Set it and went out to dinner with some friends.

Came back and I discovered this...




-Don
This exact thing happened to me. I have the exact same starter kit from Midwest, and I followed the exact same instructions as you. Mine was foaming like mad as well! I took the stopper and airlock off, and put foil (sanitized with star san, both sides) on. It settled down a bit, but still wanted to foam out. I finally decided to take it off the stir plate, since stirring seemed to enhance the foaming. I let it sit overnight and gave the flask a swirl every now and then. The next morning I crashed it for about 6 hours in the fridge, then took it out and brought it to room temp. I pitched what seemed to be a small starter for my batch, but pitched anyway. I got a slow start (about 19 hrs), but then it started fermenting. It's been in the primary for a week now. I haven't checked OG yet, but I still have a little airlock activity. I'm hoping for the best...

So, this weekend I decided I needed a larger container for my next starter. I decided to use a 2L pyrex measuring cup that has a plastic lid. I drilled a hole in the lid, put a rubber gromet I bought at lowes in it and put an airlock on. I started at 1L for the first 24 hrs on stir plate, and no foam problems. I stepped up with another 500 ml of wort the next day and left it stirring for another 24 hrs, still no foam problems. I stopped and cold crashed at that point. I ended up with a good starter, but it was still slightly small. Next time I will step up a 3rd time with about 250 ml and go an extra 12 to 24 hrs and see what happens... This solved the foam problem nicley, though..
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