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Old 08-23-2009, 07:36 AM   #1
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Default Yeast Starter Quick Questions

Made my first starter tonight. Used 200g DME and 2000ml of water. Boiled for 12 minutes. My questions:

  • I ended up with 1600ml total... massive boil off. Is this normal? If not, what negative effects might be expected?
  • I forgot to remove the yeast from the fridge 3-6 hours beforehand. I'm using White Labs American Ale WLP001. With room temperature starter-wort, I didn't think I could do anything other than pitch it in. Obviously, this will shock the yeast, but the survivors should still thrive in the starter... right?
  • If a recipe calls for 6lbs of DME, and we use 1/2 lbs of DME for the starter, do we brew with 6lbs of DME on brew day, or just 5.5lbs since the other 0.5 lbs (and the associated OG) are already included when the starter is added?

Thanks for you help. Cheers!
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Old 08-23-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bonneville View Post
Made my first starter tonight. Used 200g DME and 2000ml of water. Boiled for 12 minutes. My questions:
[LIST][*]I ended up with 1600ml total... massive boil off. Is this normal? If not, what negative effects might be expected?
Your gravity of the starter will be a bit higher than the target gravity of about 1.040. A bit of extra stress on the yeast but nothing to lose any sleep over.

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Originally Posted by Bonneville View Post
[*]I forgot to remove the yeast from the fridge 3-6 hours beforehand. I'm using White Labs American Ale WLP001. With room temperature starter-wort, I didn't think I could do anything other than pitch it in. Obviously, this will shock the yeast, but the survivors should still thrive in the starter... right?
Did you go right from the 35 degree fridge into a 70 degreeish wort? If you did that then yeah you shocked the yeast. You could end up with some fermentation oddities like a long ferment, or some off flavors, or it could all be good. Only the yeast know for sure how shocked they are. In the future in a similiar situation just cover your starter and let it sit while you warm the yeast. You can warm the yeast a bit quicker by putting the yeast tube in some water a bit cooler than room temp. Let the temp equalize for a hour or so then pitch.


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[*]If a recipe calls for 6lbs of DME, and we use 1/2 lbs of DME for the starter, do we brew with 6lbs of DME on brew day, or just 5.5lbs since the other 0.5 lbs (and the associated OG) are already included when the starter is added?
I normally just ignore the starter volume and brew with the repipe volumes that are called for. If you are brewing a heavier beer, the standard 1.040 gravity of a starter wort can actually work to dilute your final gravity not increase it, although inmost cases it is best not to take it into account at all. In the case of an unusually large volume of starter of 1/2 gallon or more, it is often best to do the starter a couple days in advance if possible and decant most of the beer and just pitch the yeast slurry.
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:20 PM   #3
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Thanks Zen.

When I woke up this morning, all the yeast had settled (approx 8 hours later). I expected to see some fermentation activity still. Or some kreusen. Or something.

As this is my first one, I don't know what to expect. Is this normal?

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Old 08-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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Yeast starters can cook up pretty quick. They often finish up over the first night with little visible acivity. If all the yeast is on the bottom I assume you are not using a stir plate.

You might see just a trace of krausen as a light ring around the edge at the top of the liquid, or you might not. The size of the yeast layer on the bottom is pretty much all the evidence you need that the starter was sucessful.

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Old 08-23-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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Yeah - No stir plate (yet).

Yeast layer did appear significant, so we'll toss it in and wait. Should know tomorrow.

Thanks.

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