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Old 02-11-2009, 02:15 AM   #1
Oct 2008
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 298
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I'm trying round two at a yeast starter/reconstitution. I've boiled some water + light DME to get about 1.040 SG and am letting the liquid cool before I throw my yeast in there. I threw on an air lock filled with vodka, and perhaps a bit too much at that. A small amount was pushed from the airlock into the jug and is now thoroughly mixed with my wort.

Only a small amount -- probably about 3-4 ml. Will this cause problems for the yeast?


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Old 02-11-2009, 02:21 AM   #2
Maveric777's Avatar
Dec 2008
Texarkana, Tx.
Posts: 331

Don't sweat it at all bud. Folks been using vodka in air locks (myself included) with no issues at all.

Your safe....
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:24 AM   #3
enderwig's Avatar
Nov 2007
Dickinson Texas
Posts: 1,435
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Most people just put foil on a starter not an airlock, it benefits the starter to have a fresh supply of oxygen through the process. Give this a listen, tons of good starter info.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
EvilTOJ's Avatar
Dec 2005
Portland, OR, Oregon
Posts: 6,401
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OH yea, you don't want any alcohol to get into contact with the yeast, otherwise it will kill it for sure!

OK I'm totally kidding. But I had you going, didn't I? Yeast is quite alcohol tolerant (hell, it makes alcohol as a byproduct, one of the reasons we do this, right?) and a few drops won't hurt anything.
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

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Old 02-11-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
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Vodka won't kill it, but nothing can grow in it.

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Old 02-11-2009, 03:53 PM   #6
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
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Straight Vodka will kill yeast, but a few ml in a batch of beer isn't a problem. Even an entire fifth in your fermenter wouldn't hurt anything.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
Feb 2009
the far far east
Posts: 142
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so what abv does yeast typically start to slow down / die at?

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:55 PM   #8

Originally Posted by CnnmnSchnpps View Post
so what abv does yeast typically start to slow down / die at?
Entirely yeast-strain dependent.

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Old 02-11-2009, 06:38 PM   #9
HairyDogBrewing's Avatar
Feb 2008
Mechanicsburg, PA
Posts: 571
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Some strains can ferment up to 25%.
Most are around 10.

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Old 02-11-2009, 08:22 PM   #10
nebben's Avatar
Nov 2008
Now legal in Utah
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And even then, the yeast doesn't necessarily die at those percentages, but they start to get so wasted that they have a hard time doing yeast-like things, like reproducing and making more alcohol.

Like the guys in the movie Beerfest, yeast can be trained to deal with higher ethanol levels if done slowly and methodically. Vodka drops that hit the wort will only contribute to a teeny % of alcohol in the mix. Think butterfly flapping its wings and *not* causing a hurricane.

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