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Old 12-09-2009, 01:24 AM   #1
jjacobs
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Default Making a starter tonight - need help.

I'm brewing up an IPA in the next couple of days and I have a couple of questions. I've made a few small starters in the past just to get the yeast active and ready to ferment. Today I went onto the calc on Mr Malty (http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html) and it's saying for my OG of 1.061, I need a 1.64 l starter. I have a 5000 ml flask that will be PLENTY big for this size of a starter - but my question is do I need to step the starter up to this size, or do I just boil 1.75 l of water with the DME for 10 minutes or so and then pitch the yeast after cooling? Also, how do I calculate how much DME to use for this amount of water to get a starter OG of around 1.040?

Thanks for the help.


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Old 12-09-2009, 01:38 AM   #2
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I am not entirely sure but I think you could make one starter and have good results. Jamil recommends 1 gram of DME to every 10 ml of starter wort.


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Old 12-09-2009, 03:20 AM   #3
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for ~1.040 I use 1 oz of DME for every cup of water (1:1 ratio of pounds to gallons). A liter is just over a quart, but it'd be roughly 4 oz DME for a liter of water, or 115ish grams. Make a liter (or quart) of wort, cool it, whip the everlovin crap out of it with a sanitized wisk, toss it in your flask with the yeast and relax, because those yeasties are doing all the work for you.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:27 PM   #4
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You'll be fine pitching the 1 vial into that volume of starter wort.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:43 PM   #5
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jjacobs, You seems to be in a hurry ( I understand ).
I agree with Blender, use 1 gram of DME to every 10 ml of starter wort, or 100 gr DME for every litre of starter. I apology if I'm talking metric here but being Belgian born I'm completely United States customary units impaired.
Something it's not clear to me, what kind of liquid yeast brand are you using
? Sedge mentions " 1 vial" so I guess you are not using Wyeast pack right ?
Whitelab ? ( great yeast by the way ).
Just be sure to aerate the starter ( and better for your next batch get a stirplate ).
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:05 AM   #6
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Follow on question to the OP.

With a starter size of 1.64L into an IPA, should the starter be decanted before pitching or is it okay to pitch the whole 1.64L?

I'm in a similar situation although I'm actually making a 2L starter with 2 cups of light DME following the instructions on the Wyeast propagator smack pack. I'll be brewing my first ever IIPA with a 1.072 SG.

I went to the Mr. Malty website, but only after I had followed the Wyeast instructions and had the starter going on the stirplate. The website called for a 1.65L starter when I tweaked the settings for one starter pack - unless I did it wrong.

I plan on brewing Sunday. The question is pitch the whole starter or decant first and pitch the slurry?
1) Pitch the whole starter: starter going for 72 hours
2) Pitch the slurry: starter on stirplate for 48 hours, cold crash in refrigerator for 24 hours and decant

What do you guys think?

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Old 12-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #7
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tincob, you mentioned a stirplate. That's good because I recently purchased one and used it to make a 1.5 litre starter using Wyeast 2633 oktoberfest lager blend. I was very impressed by the reduced lag time .
You are brewing an ale , so I don't see any reason to refrigerate the starter.
I would stir the starter for 48 hours and on sunday pitch the hole 1.65 volume at room temperature.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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I'll try to answer questions I'm seeing above.

All this pertains to stir plate starters.

This is info I consider to be solid, from reputable sources:
  1. Using DME, a rate of 100g/L of final volume will produce ~1.040 wort (if using a flask, add 100g/L final volume of DME, then fill to final volume with water & boil)
  2. Pitching a whole 1.6L starter into an IPA should not have a noticable impact on flavor
  3. If you're going to full pitch like that, do so in the 16-24 hour range (peak activity, most budding is complete)
  4. If you're going to decant first, leave on the stir plate for no more than 36 hours, then allow to rest for 8-12
  5. Do not run a starter for more than 48 hours maximum on the plate. After 48 hours, you're doing more harm than good since the yeast have consumed all available resources, and will begin to consume themselves
  6. After stirring, if you plan to rest & decant, optimally do not rest longer than 36 hours
  7. If rest must be extended longer than 48 hours (brew day got delayed... etc) give the yeast fresh 1.040 wort of at least original starter volume (or step up for multiple batches), and start the whole process over on the plate

These are things I do myself, that are just my opinion:
  • Use the calculator
  • I can my starter wort in 1Qt jars. This produces sterile ~800ml volumes per jar, with cold break material in the jar too
  • Cold break material goes into the starter with the wort when I start, providing needed nutrients for the yeast, and particles for CO2 nucleation sites
  • Stir for 24-36 hours at ~72f, regardless of strain. This has nothing to do with the temp range the yeast manufacturer recommends. We're making cells, not beer, so off flavors don't matter. Actual time is based on a visual inspection. When no more tiny CO2 bubbles are running up the inside of the flask and the yeast starts to come out of suspension, it's done
  • Rest for 8-12 hours at desired pitching temp. Cool brewday wort to same temp. Decant spent starter wort, refill flask with brewday wort, return to stir plate for 15 minutes. Fill fermenters, pitch, huzzah!

With the yeast strains I have used (all White Labs) I have found a visual inspection to be the best way to tell when the stir is complete. The yeast will start to flocculate even while the plate it still running, which creates tiny clumps of yeast cells swirling around in the wort. It looks like swirling clouds inside the flask. I let that continue until there are no more visible CO2 bubbles coming out of suspension, and then shut it down. The bubbles are REALLY tiny, you've got to look quite close, in the uppermost 1/4" of the liquid. They run up the surface of the glass.

Again, this is based on my process. I run my plate at a speed where there is a dimple in the top of the liquid, not a vortex. If you ran it at vortex speed, I have no clue how that would change behavior.

I have never used a strain that flocculates so poorly that this visual test doesn't work. That said, it is possible that some will not flocculate in suspension and I just haven't seen them. In that case, I'd still use the bubble test in the 24-36 hour range.

I have used the following strains with my process, and all have given stellar results:
  • WLP002 - English Ale
  • WLP051 - California V Ale
  • WLP004 - Irish Ale

Cheers!
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #9
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Thanks eimar and cscade for your answers.

I started my starter Thursday night and due to unforeseen changes my brewday has now been pushed to Sunday.

Based on the detailed answer cscade provided, I will take the starter off of the stirplate on Saturday morning (which will be at about 36 hours) and rather than have it rest for 36 hours, I will cold crash to get all the yeast out of suspension (including the slow floculating ones).

On brew day, I'll bring the starter up to just a little under the wort temperature, decant the liquid and pitch the slurry.

Had things worked out like I planned, it would have been easier just pitching the whole thing after about 24 hours on the stirplate but these things happen.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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for accurate measures when i made starters i get the appropriate volume for a starter first then i figure out how much dextrose i would use for that batch take the batch size in L or Gal and divide by the size of the starter. take your sugar count and divide that by the same # you get. essentially replicating the same batch smaller size though. hope this helps.


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