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Old 07-18-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
Bradinator
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I am planning a Belgian Strong Dark and was considering using a small amount of yeast I harvested several weeks ago to start it. After 7 or so days I was going to move it to the secondary and pitch a second strain of yeast on top to let it finish it off while its sits around for the next several months.

I am sure this has been done before, but I am curious what everyones experiences were from it.


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Old 07-18-2011, 11:11 PM   #2
Reno_eNVy
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I'd say it's a bit of a redudant process. After 7 days the majority of the fermentation will have occured and whatever flavors you would have hoped to get out of the second strain will be negligible since the majority of the yeast flavors come from reproduction and the height of fermentation.

Just leave it in primary so the original yeast can clean up after themselves. You can leave your beer on the yeast for months and it'll be fine.

Sorry, I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer... just my $0.02


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Old 07-18-2011, 11:29 PM   #3
944play
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You don't want to start with too little yeast, but you can kinda get around the issue by holding back sugar additions on a strong ale until after most of the maltose ferments out. Make syrup out of granulated sugars so you don't get a beer volcano from nucleation caused by crystals.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
Bradinator
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I appreciate the input actually . Basically if I choose to use multiple strains its better to use them together. To be honest I just want to use the yeast I harvested... I am just not very confident I managed to harvest enough to get a decent fermentation for such a big beer.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:28 AM   #5
Reno_eNVy
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Why second guess how much viable yeast you have? Make a 1.0 liter starter and take the guess-work out of the equation.

Or check out the Mr Malty yeast pitching rate calculator to get an exact starter volume.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
Bradinator
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Thanks for the advice Reno! I have never done a starter before as I have never used liquid yeast. I will give it a shot and let you know how it goes.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:51 PM   #7
944play
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradinator View Post
I have never done a starter
Well, yes, you have. You harvested yeast off a previous batch, making that effectively a starter for your Strong Dark.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:20 PM   #8
Bradinator
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Sort of... I actually harvested it from a bottle of Unibroue...

I can see that the starter process is similar to the half-assed approached I used to harvest the yeast from the bottle. I did some additional reading and I am wondering if I should be stacking this one to get the yeast to reproduce before pitching as I imagine the cell count is quite low.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
Reno_eNVy
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Naaaaah no need to do a step-up starter. I'm sure there are plenty of viable yeast in your harvest batch that they'll reproduce to proper numbers nice and quick. I don't remember the EXACT number but yeast will always reproduce to their ideal concentration... I believe something like a couple billion cells per milliliter.

Now I'm going to make some assumptions so I can give you a general idea of what you should do.... if any of these are drastically wrong please let me know! I'm assuming:
- You don't have a stir-plate so you'll just be swirling the container every so often to keep yeast suspended and to keep introducing O2 so reproduction goes smoothly.

- You're going to have 5.5 gallons of wort at an OG of 1.075 (just guessing, based on Belgian strong OG's)

- You've harvested roughly the equivalent of one commercial yeast vial/pack



With these assumptions (since you've given me no information ) it looks like you're going to need a ~2.5L starter. If you have a container large enough for that then Mazel Tov! Just make 2.5L of wort at ~1.040 OG and add your yeast. Let it do it's thing for 24-48 hours and let it cold crash (put it in your fridge, covered in a sanitary manner) until you have a nice yeast cake on bottom and a mostly transparent liquid on top. When you're ready to pitch your yeast, decant the top liquid off, but leave a little bit so you have a medium in which to suspend your yeast cake. Swirl that mofo up until you think all of the yeast is in suspension, then pitch into your wort. DONE!

If not (say you have something that can comfortably hold 1.0 - 1.25L) then make a 1L starter, let that work for 24-48 hours, cold crash it 12-24 hours, decant off the liquid (your yeast will make a nice cake at the bottom from cold crashing so you don't need the liquid on top), and add another 1L of wort.... this is the step-up starter you spoke of.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #10
Bradinator
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Thats great info. You were right on all the non-numerical assumptions and very close on the volume/OG (5.0 Gallons, OG: 1.085).

I am under the impression that any sort of container, so long as its clean and covered would work so I am sure I can find something.

Thanks for your help Reno!


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