"washing" from a starter? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
4Corners2Rise
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Dec 2012
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I am looking to brew 2 different recipes (5 GAL ea.) in the next few weeks and I intend to use the same yeast strain for both of them. I currently have one smack pack of said yeast on hand. I will pitch a starter, and am wondering if I can "wash" the yeast from the starter rather than waiting for the end of the first fermentation. Basically I am trying to get 2X yield from the smack pack and then divide it.

Here is what I am thinking.... Go through the normal smack pack activation, pitch a starter, let it ferment and populate, crash it, decant it, go through the typical washing process, and end up with 2 or more "washed" populations with which to begin the starters for both of the future batches.

Any thoughts or concerns? The fact that I don't find any results for this through numerous searches concerns me...I can't be the first guy to think of this, but I am inexperienced enough that I fear it may be a dumb question.

I know there are other ways to approach this (e.g. wash after primary, buy another smack pack), but where is the fun in that? Looking for a bit of flexibility and $ savings, that is all.



 
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:10 AM   #2
bob3000
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why would you need to wash a starter? I would just make 2 large starters and pitch half a pack of yeast in each. once fully fermented keep in fridge until needed.

Messing around with it any more will just increase your possibility of infection.



 
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
4Corners2Rise
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Well I only have one Erlenmeyer Flask, so I guess I didn't think about dividing the pack in to 2 starters.

I suppose, to simplify, I could just pour half of the starter in to a fridge jar and pitch the other half in to the wort. Skip the washing process and just put half of it to sleep for a bit.

Perhaps I was over complicating it, but I guess the root of the question is still valid, can we propagate/multiply yeast outside of the main batch?

 
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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I agree with bob. Just make a double sized starter pitch half and retain the other half for the next batch. Or step the second half up again and pitch half and save other half for a rainy day.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:38 AM   #5
4Corners2Rise
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilSwillBasementBrews View Post
I agree with bob. Just make a double sized starter pitch half and retain the other half for the next batch. Or step the second half up again and pitch half and save other half for a rainy day.
That makes sense, I guess I was thinking of stepping them both up again to increase the counts. What I am hearing from both of you is that there is no need to go through the washing process though. Just grab some sanitized jars and split the starter.

 
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:17 AM   #6
HopOnHops
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I got a 2L flask in case i ever brew a big monster. Most of the time ill pitch about 1L and get 2-3 mason jars full of starter. Its like having unlimited yeast with the exception of using a lot of DME. I think its worth it because even with new yeast ill still make a starter

 
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:30 AM   #7
el_caro
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This is quite a good explanation.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/...-approach.html

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
4Corners2Rise
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@El Caro. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thankfully there are people like you who can still outperform search engines.

 
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:45 AM   #9
bob3000
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Looks interesting. I wonder how long you can store the yeast under beer as opposed to water.
I seem to remember Jamil saying when he washed yeast he would store the slurry with a little beer on top and then wash it when he is ready to grow up a starter.

 
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:35 PM   #10
Jukas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Corners2Rise View Post
I am looking to brew 2 different recipes (5 GAL ea.) in the next few weeks and I intend to use the same yeast strain for both of them. I currently have one smack pack of said yeast on hand. I will pitch a starter, and am wondering if I can "wash" the yeast from the starter rather than waiting for the end of the first fermentation. Basically I am trying to get 2X yield from the smack pack and then divide it.

Here is what I am thinking.... Go through the normal smack pack activation, pitch a starter, let it ferment and populate, crash it, decant it, go through the typical washing process, and end up with 2 or more "washed" populations with which to begin the starters for both of the future batches.

Any thoughts or concerns? The fact that I don't find any results for this through numerous searches concerns me...I can't be the first guy to think of this, but I am inexperienced enough that I fear it may be a dumb question.

I know there are other ways to approach this (e.g. wash after primary, buy another smack pack), but where is the fun in that? Looking for a bit of flexibility and $ savings, that is all.
What I do, when I do this is take a mason jar and fill it 1/3 - 1/2 way with distilled water and then run it through the pressure cooker to sterilize it and let it cool at least over night. I make sure my starter is big enough to be able to decant off a couple hundred ML and still have enough yeast for the beer on deck.

Then when the starter is finished I open the mason jar and pour off enough starter into it to bring it 95% full. Then the jar and starter both go into the fridge to settle out and be decanted when I use either. The main reason I add distilled sterilized water is to remove airspace from the jar and I don't normally want to use 500ml of my starter.

However I got tired of having dozens of jars of yeast in my fridge and it was pissing my wife off, so I've started shifting to slants for my yeast banking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnHops View Post
I got a 2L flask in case i ever brew a big monster. Most of the time ill pitch about 1L and get 2-3 mason jars full of starter. Its like having unlimited yeast with the exception of using a lot of DME. I think its worth it because even with new yeast ill still make a starter
DME is expensive here, $18 for 3lbs which will only make 14L worth of 1.037 OG starter. I've started offsetting this by collecting third runnings from the mash of higher gravity beers (1.071+). I can generally get in the 1.030 - 1.036 range with just a little boil down to volume or DME addition.



 
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