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Old 02-11-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default Starters worth it really?

2/8 I pitched a vial of WLP029 in an 800mL starter made with .5lb of light DME. Never again! Sticky all over,took a couple days to get working & finish. This morning 2/11,it has so much dissolved co2 the trub is dancing up & down like sea monkeys (remember those? Brine shrimp) so that the yeast won't finish settling.
This over & above the fact that I wound up with more trub than yeast. And those vials are pretty good size,like 1/3C of yeast in'em. Beer late getting brewed waiting on the starter to settle. And I had my battery die on me going for more DME cause I didn't read the damn bag-I'd pulled the wrong one out of the stash. I should've used less DME in it. Maybe it would've settled sooner. But,after all this,getting two trub layers with some yeast in the middle is it.
The vial says to just warm it up to room temp,shake to suspend yeast & pitch in beers with OG up to 1.070. Or if it's getting old,either way make a starter. Other than being old or bigger than 1.070,don't bother. I never made such a mess for nothing! Now I got brew ingredients I can't use yet & a dead battery,out of beer & smokes. Beer from last batch has that silty,fine grain stuff taking forever and a day to settle out. My youngest wants to go to the dr with a sore back. So if I'm lucky & can charge the car enough to start it,I can't turn it off,so I can't get out. Damn!

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
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I can't believe that I'm seeing you post this man.... we all know the importance of pitching enough yeast, and healthy yeast. I'm not getting your reasoning either, 3 days into fermentation... of course it's going to be cloudy, laden with co2 and not yet settled. RDWHAHB, brothaman, you're making delusional statements in your time of stress.

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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Wait, you are blaming your car battery dying on your starter??

But yeah, you don't "HAVE" to make a starter if you don't want to. Maybe just try brewing a few batches without one and compare?

I find with the proper sized flask and the stirplate (And canned starter wort) making a starter is quick and easy. And I know I can make one up a few days before and it will keep for a while with proper storage for a couple of weeks, so it's ready to use when I'm ready for it to be ready.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:49 PM   #4
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I don't know how you managed to make such a headache out of making a starter.

What is this battery you are talking about?

I have found that the quality of my brew has really increased since I started making starters....On my typical 1.060 - 1.070 brew I find that it really decreases time needed to bulk condition in primary and decreases bottle conditioning time (more healthy yeast, faster carb up time), if I bottle (I have a keg set up as well).

I also usually make a starter 1/3 larger than what I need so I can save that extra third and not have to buy yeast every time I brew.

I also use FermCapS (a couple bucks online or at HBS). I prevents boil overs completely, a couple drops in the starter and no boil over. I'll never make a starter without it from now on.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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Half a pound of DME in 800ml of water? Do some reading man...

Seething smells troll-y in this thread.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #6
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Well for one 0.5 lb is about 230 grams, so you used about 3 times the DME you should have. Not sure what you mean by a trub layer in your starter, but I would assume you just completely stressed the yeast. No wonder it's having trouble finishing.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:55 PM   #7
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I'm more curious about where all this trub came from when it was new yeast and DME. Making starters is easy once you get your workflow down. Measure out your water into a big pot, get it boiling, measure out your DME in advance, move water off the heat for a moment to add DME, mix it in, then get it back up to boil. Boil for a bit, cool it, then funnel into flask and add yeast. Spin for a few days, then cold crash if you wish and pour off the clear beer on top. Easy
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Negativereaction hit it right on the nose - starters, done correctly, are not difficult. Done wrong, and they can be a major pain in the butt. As other folks have brought up though, not sure where you're getting trub from in there, unless the extra high gravity is generating way more hot break than normal...
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:08 PM   #9
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I have yet to do a starter, I do however always re-hydrate my dry yeast now instead of just pitching it in.

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Old 02-11-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HollisBT View Post
Half a pound of DME in 800ml of water?
Bingo - the starter gravity would have been over 1.100! Should have used ~~3 oz. DME (800 ml water and 80 grams extract), to get a starter in the range of 1.035 to 1.040.

This could explain the large amount of trub, as well as the "unsettled" yeast - you sure gave them a lot of work to do!

ETA: And if it turns out that the problem was in converting units, don't sweat it man. NASA once crashed a probe on Mars because someone forgot to convert units. So if it can happen to rocket scientists ...

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