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Old 07-19-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
P_Bio
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Default Is my starter too big?

I am an average brewer so far, moving from extract to all grain. So I'm learning more and more as I go. I wanted to grow some of the Bell's yeast to make a two-hearted clone. Below is what I did:

5 bottles (last 10% of beer) added to 250mls of DME 1.02 - 3 days then cold crashed overnight

Decanted spent wort, resuspended yeast in 500ml of DME 1.02 - 2 days on stir plate then cold crashed overnight

Decanted spent wort, resuspended in 1L of DME 1.03 - 1 day on stir plate

Fermentation looks quite active in the flask

I am a biologist so I have access to my lab and microscopes. I took a sample of the yeast and counted the cells. I came out with 10 billion cells per ml which to me seems like a ton of yeast.

According to my pitch calculator I should be pitching my IPA with roughly 350 billion cells which is only 35mls of my 1L culture. But checking out everyone's starter protocols online they will actually pitch this entire liter culture which in my case would be 10 trillion cells total!!

That doesn't seem right to me, that's a ton more yeast than needed. Did I just over grow my culture, or are all yeast starters typically grown much higher than the exact pitch number that is needed?

I typically don't dork out and count my starter cultures from a smack pack, but this is my first time getting the yeast from a commercial beer so I really wanted to make sure my starters were growing well.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated! Btw, if this is indeed true and I'll have an extra 950mls of bell's yeast, anyone want some!?


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Old 07-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #2
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Wow it probably took a long time to count that many yeast cells!!


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Old 07-19-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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Not to jump to conclusions or have distrust in your methods; however, I'm guessing your counting technique is not accurate.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:32 PM   #4
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When you say you have a 1L culture do you mean that your slurry is 1L or your starter is 1L? Since you said that you made a 1L starter on your last step I'd venture to say that your slurry is nowhere near 1L. Maybe more like 100ml more or less.
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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It's pretty hard to over-pitch yeast, but 10 trillion cells I think would definitely qualify as over-pitched.

Well, you're the biologist. If you trust your cell count, then go with your calculations. Or maybe go with double the recommended pitch rate and pitch 70ml and see if fermentation takes off.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:16 PM   #6
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Nevermind, I figured out my mistake. You all were right, I'm a moron on this Friday! Made a simple counting error on my scope. I have 0.1 billion cells/ml, so that means I need this to grow a little bit more and I will be there.


Thanks again for your guys help!



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