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Old 02-09-2008, 02:29 AM   #1
Jan 2008
Haymarket VA
Posts: 1,172
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Hey all,

I know mason jars are used for a lot of things here, but I thought I would share my recent experience. As a n00b, I am not kitted out like some of you guys. I dont have a fancy starter flask and stir plate, so I figured I would improvise. Im planning an imperial stout for this weekend (morebeer kit) and got the WL liquid yeast Cali Ale 001. Since its a "big beer" and I really want this one to turn out, I figured I would try to do it right.

I made my first starter last night, boiled 2 cups of water, ~1/2 cup DME and 1/8 tsp of wyeast nutrient. Put it all into a sanitized quart mason jar with the lid and ring also sanitized. It is about 3/4 full OG a little light at 1.03ish. Cooled in the fridge for about 30 minutes until it was 65. Pitched yeast, put lid on and shook the hell out of it. Loosened the lid to burp it and put it in the basement where its 68 - 70. Every once in a while I run down, screw the lid on tight, shake it up, and then loosen the cap to let the yeast farts out. Smells nice and doughy .

Hoping for a nice quick start to the stout this weekend.

If anyone has tried this and failed pls let me know and I will pitch the dry packet

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Old 02-09-2008, 02:32 AM   #2
Professor Frink
Professor Frink's Avatar
Sep 2006
San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,085
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Your starter looks fine. As far as the mason jar, that'll work, but there are many great alternatives though. For my starters, I use the glass returnable milk bottles you get at the grocery store, carboy bungs fit perfectly in there.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:44 AM   #3
Jan 2008
Haymarket VA
Posts: 1,172
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I am a bit confused about using a stopper in a starter (ha, that sounds funny), don't you want it aerated? Wont an airlock prevent good aeration?

I havn't seen a glass milkjug since.... uh. a long time.

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Old 02-09-2008, 04:26 AM   #4
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
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to achieve aeration in a starter, most will use a stir plate vs. the 'shake it' method.

I hit my starters with pure O2, and call it good enough for my needs.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
bradsul's Avatar
Sep 2006
Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,898
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I aerate mine with my aeration stone to start, I don't really touch it after that unless I need to bump it up. I use mason jars as well and I just leave the lid on loosely.

The airlock is simply to allow the pressure inside the vessel to release without letting anything else inside.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:50 AM   #6
Beer Maniac
SenorWanderer's Avatar
Aug 2007
Posts: 592
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mason jars are great for starters. i used them for quite a while in the beginning, but i'd try using a bigger jar. 3/4 of a quart just isn't enough volume to really allow the yeast to multiply enough to give you the pitch rate you need for a big stout. the starter size i use for a 5-6 gallon batch is 3/4 gallon in a 1 gallon jug. i make it 5-6 days before brew day and i pitch just the slurry that has settled.

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Old 02-11-2008, 02:54 AM   #7
Moonshae's Avatar
Jan 2008
Helmetta, NJ
Posts: 416
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What is the purpose of a starter? Does it just speed up the process, or is it necessary for some recipes?

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Old 02-11-2008, 02:58 AM   #8
...My Junk is Ugly...
BierMuncher's Avatar
Jan 2007
St. Louis, MO
Posts: 12,418
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I prefer used apple juice jars. Plastic. Large. Easy to handle. Drill a 1/2 hole in the lid and install an airlock.

I have four of them in my fridge now just waiting for some upcoming brews.

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Old 02-11-2008, 06:47 AM   #9
Got Trub?
Apr 2007
Washington State
Posts: 1,538
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Mason jars are great. I use them alot as they are plenty big enough for my session beers. They also fit in my pressure cooker so I can sterilize them and my starter wort. I bubble air from a cheap aquarium pump with a 2um filter as I haven't got around to building a stir plate yet.


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Old 02-11-2008, 05:40 PM   #10
Joker's Avatar
Nov 2007
Posts: 1,953
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Mason jars and tin foil has always worked fine for me.

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