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Old 05-27-2008, 03:21 AM   #1
Jun 2007
Wichita, KS
Posts: 70

I had a plan ....

My plan was to bottle my batch of stout, then start a batch of Hefewiezen (Austin Homebrew kit) in the soon to be vacated fermenter. I got the White labs pitchable tube out of the fridge this morning, so I would be ready to go this evening. However, towards the end of bottling, the thunderstorms really picked up steam and water started seeping into my basement, so I had to take a 1/2 hour and get the water away from the basement windows and redirected elsewhere. After dealing with the water, I was exhausted, so I finished up the bottling from where I had left it, and figured I would just make a starter.

However, I could not find my starter instructions, so I decided to try it from memory. I boiled 500 ML of water, and mixed in 3/4 cup DME. The starter boiled over, so I added some more water, and attempted to add more DME ... but it clumped and wouldn't go through the funnel. I poked it through, and it stuck on the edge of the flask. So I poured a little water to wash it down into the flask. ... ... I waited for it to start to boil again, then reduced the heat and waited... after boiling for 10 minutes, I put the flask in the sink to cool and checked the internet for better starter instructions --- It looked like i was only supposed to use 1/2 cup DME, not 3/4 ... not to mention the tweaking I had done ... - and since it was a Hefe, I should have used wheat?? I decided that if the O.G. of the starter solution was close to the O.G. of the HEFE I was planning I would go ahead and make the starter. However, the O.G. was 1.68, while the Hefe O.G. is in the mid 1.5Xs.

At this point I am tired and grumpy. Rather that risk my vial of yeast on haste, I decided to bag the starter idea and just leave the tube of yeast out to be ready for tomorrow.

My question to the experts are ... what should I have done? What should I do next?
Primary - Prehopped Export Stout Kit
Primary - Ed's Apfelwein
Bottled - Amarillo Pale Ale kit from Midwest

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Old 05-27-2008, 03:56 AM   #2
Thalon's Avatar
May 2007
St. Louis Park, MN
Posts: 356

I just brewed on Saturday after not having brewed since last Fall. I had made a starter but due to other circumstances I found myself without any tool to measure the DME, so I just totally guessed it. If I had to guess, I'd say my starter wort was about the same percentage more dense than the beer wort as yours was higher. But when I pitched it into the 5 gallons, it took off like a champ.

Always use just simple light DME for starter wort, and of course shoot for 1.040 SG. The purpose of the starter isn't to make tasty beer, it's to grow the yeast. With only a 500mL starter you won't taste any difference at all in the final beer due to the contents of the starter wort. I have always made 500mL starters and have always pitched the entire thing into the primary (though I'm going to step it up to 1L or bigger now).

Why not just use a regular pot to boil the starter wort and pour it into the flask as it's cooling? That makes it a lot easier to pour in DME, stir and control boil-overs. But if you must boil in the flask, I found it works well to roll up a sheet of paper and pour the DME into the hole at the bottom that I stuffed into the mouth of the flask. It will clump up on the paper, but if you pour with enough speed most of it will get in there.

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