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Old 12-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default Dont waste time and DME making a starter!

Make a small extract batch instead!

I am planning on making a 10 gallon AG tripel this weekend, and instead of building up a starter a few times, it hit me yesterday that I should just make a small batch (2.5 gallons) and pitch the tripel on the yeast cake. I made a belgian golden ale with some DME, hops and sugar I had leftover. Mr. Malty says I should pitch 1.2 packs of yeast, so I am underpitching a little. But just a little.

I get to pitch enough yeast, I don't have to use any DME on beer I would throw out, and I get 2.5 gallons extra beer!
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
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Or make a regular sized batch of something with a 1.040 or less OG that can use the yeast you want. Like a 60 shilling scottish for cal ale or a bitter for some english ale, etc.

Works great.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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In all fairness, I don't decant my starters so I'm not really wasting the DME. The other thing is, I can boil and chill a starter wort in 15 minutes. Making a small batch requires a boil with hop schedule so the smaller batch is more of the waste of time no? I get your point though. I always try to schedule a small beer batch (full one) two weeks prior to a bigger batch. There's nothing like pitching a barleywine on top of a full yeast cake.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:17 PM   #4
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This is what I do if I need a starter that's 2 gallons or more (for lagers).

I'll go from a pint starter to a half gallon starter to a 2 gallon batch using Mr. Beer extract since you can go from the can to the fermenter in about 30 minutes.

Doesn't waste much more time compared to making a 2 gallon starter...and you end up 2 gallons of beer.

The biggest argument against is that you are wasting $$. Or is the biggest argument against that you are using Mr. Beer (gasp!) ingredients?

And if you aren't decanting the 2 gallons of spent wort off the yeast cake you aren't wasting DME, but for me, I am doing only 5 gallon batches and don't want 40% of my beer to be starter, so I decant.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:33 PM   #5
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Hmm... Good points, but would you be using the same (or proper) yeast for both styles?

I've got a Barleywine coming up, should I get the stuff for another batch, and just pitch the wort on that? What would be a good beer to make for a starter?
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:37 PM   #6
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I never do a starter, but I always pitch a bunch of yeast.

I only pitch fresh yeast (properly hydrated dry packets) into a low ABV beer, that doesn't require a large yeast count to properly ferment without stress.

Then...it's harvest time. Once I pull off the slurry of yeast and wash it, I have enough to split up and pitch to 6-8 batches.

Even if I want to do a batch before the first is ready to rack off the yeast cake, I just drop the racking cane to the bottom of the fermenter (with the tip off) and siphon out a half/pint of fresh slurry.

Each of these is what I typically pull out of a fermenter when the beer is finished.

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:55 PM   #7
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but how do you avoid the yeast going bad? I guess maybe my sanitation is poor but for the third time now making starters and/or harvesting yeast I've ended up with a foul smelling post-ferment slurry. Twice i used it and had to throw the beer out. This time I caught it - same taste and smell - and didn't use the slurry and probably will toss the batch it's in. I'm using starsan, covering starters with foil, pitching at good temperatures and maintaining temperatures. Only odd thing is that in 2 of the batches the temp was low at the beginning, like 60 with cal ale yeast, so i had to move the starters/batches to a warmer (68) area to get them fermenting - could this low pitch/ramp cause terrible flavors? I'm tired of getting burned - this makes me want to just use safale 05 all the time.

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Old 12-08-2008, 07:54 PM   #8
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If you can't keep a slurry from going bad in a month or two, it's got to be a sanitation issue. I collect in mason jars that I boil ahead of time. This is where it's a little more important to be closer to sterile than just sanitized.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
Hmm... Good points, but would you be using the same (or proper) yeast for both styles?

I've got a Barleywine coming up, should I get the stuff for another batch, and just pitch the wort on that? What would be a good beer to make for a starter?
I wouldn't want to compromise the yeast selection but if you can make it work, do it. For example, if it's an American Barleywine, brew a Blonde or APA for your starter batch. If it's an English, do an ordinary bitter.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmgray View Post
Or make a regular sized batch of something with a 1.040 or less OG that can use the yeast you want. Like a 60 shilling scottish for cal ale or a bitter for some english ale, etc.

Works great.

I have never made a beer that small before. I think the smallest beer I made was 1.055. Most of my beers tend toward the big side, so a starter is required for a liquid yeast. I like the idea though.
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