500ml Starter????

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JDOG1982

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I have just purchased a 1l conical flask to do starters in. But I think I should of bought the 2l one.

Anyway I'm using whitelabs yeast in my next brew and want to make a starter it. Question is, is 500ml Starter to small? I also don't have a stir plate yet so will be shaking whenever I can.

Is it worth doing a Starter at all?

I am brewing a West Coast IPA
 

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You could definitely do a 0.5 liter starter, I have. It depends on volume in the fermenter, OG and how old the yeast is. But if you feel unsure do a 1L, it should not be any problem to do in a 2L flask. I use the rouse a couple times a day method aswell, and starters generally don’t produce any krausen worth mentioning.
Edit: saw now you only had a 1L flask, that might be problematic yeah.
 
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JDOG1982

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Hi, yeah just the 1l flask. The OG should be around 1.056 and will be around 20l of wort. Im using white labs Fruitbowl liquid yeast.

As need head space in flask the most I think I can make is a 500ml Starter. Is it worth doing one or just pitch yeast as is?
 

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You can't just pitch a liquid yeast vial as-is, specially in a stronger beer at 1.056. You need to make a starter. I would make one and try to get as much into the flask as possible. I also make starters in 1l bottles but I fill them up quite a bit, and then cap them with foil and place them in ice cream tubs to catch spillage. Worked fine the few times I've done it that way.
 
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JDOG1982

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You can't just pitch a liquid yeast vial as-is, specially in a stronger beer at 1.056. You need to make a starter. I would make one and try to get as much into the flask as possible. I also make starters in 1l bottles but I fill them up quite a bit, and then cap them with foil and place them in ice cream tubs to catch spillage. Worked fine the few times I've done it that way.
Yeah I am going to do one in the 1l flask. How long before pitching to you make one? How much DME and water would you recommend?
 

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I usually make it the same time I make the wort. As I do no-chill, there's a good day or so before I pitch the yeast. I also don't make it with DME. I use wort tapped from a previous "neutral" brew to make the starter, usually from a blonde or pale ale with low bitterness and colour.

I'm going to be using some pale malt I have around here though and make a wort close to around 1.040 purely for making starters. The idea is to make the wort highly fermentable, give it a quick boil (around 10 mins) just to sterilize, and then I want to tap it into 750ml jars, seal and freeze. When I want to make a starter I'll just pull a jar, defrost and pitch the yeast straight into the jar. Simple.
 

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I tend to look at "starters" as two broad categories. You can make a large starter to build up cell counts. Often this is done several days ahead, cold crashed, and decanted. A larger flask and a stir plate help here. The other is more of a "vitality" starter where the goal is less about cell growth and more about creating healthy and active yeast. In this case the entire active fermenting starter is pitched. For a 5 gal batch, 0.5 L might be a tad small but works fine.

For many years I made starters using a 1L flask making about 0.6L of starter wort. A while back I moved to using a 1 gallon jar and more of a "shaken not stirred" approach with about 0.7L (24 oz) of starter wort. I was looking at getting a larger flask, but my local shop had these 1 gal jars with a lid and grommet for about $9. I just boil the wort in a pan, cool it in the sink, and pour it into the sanitized jar...then shake the hell out of it!!
 
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JDOG1982

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I tend to look at "starters" as two broad categories. You can make a large starter to build up cell counts. Often this is done several days ahead, cold crashed, and decanted. A larger flask and a stir plate help here. The other is more of a "vitality" starter where the goal is less about cell growth and more about creating healthy and active yeast. In this case the entire active fermenting starter is pitched. For a 5 gal batch, 0.5 L might be a tad small but works fine.

For many years I made starters using a 1L flask making about 0.6L of starter wort. A while back I moved to using a 1 gallon jar and more of a "shaken not stirred" approach with about 0.7L (24 oz) of starter wort. I was looking at getting a larger flask, but my local shop had these 1 gal jars with a lid and grommet for about $9. I just boil the wort in a pan, cool it in the sink, and pour it into the sanitized jar...then shake the hell out of it!!
Yeah, I think I'm going to go around same route and do about 0.6/0.7l starter about 24hrs before and shake as much as I can leading up to pitching
 

Holden Caulfield

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Anyway I'm using whitelabs yeast in my next brew and want to make a starter it. Question is, is 500ml Starter to small?
Per Jamil Zainascheff starter article (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1235/MAzym07_YeastStarter.pdf):

"Q: CAN TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE A STARTER CAN BE BAD FOR THE YEAST? Parker says putting a fresh vial of yeast into 500 milliliters of wort and letting such a small starter go to completion can actually leave the yeast less ready to ferment a batch of beer. The yeast do not rebuild their reserves and have very little increase in cell mass. The minimum starter size for significant yeast growth from a vial or pack of yeast is 1 liter. One vial or pack into 1 liter results in approximately a 50-percent increase in cell mass. Some brewers make a small starter volume (500 ml or less) with the sole intent of “waking” the yeast. When making small starters, it is best to pitch the entire volume at the height of activity"

So yes, it is too small - you will not obtain any growth and you may even leave the yeast less ready to do their thing.

Note:
  • Zainascheff's growth rates are much more conservative than Kai Troester's (Braukaiser site)
  • This yeast calculator allows you to quickly determine the size of your starter based on different models - Yeast Calculator
  • Viability model estimates are very conservative so viability is often much higher especially with Whitelabs
  • White labs new packaging (introduced ~3 years ago) is much improved over when viability models were developed. Their analysis on viability of their packaging is...
Time - - - Viability
1 month...99.21%
2 month...98.05%
3 month...90.26%
4 months...84.28%
5 months...79.35%
6 months...71.59%


Unfortunately you are constrained by what you have so my only thought is to make the absolute largest starter you can or forgo the starter, or purchase a 3 to 5 liter container as that will cover most of your needs if you are doing 5 gallon batches.
 
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Per Jamil Zainascheff starter article (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1235/MAzym07_YeastStarter.pdf):

"Q: CAN TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE A STARTER CAN BE BAD FOR THE YEAST? Parker says putting a fresh vial of yeast into 500 milliliters of wort and letting such a small starter go to completion can actually leave the yeast less ready to ferment a batch of beer. The yeast do not rebuild their reserves and have very little increase in cell mass. The minimum starter size for significant yeast growth from a vial or pack of yeast is 1 liter. One vial or pack into 1 liter results in approximately a 50-percent increase in cell mass. Some brewers make a small starter volume (500 ml or less) with the sole intent of “waking” the yeast. When making small starters, it is best to pitch the entire volume at the height of activity"

So yes, it is too small - you will not obtain any growth and you may even leave the yeast less ready to do their thing.

Note:
  • Zainascheff's growth rates are much more conservative than Kai Troester's (Braukaiser site)
  • This yeast calculator allows you to quickly determine the size of your starter based on different models - Yeast Calculator
  • Viability model estimates are very conservative so viability is often much higher especially with Whitelabs
  • White labs new packaging (introduced ~3 years ago) is much improved over when viability models were developed. Their analysis on viability of their packaging is...
Time - - - Viability
1 month...99.21%
2 month...98.05%
3 month...90.26%
4 months...84.28%
5 months...79.35%
6 months...71.59%


Unfortunately you are constrained by what you have so my only thought is to make the absolute largest starter you can or forgo the starter, or purchase a 3 to 5 liter container as that will cover most of your needs if you are doing 5 gallon batches.
Thanks for all that advice. I'm defo going to purchase a bigger conical flash.

I have a bigger container pictured here which is 2l. Can I heat up via pan and transfer to this until I have bigger flask as brewing over weekend.
 

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A lot of people have a perfectly sized container laying around for starters called a growler :). Especially since you don't have a stir plate. And if you don't have a growler, well, it's a great excuse to support your local brewer.

I've put 900 ml in my 1l before too. I do have a stir plate though and I when I do that or put about 1.9l into my 2l, I make sure to let air in a few times by lifting up the foil a little bit. I did get a 3l though recently because the slightly less than 2l was bugging me and sometimes I would get some spillage.
 

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Thanks for all that advice. I'm defo going to purchase a bigger conical flash.

I have a bigger container pictured here which is 2l. Can I heat up via pan and transfer to this until I have bigger flask as brewing over weekend.
Yeah you could use that though. The gasket looks like it is in good shape. If it was cracked I wouldn't. I just use foil and a rubber band and that's perfectly fine if you sanitized everything. I'd make sure that the jar is really nice and clean, particularly around the metal and run it through the dishwasher maybe. It's the kind of container in my house that would have been sitting on the shelf or counter with something in it.
 

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Thanks for all that advice. I'm defo going to purchase a bigger conical flash.

I have a bigger container pictured here which is 2l. Can I heat up via pan and transfer to this until I have bigger flask as brewing over weekend.
Since you don't have a stir plate (yet), using a non-flat bottomed vessel is fine.
You're swirling, any container will work, glass preferred. Many use 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon clear "wine jugs" as found at your LHBS.

Just cap with some aluminum foil crimped loosely around the neck, and swirl whenever you (or a family member) can when passing by.

I recommend using one drop of Fermcap-S when you prepare your starter wort when you boil it.
It helps preventing boil overs in your boil pot,* and later on, foam overs in your starter vessel. I've lost quite a bit of fresh starter yeast to the countertop, before using Fermcap.

Use a stainless kitchen pot (with a well fitting lid) for making starter wort, not a (glass) flask.
It cools faster too in the sink or in a tub with cold water.

Making a yeast starter:
Use DME to water, at ratio of 1:10 by weight.
Such as 160 grams DME to 1.6 liter of water. That will give you 1.037 gravity starter wort. I would not put more than 1.6 liter in a 2 liter flask, jar, or jug, especially when not being stirred (or shaken).
  1. Bring the water to a boil, add your DME and a drop of Fermcap.
  2. Let it heat up to boiling again, and simmer for one minute. Turn heat off and place the sanitized lid on top of the pot.
  3. Transfer the pot to the cold water basin to chill. Replace the water when it got warm with cold.
  4. When cooled enough (~70-74F), pour wort and yeast into a well sanitized flask, jug, or jar. Cover with aluminum foil, crimped loosely around the neck.
 

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I have a bigger container pictured here which is 2l. Can I heat up via pan and transfer to this until I have bigger flask as brewing over weekend.
That should work well. I use a 1 gal wide mouth jar. I like using a wide mouth jar because you can easily pour from a pan without needing to sanitize a funnel. 4L flasks are expensive, and I have seen enough stories about them breaking while heating.

The article from Jamil has good info. He seems to advocate a 1 liter starter made either the night before or the morning of brew day and pitching at high krausen...with using a stir plate being a good practice. When I make a starter I tend to use a little less than 1 L and hope that shaking my starter a bunch before pitching the yeast will take the place of the stir plate...at least to some extent. Brewing 10 gal batches, 1.090 beers and cold fermented lagers would require more steps.

A few links talking about Shaken not Stirred:


 

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Huh? The quote pretty much say to not let a small starter go to completion but instead pitch it at the height of activity.
If the objective is to prove the yeast is only alive and to reduce lag time then go for it. If the goal is to also build cells to meet the pitching rate target, then less than 1 liter is not good practice - at least according to the article.
 

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Hi, yeah just the 1l flask. The OG should be around 1.056 and will be around 20l of wort. Im using white labs Fruitbowl liquid yeast.

As need head space in flask the most I think I can make is a 500ml Starter. Is it worth doing one or just pitch yeast as is?
I trued searching for White Labs Fruitbowl, and came up empty. What yeast are you using?
 

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Im using white labs Fruitbowl liquid yeast.
I trued searching for White Labs Fruitbowl, and came up empty. What yeast are you using?
I had to look that up...
That yeast is not from White Labs, it's from WHC Labs, in Ireland.

Brewstore.co.uk said:
Fruitbowl WHC Labs Live Liquid Yeast. Fruitbowl is a blend of yeast strains picked for their ability to produce complex fruit esters. This yeast blend is an excellent choice for brewing NEIPA, pale ales and IPA's.

  • flocculation - medium
  • attenuation - 74-76%
  • ideal fermentation temperature - 19-21C
  • brew these beer styles - Pale Ale, IPA, NEIPA, Red ales
Each pouch contains 150ml brewers varietal live liquid yeast - keep refrigerated until 4/5 hours or the previous night before use then allow to come to room temp. before ptiching or creating a starter culture. Each pouch of WHC Labs yeast is sufficient for a 22 litre brew up to 1.065 gravity. For higher gravity/bigger brews make a starter culture or use more than one pouch.

Brewstore ship this yeast with a cold pack as standard. WHC Labs are based in Dublin and ship to us overnight so your yeast arrives as fresh and viable as possible.
WHC Labs (FAQ) said:
Do homebrewer pitches require a starter?

No. Our homebrew pitches are fresh and highly viable with over 200 billion cells. Simply pitch straight into the wort.
So depending on the manufacturing/packaging date of the yeast, and the way she was handled/stored, you may a) not need a starter, or b) a vitality starter will suffice.
A 500ml starter is too small for that pack, unless it's older than 6-9 months.
 
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I had to look that up...
That yeast is not from White Labs, it's from WHC Labs, in Ireland.





So depending on the manufacturing/packaging date of the yeast, and the way she was handled/stored, you may a) not need a starter, or b) a vitality starter will suffice.
A 500ml starter is too small for that pack, unless it's older than 6-9 months.
My mistake, aye just looked and starts with 200B cells so canny
 

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Since you don't have a stir plate (yet), using a non-flat bottomed vessel is fine.
You're swirling, any container will work, glass preferred. Many use 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon clear "wine jugs" as found at your LHBS.

Just cap with some aluminum foil crimped loosely around the neck, and swirl whenever you (or a family member) can when passing by.

I recommend using one drop of Fermcap-S when you prepare your starter wort when you boil it.
It helps preventing boil overs in your boil pot,* and later on, foam overs in your starter vessel. I've lost quite a bit of fresh starter yeast to the countertop, before using Fermcap.

Use a stainless kitchen pot (with a well fitting lid) for making starter wort, not a (glass) flask.
It cools faster too in the sink or in a tub with cold water.

Making a yeast starter:
Use DME to water, at ratio of 1:10 by weight.
Such as 160 grams DME to 1.6 liter of water. That will give you 1.037 gravity starter wort. I would not put more than 1.6 liter in a 2 liter flask, jar, or jug, especially when not being stirred (or shaken).
  1. Bring the water to a boil, add your DME and a drop of Fermcap.
  2. Let it heat up to boiling again, and simmer for one minute. Turn heat off and place the sanitized lid on top of the pot.
  3. Transfer the pot to the cold water basin to chill. Replace the water when it got warm with cold.
  4. When cooled enough (~70-74F), pour wort and yeast into a well sanitized flask, jug, or jar. Cover with aluminum foil, crimped loosely around the neck.
I'm confused. Why use tin foil on top of your starter container? Why not use an airlock? I've been making starters for 25 yrs and always use an airlock. Works fine for me.
 

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I'm confused. Why use tin foil on top of your starter container? Why not use an airlock? I've been making starters for 25 yrs and always use an airlock. Works fine for me.
Yeast needs a constant oxygen supply to propagate. When making starters you want the yeast to keep making new cells ("growth"). Then the new cells again, make more. Exponential function at work.

As a side effect there's some fermentation too (krausen, foaming), but the focus should be on growth, thus the need for a good supply of oxygen (air) and constant agitation to keep the yeast suspended and promote gas exchange.

The tin foil "hat" keeps the starter sanitary, preventing bugs, dust, and other things from dropping into it, but allows Oxygen to enter along the top rim while CO2 is driven off.
 

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Foam stoppers work great too for allowing oxygen into the starter. I have reused the same one at least 30 times - no bugs, no infections. Just rinse with Starsan before using, then when fermentation is over just stick it in the refrigerator to cold crash before decanting most of the oxidized wort.


1617982648137.png
 

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Foam stoppers work great too for allowing oxygen into the starter. I have reused the same one at least 30 times - no bugs, no infections. Just rinse with Starsan before using, then when fermentation is over just stick it in the refrigerator to cold crash before decanting most of the oxidized wort.


View attachment 725155
I like that idea too, although I'd probably gunk it up. Do you ever get fruit flies on it? One banana and it's off to the races every year no matter how diligent.

I use the rubber band on the foil when it's fruit fly season but otherwise don't.
 

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I like that idea too, although I'd probably gunk it up. Do you ever get fruit flies on it? One banana and it's off to the races every year no matter how diligent.
30 batches with the same stopper - never a fruit fly in the starter and never an infection. They rinse and dry very well. After each use I rinse it out and let it soak in Oxyclean for an hour. It has discolored but that is no big deal. I suppose you could even pour boiling water over it too sterilize and it would be just fine.
 

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I suppose you could even pour boiling water over it too sterilize and it would be just fine.
Yeah, yeah... that won't do it.
Boiling for 15' at the very least, or better, autoclaving/pressure canning, to make sure, as long as they don't disintegrate.

I've looked into the foam stoppers, but not convinced, aluminum foil "tents" covered with plastic wrap have been working fine so far, for nearly 8 years.
 
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