Can I pitch my yeast yet?

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swatman260

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I was planning on brewing saturday, but because of the weather, it would be better to brew tomorrow. I did a yeast starter this morning around 0500, so by the time I am ready for it, the starter will have been on the stir plate about 30 hours. If I use the whole starter instead of cold crashing the yeast, it should be fine, right? I'm new to making starters and don't want to ruin my beer.
 

Gremlyn

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Stop the starter at 24 hours and stick it in the fridge, decant, then cold pitch the starter and you're good to go.
 

theonetrueruss

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I just make my starter 24 hours ahead of pitching and pitch the whole thing. I think that probably is fine since the starter is probably still going to have some residual fermentation left and will not have started to develop stale flavors.. I do put some hops in my starter to keep in tune a little with my wort flavor profile and ward off bacteria. Anyhow.. I've gotten good clean tasting beer that way. Going to try out the cold crash decanting on a brew later this month though since it'll be a big belgian dark and I don't want to water down the flavors with my starter.
 

indigi

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5-6 hours of cold crashing will allow you to pour off at least a portion of the starter beer. I'd just pitch the whole thing in that situation though, it'll be vigorously fermenting and you'll get a great start.
 

TANSTAAFB

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+1 to pitching the whole starter. It will probably be at high krausen which is when you WANT to pitch unless you are going to make it several days in advance to maximize reproduction, cold crash, decant, and pitch.

RDWHAHB, its REALLY hard to screw up beer!!!
 

bobz

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Never ever pitch your starter. Pitch only the slurry. Off flavors and other bad things can happen.
bobz
 

TANSTAAFB

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Never ever pitch your starter. Pitch only the slurry. Off flavors and other bad things can happen.
bobz
Where in hell did you hear that? :confused:

I will have to respectfully but forcefully disagree with you...I have brewed the same recipe with the only difference being one I planned ahead more and pitched slurry and one I forgot so pitched the whole starter at high krausen and noticed no "off flavors or bad things" whatsoever.

Not to mention the thousands of experienced brewers who say the same...
 

bobz

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I respect your opinion but you are taking a chance. Starters are notorious for off flavors and other things. Pitching starter is not good practice. The complexities of yeast propagation are enormous. I do not want to write a book but reference Dr. Fix and Dr.White
and others.
Good beer is no accident but accidents can happen.
bobz
 

kanzimonson

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I disagree on problems with pitching the whole starter. Yes, they can smell and taste weird at the time they go into the wort, but I find that the actual fermentation cleans all of that up.
 

PVH

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For me, it's about the size of the starter. I have no problem pitching a small starter into the wort. However, huge lager starters would alter the character of the beer unless I match the starter to the wort, and thats a PITA.
 

bobz

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To kanzimonson - you have to be kidding - Happy New Year and keep on pitching your starter.
bobz
 

kanzimonson

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I'm not sure what you're objecting to here... You ever raise temp at the end of fermentation to clean up diacetyl? Similar principle.

Granted, if I'm going to require a starter larger than 2L then I'll plan ahead to chill and decant, but I just don't worry about it. For example, I pitched the nastiest smelling sulfur bomb of 1762 into a golden strong... Not a trace of sulfur in the final beer.
 

kanzimonson

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Oh, and if anything, reading the Jamil and White book made me less worrisome about pitching starters. I loved the yeast metabolism stuff.
 

bobz

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The yeast book is excellent reference. My copy was signed at the WBF after the GABF. I wished he had spent more time on aerobic propagation. The starter thing is one of good practice. 99% of the time I use pure cultures and aerobically propagate with a stir plate and air pump into the vessel. The difference between swill and a 40 pt beer is in the details. Yeast Nutrients are a must especially if you are using DME or extract. Sorry if I offended anyone.
bobz
 
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swatman260

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Well, the brew is made and the yeast has been pitched. It was a small (1L) starter, so I pitched starter and all. Hopefully active fermentation will kick off pretty quickly. My starter fermented really well, so I hope the beer does the same. Thank you to everyone who weighed in on this topic. Sometimes I realize just how much I have left to learn.
 

kanzimonson

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The yeast book is excellent reference. My copy was signed at the WBF after the GABF. I wished he had spent more time on aerobic propagation. The starter thing is one of good practice. 99% of the time I use pure cultures and aerobically propagate with a stir plate and air pump into the vessel. The difference between swill and a 40 pt beer is in the details. Yeast Nutrients are a must especially if you are using DME or extract. Sorry if I offended anyone.
bobz
You know, this is a great point when it comes to the little differences it takes to make a superior beer.

I'm always bitching at people on HBT about dumping onto yeast cakes, and while this is probably a much more grave mistake than pitching the starter liquid, you're exactly right that we shouldn't take any chances with any step in our process, EVER. What it comes down to in both cases is laziness and preparedness... maybe I'll rethink this.
 

bobz

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Chris White has nailed it. This book is a must if you are any kind of brewer. I have made the statement in my talks at several home brew clubs that if you do not have a stir plate you are not a serious brewer. Yeast and fermentation temp control are the most important elements of brewing. It is astounding to me as to how many home brewers have no clue as to how much yeast to pitch or how to grow yeast. Why spend 6 1/2 hours to make a dumper.
bobz
 

TANSTAAFB

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Chris White has nailed it. This book is a must if you are any kind of brewer. I have made the statement in my talks at several home brew clubs that if you do not have a stir plate you are not a serious brewer. Yeast and fermentation temp control are the most important elements of brewing. It is astounding to me as to how many home brewers have no clue as to how much yeast to pitch or how to grow yeast. Why spend 6 1/2 hours to make a dumper.
bobz
I'm not going to disagree with you about best brewing habits, but I think the point was missed. We are not all aspiring to be professional brewers; many just enjoy making their own beer for themselves, friends, and family. This hobby has room for every level of interest and we are here to help all and learn from all. Personally, I try to read as much as I can and gather as much info as I can to develop the best practices I can, so your info is appreciated. I do wish you would provide links or references to the info you cited however.

I think the point IS that a relatively new brewer (using 24 hr clock so probably a military man) jumped on here to ask if it was ok to do what he needed to do to brew beer when he had time to in the midst of a busy schedule. We were trying to assure him that he was ok, beer is hard to screw up, do what you gotta and learn from the experience, RDWHAHB, etc.

You on the other hand throw out cryptic responses perpetuating noob anxiety and boogie-men. I just don't think its necessary to throw around words like swill and dumper when someone is obviously just looking for some reassurance...its not like he asked if it is ok to piss in his bucket to sanitize!

Some might say its a good way to get called an EAC :D ...just sayin'!!!
 

TANSTAAFB

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FWIW, here is what White Labs has to say about making starters. Note the bolded portion at the end...it appears they recommend decanting but it is still not clear if that applies only if you store in the fridge or all the time. The part about "rouse the starter yeast into suspension and pitch the entire quantity into your fermenter" comes right after the you can store it in the fridge part.

Has anyone e-mailed White Labs for clarification on this?

White Labs Pitchable yeast is packaged with 70 to 140 billion yeast cells, which corresponds approximately to a 1-2 liter size starter. Lag times are typically between 12-24 hours for a normal strength brew.

A yeast starter is a small volume of wort that you add to your yeast to initiate cell activity or to increase the cell count before using it to make your beer. The yeast will grow in this smaller volume, usually for 1-2 days, which then can be added to 5 gallons of wort.

While a starter is not always necessary, White Labs recommends making a starter if the Original Gravity is over 1.060, if the yeast is past its "Best Before" date, if you are pitching lager yeast at temperatures below 65F, or if a faster start is desired.

Procedure:

In a medium sauce pan, add 2 pints of water and 1/2 cup Dried Malt Extract (DME). Mix well and boil the solution for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Cover and cool the pan to room temperature in an ice bath. This will give you a wort of approximately 1.040 OG. Keeping the Original Gravity low is important because you want to keep the yeast in its growth phase, rather than its fermentation phase. The fermentation phase will create alcohol which can be toxic to yeast in high concentrations.

Pour the wort into a sanitized glass container (flask, growler, etc.) and pitch the vial of yeast. Cover the top of the container with a sanitized piece of aluminum foil so that it is flush with the container, but will still allow CO2 to escape. Vigorously shake or swirl the container to get as much oxygen dissolved in the solution as possible. Allow the starter to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours, occasionally shaking it to keep the solution aerated.

You probably won’t see any visible activity, but the yeast is busy taking up the oxygen and sugars in the solution and growing new cells. After the yeast has consumed all of the nutrients and oxygen, it will form a milky white layer on the bottom of the container. If you are not planning on pitching the yeast right away, you can store it in the refrigerator with the foil still in place. When you are ready to brew, decant off most of the clear liquid from the top, being careful not to disturb the yeast layer below. Once the yeast and your wort are at approximately the same (room) temperature, rouse the starter yeast into suspension and pitch the entire quantity into your fermenter.

Typical Starter Volumes for 5 gallons:
To activate the yeast: 1 pint (with 1/4 cup DME)
To revitalize yeast past its Best Before Date: 2 pints (with 1/2 cup DME)
To brew a high gravity beer: 2 pints (with 1/2 cup DME)
To brew a lager beer, starting fermentation 50-55F: 4 pints (with 1 cup DME)
 

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