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How do you harvest from a starter?

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jonmohno

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So I made a starter for a 2.5 gallon batch. I know it doesnt need one most likely,but I made a liter starter so I could splitt that up into maybe 3 other 8oz jars possibly.
So,unable to find answers Ive found nothing. So I poured 8 oz of the starter into my 2.5 gallon batch(there is 24 oz of starter left now), didnt seem like the starter was exactly finished yet either because it still had krauson but was definatly a healthy fermentation. THe starter is still bubbleing a little (i used an airlock),so Im thinking tomarrow would be good to jar this up.

So my question is:

Do I need to wash this starter or can I just jar it up as is? I may be keeping these for a few months also,Im brewing about every 2 or three weeks. There is about 24 oz left and was thinking 3- 8 oz jars. Is the trub from dme and the bit of hop debrie I used ok to jar or bottle up and refrigerate?

I thought maybe I read Papizan doing this ,but maybe putting into sanitized beer bottles.Is this something I could do with 8 oz each of starter slurry- put it into 3 beer bottles?,then when I use them warm them to room temp and make a small starter for a new 2.5 gal batch I do? Or should I wash it and seal them into jars of water?

And if I use beer bottles to store it would I need to top off the 8 oz slurry per bottle with 4 oz of water to store it?
 

Calder

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Let it completely ferment out. When finished, swirl all the sediment up back into suspension, and pour into your sanitized containers. Cap and store in fridge.

For long-term storage (6+ months), you probably want to pour off the liquid after the yeast has settled and replace with distilled water (or boiled and cooled water).
 

Satisfaction

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Whether you decide to wash or jar as it, in my opinion either way is not wrong. Since you have extra starter left over, it is not like there is a lot of hop and break debris mixed in.

My method when I buy new liquid yeast is to start two weeks early with a 2.5L starter, let it ferment out, cold crash, decant, add cooled boiled water and then pour into three ball jars. One of which will be used for my starter next week. This works great for me and I only buy a type of yeast once. Savings on the other hand are questionable.. :)

There has been some research that I have read lately that states there is a large amount of bacteria growth present in the top layer of the starter medium, it is probably a good practice to decant off the top portion of stored starters.. wish I could cite the source, was good research.

Good Luck!
 

Rundownhouse

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I've started using Yeast Calc to get an idea of how many cells I've grown, and then divide that into used WL vials.

For example, I'll buy a vial of CalV, do a stirplate 2L starter, decant, do another 2L starter, and then pour that into 6 vials, so each has roughly 97B cells. When I want to use one, I'll plug the variables back into Yeast Calc and go from there. Anything older than 6 months get tossed.
 
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jonmohno

jonmohno

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Yeah,thanks guys! Very helpfull. I still have some thinking to do though I guess. Is headspace a problem,in jars? How about storing it in beer bottles with headspace? How long do you guys let a starter ferment out before storing? It was just one liter and am thinking 3 more 2.5 gal batches out of this yeast. Making a small starter at least before each batch of course,depending on the age its been stored.

Also roughly how much yeast does a 1 liter per wlp vial typically produce compared to what it has? Double ? Tripple? I understand stirplate is more effective and all, I shook the crap out of it and kept shaking it as well as yeast nutrient so I feel it was pretty sufficiant for not having a stir plate. It had all the appearances of a good fermenting batch of beer without foaming out like crazy though.

Just a random thought: It also reminds me of how I bought a 3 gallon carboy and a bubbler.Well I dump my pot of wort using a strainer and funnel and I find that I almost dont even need a bubbler. I typically plug it in for a few minutes if that sometimes, till it starts foaming out the neck, l let it settle then do it later for another minute. I really think I almost dont even need the bubbler. Im starting to reconsider not getting that pure o2 adapter that I origionally wanted.
 

CapnBry

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You definitely do not need to wash your yeast when you're saving it from a starter. The concentration of stuff you're trying to get rid of in the trub isn't as high as when you're taking it from an active fermentation.

What I do with a new liquid yeast is make a 1.5L starter on a stirplate and let it go for 3 days at my fermentation temperature. I pour off 250mL into a sanitized jar and place it into the fridge with the lid just barely on (do not tighten!) and use the remaining 1.25L for fermentation. 1.25L is good up to 8 gallons of 1.050OG wort.

After 2-3 days when the yeast in the fridge has mostly settled out, I boil 150mL of water in another sanitized jar and cool it. Then I decant the liquid off the yeast, shake it up, and pour it into the pure water jar. Stored like this, the yeast definitely lasts 6 months. To use it, I create a new starter.
 
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jonmohno

jonmohno

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Ok,here's my plan I think. For another day or two Ill let it finish,then since I have an airlock on it Ill keep it in the fridge,let it settle (a day or two?) then decant and preboil some water to cool to store it in 3 half pint jars. Or use enough water for three half pints of water into the growler after decanting swirl and pour it into the 3 jars. Ill probably swab the rims with isopropanol alcohol.I should be good to seal them tight in the fridge from here on out,right? This is a pic from last night,seems to be dropping more today but stilll has froth.

JUst another thought: I have 3 wl vials I could use adding the straight slurry/yeast after decanting instead of storing in water,can you boil these vials to sterilize? or are they just good to sanitize, I thouroughly cleaned then sanitized them when I first used them before.

0119032050.jpg
 
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jonmohno

jonmohno

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Holy crap this thing is generating some heat(my Pliny primary) and starting to blow off,used 8 oz of starter of my liter, think my cat took a nap by it,cuz I felt it and was warm in one spot yet my house temp was 65 and ambient next to the fermenter was 58-60. Damn cat.Rousing yeast cat. I feel good about this one though,Im a starter fan. Seriously I harvested yeast but the first time I made a starter for a saved yeast was the best beer out of the saved yeast without starters. I actually entered it into a hombrew comp and got a good score and that yeas I used before.That actually ended up infected even in the non starter batches because it probably got on my hand when I was adding the yeast to that batch-first time noob mistake then- yet I still harvested from it stupidly.
 

Benniee

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There has been some research that I have read lately that states there is a large amount of bacteria growth present in the top layer of the starter medium, it is probably a good practice to decant off the top portion of stored starters.. wish I could cite the source, was good research.
I would really like to take a look at that if you can remember where you read it.

Benniee
 

eastoak

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There has been some research that I have read lately that states there is a large amount of bacteria growth present in the top layer of the starter medium, it is probably a good practice to decant off the top portion of stored starters.. wish I could cite the source, was good research.
seems like bacteria in a starter would simply mean an infected starter, can't imagine a healthy starter with a colony of bacteria living in the top layer as opposed to being everywhere in the starter.
 

Satisfaction

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seems like bacteria in a starter would simply mean an infected starter, can't imagine a healthy starter with a colony of bacteria living in the top layer as opposed to being everywhere in the starter.
If you can see the bacteria growing, then you got a major problem. Lets be honest now, there are very small amounts of bacteria nearly everywhere. Having worked in a clean room enviroment, probably none of our homes meet those specifications. May be an unique situation out there..


Did find the link to the research.. and it makes logical sense.

http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/12/yeast-washing-exposed.html
 

william_shakes_beer

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Keep in mind also that yeast, bacteria and all other mocroscopic life forms routinely compete for resources. The process of boiling wort, sanitizing containers and pitching a sample of the desired yeast ensures that organism is the *predominant* strain, not the exclusive one. Making it exclusive would require facilities and equipment that are beyoud the means of most home brewers' budgets.
 

Budzien

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Nevermind, I looked it up. How much sediment are we talking about? And, what are the consequences if one doesn't decant and simply stores it?
 

william_shakes_beer

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Nevermind, I looked it up. How much sediment are we talking about? And, what are the consequences if one doesn't decant and simply stores it?
I want to get as many yeast cells into the storage container as possible. I also want to ensure the yeast goes to sleep. That means keeping it cold (in the refrigerator, not frozen) and limiting the amount of food and oxygen present. Oxygen would stimulate the yeast to wake up and reproduce, and food would stimulate the yeast to wake up and ferment. Cold crash sends the yeast to the bottom of the container. Decanting off the starter beer concentrates them into a thicker slurrey, and filling the storage cointainer as completely as possible limits the amount of oxygen available to the sleeping yeast.
 

Budzien

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Thank you for clearing that up. I'm 2 days into my starter and I had planned on using this method. Thanks for helping me do it even better.
 
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jonmohno

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Welp, heres what I did. I origionally made a 1 liter starter with wlp001 vial. Used 8 oz of the 32 oz slurry matter swirled up after about a day for my main 2.5 gal batch. Then let it further ferment/settle.

Let it settle for a few more days,then cold crashed for 3 days.Decanted added a little bit of preboiled/cooled water enough to get it out of the growler,swirled the tight cake(it was pretty tight I had to swirl it abit to break the chunks up) poured them into these vials, I did have to top off the last vial using a new gallon of distilled water.From what I read your not suppose to use distilled? But my preboil water was spring. Plus my last vial had the thicker chunks of yeast than the other two, so I figured it has more yeast.

I used electrical tape to further seal these. I ended up steaming these vials/caps but one gasket melted some -I tried doing the caps just a minute,maybe the one I curled-a minute more than I should have. Then sanitized and rinsed them with preboil water. I got those food type gloves on here, Im not that wrinkly yet! OH yeah,and another thing normally these would cost me over 30$ including gas going to my lhbs to get them-this cost me a small amount of time(less than going to my lhbs to get them) and a small amount of dme. Will make a small starter for each one of these too depending when I use them.

0127031443.jpg
 

Calder

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If I remember correctly, those caps have a double layer. I think you did everything you could to sanitize them, but I would be concerned that I might not fully sanitize it. Next time, just use a soda bottle top and sanitize it.

I assume you realize those vials are actually 2-liter soda bottles ..... the blank before they are blown up to full size. Often called 'Baby soda bottles'.


Actually, distilled water is what you want to use for yeast storage. Distilled water has nothing in it. It is not good to brew with due to its lack of minerals.
 
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jonmohno

jonmohno

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If I remember correctly, those caps have a double layer. I think you did everything you could to sanitize them, but I would be concerned that I might not fully sanitize it. Next time, just use a soda bottle top and sanitize it.

I assume you realize those vials are actually 2-liter soda bottles ..... the blank before they are blown up to full size. Often called 'Baby soda bottles'.


Actually, distilled water is what you want to use for yeast storage. Distilled water has nothing in it. It is not good to brew with due to its lack of minerals.
Oh wow. I didnt know that otherwise I would have exclusivly used that. Oh well. I just heard you dont want to make a starter with distilled water mainly.
So am I good with a cap with no gasket? I was worried about that one,it fell out and curled up when I shortly steamed it.Should I use that one first for a batch or am I good. They all seem very tightly sealed.
 

william_shakes_beer

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If I remember correctly, those caps have a double layer. I think you did everything you could to sanitize them, but I would be concerned that I might not fully sanitize it. Next time, just use a soda bottle top and sanitize it.

I assume you realize those vials are actually 2-liter soda bottles ..... the blank before they are blown up to full size. Often called 'Baby soda bottles'.


Actually, distilled water is what you want to use for yeast storage. Distilled water has nothing in it. It is not good to brew with due to its lack of minerals.
I have heard them called baby soda bottles. I have also heard them called preforms. I use them routinely to store my harvested yeast, but I do not boil them. I spray starsan into the empty container, close it, shake and store at room temps. When I'm ready to harvest, I pull them out, dump out the old starsan and spray with fresh, close and shake, then open when I'm ready to fill with slurrey. I'm quite certain that this process does not equal the sanitation of boiling, but I have not yet had a tube or a batch go bad. Also, I believe if the plastic disk inside the cap is the liquid seal. If it is deformed or missing, the tubes will not seal airtight. You might test this by removing the disk, filling it with water and turning upside down. If I'm incorrect please let me know.
 

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