I'm smrt

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beerd

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This will be my first time using a starter.

I was smart and decided to do a practice run with an old pack of dry yeast I didn't enjoy. I am so smart that the starter came out well my very first time. I am so smart in fact, that it only took me mid-way through preparing the real starter last night to realize that I threw out my (only) stir bar during the practice run.

SWMBO hasn't asked yet this morning what all the swearing was around midnight.

Genius that I am, I now have a 1L starter sitting perfectly still on my brand new stir plate. I shake it occasionally - mostly out of frustration, but I hear it helps the yeast too.

This is mostly just a confession, but I would appreciate any input: The calculators say I will end up with ~140-160B cells (1 pack WLP 090, best by Aug 30, 1L starter at 1.037). So about 60B short of the target of ~210B for my 1.055 ale. I was at least smart enough to anticipate things might not go to plan, so I do have another pack of WLP090. Should I pitch the starter and the extra pack on brew day - or just the starter?
 

nwhall3

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My response in short: it's very likely fine to pitch just the starter, but pitching the extra pack would be insurance for the brew.

Longer response: there are other advantages to yeast starters (e.g., faster fermentation kickoff) and other variables that affect yeast's health and fermentation (e.g., wort oxygenation, yeast nutrient). Especially if you're oxygenating your wort, I would think the 140-160B cells would be fine for a 1.055 OG and yeast that's already low in ester production and a high attenuator. But, if you've already got the extra vial of yeast, it might be worth the extra $7 (or whatever they run at your LHBS) to have the peace of mind.
 

Jag75

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I think you'll be fine . I often do shaken not stirred starters. That yeast has a high alcohol tolerance. For the shaken not stirred all you need is a gallon glass jug , add your wort and yeast , shake the heck out of it , 30 min later crack the lid and in 12 to 18 hours later your starter is ready.

Get you a magnet to keep your stirbar in your flask while pouring out ......ask me how I know 😉
 

IslandLizard

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Genius that I am, I now have a 1L starter sitting perfectly still on my brand new stir plate. I shake it occasionally - mostly out of frustration, but I hear it helps the yeast too.
Yes, it helps grow extra cells, not as fast or efficiently as on a stir plate, but better than nothing. More like a vitality starter.

1 liter of starter in a 2 liter flask/container, with only intermittent swirling is about the upper limit to prevent (severe) blow offs and foam overs. Adding one drop of Fermcap-S when boiling your starter wort helps reduce or prevent (excessive) foam overs.

Now 2 liters (or a little more relaxed on volume, 1.8 liter) on a stir plate are needed to get more optimal growth and end up with your target of around 200-210 billion cells. Again, use a drop of Fermcap when preparing the starter wort.
 

IslandLizard

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For the shaken not stirred all you need is a gallon glass jug , add your wort and yeast , shake the heck out of it , 30 min later crack the lid and in 12 to 18 hours later your starter is ready.
There's a bit more to that method.
You need to shake again, each time after the foam has receded. As much and often as you can. Most growth happens in the oxygen-rich foamy phase.
 
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beerd

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My response in short: it's very likely fine to pitch just the starter, but pitching the extra pack would be insurance for the brew.
Thanks! Sounds like this is the prevailing opinion. We'll see if I'm feeling lucky on brew day.

1 liter of starter in a 2 liter flask/container, with only intermittent swirling is about the upper limit to prevent (severe) blow offs and foam overs. Adding one drop of Fermcap-S when boiling your starter wort helps reduce or prevent (excessive) foam overs.

Now 2 liters (or a little more relaxed on volume, 1.8 liter) on a stir plate are needed to get more optimal growth and end up with your target of around 200-210 billion cells. Again, use a drop of Fermcap when preparing the starter wort.
Yea, I am definitely seeing this. My test run I did 1.5 liters with the stir plate (and a drop of fermcap) and it seemed like I could get to 1.8 or so in my 2l without risk of a mess. At 1l with shaking (and fermcap) I'm foaming up close to the top on the swirls.

Maybe I misread it, but on the calcs I saw, I thought I could get away with a 1L starter - stirred - and hit my ~200B target. You think I need to go higher?


Get you a magnet to keep your stirbar in your flask while pouring out ......ask me how I know 😉
LOL. Magnets I have in spades. Sense enough to remember to use them...apparently not so much. Gonna be a silly amount of stir bars showing up next prime day I can tell you that. If you can't stop stupid, at least prepare for it.

Stay tuned for my next brew day and the obligatory "Is it OK to leave the stirbar in the fermenter?" post.
 
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beerd

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That was one of the first things I thought about in my mental checklist before starting my midnight rant, actually. There used to be one close by but they closed permanently.
 

IslandLizard

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Maybe I misread it, but on the calcs I saw, I thought I could get away with a 1L starter - stirred - and hit my ~200B target. You think I need to go higher?
I'm using this calculator, mostly:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator
Just keep an eye on the cells, some keep changing automatically, but can be reset (manually) to the correct value.

You've got around 60% viability.
1.8 liters on a stir plate should yield you around 312 billion cells.
1 liter gets you 200 billion.
But swirling with 1 liter only around 121 billion, which may be enough since they're very vital.

If you've got a gallon glass jug, I'd use the shaken-not-stirred method with 1 liter of wort. Ina pinch you could use a 1/2 gallon growler or other glass vessel, like a pickle jar. Best is having a lot of headspace for that method, and preferably, do NOT use Fermcap, you want to create as much foam as possible. But if you add Fermcap already, you just got to shake more often. Foam is your growth engine there. ;)
 
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beerd

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Thank you for all the guidance on shaken not stirred. I do have some large mason jars around. I guess I could also down a jug of Carlo Rossi...for science mind you.

That said, do I understand correctly that you should keep it capped for a bit after the initial shaking and pitching - and then remember to come back and uncap? I did start this thread because I spaced and threw away my stir bar. In my hands, this sounds like a recipe for explosive wort-on-a-wall.

You've got around 60% viability.
So, being new to this, I called White Labs when the Pure Pitch pouches came in and the gal on the phone was well spoken and seemed knowledgeable. She said that, based on their process, they expect ~85% viability on the "Best By" date and likely my pack was still in the 90%+ range. Not sure what the general consensus is on that guidance - I have seen it quoted much more often that Chris White said something like a 85% after a month - not sure if that applies to Pure Pitch or not. Just sharing what I heard from White Labs.
 

Jag75

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Thank you for all the guidance on shaken not stirred. I do have some large mason jars around. I guess I could also down a jug of Carlo Rossi...for science mind you.

That said, do I understand correctly that you should keep it capped for a bit after the initial shaking and pitching - and then remember to come back and uncap? I did start this thread because I spaced and threw away my stir bar. In my hands, this sounds like a recipe for explosive wort-on-a-wall.



So, being new to this, I called White Labs when the Pure Pitch pouches came in and the gal on the phone was well spoken and seemed knowledgeable. She said that, based on their process, they expect ~85% viability on the "Best By" date and likely my pack was still in the 90%+ range. Not sure what the general consensus is on that guidance - I have seen it quoted much more often that Chris White said something like a 85% after a month - not sure if that applies to Pure Pitch or not. Just sharing what I heard from White Labs.
Yes keep the cap on for about 30 min. Then crack it open to allow co2 to exit. I just loosen a turn or so . When you shake it , you shake it like it owes you $$$. It will be a massive jug of foam at first . Ive done it a billion times and it always works great.
 

IslandLizard

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She said that, based on their process, they expect ~85% viability on the "Best By" date and likely my pack was still in the 90%+ range.
(Patented) Pure Pitch packs fare much better retaining viability than the mylar packs and old vials. But much of that can be wiped out by adverse temps during the shipping process. 3-5 days on a truck traveling in hot or freezing weather does yeast no favor. Everyone using liquid yeast has that experience, unless it was $$$ overnight shipped, directly from the manufacturer. Even then...

That ~85% viability 6 months after packaging... take with a large grain of salt. Even their own published data tells us otherwise:


BTW, one should always make starter with liquid yeast unless you know exactly of her whereabouts. There are 3 big reasons, in order of importance:
  1. Prove viability
  2. Grow more cells for a healthy/healthier pitch
  3. Overbuild the starter, so you can save some out for a next starter, and so on...
 

IslandLizard

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@IslandLizard - where do you stand on dry yeast for lagers , starter wise?
Hah! I've never used a dry yeast for Lagers.
Now, since you're asking, I would definitely make a regular starter from a single pack of dry lager yeast. Crash, decant, and make an oxygenated vitality starter 4-6 hours before pitching (cold), as if it were a liquid yeast. If I were in a hurry, just pitch the whole starter (propagated at 60F) without cold crashing.

I've read many brewers pitching 2 packs of 34/70 at low temps (50-55F). Or a single pack in the mid 60s, let it propagate for a day (or 2), then start dropping the temps slowly. Others just continue in the mid 60s and let it warm ferment...

Where do you stand on this?
 

Jag75

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Hah! I've never used a dry yeast for Lagers.
Now, since you're asking, I would definitely make a regular starter from a single pack of dry lager yeast. Crash, decant, and make an oxygenated vitality starter 4-6 hours before pitching (cold), as if it were a liquid yeast. If I were in a hurry, just pitch the whole starter (propagated at 60F) without cold crashing.

I've read many brewers pitching 2 packs of 34/70 at low temps (50-55F). Or a single pack in the mid 60s, let it propagate for a day (or 2), then start dropping the temps slowly. Others just continue in the mid 60s and let it warm ferment...

Where do you stand on this?
Kind of same boat as I've never used dry yeast for lager either. I think I'm gonna try some with a pilsner. My plan was to make a starter with it.
 

day_trippr

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Not enough cross-sectional area to do much, plus you have metal that's going to get eaten up...

Cheers!
 
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beerd

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LOL, yes, that was me at half past midnight last night. Paperclips, random scraps of metal, I was contemplating something involving silicon tubing and nails at one point...I think God finally just took pity and put me to bed before I could do more harm.

Even their own published data tells us otherwise:
This link is broken for me. Searching the White Labs site I can't find any current reference to expected viability. Point taken though - always good insurance to build a starter to test viability, etc. I'm sold on that. It's just hard to figure out what size starter to use when I do if I can't tell how many cells I'm starting with between shelf-life and temp/transport concerns.

It's a good thing the yeast don't spend as much time as I do worried about this stuff...
 
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bracconiere

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I was contemplating something involving silicon tubing and nails at one point.

yeah, i know projects like that...but they work out often enough, you could have called it something cool...like "nail'd lagger lager"! :mug:

edit: or nail'd at midnight, if only you tried! ;)...refrigerator magnet maybe? lol
 

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I've been making starters for years with no stir plate. My yeast handing heresy is compounded by my failure to use pure oxygen after pitching and that I don't care how many billion cells I'm chucking in.
On the plus side there's no cursing at midnight when the stir bar is gone.
I've got the next 3 days off and tonight I'm drinking a decent Belgian Quad that came out pretty good despite my rejections of (some) homebrewing dogma.


:bigmug:
 
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beerd

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It's probably in the trap of the drain.
Yup - played that game too. Was smrt enough this time to use the magnet I spaced on earlier to check the traps. No luck in the garage. Oh, I think I might have dumped in bathroom sink. Then, under the bathroom sink at 12:15am, I had a particularly ugly realization - pretty sure I flushed it.

Seriously, between about 11:30pm and 12:30am it was just a series of exponentially increasing stupidity and vulgarity.
 
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Brooothru

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If you have a local lab supply that sells to schools and industries they will sell stir bars cheap and put three in a 50 cent envelope.
When I bought a 5L Erlenmeyer flask, I found that the stir bar I was using in my 1L and 2L flasks wasn't sufficient for the job. I ordered an assortment of stir bars off Amazon that included several different lengths and shapes (one was just a round ball, didn't work so well; one was a wagon-wheel shape that splashed like hell). The longer bar with a center rib worked great for the large flask while the shorter bars without a mid-point rib seem to be better in smaller flasks.

The bottom line: I have a metric crap ton of stir bars, the finite number of which is less than the beginning number I had at some past point in time. I wish those stir bars weren't so dissolvable in starter worts. At least that's my explanation for the decreasing number of bars. 🤔
 

IslandLizard

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This link is broken for me. Searching the White Labs site I can't find any current reference to expected viability.
Sorry about that, it's not just for you, the link is bygone.

Here's a discussion and a graph based on the viability claim and data from the now defunct White Labs page:
 

CascadesBrewer

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There's a bit more to that method.
You need to shake again, each time after the foam has receded. As much and often as you can. Most growth happens in the oxygen-rich foamy phase.
That might be your process, and I have heard of people that use a plastic bottle and squeeze out the CO2 to allow air/Oxygen back into the jug, but the multiple shakings is not part of the process from the guy that first proposed "shaken not stirred", and it is not part of my process.

Info from "Saccharomyces": Shaken, not Stirred: The Stir Plate Myth Buster | Experimental Homebrewing

A little more info: Shaken-not-Stirred Yeast Starter (Illustrate Steps for the SNS Method)
 
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