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Lazy Man's Starter- Ran out of Propper Starter at Inopportune Time

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micraftbeer

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So I've been using Propper Starter for a while now. I love it, it's so convenient. I pour the starter can in the flask, then fill up with distilled water, pitch the yeast, and set it on the stir plate.

But alas, I needed to get my starter going tonight, and I found I had run out of Propper Starter, so I had to improvise. I had some DME, and my distilled water. Being accustomed to the lazy starters from a can, I didn't want to deal with boiling it, cooling it, etc. So I just mixed the DME + distilled water in the flask, pitched the yeast, and put the whole thing on the stir plate.

I was thinking/guessing the boiling was for purposes of sterilizing the water, and since I was using distilled water I'd be OK there. And the DME would have already been sterilized through its manufacture process.

Any thoughts?
 

Coffeeturnal

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I have wondered the same thing. I usually boil to ensure that the flask is free of contaminants as well.

I suspect this is not unlike doing a no-boil beer... No real issue. But please report back :)
 

Robert65

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Water rarely supports anything that can spoil beer. Totally different environments. DME alone is very hygroscopic, which makes it difficult for anything to take off in it in the bag (same as honey or any other syrup.) If they were along for the ride, which they likely are (packaging of DME is not done aseptically,) as soon as spare water becomes available to any random bugs in addition to the sugar, it's off to the races. It's the DME you need to sterilize, not the water. Really rooting for your yeast.

BTW I'd never use Propper, because spoilers are potentially present even in the air. So I'd still want to boil the diluted mixture in the flask, covered with foil, and chill covered, and inoculate very carefully, to ensure that only my yeast was going in. I also wouldn't use distilled water, because minerals are beneficial. Just more money than DME, to my mind. Then again, I repitch indefinitely, so yeast handling is a priority for me to a degree that it isn't for many homebrewers only looking for one batch where the yeast wins.

Alternatively, I may be paranoid.
 

shoreman

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Go back and listen to the Basic Brewing Radio with the rep from Breiss and they talk about extract - you need a 15 minute boil to sterilize extract. Not saying it won't work out, but I'd be smelling and tasting that starter before pitching.
 

RPh_Guy

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FYI only water sold as "sterile water" is guaranteed to be sterile (and it's no longer sterile as soon as there's contact with air).
I suspect this is not unlike doing a no-boil beer...
The mash pasteurizes the wort.

Just dumping in non-sterile DME and non-sterile water in a non-sterile environment opens it up to a significantly higher risk of contamination, at one of the most vulnerable points in the process -- unhopped aerated low gravity wort where the pitched yeast population is just waking up.
 

WBB

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Go back and listen to the Basic Brewing Radio with the rep from Breiss and they talk about extract - you need a 15 minute boil to sterilize extract. Not saying it won't work out, but I'd be smelling and tasting that starter before pitching.
Used to do 15 minutes. Then tried 10 minutes to see what would happen. Nothing except saved me 5 minutes.
 

day_trippr

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15 minute boil? Massive "just covering my Breiss ass" overkill ;)

What I do: bring water to a boil, remove pot to sink, stir in 3 drops of Fermcap, then stir in the DME until fully dissolved. Lid while filling sink with cold water, which takes about five minutes. Chill, then fill sanitized e-flask with stir bar, add O2 and set on stir plate.

Zero drama wrt stove-top events, and have never had an evident infection...

Cheers!
 

SanPancho

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Ive never boiled a starter since i went to the microwave. Pour in all the extract and half the water. Nuke it. Get it up towards 180-200. Dilute with bottled water. Chill to temp. Or use cold bottled water and you’re usually close enough on temp.

easy peazy. Typically a 5 minute process. Hundreds of starters, no infections.

edit- the stir bar sits in vodka while i nuke the flask.
 

RM-MN

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Go back and listen to the Basic Brewing Radio with the rep from Breiss and they talk about extract - you need a 15 minute boil to sterilize extract. Not saying it won't work out, but I'd be smelling and tasting that starter before pitching.
You need a pressure cooker to sterilize. Botulin spores can survive boiling. However, that isn't a problem because botulin cannot reproduce in beer. What you really want is to pasteurize the extract. Pasteurization happens in less than one second at boiling temps. Boiling for 15 minutes seems like a long time to accomplish pasteurization.
 

shoreman

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You need a pressure cooker to sterilize. Botulin spores can survive boiling. However, that isn't a problem because botulin cannot reproduce in beer. What you really want is to pasteurize the extract. Pasteurization happens in less than one second at boiling temps. Boiling for 15 minutes seems like a long time to accomplish pasteurization.
This is dry malt extract - something is dried down, the liquid is taken out. I'd suggest you go ahead and listen to the podcast.
 

Robert65

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I find I need a good 10 minute boil to fully dissolve the DME and nutrients (Wyeast, Fermaid, whatever.) That's when the wort looks nice and clear and I quit and chill.
 

shoreman

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I don't see any podcast changing facts...

Cheers!
Hey, to each his own but I'm going with the advice from Bob Hansen the Manager of Technical Services at Briess with a "Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Biochemistry and Applied Math and Physics from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Attended Siebel Institute courses." over some random person posting on a message board. :)

If anyone is interested in hearing what he says, it's at about the 50 minute mark here http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/mp3/bbr11-17-05.mp3
 
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micraftbeer

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I listened to it. Turns out everyone is right here, to a degree. The Briess guy said he himself has brewed beers with DME without boiling and had success. And that if you have a fresh/strong batch of yeast, it will overtake foreign invaders and you won't notice. He did say, that if you want to be sure, boiling for 15 minutes gives you peace of mind. He said it may only be important for beers with a longer shelf life, which again might not be pertinent in your personal homebrew world.

As for my lazy man starter, all good so far. It frothed up well after the first 24 hours on stir plate. No smells or funky odors. I cold crashed it overnight. Again no smells as I poured off a fair amount of the liquid. Seems like I'll be OK.

And for reference here, I don't harvest/wash/reuse yeast. So this was a fresh (good thru 5/25/2020) White Labs pack of yeast. So I have that going for me.
 

RPh_Guy

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There's no scientific basis for extended boiling for sanitation. Any microbes that could contaminate beer will be long dead by the time the starter reaches boiling. It's a well-known fact that microbes can't survive in aqueous solutions at that high of a temperature. Spore-forming organisms generally do not contaminate wort/beer.

However the steam from boiling is helpful for sanitizing the upper portion of the flask as well as the closure/cover.
 

hopjuice_71

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However the steam from boiling is helpful for sanitizing the upper portion of the flask as well as the closure/cover.
Was going to say this but got beaten to it. I boil ~10 mins in my flask. Its overkill in terms of the liquid but necessary to ensure all the interior surfaces of the flask are hot enough for long enough to ensure it is aseptic.
 

Yesfan

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Lazy man's starter?

For me, it was collecting some extra wort from my mash as it drained into the boil kettle, cooled it down and pour it in my flask (with some nutrient and the yeast after it cooled), then put it on a stir plate while doing the hop additions.

I left it on the stir plate until later that evening when the wort was closer to pitching temps. By then, the starter starts showing some activity. I oxygenate the wort, then dump the starter in.

I done this with my last batch and it seemed to take off 5 hours after pitching. I may start making that a regular thing.
 

riceral

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Lazy man's starter?

For me, it was collecting some extra wort from my mash as it drained into the boil kettle, cooled it down and pour it in my flask (with some nutrient and the yeast after it cooled), then put it on a stir plate while doing the hop additions.

I left it on the stir plate until later that evening when the wort was closer to pitching temps. By then, the starter starts showing some activity. I oxygenate the wort, then dump the starter in.

I done this with my last batch and it seemed to take off 5 hours after pitching. I may start making that a regular thing.
Sounds like a vitality starter to me. I do the same thing.
 

Shalenkur

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Hi, how did this beer turn out? Any negative effects you attribute to un-boiled starter?

I found this thread because I just did the same thing! I was in a hurry and mixed dme with water and yeast without boiling first. It was 2 packs of Lallemand lager yeast. I think I'm going to use it anyway.
 

BrewZer

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Hi, how did this beer turn out? Any negative effects you attribute to un-boiled starter?

I found this thread because I just did the same thing! I was in a hurry and mixed dme with water and yeast without boiling first. It was 2 packs of Lallemand lager yeast. I think I'm going to use it anyway.
Let us know how that turns out for you, please.
 

Shalenkur

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Beer is fermenting fine at 50 degrees and smells great! So no sign of infection yet.....
 
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