Making large amounts of yeast

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SeanHaley

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I've read up on making yeast starters for big beers and such, but my question is. If I wanted to make several 5 gal batches of the same beer at the same time from a single smack pack. Could I make a yeast starter, after it ferments decant the liquid and add new wort. Would this make double the original?
Im looking to make 3 batches at a time but want to avoid having to buy three or more packs everytime I brew.
 

DubBrew

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You will need to make progressively bigger starters. Yeast can reach critical mass/density and will need more space and sugar to continue to populate.
 

Bobby_M

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3 batches off one pack is ambitious. You can make a 1 liter starter, decant the wort, then add 2 liters of new wort. That would basically quadruple the original cell count but I still wouldn't use it for 15 gallons. I'd make a 1 liter starter first, then brew 5 gallons of beer and pitch the starter. Once that's done fermenting, brew the other two batches splitting the first batch's yeast cakes between them.
 
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SeanHaley

SeanHaley

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Thanks guys thats what i needed to know. One other quick question then. I read alot of conficting info on the amount of starter i would need. The beers Im getting ready to brew are in the area of 1.100+. Im using Wyeast 1099 in a smack pack. Reading on their web site this is about the top as far as ABV for this yeast. What would be the optimal starter size? The yeast calulator im using says 3 packs and make 4.5 liter starter. That seems like alot.
 
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SeanHaley

SeanHaley

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Im sorry. I should have clarified better. Its three 5 gallon batches. Im starting the first as im typing this. I would make a starter for the first, let ferment, then use the yeast from the first to make the second. Since its such high gravity I wanted a starter that would be big enough to handle it.
 

rjwhite41

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Are you talking about making 3 consecutive high gravity beers? If so, you may have problems with the yeast. It is not recommended that you even harvest yeast from high gravity beers because they are so stressed out.
 
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SeanHaley

SeanHaley

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Yes, Oh really? I thought they were stressed if underpitched. I did not know that was the case. Thanks. Will it be ok for lower gravity beer?
 

rjwhite41

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There's a lot of ways yeast can get stressed. Underpitching is certainly one of them. High gravity/alcohol is another. Start with low gravity and work your way up to higher gravity. The generally rule is not to harvest anything over 1.060 I believe. I go to 1.070 with no ill effects so far.
 

meadowstream

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Sean, I think that if you make a single 2L starter using 1 cup of DME and 1 vial from White Labs and a stir plate then you will have enough to split among 3 5-gallon batches. I make 15g batches using a single 2L starter and it seems to be the perfect pitching amount.
 

HairyDogBrewing

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For a 1.100 beer, it is common practice to brew a 1.050-ish batch and use the whole yeast cake for the 'big' beer.
The yeast cake from the 1.100 batch should not be re-used.
 
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SeanHaley

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Thanks everyone. I made my starter on wedensday. It was going crazy until this morning and has settled out.
Its a 2L batch, no stir plate but shook the bottle about every 6 hours.
Ton of yeast in the bottom. This Sunday I make my first Big beer.
IIPA called Octane(10%ABV) Down the road i want to make a 20% called High Octane(yes i know kind of cheesy, but im a motor head)

I was thinking earlier. I dont know if anyone has tried this or if it would work.
Everyone says not to use the yeast from big beers because its stressed.
What if you took a small sample of the yeast cake from your big beer and pitched it in another starter(1.040OG) The stressed out yeast would multipy free from stress in a low OG starter and be healthy. WOuld this work.
Just thinking. Please correct me if im wrong.
Thanks again.
 

rjwhite41

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2L shaking every 6 hours is not going to make the ideal amount of yeast for this beer. I don't think making a starter from your high gravity yeast cake is a good idea. I would just buy new yeast.
 

HairyDogBrewing

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What if you took a small sample of the yeast cake from your big beer and pitched it in another starter(1.040OG) The stressed out yeast would multipy free from stress in a low OG starter and be healthy. WOuld this work.
The damage is already done.
Stressed yeast have genetic drift that will eventually lead to different, probably undesirable, characteristics.
 
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SeanHaley

SeanHaley

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Thank you Hairy Dog. I had a feeling that might be the answer since i didnt find any theads on it.
After I read Rj's last post I decided to make a gallon size starter from the 2 liter of yeast. I tried to get as much air in as possible without a stir plate.
Ended up with about 1/4 inch or so of yeast on the bottom of a milk jug.
Should be enough. If not I have some Nottingham. Ill just pitch that if it slows or stops.
 

kanzimonson

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How about this - when you make the big beer, pitch most of the starter in but save a little bit so you can make another starter from it.

This is about the easiest solution I can see. Definitely don't reuse the yeast from the big batch.
 
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