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Mason Jar for Starter

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s3n8

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Hey all,

I know mason jars are used for a lot of things here, but I thought I would share my recent experience. As a n00b, I am not kitted out like some of you guys. I dont have a fancy starter flask and stir plate, so I figured I would improvise. Im planning an imperial stout for this weekend (morebeer kit) and got the WL liquid yeast Cali Ale 001. Since its a "big beer" and I really want this one to turn out, I figured I would try to do it right.

I made my first starter last night, boiled 2 cups of water, ~1/2 cup DME and 1/8 tsp of wyeast nutrient. Put it all into a sanitized quart mason jar with the lid and ring also sanitized. It is about 3/4 full OG a little light at 1.03ish. Cooled in the fridge for about 30 minutes until it was 65. Pitched yeast, put lid on and shook the hell out of it. Loosened the lid to burp it and put it in the basement where its 68 - 70. Every once in a while I run down, screw the lid on tight, shake it up, and then loosen the cap to let the yeast farts out. Smells nice and doughy :).

Hoping for a nice quick start to the stout this weekend. :mug:

If anyone has tried this and failed pls let me know and I will pitch the dry packet :)
 

Professor Frink

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Your starter looks fine. As far as the mason jar, that'll work, but there are many great alternatives though. For my starters, I use the glass returnable milk bottles you get at the grocery store, carboy bungs fit perfectly in there.
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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I am a bit confused about using a stopper in a starter (ha, that sounds funny), don't you want it aerated? Wont an airlock prevent good aeration?


I havn't seen a glass milkjug since.... uh. a long time.
 

malkore

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to achieve aeration in a starter, most will use a stir plate vs. the 'shake it' method.

I hit my starters with pure O2, and call it good enough for my needs.
 

bradsul

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I aerate mine with my aeration stone to start, I don't really touch it after that unless I need to bump it up. I use mason jars as well and I just leave the lid on loosely.

The airlock is simply to allow the pressure inside the vessel to release without letting anything else inside.
 
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mason jars are great for starters. i used them for quite a while in the beginning, but i'd try using a bigger jar. 3/4 of a quart just isn't enough volume to really allow the yeast to multiply enough to give you the pitch rate you need for a big stout. the starter size i use for a 5-6 gallon batch is 3/4 gallon in a 1 gallon jug. i make it 5-6 days before brew day and i pitch just the slurry that has settled.
 

Moonshae

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What is the purpose of a starter? Does it just speed up the process, or is it necessary for some recipes?
 

BierMuncher

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I prefer used apple juice jars. Plastic. Large. Easy to handle. Drill a 1/2 hole in the lid and install an airlock.

I have four of them in my fridge now just waiting for some upcoming brews.

YeastStarters_1.JPG

YeastStarters_2.JPG
 

Got Trub?

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Mason jars are great. I use them alot as they are plenty big enough for my session beers. They also fit in my pressure cooker so I can sterilize them and my starter wort. I bubble air from a cheap aquarium pump with a 2um filter as I haven't got around to building a stir plate yet.

GT
 

Joker

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Mason jars and tin foil has always worked fine for me.
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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Joker said:
Mason jars and tin foil has always worked fine for me.
Just curious how you shake or aerate them with foil on top. Thats why I used the real lid and the ring so I can tighten, shake, and then loosen to equalize the pressure. A few times I took the lid completely off to allow some more O2 in there and swirled.

Seems to have worked, I have about 4 inches of krausen on top and the yeast are moshing as I write. :rockin:

This is my first starter, I must not have screwed up too bad. Thanks for the help, much appreciated. :mug:
 

Thor the Mighty

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oh dang with mason jars the lid actually bulged out because of the carbonation. it would be perfect for a calm beverage like mead or wine but as far as beer goes, just make sure you keep an eye on the lid because it could lead to a co2 leak thus making flat beer.
 

BierMuncher

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Thor the Mighty said:
oh dang with mason jars the lid actually bulged out because of the carbonation. it would be perfect for a calm beverage like mead or wine but as far as beer goes, just make sure you keep an eye on the lid because it could lead to a co2 leak thus making flat beer.
Not sure how CO2 leaking out of a starter jar would lead to flat beer... :confused:
 

Joker

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s3n8 said:
Just curious how you shake or aerate them with foil on top. Thats why I used the real lid and the ring so I can tighten, shake, and then loosen to equalize the pressure. A few times I took the lid completely off to allow some more O2 in there and swirled.

Seems to have worked, I have about 4 inches of krausen on top and the yeast are moshing as I write. :rockin:

This is my first starter, I must not have screwed up too bad. Thanks for the help, much appreciated. :mug:
Just pouring the wort in adds enough aeriation but I give them a swirl once the yeast is in. Once I get my stir plate done that will solve any problem of aeriation I might be having.
 

cronxitawney

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Thor the Mighty said:
oh dang with mason jars the lid actually bulged out because of the carbonation. it would be perfect for a calm beverage like mead or wine but as far as beer goes, just make sure you keep an eye on the lid because it could lead to a co2 leak thus making flat beer.
I believe he was using it for a starter, and not for bottling
 

Thirdeye

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Sorry about the hijack but does a starter have to be done with ME? Can you just use corn sugar or something? Is a starter different from "proofing" the yeast the way Mr. Palmer writes?

Edit: Nevermind, I just read Palmer again and answered my own question.
 

mrbungeeman17

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Professor Frink said:
Your starter looks fine. As far as the mason jar, that'll work, but there are many great alternatives though. For my starters, I use the glass returnable milk bottles you get at the grocery store, carboy bungs fit perfectly in there.
Were do you shop..... I have been looking for months to find any sort of 1gal glass jug in my local grocery stores, no such luck. Seems to be the age of plastic.
 

conpewter

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I've used the mason jar trick before for a starter, worked just fine.

I've only seen the 1/2 gallon glass milk jugs, such as at oberwiess (fancy Ice-cream place with organic milk)
 

cola

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BierMuncher said:
I prefer used apple juice jars. Plastic. Large. Easy to handle. Drill a 1/2 hole in the lid and install an airlock.

I have four of them in my fridge now just waiting for some upcoming brews.

View attachment 4413

View attachment 4414
whats the purpose of those airlocks on top of those apple juice containers? why not just seal off all air by closing the lid with the screw on cap that came with the juice container?

and are those airlocks really air tight? i mean you drilled a hole at the top of the apple juice containers... do you think that some air can sneak in through those drilled areas?
 

EvilTOJ

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cola, a starter is to build yeast count and get a healthy colony going. it's essentially a mini-brew session. Sealing the lid up tight will make the bottle explode due to CO2 production. I mean look at the second picture! Krausen is oozing out all over the place!
 

broadbill

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Thor the Mighty said:
oh dang with mason jars the lid actually bulged out because of the carbonation. it would be perfect for a calm beverage like mead or wine but as far as beer goes, just make sure you keep an eye on the lid because it could lead to a co2 leak thus making flat beer.

I hope you don't have a lid tight on that starter!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are asking for a bottle bomb since mason jars aren't supposed to hold pressure like that....

The carbonation in your starter isn't going to affect the carbonation in the beer you are ultimately making. Yes, you are making beer when you make a starter, but that will be poured off before adding the yeast to your wort.
 
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