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jlinz

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So, this site has me pitching 1 liter starters for 2.5 gallon batches pretty consistently. Is this overkill or pretty right on?
 

McKnuckle

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It's probably best if you ferment the starter, chill, then dispose of the starter wort before pitching just the yeast. The 1L starter volume is intended to allow your yeast to multiply to an adequate cell count. It's not meant to be the volume of liquid that you actually pitch.
 

Qhrumphf

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I don't believe that Mr. Malty will compute less than a 1L starter, as pitching a White Labs/Wyeast smack pack/vial into less than that (at least with reasonable fresh yeast) isn't going to produce much growth (due to the pitching rate of the actual starter being to high). I want to say it either goes 1 pack, 1l, or no starter, with nothing in between. It's one of the downfalls of Mr. Malty and why I've drifted away from it in favor of other calcualtors.

In any even, for an average gravity beer (1.050-1.060ish) you're probably about right with a 1L starter. Below that, pitch rate might be a bit high. Above that maybe still low (but in that case Mr. Malty would tell you to make a bigger starter anyway). But unless you're regularly brewing Hefeweizens (where even modest overpitching can have a noticeable impact), most beers are far more forgiving of an overpitch than an underpitch, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.
 

Qhrumphf

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Uh, ive been pitching the entire starter at high krauzen. Bad?
Not inherently. The larger the starter volume in proportion to the main batch, the more it's going to impact the beer. I normally don't have a problem pitching the whole thing of a 1L starter into a 5 gal batch (although I normally prefer to cold crash and decant as I normally make bigger starters anyway). However, in a 2.5 gallon batch, that's a bigger starter than I'd want to be adding.
 
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jlinz

jlinz

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Hmm. I do try to keep the starter the same temp as what I will ferment at.

So, i made starter tonight and plan on brewing Tuesday morning. Is there still time to decant?

By the way, COYS!!!
 

jekeane

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Uh, ive been pitching the entire starter at high krauzen. Bad?
Bad is a relative term but yeah I wouldn't call it good. You're basically tossing an unhopped liter of bad session beer into whatever you are brewing.

Best practice is to make your starter let it spin for 18-24 hours crash for a day or so then decant the "beer" and pitch the remaining yeast slurry.
 
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jlinz

jlinz

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Dont know if it matters but havent been using a stir plate. Just the ocassional hand swirl with temp control.
 

Qhrumphf

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Maybe enough time, but probably not. Especially if you're on a stir plate should have all your growth within 24 hours or less (edit: without a stir plate it'll take a little longer, so no, I'd say you don't have enough time), and can then pop it in the fridge. Problem is that I don't think you'll have enough time, crashing tomorrow night, to have it all flocced and settled out by Tuesday morning. If you were brewing Wednesday that'd be a different story.

It's more than keeping the starter at the ferment temp (which really isn't necessary). It's wort composition. It's aeration/oxidation. It's differences in gravity. Starters are meant to grow up a population of healthy yeast, not produce good tasting starter "beer". Pitching a starter while at high krausen actually carries a lot of benefits (the yeast are EXTREMELY active and at their most viable at that point), you just have to be willing to add that volume to your wort. You can potentially account for it if it's significant, or just not worry about it if you like the results. Like I said, there's nothing WRONG with it, but like everything else there are some drawbacks (just like decanting and pitching only the slurry takes longer, results in a slight viability decrease, and will get a slower start to fermentation).
 

biestie

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Like I said, there's nothing WRONG with it, but like everything else there are some drawbacks.

Right. It's not like you're pitching horse wiz into your beer. You make an unhopped beer with quality DME and yeast, I can think of a lot worse things to add to my beer. But 1 L is about as high as I go for 5 gallons.
 

Twotaureanbrewing

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First question no one asked is what yeast are you using? Wyeast smack packs at 100billion cells are fine for a 2.5 gallon batch with no starter for a mid gravity beer. If thats what your using, I wouldn't bother with a starter. I dont know the cell count for WL.

Ive been using this starter calculator, seems right on. http://www.woodlandbrew.com/2015/02/starter-calculator.html
 
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jlinz

jlinz

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Wyeast 1335. I think the point of the starter is the viability issue. It was packaged in November.
 

wi_brewer

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I ditched Mr. Malty for the Brewer's Friend calc, it seems more accurate to me and it allows you to do more things like specify target pitch rate and calculate multiple steps.
 
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jlinz

jlinz

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Ok, im going to push brew day back to Thursday. Is there time to decant? Trying to get a Yoopers Oatmeal Stout done and drinkable for my partner for her bday on St. Patricks day.
 

McKnuckle

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You should be fine. Since yeast are purported to take about 18 hours to multiply before beginning the active fermentation phase - at which point they are no longer multiplying - I do the following:

Get my starter going, and let it ride for 24 hours on a stir plate. Remove from stir plate, put in fridge. After another 24 hours (total time: 48 hrs), the starter is stratified into three layers:

Settled yeast on the bottom
Settling yeast in the middle (cloudy)
Clear layer of wort on top

The longer you wait, the more of the middle layer descends to the bottom. And the easier it is to pour out more of the clear wort on top. It's great to get all of the yeast and none of the wort, but getting most of the yeast and avoiding most of the wort is fine. Three days (72 hrs) total time is just about perfect. And you do need to leave a small amount of the starter wort in order to swirl up the settled yeast, so if your bottom third is still cloudy, that'll do.
 
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