Pitching Large Starters

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

AMizener

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Location
Euless, TX
So, I've a question about batches which require large starters.

If a half-gallon or gallon starter is prepared for a 5 gallon batch, should you only top up after the boil to 4 or 4.5 gallons, so as to round out to 5?

Also, would you then take the IG after pitching the yeast?
 

PVH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
575
Reaction score
18
Location
Denver
So, I've a question about batches which require large starters.

If a half-gallon or gallon starter is prepared for a 5 gallon batch, should you only top up after the boil to 4 or 4.5 gallons, so as to round out to 5?

Also, would you then take the IG after pitching the yeast?
With a large starter, I would let it cool in the fridge overnight, decant the liquid off and pitch just the yeast. You will alter the character of the beer if you pitch the entirety of a large starter.
 

AmandaK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2010
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
149
Location
KCMO
If you have a starter that large, I'd go ahead and refrigerate/decant it. That way you are pitching mostly yeast and you won't have to do extra calculations.

Cheers!
 

mlyday

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
915
Reaction score
33
Location
Bay City, MI
Yes decant almost all of the liquid before pitching, leave just enough to swirl the yeast enought to get it out of the container. So still top it off to the full 5 gallons.
 

MalFet

/bɪər nɜrd/
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,632
Reaction score
1,479
Location
NYC / Kathmandu
So, I've a question about batches which require large starters.

If a half-gallon or gallon starter is prepared for a 5 gallon batch, should you only top up after the boil to 4 or 4.5 gallons, so as to round out to 5?

Also, would you then take the IG after pitching the yeast?
To answer your question: You can do it either way, but if you put 5gal worth of ingredients into a 4.5gal of water and then pitch a .5gal starter, you'll end up with a stronger beer than the recipe intended. If you pitch a .5gal starter into a 5gal of ingredients+liquid, you'll end up with a beer that is closer to the recipe's intended form (though slightly off, depending on the relative gravities of the starter and the wort).

Likewise, you'll get different numbers if you take your OG before you pitch, but if you're looking to compare it to a 5gal recipe specifications you should take it before.
 
OP
AMizener

AMizener

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Location
Euless, TX
With a large starter, I would let it cool in the fridge overnight, decant the liquid off and pitch just the yeast. You will alter the character of the beer if you pitch the entirety of a large starter.
Ah, good call. Hadn't thought about that. Thanks!
 

itsme6582

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
881
Reaction score
29
Location
Cleveland
This is a good question. These are my thoughts and a long way to subscribe to this thread.

You should make the beer to the recipe. If it's a 5 gallon recipe, make 5 gallons of wort then add whatever yeast you need. According to "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing," adding a half gallon of water on a 5 gallon batch will lower your SG by the following amounts:
SG 1.035-1.048: 0.002
SG 1.048-1.053: 0.004
SG 1.053-1.060: 0.004
 

MalFet

/bɪər nɜrd/
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,632
Reaction score
1,479
Location
NYC / Kathmandu
According to "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing," adding a half gallon of water on a 5 gallon batch will lower your SG by the following amounts
Except he wouldn't be adding a half gallon of water but rather a half gallon of starter. The two aren't equivalent to their impact on gravity and, more importantly, final ABV.
 

itsme6582

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
881
Reaction score
29
Location
Cleveland
I'll spell this one out for those with a brain cramp on a Monday.

Reading your OG after pitching should have a minimal difference when compared to reading prior to pitching.
 

MalFet

/bɪər nɜrd/
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,632
Reaction score
1,479
Location
NYC / Kathmandu
I'll spell this one out for those with a brain cramp on a Monday.

Reading your OG after pitching should have a minimal difference when compared to reading prior to pitching.
Snarky comments aside, I wouldn't consider 4 points to be a trivial difference on a 1.050 beer. On a bigger beer, it would be even more.
 

itsme6582

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
881
Reaction score
29
Location
Cleveland
Snarky? You started it and I'm telling Mom.

Adding a starter (which has a higher SG than water) will have a lesser effect than adding water. The starter will have a lesser effect than adding water. Alright, maybe not quite a negligible differece, but definitely close enough. If you forget to check your OG before you pitch I think you'll have a pretty good idea where you were.
 

bobz

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Location
Lakewood
If you grow yeast what are the byproducts and how is aerobic and anaerobic propagation different. Simple answer is don't pitch your starter. Sure you can get away with doing it but why. If your beers go into competition you may get results you won't like.
bobz
 

SwampassJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
2,157
Reaction score
48
Location
Coral Springs, FL
Put the starter into the fridge over night or longer if it takes longer to floc out. You'll know it's happening when you see a white band around the bottom and the top part begins to clear. If it was something like a quart some people just pitch it. I don't see the reason to pitch a gallon of light DME hooch into a tenderly cared for beer.

Some yeasts take longer to drop like Wyeast American Lager yeast. I've had it in the fridge for 36 hours but I still have a very milky looking starter that will probably need a few more days. On the other hand there are some that will floc out without even needing to refrigerating it like Wyeast 1968 (ESB).
 

bobz

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Location
Lakewood
Swampass, Lagers are done with very powdery yeasts and take a long time to flocculate. The majors want the yeast to stay in suspension and they filter when ready so it is not a problem for them. When I do lagers I set the floc temp about 38F and it clears not completely but enough to get rid of the supernatant (6-8 hrs).
bobz
 
Top