Question about starters: cheaper/easier options?

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Gavin C

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This thread is about starters..........NOT "canning wort" as you suggest. If you look back, I was suggesting top cropping yeast.......... My comment had absolutely NOTHING to do with canning wort...... It had to do with top cropping and thus using top cropped yeast instead of using a starter.

Are you suggesting that we should pressure can top cropped yeast???? Get real!!! Look at the context instead of spouting off nonsense. Sanitizing a ladle to top crop is an entirely different topic from pressure canning wort.

Please explain........do you advocate pressure canning top cropped yeast? Or are you suggesting that I should autoclave my ladle. and presumably my container for top cropped yeast? The reality is that top cropped yeast is stored in the fridge where botulism is of ZERO concern......... If you are going to can your top cropped yeast, by all means pressure can it!! You won't get botulism...........but you won't get fermentation either.

Note that the thread title is "question about starters: cheaper easier options?" Please extract your ___ from your ___ This kind of drivel only confuses the issue. You are beginning to sound like a moron!


H.W.
You seem ...........................to be making a .............................deliberate effort to ...........................selectively read your own ............................and my own posts. Your .................................interpretation of my comments is quite puzzling to say the least but ....................then that's in all likelihood more a reflection on _____________________my inability to converse >>>>>>>>>>>>on your heavily punctuated level. ........................................................



Hope that works out well for you.
 
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Hey now everyone. We're all on the same team!

If you're going to can wort, it needs to be sterile. That means 250F, which means pressure canning at 15psi.

If you're not canning wort, that is you're not saving it in closed containers at room temp, no worries. If you're boiling your wort before you use it, no worries.

If you throw around question marks and exclamation marks like they are growing on a tree out back... well, during the war those things were rationed. 2 a week per family. Because we were worried for our boys over there. Time sure have changed.
 

UndeadFred

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Yeah, actually freezing is what I already do and it works fine. However I don't like taking up already tight freezer space. Press canning will probably be the long term result but wort plus apple juice is eure tempting... ;)
 

gbx

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I hate making starters too so I always repitch (the pitching rate calculators will tell you how much you need) I almost never make only 1 batch from a pack of yeast (even dry yeast). When I do need to make a starter, I will brew a 3-5gal batch of <1.040 session beer and top crop it or repitch on the cake. Making a starter you can drink makes it more fun.
 

kombat

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What keeps someone from putting wort into a 22 Oz bottle, capping it and putting it in an oven at say 250F for an hour?
Nothing. But it won't sterilize the wort.

I suspect the pressure would equalize at the approximate 15 PSI.
I suspect it will "equalized" at 0 psi after the jar explodes. Canning jars are not meant to withstand such internal pressures. They're meant to contain a vacuum. Screwing the lid down tight will prevent air from escaping the jar (which is another crucial part of the canning process: eliminating oxygen from the liquid and headspace of the canned product), and will cause pressure to build as the jar heats until the container eventually fails and explodes.

The jars do not explode inside the canner because the lids are not screwed down air-tight. The pressure inside the jars is 15 psi, but the pressure outside the jars (i.e., in the chamber of the pressure canner) is also 15 psi, meaning the pressure is equalized and there is no stress on the jar walls. Inside a regular oven, however, the pressure remains 0 psi while the pressure in the jars builds to 15 psi, which (I suspect) will cause the jars to explode.

If it were possible to safely sterilize canned foods to 15 psi / 250 ° F in a regular oven, why would anyone ever buy a pressure canner? Why wouldn't all those people canning foods/wort just use the oven they already have?

That should not blow the cap nor bottle and the liquid should still hit 250.
I disagree. I believe the jars will explode.

If you want to safely sterilize and can wort, you must use an autoclave or pressure canner.

EDIT: Just realized you may be referring to a regular beer bottle instead of canning jars. In that case, yes, a regular beer bottle would be able to withstand 15 psi internal pressure (after all, we bottle carb many styles to higher CO2 volumes than that). However, there's still the matter of evacuating the oxygen from the liquid and headspace. Capping it would trap O2 inside the liquid and bottle, and oxygen is one of the key ingredients for the types of nasties that can contaminate your wort. Pressure canning evicts O2 from the liquid and headspace of the container.

Also, I'm not convinced that the liner in regular beer bottle caps could survive such temperatures.
 

UndeadFred

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The liner is the catch. And yes, I mean beer bottles.. maybe even hand selected "good ones"....

I suppose experiment #1 would be to put a couple of caps in the oven at 250F for an hour. Check the liners. Most plastics can handle 250F.. what might happen here is that the seal goes on the bottle though because it becomes too soft.

I've sanitized bottles in the oven already with 100% success, but StarSan is a lot easier... I ran out that day.. did what I could..;) Soda Glass is perfectly fine at 250F if you don't thermally shock.

Experiment #2 then would be to try this with water. I'd put the bottles in a bowl or kettle in the oven in case they did pop.

Experiment #3 then would be to try with 1.040 wort... and then check it 4 weeks later.. see if anything has soured, gravity changed, pH changed... etc...

The amount of O2 in the neck of the bottle.. eh.. I'd take my chances with that.. really it's not going to be much. I could purge with CO2, but I don't even know if it's worth it... Cardboard flavored starter beer would probably improve the flavor.. ;)

But I have to admit I've been using dry because it's hard to plan on which weekend I can brew and then it's even harder to have an hour on a weeknight for me.. so, something like canned wort is a great idea.. I like my beers at at least 1.055 and won't pay $16 for two vials.. so it's been dry yeast so far.. I'm finally doing it right with liquid yeast and a starter and it's been a PITA because I don't have the time during the week to do it..

I have frozen boiled (and I boil again) wort in quart mason jars, and except when I filled over the neck on one, it's worked okay.. even in that case it cracked the jar I was able to safely peel away the pieces and use the wort.. but it takes up a lot of space in the freezer.... so I can only do a couple of those at a time... So doing something else makes sense..

I just don't know if getting a canning rig is worth it though for the 8-9 brews a year I actually get to do....so that is why I'm looking at alternatives..

I am stingy enough that I'd "mini-mash" a gallon or so of Rahr 2-row for starters... but I have to do that in my "free" time...

I suppose that is what they make $4.50/lb DME for...sigh...
 

kombat

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I've sanitized bottles in the oven already with 100% success
Bottles are an entirely different thing. You can heat a bottle up to 250° F at standard atmospheric pressure, no problem. You cannot, however, heat liquid up to 250° F at standard atmospheric pressure. The highest you can get will be 212° F, at which point it will boil. No matter how much heat you apply, the liquid itself will only be 212° F. In order to get it to 250° F, you have to prevent it from boiling, and the way you do that is by applying pressure (15 psi, to be exact).

The amount of O2 in the neck of the bottle.. eh.. I'd take my chances with that.. really it's not going to be much. I could purge with CO2, but I don't even know if it's worth it... Cardboard flavored starter beer would probably improve the flavor.. ;)
The problem isn't oxidation, it's microbial growth. Removing oxygen from the environment is a key part of canning, to reduce the ability of contaminants like clostridium botulinum from being able to gain a foothold and start reproducing in an otherwise ideal environment.
 

pricelessbrewing

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Yes but there actually would be an increase in pressure as well due to the expanding contents. The liquid would take up roughly 4.4~% more volume increasing the pressure on the gasses in the headspace of the bottle, also the process of heating up the gases will increase the pressure as well through increased kinetic energy. How much more? Not sure, I'll have to dust off ye old heat and thermal when I get home from work and try and work this out. I'm not sure it's enough to get to 15 PSI though...

Anyone know what the headspace in a typical bottle is in ml, or oz? If not I can go measure it tomorrow...
 

Owly055

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Hey now everyone. We're all on the same team!

If you're going to can wort, it needs to be sterile. That means 250F, which means pressure canning at 15psi.

If you're not canning wort, that is you're not saving it in closed containers at room temp, no worries. If you're boiling your wort before you use it, no worries.

If you throw around question marks and exclamation marks like they are growing on a tree out back... well, during the war those things were rationed. 2 a week per family. Because we were worried for our boys over there. Time sure have changed.

I was offering an alternative to expensive starters. That alternative is top cropping....... or washing yeast. Rather than buying DME and using a stir plate for each brew, it's far more cost effective to harvest yeast from a previous brew. That in effect is using one brew as a starter for another. What after all is a starter but a small brew? I don't appreciate being battered with BS that doesn't apply........ We all know that botulism is not an issue with yeast that has been cropped and is stored in the fridge.

I mentioned before there is the third alternative of making a starter either with DME or malted grain that is ultimately incorporated into your brew. If for example your recipe calls for 12 pounds of 2 row, mash a small percentage of that in advance....without the hops, and later incorporate it into the main brew. Or use DME and alter the recipe to incorporate the DME without changing it's malt profile. There is absolutely no reason to throw away the fermented wort used for making a starter if you plan accordingly.

I always go with one of these alternatives. If I'm using a yeast that requires a starter, such as White Labs products, I always design the starter to incorporate into the brew..... It's just common sense.

It's also worth mentioning that there is a PH issue where botulism is concerned. At PH below 4.5 it can't survive..... or at least cannot reproduce. 4.8 to 5 is optimal for fermentation. Using a concentrated wort with a PH of 4.5, diluting it later to use, and adjusting it upward a few points is not rocket science, preventing botulism is not rocket science.

I apologize for losing my temper with that idiot...... It was I thought very clear what I was suggesting. The object here is to reduce the cost and labor of making starters. Which does not necessarily mean canning wort, another labor intensive process that I consider unnecessary. Let me remind you that the title of the thread is: "Question about starters: cheaper/easier options?" It's not "how to can wort".

H.W.
 

UndeadFred

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Bottles are an entirely different thing. You can heat a bottle up to 250° F at standard atmospheric pressure, no problem. You cannot, however, heat liquid up to 250° F at standard atmospheric pressure. The highest you can get will be 212° F, at which point it will boil. No matter how much heat you apply, the liquid itself will only be 212° F. In order to get it to 250° F, you have to prevent it from boiling, and the way you do that is by applying pressure (15 psi, to be exact).

The problem isn't oxidation, it's microbial growth. Removing oxygen from the environment is a key part of canning, to reduce the ability of contaminants like clostridium botulinum from being able to gain a foothold and start reproducing in an otherwise ideal environment.
Got it and got it..

You cap the bottle BEFORE you heat it up. when the water boils at 212F the steam will enter the small headspace and (I think) kill off whatever is in that headspace... it will also pressurize the bottle and it should be able to get the remaining liquid (which will be 99.99%, right?) to get up to 250F and 15 PSI.

PV=nRT .. n and R are constants, V should be a constant in a sealed bottle.. so P and T should go up in a linear fashion (assuming ideal gas is close enough).. and that is what I'm saying.. you'd have 250F steam in the headspace (which will kill) and the water would boil at the higher temperature with the higher pressure caused by the higher temperature.. that is how a pressurized boiler works. It's how the pressurized radiator on your car works.

It's just a thought.. it might be cool for a lot of us if we can figure it out. I think the issue might be the liner on the bottle cap but even there I am wondering if it couldn't be torn off and a nylon crush washer inserted instead at capping..

I'm brainstorming at present...

Fred
 

UndeadFred

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Yes but there actually would be an increase in pressure as well due to the expanding contents. The liquid would take up roughly 4.4~% more volume increasing the pressure on the gasses in the headspace of the bottle, also the process of heating up the gases will increase the pressure as well through increased kinetic energy. How much more? Not sure, I'll have to dust off ye old heat and thermal when I get home from work and try and work this out. I'm not sure it's enough to get to 15 PSI though...

Anyone know what the headspace in a typical bottle is in ml, or oz? If not I can go measure it tomorrow...
Cool.. I am an ELECTRICAL engineer (Well, software now, actually but by dgree) and I tried my darndest to forget Thermodynamics after I got my degree! I know enough to be dangerous though, obviously! I just assumed this had been tried already and there was something I missed.. but maybe not...

We might be able to heat higher than 250F in this case as well. What is important isn't the 15 PSI.

What is important is for the LIQUID to get to 250F for 20-30 minutes.. or hotter..

Remember, there will be a phase transition here too I think because at some point the liquid would likely be boiling in the bottle.. but maybe I am wrong about this if the volume increase is quicker.. Don't know. I just assumed otherwise..

Okay.. if you have water in a pressure cooker, what gets that water to 250F and the headspace in the cooker to 15 PSI? The fact the vessel is closed off right? So how is that different than the bottle.. Fun thought experiment if nothing else...

Fred
 

thekraken

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@UndeadFred, now you got my thinking about pressure canning in bottles. That could be slightly easier to use than the mason jars. Are we sure they could survive the internal pressure? Are we sure the seal could be reliably maintained? At least with mason jars you know if a seal is maintained or not which is crucial from a safety standpoint.
 

UndeadFred

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@UndeadFred, now you got my thinking about pressure canning in bottles. That could be slightly easier to use than the mason jars. Are we sure they could survive the internal pressure? Are we sure the seal could be reliably maintained? At least with mason jars you know if a seal is maintained or not which is crucial from a safety standpoint.
I actually agree with that.. The two concerns I think are will the seal hold when heated and will the pressure rise too much.. I do know pressure canners don't need to have the jar covered with water and instructions on-line say to "add the amount of water needed to get the correct pressure".. so it all might matter... and you are right once the bottles are cooled back down they will be at atmospheric pressure internally again, and all you'd have for spoilage is.. well maybe they would end up carbonated?

Don't know. I have wild arsed ideas like this all the time..

Fred
 

thekraken

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My canner only needs about 1.5 inches of water, I don't think pressure is depended on water quantity. After the air is evacuated the steam is what does all the work. You just need enough water in the canner to last the length of the cook.
 

iijakii

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I hate making starters too so I always repitch (the pitching rate calculators will tell you how much you need) I almost never make only 1 batch from a pack of yeast (even dry yeast). When I do need to make a starter, I will brew a 3-5gal batch of <1.040 session beer and top crop it or repitch on the cake. Making a starter you can drink makes it more fun.
This is the best option. Especially with those PurePitch and other 200B stuff cropping up, sessions are great but you can even go pretty decent ranged.
 

iijakii

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Also, any breweries near you? I've been hearing a lot about people running by breweries with mason jars and grabbing some slurry. This week I emailed a bunch near me and a few have said to come on down. Next week sometime I'm going to grab some chico slurry from one and a second is open to giving yeast out too, just waiting to hear what lager strain they have. I'm wanting to do a 10gal Pilsner soon and screw making multiple step starters. Getting a jar of slurry would be sweet.
 

ThomasPaine

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Also, any breweries near you? I've been hearing a lot about people running by breweries with mason jars and grabbing some slurry. This week I emailed a bunch near me and a few have said to come on down. Next week sometime I'm going to grab some chico slurry from one and a second is open to giving yeast out too, just waiting to hear what lager strain they have. I'm wanting to do a 10gal Pilsner soon and screw making multiple step starters. Getting a jar of slurry would be sweet.

I'm going to try this.
 

ArcLight

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I want to get into the fight ... :drunk:

on second though, nah. :fro:


Is there any way I could make a cheaper starter? I also loathe the process of making starters itself for some reason.
To the original poster, if you brew that frequently, just scoop out 20-25% of the trub on the bottom when you rack your beer and dump it into the new beer.
While it wont be as perfect as a starter, there will be tons of viable yeast.

Cost: $0
Time needed: 2 minutes
:mug:

Just take a sample before doing this so you know it's not infected.
You don't need to "wash the yeast". Just scoop and plop since you are brewing so much.

There are more than a few articles on HBT about reusing yeast. :ban:
 

UndeadFred

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OK. I tried my experiment. LD Carlson caps seal fails. If you see the wort start to boil, you fail. I cut and belt sanded a silicone gasket out of a piece of flat hot pad to make a silicone gasket. Looks like it is working. Will fill in later once I verify a good seal over time. Capped at 212F boiling. I should have noticeable suction at room temperature. I think this could work. Grolsch bottles with the old ceramic tops would probably work with no mods. Putting boiling water into capped bottles and the heating at 275°F for 45 minutes for this experiment. I think it will work.
 
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OK. I tried my experiment. LD Carlson caps seal fails. If you see the wort start to boil, you fail. I cut and belt sanded a silicone gasket out of a piece of flat hot pad to make a silicone gasket. Looks like it is working. Will fill in later once I verify a good seal over time. Capped at 212F boiling. I should have noticeable suction at room temperature. I think this could work. Grolsch bottles with the old ceramic tops would probably work with no mods. Putting boiling water into capped bottles and the heating at 275°F for 45 minutes for this experiment. I think it will work.
What did the failure look like? Wort coming out under the cap?

I've got a couple of cases of Grolsch bottles. Maybe I'll give it a try with water.
 

UndeadFred

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Plastic swing tops appeared to work the bottle of water sprayed when I popped the top. So I can heat them to 275°F and they held pressure. This is with rubber "Grolsch gaskets". So capped bottles no for sure. Swing tops.. At your own risk but the seem to work. Have a liter and a half of wort to try this...
 
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