Reuse starter ?

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Shaika-Dzari

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
45
So I was keeping in my fridge some london ale III from a past starter.
Yesterday, I made a new starter with it but I have no sign of activity after more than 12 hours. I think the yeast was dead. (was in the fridge for 6 months...)

I'm brewing this afternoon. I have a couple of pack of dried yeast so it's fine but what should I do with the starter ?
Crazy idea to repitch in this starter (with dead yeast at the bottom) other yeast I have ?

Thanks!
 

NotSure

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2021
Messages
46
Reaction score
53
Location
Camden, London, UK
So I was keeping in my fridge some london ale III from a past starter.
Yesterday, I made a new starter with it but I have no sign of activity after more than 12 hours. I think the yeast was dead. (was in the fridge for 6 months...)

I'm brewing this afternoon. I have a couple of pack of dried yeast so it's fine but what should I do with the starter ?
Crazy idea to repitch in this starter (with dead yeast at the bottom) other yeast I have ?

Thanks!
If the yeast in the starter appears dead, then dump it since even if there are some cells alive, they're likely not to be healthy. Use the dried yeast.
 

brew_darrymore

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2014
Messages
346
Reaction score
77
Location
Toronto
I've kept yeast in the fridge for more than 12 months. A 14-month old WLP530 slurry got revived and I had a starter blowoff! It took 48 hours, a bit longer than usual on the stirplate. In your case, 12 hours is too short even for a fresh pack of yeast.

I'd say give your starter some more time and it'll probably be fine.
 
OP
S

Shaika-Dzari

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
45
Thanks everyone. I was not really sure how much time yeast could stay alive in the fridge.
In my case, it's not completely dead, I can see some bubble now (not a lot).
I'm starting my brew day, so the starter still has a couple of hours to come alive.
I also ferment in a keg. So I could seal the wort and only pitch tonight or tomorrow...
Anyway, we will see. I have a pack of dry kveik I want to try if I'm getting impatient or if I am not satisfy with what I see later.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,373
Reaction score
783
Location
Living free in the 603
IME, any [liquid] yeast I've used that's been in the fridge more than 2-3 months takes at least 24 hours for the starter to really get going. I had some yeast that I froze that took about two days to really go active in the starter. Each starter after that (I did either two or three steps, it's been a while) took very little time to get going. That's with cold crashing and decanting spent starter between each step.

I have some yeast that's been in the fridge (sealed up in jars) for several months. I might try pulling some and doing a small starter to see what it does. Mostly because one of the jars is from the batch of frozen yeast. It's a Wyeast PC strain that's not being offered right now. IF I can get it viable, I'd like to use it for a coming batch (I ferment a mocha porter with it).

IMO, I never make the first starter step a day before brew day. By then, it's in the fridge cold crashing (if not already done) so that it's ready for brew day. I typically get the first stage of the starter (even if just one stage is going to be made) at least 5-6 days ahead of time. There have been times we've had to push brew-day out a week at the last minute. Since the starter is done, and ready, for the planned day, there's zero issue letting it sit another week.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,358
Reaction score
7,451
Location
Pasadena, MD
That, what @Golddiggie said! ^

If you're you're just swirling on the countertop and not using a stir plate or something to continually move the starter around to incorporate a constant supply of O2, you're not going to get much (enough) growth.

How much yeast did you save out, roughly, going by the settled slurry on the bottom of that jar?
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator
 

jrgtr42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
1,489
Reaction score
723
Location
Metrowest, Massachusets.
I did just that not long ago. |I had some vials of yeast in the fridge from past brews, and I wanted to get them ready for freezing ||(finally got a spare freezer with room for this.
So I made up a big batch of starter and divided it 7 ways. 6 big ones and 2 small.
I had 2 relatively fresh - under a couple months, I wasn't worried about those.
2 a couple years old, I wasn't expecting much,
2 a year old - I was figuring those were wildcards.
Much to my surprise, they all eventually took off. 2 of them |(a one year old and a 2,) took over a week to get going, but they eventually got there, FG on the starters was within a couple points on all of them.
The other 2 were sour dregs I'd saved from beers over the years. Those also got going, and have a nice pellicle going on.
Still trying to decide if and when to freeze them down.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,373
Reaction score
783
Location
Living free in the 603
I assumed the OP was using a stirplate and not just swirling it occasionally. I know, my bad on assuming anything. ;)

I bought my first stirplate over a decade ago. It gave up the ghost a few months back, so I got a brand new one (lower cost now, with higher capability). I also use a foam stopper in the top of the flask for all my starters. Keeps the nasties out, but lets gas exchange happen.

I've had starters that took off like rockets and almost pushed the stopper out of the flask. Even when there was (what I though) plenty of head space. Such as a full L of headspace in either a 2L or 3L flask. I now add a drop (or two) of fermcap to the starter wort to make sure I don't have any foaming issues.
 
OP
S

Shaika-Dzari

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
45
Hello everyone,

No stirplate. I use a 1 gallon jar and shake it by hand every couple of minutes.
I made a 1 liter starter and the slurry was 1½ cm at the bottom of a mason jar, so approx. 125 ml...
Usually, the following afternoon, there is a krausen.

But Golddiggie was right. Like a lot of things in home brewing: time and being patient is key. :)
I did not wait long enough. Now it's milky and smell delicious. I see bubbles and a mini krausen is forming.
I'll give it more time and pitch before going to sleep or tomorrow morning. My wort is sealed in my keg currently...
 

Culinarytracker

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
181
Reaction score
74
Location
Fredericktown
I bought my first stirplate over a decade ago. It gave up the ghost a few months back, so I got a brand new one (lower cost now, with higher capability). I also use a foam stopper in the top of the flask for all my starters. Keeps the nasties out, but lets gas exchange happen.
How do the foam stoppers compare to just covering the top with sanitized foil?
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,373
Reaction score
783
Location
Living free in the 603
How do the foam stoppers compare to just covering the top with sanitized foil?
Better gas exchange and they're made to keep things out. With the foil, there's always a chance something could crawl into it. Unless you have it sealed up tight, which means you'll probably have very poor gas exchange (part of the reason to use the stirplate to begin with).

I've done tons of starters with the foam stoppers. I do put them in the Starsan bucket, to sanitize them before use. Just be damned sure you get the correct size stopper. It should be at least a little larger than the ID of the opening in your flask. If it's too close to that size, you risk it falling into the starter when you cold crash it.

I do add some sanitized foil on top of the stopper when it's cold crashing. Mostly because I don't want the smell from the starter getting stuck in the fridge. I could do without that step, but it's become process at this point.
 

Culinarytracker

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
181
Reaction score
74
Location
Fredericktown
Better gas exchange and they're made to keep things out. With the foil, there's always a chance something could crawl into it. Unless you have it sealed up tight, which means you'll probably have very poor gas exchange (part of the reason to use the stirplate to begin with).

I've done tons of starters with the foam stoppers. I do put them in the Starsan bucket, to sanitize them before use. Just be damned sure you get the correct size stopper. It should be at least a little larger than the ID of the opening in your flask. If it's too close to that size, you risk it falling into the starter when you cold crash it.

I do add some sanitized foil on top of the stopper when it's cold crashing. Mostly because I don't want the smell from the starter getting stuck in the fridge. I could do without that step, but it's become process at this point.
Cool, sounds like a good way to go.

I bought a few smaller flasks for yeast stuff, and they have a threaded cap. I've been loosening the cap and leaving it at that. But I think I would like to get some foam stoppers for the 2 and 5 liter flasks
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,373
Reaction score
783
Location
Living free in the 603
I use my 2L and 3L flasks for pretty much all starters. I have a 5L flask, but I can't recall ever using it. I pick the flask depending on the starter schedule. If I'll be making just 1L starters, I use the 2L flask. If any of the steps will be 2L, I use the 3L flask. I'll probably need to use both for the next two batches since I'll need to have them both in process during part of the time frame. Basically, we're brewing the weekend of the 29th (means that starter schedule kicks off before EOD on the 22nd). I'm also planning to brew during that following week (sometime between the 1st and 5th). Which means that starter needs to get going either the 24th or 25th. With the yeast age (been in the fridge for over a month now) I'm planning two starter steps (at least) for both recipes. I'll run the numbers sometime in the next few days and make them accordingly.

Last time I got the stoppers, I ordered four of them. That way I have spares, just in case.
 
Top