Starter Longevity?

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RedOctober

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I have a couple of mason jars and was wondering if its possible to make a couple of batches of starter and store it.

I know this can be done, what I dont know is how long it will keep.

Or, Is creating a starter something that should only be done 1-3 days beforehand brewday?

Thanks in advance!
 

Zymurgrafi

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Are you proposing making starter wort and storing that or making the wort and then pitching yeast and storing that? I would not recommend storing a yeast starter with active yeast unless you want to get into culturing and slants and...

If you just want to make the wort there are a couple of ways. Boil it up and cool, or what I do, take any leftover wort of a lower gravity lower hopped beer and freeze in mason jars. When you are ready to use it, let it though then reboil to sanitize, cool and pitch.

Another way is to use a pressure steamer/canner to can the jars. Then you do not need to freeze and thaw.

How long they keep? I would probably not let them hang around indefinately. A couple of months perhaps. Fresher is better in all things beer!
 
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RedOctober

RedOctober

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"I would not recommend storing a yeast starter with active yeast unless you want to get into culturing and slants and..."

This answered my question Thanks for the response.


:drunk:

I just thought that if I plan on doing say 3 kits in 2 weeks maybe I can do just the one starter.

eg: 2 cups dme, 4 cups water.. plus a yeast= 3 starters

Would/Could that work?
 

Zymurgrafi

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If you are going to brew back to back you could work it a few ways. Depending on what you are brewing (level of hops, gravity, types of malts used) you could plan it so that you harvest yeast from the fermenter when you transfer. Or yes you could make a large starter, divide it between 3 sanitized mason jars and refrigerate until needed if it will only be a matter of a few weeks.

The only tricky part is coordinating 3 brews that:

a) use the same yeast
and if you are harvesting yeast
b) have similar gravities or progressively higher and not lower (higher alcohol stresses the yeast for subsequent brews)
c) not too hoppy for the initial brews (high hopping stresses the yeast for subsequent brews
d) lighter to darker SRM (you do not want to use the yeast from something with dark roasted malts for a lighter brew)
 

telemarc

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Is it nessesary to make a starter 1-3 days in advance, or can one make a starter and add it to the wort right away? Using White Labs WLP013.
 
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RedOctober

RedOctober

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From what I understand mark, most people do it the day before.:)

But I dont know if thats the rule.
 

telemarc

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So, excuse my ignorance on this, but can I make my 5 gallons of wort, take a pint or so for the yeast starter, and let the wort sit in my primary until the next day or so when the starter is ready to be pitched in? I've only used dry yeast up until this point, but everyone says how much better the vials are, so I'm taking the next step.
 

telemarc

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Chad, thanks for the link. Interesting reading, indeed. Last question on this from me: what type of vessel would be good to make my starter in? I don't have an Erlenmier (sp?) flask. It seems like I need something about a quart or two in volume that can be sealed with a lid or whatever until I'm ready to pitch.
 

MN_Jay

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What's frustrating about starters (or growing cells in general) is that there is conflicting information out there. Take that link that Chad posted above, it states -

"According to both White Labs and Wyeast, a White Labs Pitchable Yeast vial and a Wyeast ACTIVATOR™ 125 XL Smack Pack both contain an average of 100 billion cells and are enough to pitch directly into 5 US gallons (18.9 liters) of an ale wort at 1.048 SG (12°P). This is a pitching rate of 5.3 million cells per milliliter, which is close to the pitching rate many professional breweries begin with when starting a new pitch of ale yeast. This rate works well because the health and vitality of fresh laboratory cultured yeast are superior to yeast harvested from normal fermentation."

No starter needed in this instance, but if you go to Jamil's pitching calculator on the same webpage here -

Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator

If you put in a SG of 1.048 and volume of 5 gallons, it says you need 168 billion cells or 1.7 vials of yeast. One says 100 billion is enough, the other says you need 168 billion. Quite a difference.

I do understand starters are also meant to prove viability but isn't that why you have a smack pack? Starters for me are a pain in the "you know where", so I'm not sure if you need a starter or not when brewing a 1.048 beer.
 
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