underpitched starter, what are my options?

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zodiak3000

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I made a 1.5 L starter last night for a 5 gallon 1.077 beer Im brewing today. According to Mr. Malty it should have been 2.38. A few options I have-

Pitch the starter tonight at the end of brew day as planned, go pick up a another vial tomorrow and pitch that in during initial fermentation. My LHBS is closed today, open tomorrow.

Boil some DME and water, cool it, and add it to the starter to gain full volume according to Mr. Malty.

Ive never done either methods, so any advice is appreciated.
 

jaytizzle

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I'd just pitch it and not worry about it. Odds are that you'll be good enough and everything will turn out just fine. I'm sure there are a bunch of people who would just pitch a fresh vial into a 1.077 wort and not think about it and you're way ahead of that mark.
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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I'd just pitch it and not worry about it. Odds are that you'll be good enough and everything will turn out just fine. I'm sure there are a bunch of people who would just pitch a fresh vial into a 1.077 wort and not think about it and you're way ahead of that mark.
Typically I would do that, but Im brewing this for a competition where Im serving the entire keg for a spot at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp. Would hate to serve a keg that might have off-flavors to a bunch of people....
 

jaytizzle

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Well... with that being the case, I'd hold off, seal up the carboy, re-do the whole starter, and get it 100% right.
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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what if i just pitch it, then add a vial tomorrow during initial fermentation? any risks?
 

jaytizzle

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Probably no risks involved but not sure it's entirely necessary either. For 99.99% of my brews, I'd just pitch (as I said). For that 0.01% where it's gotta be perfect because it's for a competition, I'd make damn sure to do it exactly right so there's no chance I'd be able to second guess myself. It's either one extreme or the other IMO. Either half-ass it all the way or do it all the way proper. Not somewhere in between. This is just my $0.02, though.
 
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zodiak3000

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i agree bro, but i got to brew today because of work/time-schedule. just wondering if adding the yeast tomorrow would be beneficial. also, getting confused on mr. malty. do they mean the amount of L you start out with before you boil your DME or the final amount when you add your yeast? Cause I started out with 2 L and boiled down to 1.5 after 15 min to add yeast.
 

jaytizzle

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How much DME did you add? 200g? That should have been the proper amount of DME for a 2L starter. If you put in 200g then you ended up with a slightly higher than ideal gravity but there's more sugar in there for the yeast to eat so your colony will be a bit better than you expected as well. I really don't think you would benefit from pitching another vial of yeast. If you were going to do anything I'd add some more "wort" to the starter but you need 18-24 hours to reach proper yeast density and apparently you don't have that much time. I think I'm just back to the original "I'd just pitch and not worry about it".
 

smiller

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I'm probably over-simplifying things, but I have brewed massive beers with relatively small starters and attenuated just fine. I brewed a 1.106 barleywine and just used the standard 1c DME in 4c water, then pitched a smackpack of WyYeast 1056 and let it ferment for 36 hrs before pitching. That beer finished at 1.012.
 

Sulli

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I made a 1.5 L starter last night for a 5 gallon 1.077 beer Im brewing today. According to Mr. Malty it should have been 2.38. A few options I have-

Pitch the starter tonight at the end of brew day as planned, go pick up a another vial tomorrow and pitch that in during initial fermentation. My LHBS is closed today, open tomorrow.

Boil some DME and water, cool it, and add it to the starter to gain full volume according to Mr. Malty.

Ive never done either methods, so any advice is appreciated.
Did you have your starter on a stir plate or did you just give it a good shake every time you walked past it?

You should be pretty close to your target yeast cell count, even with intermittent shaking, unless your vial of yeast was really old.
 

Darwin18

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If it was me, I would pitch the starter and a 2nd vial of yeast just to be absolutely certain you pitch enough yeast. I would way rather over-pitch than under-pitch. It'll cost you a few more bucks but IMO that's well worth it.
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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Did you have your starter on a stir plate or did you just give it a good shake every time you walked past it?

You should be pretty close to your target yeast cell count, even with intermittent shaking, unless your vial of yeast was really old.
no stir plate, just shaking, very fresh yeast.
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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If it was me, I would pitch the starter and a 2nd vial of yeast just to be absolutely certain you pitch enough yeast. I would way rather over-pitch than under-pitch. It'll cost you a few more bucks but IMO that's well worth it.
even if i have to pitch the vial 15 hours after i pitch the starter?
 

jaytizzle

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even if i have to pitch the vial 15 hours after i pitch the starter?
Think about it like this. With a starter, you reach your maximum yeast concentration in around 18-24 hours. So you pitch your starter in the wort and 15 hours later you're well on your way. Adding the extra vial really isn't going to do anything IMO.
 

jbaysurfer

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I also think you'll be just fine. Will the new vial hurt anything? Probably not, insomuch as it's sanitary. I routinely pitch 1L starters (though with a stirplate) into beers as big as 1.085

Your cell count isn't so low as too stress what yeast you have in their, so I'd just trust them to do their thing. Beer camp sounds fun!
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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Think about it like this. With a starter, you reach your maximum yeast concentration in around 18-24 hours. So you pitch your starter in the wort and 15 hours later you're well on your way. Adding the extra vial really isn't going to do anything IMO.
cool bro. i have the option to brew thursday now if needed. i was thinking of holding the starter till then. ive never "decanted" a starter, but i was thinking of doing that plus picking up another vial of yeast tomorrow. any advice on holding the starter?
 

jaytizzle

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To hold the starter just cover it with sanitized foil and put it in the fridge. Are you planning to make another starter from the slurry or just pitch the slurry?
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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To hold the starter just cover it with sanitized foil and put it in the fridge. Are you planning to make another starter from the slurry or just pitch the slurry?
was just going to pitch the starter plus a vial on thursday
 

jaytizzle

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Fair enough... make sure to let it come up close to room temp. Basically, pull the starter from the fridge, pour off most of the liquid but leave enough to make a slurry, let it come to pitching temp, then swirl the whole flask and pitch in the slurry you make. Easy peasy!
 
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zodiak3000

zodiak3000

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Fair enough... make sure to let it come up close to room temp. Basically, pull the starter from the fridge, pour off most of the liquid but leave enough to make a slurry, let it come to pitching temp, then swirl the whole flask and pitch in the slurry you make. Easy peasy!
thanks bro, great advice. you think that decanted starter plus a vial will be plenty of cells for a 1.077?
 

jaytizzle

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I think the decanted starter alone will be plenty but you won't go wrong with adding the extra vial. Good luck and make sure to let us know how it turns out but I'd bet that you'll have active fermentation within 8 hours!
 
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