Who really sees a thick krausen in their starters?

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ddroukas

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I've recently started making starters for all my beers. Everything I read says the best time to pitch is when you have a thick krausen showing heavy active fermentation. However, I've never actually had a starter produce a krausen any thicker than maybe 1 mm around the very periphery of my erlenmyer; nothing spectacular. Is this common? My starters are usually OG around 1.040-1.050 (90 grams 44PPG DME in 750mL water) and I always add just a tiny pinch of nutrient.

Is it yeast strain, gravity too low, more starlight and magic, what?
 

McKBrew

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A thick krausen has not been present in any starter I've ever made.
 

Madtown Brew

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I have. I've had starters foaming out the foil cap. But, as already said, when using a stir plate, you wont see much of a kreausen if any.
 

Levers101

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ddroukas said:
Is it yeast strain, gravity too low, more starlight and magic, what?

I agree with what's been said about stir plates. I've done them without stir plates and I've gotten 2" of krausen max.

Also, I expect that you're going to get less krausen out of a mix of malt extract without hops and specialty grains, as esp. hops and certain types of specialty grains stabilize foam. In this way foam is more stable in your primary fermenter with all the requisite ingredients.

On the other hand, you could boil 2 tsp of powdered unicorn horn with your wort and you'll have better luck, I imagine. :D
 

Brett0424

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There's never much of a krausen on a starter...if there is it is very easy to miss it overnight...don't worry about it.
 

shafferpilot

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There may be a "best" time to use a starter, but the important part is USE a starter. If your timing is perfect, you get a miniscule lag time. If your timing isn't perfect, you get a small lag time. Who cares? If you pitch a vile of liquid yeast directly and it takes four days for it to get going, THAT has the potential to cause problems.
 

malkore

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the begian wit yeast I used did produce some krausen in the starter, but that's been it so far.

No stir plate, but I do inject oxygen into my starters and my primary.
 

mr x

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I need a blow off tube for my starters (4l starter in a 5l erlenmeyer with a stirplate).
 

ohiobrewtus

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I typically don't see much krausen in my starters either, but they work.
 

debaniel

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interesting to see so many of us with krausen in our starters...

what is the difference, you think? I mean, I've never had krausen in my starters... i've always used LME...

so why should some of us never see krausen, and others need blow off tubes?
 

raceskier

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This is interesting. We (as a group) are obviously doing things differently here. I have always gotten a krausen on my starters, with the exception of dead yeast, both without and with a stirplate.

This is my current method.

Into a 2l elrenmyer flask, I add 140gm DME, 1.4l water, a pinch of yeast nutrient, a pinch of DAP and a hop pellet or two. Bring everything to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Chill in a cold water bath to 70F or less. Add contents of either a swollen smack pack or a tube of yeast. Add the sanitized stir bar and close the flask with a santized breathable stopper. Set the flask on the stirplate and start it spinning. I set the speed so I get maybe a half inch diameter visible vortex at the surface. I cover the flask with towel to shield it from light. I let it run until I have no bubbles on the surface. This takes 24 to 48 hours. On a couple of occasions, I've had krausens powerful enough to clog the breathable stopper and start to push it out of the flask.

My next gadget purchase is going to be a 3l flask, so I can do full 2l starters.
 

debaniel

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i don't use any hops or nutrient, and i'm in the "no krausen" camp.

perhaps the addition of hops and/or nutrient makes a difference?


my method is downright primitive compared to yours, raceskier.


clean 2 wine bottles... pour bottled water into each wine bottle, then dump that into a kettle (adding just a touch of extra h2o to account for boil-off)

add, oh i don't know, a decent looking amount of LME (is this scientific or what?) and boil 15 minutes.

cool, pour into sanitized wine bottles, then use a sanitized measuring cup to split the smack pack in half. pitch yeast into wine bottles, cover with foil.
 

homebrewer_99

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The reason you don't see kreusen in a stirplate starter is because it's constantly being pulled into the mixture.

If you take it off the stirplate for a while it will build up.

If you place it back on the stirplate it will disappear again...;)..I've witnessed this wondering the same thing.
 

greenleaf

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I have only done one starter with a propagator pack from WYeast. I only used 100grams of DME and about a liter of water. I had a thin krausen, but when I would swirl it (because I dont have a stir plate) I would also get vigorous foaming that would on occasion overflow.
 

Junebug

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I made a my first starter six weeks ago, using the Wyeast Weiheinstephan Weizen strain and saw no krausen, just the thin layer of foam clinging to the sides of the flask. Last night I made a starter in the same manner using the American Ale strain and I have at least one inch of krausen this morning. Maybe it's yeast or temp variables causing the difference- I have no idea. I know that the first starter (with no krausen) worked fine and I had airlock activity in the primary fermenter two to three hours after I pitched the yeast, which was impressive.
 

neuron555

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I've made a few starters and never got significant krausen, but the one I have going now with wheat extract has a good 1-2 inch layer. When I am ready to pitch it, do I just stir it in, or should I skim it off?
 

debaniel

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I'd skim it.

or better yet, skim it, crash cool it, decant and pitch the slurry.
 

SuperiorBrew

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I use a stir plate and never see a krausen. I did have a Weizen yeast once blow the foam stopper out of a 2L flask. but that was the only time I ever had any starter messes.
How long does everyone leave their starters on their stirplates? I normally do mine 12-18 hours like Jamil recommends and get great lag time and nice vigorous ferments.
 

raceskier

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I've used both methods Jamil talks about, the 18 hour high krausen and the full completion and decant excess liquid. I haven't seen any difference in average time to signs of fermentation after pitching, so I've setlled on the full completion method to minimize any off flavors from the extra "non beer". I did try the anti-foam in my last starter and got rid the huge krausen head.
 
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ddroukas

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what OG does everyone aim for in their starters? What volume?

I've always gone with 1000ml at 1.045-55.
I just started one last night with WL British Ale ... the krausen fairy didn't visit overnight apparently.
 
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ddroukas

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SUCCESS!

It didn't do jack-diddly-squat overnight, but lo-and-behold today it decided to fall in line. This is my first starter with any krausen (the stirplate was off for only a few moments before I snapped the photo).
 

ρ®ïMσ

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ddroukas said:
what OG does everyone aim for in their starters? What volume?

I've always gone with 1000ml at 1.045-55.
I just started one last night with WL British Ale ... the krausen fairy didn't visit overnight apparently.
that OG is too high. you should never go over .040 ..high grav starters stress the yeast--they never get acclimated to high gravs. starters from a pack or tube~.030-.040 starters from slants/bottles/washing etc~.020-.030
 

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