Yeast starter didn’t fully suspend before pitch

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Mac_rancher

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Hey guys, new here!
I’ve done a couple brews and today I was in a big rush when finishing. I decanted a 2L starter, shook the last portion a good amount and poured without looking at it. Turned out a decent amount of the yeast was still a yeast cake. I did end up shaking the wort some but it of course isn’t the same. Any advice? Will it suspend or should I pitch some more yeast?
 

Brewbuzzard

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Hey guys, new here!
I’ve done a couple brews and today I was in a big rush when finishing. I decanted a 2L starter, shook the last portion a good amount and poured without looking at it. Turned out a decent amount of the yeast was still a yeast cake. I did end up shaking the wort some but it of course isn’t the same. Any advice? Will it suspend or should I pitch some more yeast?
If all the yeast cake is in the wort it should be ok. You may have a longer lag time. Keep swirling the fermenter and if you have a long racking cane sanitize it and break up the cake.
 

IslandLizard

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[ADDED] I guess I misunderstood, sounds like the thick yeast cake dropped into your batch of wort.
Yup, stirring will help it suspend faster. But it will do it by itself over the next 12-24 hours. No worries.

[EDIT] In case thick yeast slurry was left sticking to the bottom of your flask:
Add some beer from your fermenter (wort becomes beer once you pitch yeast) or leftover wort, from your kettle, to the yeast container, Swirl it up until the thick gooey yeast is suspended, and add to your batch of beer. I guess you can use 1/2 pint of lukewarm water. You could still do that, if you still have the caked on yeast.

Yes, you should always aerate or oxygenate, especially when pitching liquid yeast.
 
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Mac_rancher

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Thanks guys, appreciate the help. I hadn’t realized the cake was there until it poured into the fermenter. At that point i didn’t have a good way of getting more liquid so I just poured what was suspended, even though it was clumpy. I did oxygenate the wort prior and I did end up giving it a good shake after it was all in there. I’m thinking it will be ok but I’ll keep you posted if things don’t look right.
 
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Mac_rancher

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Quick update. Fermentation started within a few hours and is going gangbusters now. It’s filled the headspace with krausen but I expected that and had the blowoff tube already installed. I’ll take a gravity reading after things die down and see where I am at then. Started 1.7 with White Labs 001 and it has a max attenuation of 80%. Is this actual attenuation or apparent attenuation? If apparent then I’m hoping to hit 1.014 or so.
 

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I’ll take a gravity reading after things die down and see where I am at then. Started 1.7 with White Labs 001 and it has a max attenuation of 80%. Is this actual attenuation or apparent attenuation? If apparent then I’m hoping to hit 1.014 or so.
She can be ferocious, especially at higher ferm temps. Are you controlling the ferm temps someway?

You mean an OG of 1.070?
At 80% apparent attenuation that comes out exactly at 1.014. ;)

Are you using a yeast calculator, such as this one:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator

Note:
Decanting the (mostly) clear starter beer (after cold crashing) off the yeast slurry is good habit. Just leave a few (~4) ounces of that starter beer behind, so you can easily swirl up the settled yeast into a pourable slurry. You may need to swirl quite a bit to get the gooey, sticky yeast off the bottom.
I usually tilt => swirl => tilt => swirl... repeatedly until all the yeast is in suspension. Then pour it into the fermenter.*

* Routinely I first save some out for a next batch starter...
 

RM-MN

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Started 1.7 with White Labs 001 and it has a max attenuation of 80%. Is this actual attenuation or apparent attenuation? If apparent then I’m hoping to hit 1.014 or so.
That is an approximation and your beer may finish a little higher or a little lower. Use your hydrometer to verify that the fermentation has completed.
 
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Mac_rancher

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She can be ferocious, especially at higher ferm temps. Are you controlling the ferm temps someway?

You mean an OG of 1.070?
At 80% apparent attenuation that comes out exactly at 1.014. ;)

Are you using a yeast calculator, such as this one:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator

Note:
Decanting the (mostly) clear starter beer (after cold crashing) off the yeast slurry is good habit. Just leave a few (~4) ounces of that starter beer behind, so you can easily swirl up the settled yeast into a pourable slurry. You may need to swirl quite a bit to get the gooey, sticky yeast off the bottom.
I usually tilt => swirl => tilt => swirl... repeatedly until all the yeast is in suspension. Then pour it into the fermenter.*

* Routinely I first save some out for a next batch starter...
Haha, I did intend for 1.07. Yes, I’ve been using the calculator on Brewer’s Friend. For temp control I’m using a wine fridge as my fermentation chamber. I have a couple inkbird heating mats as warmers. It’s set for 66 degrees with one degree of variability high and low. I’m using a thermowell for the temp probe. Thank you for the tips! When you use it as a batch starter do you step it up?
 

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For temp control I’m using a wine fridge as my fermentation chamber. I have a couple inkbird heating mats as warmers. It’s set for 66 degrees with one degree of variability high and low. I’m using a thermowell for the temp probe.
All good! 66F is kinda the lower limit for WLP001. Very clean fermentation at that temp!
Unless your ferm chamber is in a much colder area, there's no reason for those heaters to ever kick in until you start ramping up (1-2°F/day) at the very end of the fermentation to help finish her out.
 

IslandLizard

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When you use it as a batch starter do you step it up?
Just in one step.
Usually I save between 70-140 billion cells (estimated) for the next batch.

I pitch the calculated # of cells as a percentage of the weight of decanted (and overbuilt) slurry.
I use a scale for that, having tare weights of every flask and container (1/2 gallon pickle jars) I use for yeast starters. The gross cell count is based on my yeast calculator's estimate and weight of the decanted slurry at hand.

I first save the "excess" into a small (4 or 8 oz) jelly mason jar. Then pitch the rest.
 
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Mac_rancher

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All good! 66F is kinda the lower limit for WLP001. Very clean fermentation at that temp!
Unless your ferm chamber is in a much colder area, there's no reason for those heaters to ever kick in until you start ramping up (1-2°F/day) at the very end of the fermentation to help finish her out.
Great to hear! I was thinking that was about where to start, then bump it up at the end. Maybe up to 71 or so to finish primary unless you’ve found a better max temp. Yeah. Currently getting winter again with temps here dropping into the 30’s outside haha. The heaters right now kick on every couple hours to pick it back up.
 

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Maybe up to 71 or so to finish primary unless you’ve found a better max temp.
If you ramp up slowly, by say 1-2°F a day, and (visually) monitor that activity doesn't increase all that much. You can push her to 74-76F for a day or 2, to completely finish out.

Most of a yeast's flavor/aroma profile is expressed during the height of fermentation, not when digesting the first few or last few points. ;)
 
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Mac_rancher

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Quick update. Just took my gravity reading after fermentation really cooled down and we are at 1.012. So all is good and bottling is just down the road.
 
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