Yeast starter flask size?

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mjs483

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I'm new to yeast starters and I'm trying to figure out which size pyrex/erlenmeyer flask size I should buy to do starters in. I'd like to be able to do up to 2 (maybe even 3) liter starters. I'm assuming that a 2000ml flask is does not have enough head space for a 2 liter starter....is this true? I'd like to know before I spend the money on a pricey 4000ml - 5000ml flask. Are there other alternatives to the flasks that are just as good?
 

Bobby_M

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You wouldn't want to start with 2 liters anyway so you're not going to have explosive krausen. You'd start smaller and build it up. I just got my first flask, 2 liters... and it seems a little big to be honest. It will barely fit on my DIY stirplate in the works. I think for most 10 gallon batches, a 1 liter would be fine. I might go 1.5 with an Imperial somethingorother. A 4 liter starter is like half a batch size.. you might as well pitch on a yeast cake.
 

mr x

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I like my 5 litre flask from morebeer. Gives me lots of head room, and my experience is I need 1 litre of space. A 3 litre starter is good for higher gravity beer, I harvest the rest for future use.
 
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mjs483

mjs483

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Thanks for the links, that one on how to make a starter is actually an excerpt from the book I'm using to learn about how to make a starter =)
 
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mjs483

mjs483

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Also, Bobby M, I don't understand why I wouldn't want to start with 2 liters. You mentioned "building up to 2 liters". According to the above link and the book I have, to make a 2 liter starter I'd add water to 200 grams of DME until I have 2 liters total. Then boil etc etc.

It also says that a 2 liter starter generally doubles the cell count in a white labs vial or smack pack. So if I have a recipe that calls for 2 vials of yeast (which I do) then I could use 2 vials alone or make a 2 liter starter from 1 vial. Is that right or am I missing something? I don't wanna end up with franken-yeast...
 

kedash

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Also, Bobby M, I don't understand why I wouldn't want to start with 2 liters. You mentioned "building up to 2 liters". According to the above link and the book I have, to make a 2 liter starter I'd add water to 200 grams of DME until I have 2 liters total. Then boil etc etc.

It also says that a 2 liter starter generally doubles the cell count in a white labs vial or smack pack. So if I have a recipe that calls for 2 vials of yeast (which I do) then I could use 2 vials alone or make a 2 liter starter from 1 vial. Is that right or am I missing something? I don't wanna end up with franken-yeast...
I know Bobby M knows a lot more about brewing than I do, but what he wrote also contradicted what I have been told and read.

I brew 11 gallon batches, split that into two fermenters. I make two 2L starters (one for each fermenter) and pitch the slurry after decanting most of the beer. I also use stirplates and foam control (fermcap). I have not had a problem with overflow since I started using the fermcap. All of the high-gravity beers I have made this way have come out excellent. OG's have ranged from 1.084 down to about 1.060. Also, I have pitched the slurry cold with no negative results. Some people (Denny Conn) even advocate pitching cold.

To sum it up, I like the 2L size and would like to add a 5L to step-up for those really big beers.
 
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I started with a 4L flask. I don't know how the heck I would have made a 2L work. For 10g batches, I grow a lot of yeast (4L, decant, 4 more).

Also, if you boil in the flask, you'll want a large one to avoid boilovers.
 

Catt22

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I know Bobby M knows a lot more about brewing than I do, but what he wrote also contradicted what I have been told and read.

I brew 11 gallon batches, split that into two fermenters. I make two 2L starters (one for each fermenter) and pitch the slurry after decanting most of the beer. I also use stirplates and foam control (fermcap). I have not had a problem with overflow since I started using the fermcap. All of the high-gravity beers I have made this way have come out excellent. OG's have ranged from 1.084 down to about 1.060. Also, I have pitched the slurry cold with no negative results. Some people (Denny Conn) even advocate pitching cold.

To sum it up, I like the 2L size and would like to add a 5L to step-up for those really big beers.
I've been doing almost exactly what you describe for a long time with excellent results. I often pitch cold and always do so for lagers.
 

Catt22

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I started with a 4L flask. I don't know how the heck I would have made a 2L work. For 10g batches, I grow a lot of yeast (4L, decant, 4 more).

Also, if you boil in the flask, you'll want a large one to avoid boilovers.
I boil in 2 liter flasks regularly and typically fill them in excess of 2200 ml to just below the narrow neck level. I do use foam control. I also use a small hot plate to heat the flask. I know what setting will bring the wort to a boil without causing a boil over.
 

remilard

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I use a 2L flask and a stir plate. With foam control drops, I can make a 2L starter in it.

2L with on Wyeast or White Labs package is enough more most ales. Rarely for an ale I need 2 in 2L and usually for a lager I need 2 in 2L. I repitch a lot for lagers so I only make like 2-3 lager starters a year even though easily 25% of what I brew is lagers.
 

kedash

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I know Bobby M knows a lot more about brewing than I do, but what he wrote also contradicted what I have been told and read.

I brew 11 gallon batches, split that into two fermenters. I make two 2L starters (one for each fermenter) and pitch the slurry after decanting most of the beer. I also use stirplates and foam control (fermcap). I have not had a problem with overflow since I started using the fermcap. All of the high-gravity beers I have made this way have come out excellent. OG's have ranged from 1.084 down to about 1.060. Also, I have pitched the slurry cold with no negative results. Some people (Denny Conn) even advocate pitching cold.

To sum it up, I like the 2L size and would like to add a 5L to step-up for those really big beers.
I forgot to add that I don't boil in the flask (since I fill them so high). I use a stock pot and then pour into the the 2L flasks.

Put the starters on a rimmed cookie sheet if you think they might blow over while they are doing "their thing" if you want to make cleanup easier. However, since using the fermcap, I haven't had that problem once.

For a 2L starter, my boil size is 2309ml with 209 Grams of Light DME. This leaves me (after evaporation from the boil) with 1875 ml of starter wort, to which I had the 125 ml Wyeast Activator (a.k.a. smack-pack). The final result is a 2L flask filled perfectly to the 2L mark. This starter wort has a gravity of 1.040. I can give you the #'s for making 4L worth of starter wort if you need them and I can also convert this from metric to quarts/gallons/ounces if you want me to.

Have fun!
 

Henrythe9th

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I have 1ltr. flask and after the first stepping it goes into a 1 gal. jug,
my DIY stir plate has no problem spinning a vortex to the bottom of the 1 gal. jug 3/4 full.
that's gets pitched into 11 to 13gal wort
 

mjohnson

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Fermcap helps a ton. I routinely do 1.7L starters in a 2L flask and boil the wort right in the flask. I would not attempt this without fermcap.
 

mpcluever

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I also use a gallon jug on the stir plate. When you get the jug, just check the bottom that it has a nice flat plateau in the middle.
 

Brew-boy

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5 gallon batches, I have a 100ml, 500ml, 1000ml, 2000ml, 4000ml and 5000ml and I use the 2000ml the most.
 

Bsquared

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This was posted yesterday for 5000ml flasks.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/erlenmeyer-flasks-326889/

I have a 6000ml, most 10g batches im making 2000-3000ml starters, and for bigger beers batches Im making 4L+. Its also good to have as much surface area as posable for gas exchange. In the ideal laboratory setting you should be using a flask at least twice the volume of media that will be in it, at least thats the way we do it where I work.
 
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