Yeast Starter for big beer

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McMullan

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Meant more of a SNS type starter, and pitch it while it is still fermenting.
Regardless which method is used to culture the yeast the cells have to go through a lag phase, remodelling their biochemistry to adapt to the new conditions presented by the FV wort, including initial uptake of wort O2. The presence of glucose and sucrose in the fresh wort promotes a shift away from the metabolic profile they had in the active starter. In my opinion, it's like waterboarding yeast. Worst case is they get shocked and it takes a day or two before they enter lag phase.
 

DBhomebrew

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Meant more of a SNS type starter, and pitch it while it is still fermenting.

I've been using Saccharomyces' SNS method for my last dozen or so fermentations in lieu of my previous direct pitching of harvested slurry. I typically transfer to FV and pitch at night once the kids are asleep. With SNS, I reliably wake up the next morning to a layer of krausen. Reliable, clean, and thorough.

Note: "[Saccharomyces'] method is not the do all, be all yeast starter method, but it provides a simpler, lower cost way of making a starter that performs just as well, if not better than one made using a stir plate."


 

Erik the Anglophile

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I have done that before while I still used liquid yeast once in a while, but now I live too far out in the bush and deliveries take too long so I am more or less confined to dry yeast.
Do you reckon a SNS starter would be a good idea for a pack of dry yeast, or is it just a waste of time?
 

DBhomebrew

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I have done that before while I still used liquid yeast once in a while, but now I live too far out in the bush and deliveries take too long so I am more or less confined to dry yeast.
Do you reckon a SNS starter would be a good idea for a pack of dry yeast, or is it just a waste of time?

I don't have much experience at all with dry yeast. Last time was a single pack of Notty pitched directly into 3.5G of 1.095 RIS. Take off was a bit longer than I like and fermentation got pretty sluggish in the last 1/3. Next time, I'd first rehydrate according to the manufacturer's directions. I think the high gravity wort killed off a good number of original cells during rehydration. With a small or normal strength beer, I'd just pitch the manufacturer's recommended amount dry and direct.
 

McMullan

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I've been using Saccharomyces' SNS method for my last dozen or so fermentations in lieu of my previous direct pitching of harvested slurry. I typically transfer to FV and pitch at night once the kids are asleep. With SNS, I reliably wake up the next morning to a layer of krausen. Reliable, clean, and thorough.

Note: "[Saccharomyces'] method is not the do all, be all yeast starter method, but it provides a simpler, lower cost way of making a starter that performs just as well, if not better than one made using a stir plate."


What you describe is typical for pitching a fresh starter, regardless how it was made, shaken, stirred or left to its own devices on a counter top. The key is pitching enough fresh yeast at pitching temperature, not the shaking as such. Most of the yeast cells are going to be beneath the aerated foam, in reality. The logic used to explain the SNS method is flawed by gross assumptions about yeast and their biology. That’s not to say we shouldn’t aerate starter wort, of course.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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I think I'll just stick to rehydrating then, I have found that actually makes a difference even for normal gravity worts.
This will be my first forray into kegging aswell, then next up is a Brown Ale, Bitter and a Mild to get a pipeline going.
 

McMullan

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I have done that before while I still used liquid yeast once in a while, but now I live too far out in the bush and deliveries take too long so I am more or less confined to dry yeast.
Do you reckon a SNS starter would be a good idea for a pack of dry yeast, or is it just a waste of time?
I see what you mean, now. Give it a go. You don’t need to aerate the starter wort, as dry yeast are conditioned with O2 before being dried. But the FV wort needs aerating, because you’ll then be pitching wet yeast. For a standard batch I was planning to use 1 pack (11g) dry yeast in 1L 1.040 starter wort. Dry yeast are in shock mode from the drying process and usually show a prolonged delay once activated. I’d prep a starter a few days before brew day, even though it‘s likely to finish sooner. At least do this until you know how they behave in a starter.
 
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I don't have much experience at all with dry yeast. Last time was a single pack of Notty pitched directly into 3.5G of 1.095 RIS. Take off was a bit longer than I like and fermentation got pretty sluggish in the last 1/3. Next time, I'd first rehydrate according to the manufacturer's directions. I think the high gravity wort killed off a good number of original cells during rehydration. With a small or normal strength beer, I'd just pitch the manufacturer's recommended amount dry and direct.
How did the finished beer taste?
 

DBhomebrew

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How did the finished beer taste?

Tastes absolutely fine. A bit sweeter than I'd like (~10pts higher FG than target*), but I know much of that will age into something more pleasant and velvety. It's still pretty young at 7mo in the bottle.

It wasn't a dumper, far from it. But I know fermentation could have been healthier, more vigorous, more thorough. Next time.

*Edit: AA came in at 70%
 
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~10pts higher FG than target

So for those who plan to write-up and perform the side-by-side comparison, what is your thought on measuring the actual ferment-ability of the wort that was created? Personally, I don't have a problem with these comparisons using software estimates - just note which software (and perhaps which version) was used.
 

DBhomebrew

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So for those who plan to write-up and perform the side-by-side comparison, what is your thought on measuring the actual ferment-ability of the wort that was created? Personally, I don't have a problem with these comparisons using software estimates - just note which software (and perhaps which version) was used.

Software FG prediction is notoriously inaccurate. Most don't take into account grist makeup.
 
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