Yeast starter or smack pack adequate?

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rdbrett

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Just got my new kit, Bourbon Barrell Old Ale in the mail today. I had the grains crushed, so I need to get to this quickly. The yeast I have with it is a Yyeast smackpack. If it swells over the course of two days, is that adequate? There is no cold fermentation with this.
I don't have any DME, or I'd do a starter anyway. But, LBS is over hour away. Thanks for any advice.
 

kcbeersnob

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First, I'll make a some assumptions: you're brewing a five gallon batch and it's not low gravity. In fact, it sounds like a high gravity beer.

Second, the swelling of the smack pack is not caused by a meaningful amount of cell growth. When you smack the pack, it releases a small amount of nutrient to wake the yeast up.

Personally I would find a way to make a starter--even if it means delaying brew day. I would not cut corners here. Can you borrow from a friend?
 

Pratzie

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Yeah im one of those people on here who believe in yeast pitching rates and things like that. Especially since it sounds like it barrel aged im assuming its high gravity and something that ur gonna be waiting a few months for until u can enjoy. I'd try and get either another pack get some DME for a starter to guarantee its top notch.

Out of curiosity whats the OG, anticipated FG, yeast strain and package date for the yeast?
 
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rdbrett

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Its BB old ale from midwest. Says SG-1.071-1.073. FG- 1.018-1.022. 5 gallon batch. Wyeast London ale. Thx
 
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rdbrett

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Sorry. Package date is jan 8, 13.
 

duboman

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rdbrett said:
Sorry. Package date is jan 8, 13.
With a pack that old and an OG that high I can assure you that without a starter you will be severely under pitching the beer.

Go to Www.yeastcalc.com and see for yourself.

If I were you I would wait to brew this until you can adequately pitch:)
 
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rdbrett

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Ok. Thanks for your help!!
 

kcbeersnob

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Sorry. Package date is jan 8, 13.
Wow. That's the final nail in the coffin for me. I don't see myself doing business with Midwest again until I hear they've got their act together. What are they doing shipping yeast that's five months old? 10% viability according to Mr Malty. Yeah, you can rebuild with a starter, but how do they know that kit is going to someone who knows about that? Sad. Very sad.

Sorry, off topic.
 
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rdbrett

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OK fellas. I have 1 lb lf LME coming along with another wyeast smack pack. The Bourbon Barrell Ale needs aging from 6-12 months so I don't want to screw it up.
Do you recommend me pitching both smack packs into starter at once? Pitch the older one first, decant and pitch it along with other pack into new wort? (if 1lb is enough to make two rounds of wort) Any advice/help is appreciated. This is just my 2nd starter.
 
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rdbrett

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Ok thx a bunch. I have a stir plate. So I'm shootin for 1.25 liter. I assume I use a ratio of 4:1 water to Lme within that amount? Sorry, just not confident in what I'm doing.
 

duboman

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rdbrett said:
Ok thx a bunch. I have a stir plate. So I'm shootin for 1.25 liter. I assume I use a ratio of 4:1 water to Lme within that amount? Sorry, just not confident in what I'm doing.
No, for a starter you want a 10:1 ratio so 100grams DME to 1L or in your case 125grams to 1.25L starter. This ratio will yield a 1.040 gravity
 

kh54s10

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No, for a starter you want a 10:1 ratio so 100grams DME to 1L or in your case 125grams to 1.25L starter. This ratio will yield a 1.040 gravity
But he is using LME the ratio would be different.

If the LME is part of the kit do not use it. It will change the nature of the brew.

I would advise getting some DME to keep on hand for making starters and make one whenever using liquid yeast.
 

Pratzie

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Ok thx a bunch. I have a stir plate. So I'm shootin for 1.25 liter. I assume I use a ratio of 4:1 water to Lme within that amount? Sorry, just not confident in what I'm doing.
U can use LME, its not a problem at all.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast-starter-smack-pack-adequate-414738/index2.html

use 25% more LME then u would DME. And it won't affect anything wiht the style as its the same as DME as long as its a lighter style. If u are worried about it changing the flavor or anything with the beer, just chill and decant and then pitch just the yeast slurry instead of all the liquid together.
 
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rdbrett

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Wow, I'm getting confused! I have a pound LME. (and two smack packs) Can either of you tell me how I need to mix??? I appreciate your help, hope one day I won't be so dependent on this site!!!!
 

duboman

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Use 125 grams of LME to 1 Liter of starter, you can multiply up from there.
+1
Add the LME to the flask or vessel, top up to the 1 liter mark and bring to a boil for a few minutes, cool to below 75 and pitch both packs of yeast and then place on stir plate with just enough speed to see a small vortex and let it run for 18-24 hours or until any visible krausen drops. Chill for a day or two, decant and pitch.
 

Pratzie

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+1
Add the LME to the flask or vessel, top up to the 1 liter mark and bring to a boil for a few minutes, cool to below 75 and pitch both packs of yeast and then place on stir plate with just enough speed to see a small vortex and let it run for 18-24 hours or until any visible krausen drops. Chill for a day or two, decant and pitch.
Exactly what he said.
 
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rdbrett

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Awesome, thanks so much for your help. 125 grams is just a little more than a 1/4 pound of my LME I believe. That's no where near what I thought I would need.
Do I need to allow the smack packs to swell for a period of time before pitching? I guess I was thinking the old pack may take a while or not swell too much.
 

duboman

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Awesome, thanks so much for your help. 125 grams is just a little more than a 1/4 pound of my LME I believe. That's no where near what I thought I would need.
Do I need to allow the smack packs to swell for a period of time before pitching? I guess I was thinking the old pack may take a while or not swell too much.
If you want to you can but it is not necessary, Cheers!
 
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rdbrett

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OK, so from a schmuck's perspective (like me), bigger is always better! I have a 2L flask. If we are trying to reproduce yeast, would it not allow for more reproduction by using a starter with more volume? I obviously don't understand all this, but just wanted to check. Is it best for me to multiply my #'s to get up to a 2L starter or is that necessary?
 

duboman

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OK, so from a schmuck's perspective (like me), bigger is always better! I have a 2L flask. If we are trying to reproduce yeast, would it not allow for more reproduction by using a starter with more volume? I obviously don't understand all this, but just wanted to check. Is it best for me to multiply my #'s to get up to a 2L starter or is that necessary?
It is best to consult either http://www.mrmalty.com or http://www.yeastcalc.com and determine what the proper pitching rate is for your beer:)

Not only can it be detrimental to under pitch a beer but also to over pitch a beer and it is also counter productive to use a starter with too high a gravity meaning over 1.040. Too high a gravity will stress the yeast and defeat the purpose of growing HEALTHY yeast:D

Besides, why would you make a 2 liter starter if you only needed a 1 liter, that's another 100 grams of DME you could have used for another starter:ban:
 
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rdbrett

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I'm not arguing whatsoever. I just dont quite understand the process yet. Have a lot to learn about it! Thanks to everyone on here!
 
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rdbrett

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OK, my starter is working away on the stir plate. I have a ton of little white things floating to the top constantly, are those the little yeasties getting ready to go? I'm just looking for info on how to tell if my starter is headed in the right direction.
 

duboman

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rdbrett said:
OK, my starter is working away on the stir plate. I have a ton of little white things floating to the top constantly, are those the little yeasties getting ready to go? I'm just looking for info on how to tell if my starter is headed in the right direction.
Yup, yeast, just let it ride like mentioned previously:)
 
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rdbrett

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OK, up this am and there is nothing "rising" in the starter. There is some white stuff on the bottom of the flask, but no little white things coming up like last night. So, now I can put in the fridge correct? Is this normal that fast? (15hrs) What does this mean? Are the yeast done reproducing? Damn I'm high maintanence!
 
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rdbrett

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Check that, there's just a little bit settled to bottom. I would describe it as a creamy khaki color as someone else did.
 

novahokie09

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It's typical for the growth phase of yeast to last between 12 - 18 hours. If you want, pull it off of the stir plate and see if you have a krausen that forms, if none forms, pop it in the fridge. If a krausen does form, get it back on the plate to let it finish.

Now, I'll try to help you understand how starters work. You determine how much yeast you will generate based on the innoculation rate (Million cells/mL) of the starter/beer wort. Innoculation rate is essentially how many yeast cells you're putting into a given volume of wort. For instance, if you pitch a fresh vial of Wyeast/White Labs into a 1 L starter, you are pitching 100 Billion cells/1000mL; this is equivalent to 100 Million cells/mL. If you pitch a 100 Billion cells into a 2 L starer, your innoculation rate is 100 Billion/2000 mL (50 Million/mL).

The innoculation rate dictates how much growth you will get in the finished product. For instance, an innoculation rate of 100 Mill/mL will result in close to 1.6X growth rate; an innoculation rate of 50 Mill/mL will result in close to 2.0X growth rate. If you pitch 100 Mill/mL with 100 Billion initial cells, you will get 160 Billion at the end. If you pitch 50 Mill/mL with 100 Billion, you will end with 200 Billion. These numbers are approximate and are based on no aeration/agitation during the starter's duration. Intermittent shaking and full stirplate agitation will increase the growth rate.

I hope this helps you better understand yeast growth. I've linked two links below for your reference. They have growth rate vs. innoculation rate graphs and provide a better explanation, if you're interested.

Helpful Links:
http://beersmith.com/blog/2011/01/10/yeast-starters-for-home-brewing-beer-part-2/
http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2012/11/03/estimating-yeast-growth/
 

Ondori

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I would definitely make a starter. I would just brew your beer as planned. Use some of your preboil wort and use that to make a starter (after boiling what you collected for starter of course). When I get all of my ingredients on same day. I will brew, put my fermenter in the chamber for 24-36 hours while my starter gets kicked off, and then dump it in. Good to go!
 
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rdbrett

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That is interesting, seems a little simpler than messing with weighing out DME and worrying about the OG of my starter. How come you can't just pull out enough for the starter during the boil? Put straight in flask and cool, and pitch? No doubt there's a reason.

So using this method, you would be assured to have the same OG as your 5 gal wort. right?
 

Pratzie

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That is interesting, seems a little simpler than messing with weighing out DME and worrying about the OG of my starter. How come you can't just pull out enough for the starter during the boil? Put straight in flask and cool, and pitch? No doubt there's a reason.

So using this method, you would be assured to have the same OG as your 5 gal wort. right?
U could, however for a starter u want an OG of 1.030-1.040 so if the OG of the brew is higher it could stress the yeasties and make their buildup slower.

But there are alot of people who just save some extra runnings from previous batches for the purpose of making starters for their next batch.
 
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rdbrett

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I pulled flask off stir plate after about 24 hrs. There is no krausen forming on top. Can i assume its done then and put in fridge? White stuff settling to bottom some.
 
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rdbrett

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I would say its cloudy. When I take it off, it slowly starts to settle. With clearer brown liquid at the top. When I restarted it, cloudy/powdery looking stuff stirred up a bunch.
 

novahokie09

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You will not see a Krausen on a stir plate if you're stirring fast enough to have a vortex. That's why you pull it off the plate. If no krausen forms after removing it from the plate along with no signs of bubbling present, you're out of the exponential growth phase and entering the stationary phase where the yeast have consumed the majority of available sugars and begin to flocculate.

In fact, you're describing flocculation when you stated that there's brown liquid forming near the top. The milky/cloudy stuff you describe are the yeast in suspension in the wort. I would place the starter in your refrigerator to cold crash. You'll have a nice milky layer of yeast on the bottom of your flask with a clear brown liquid on top in the morning.
 

Brewskii

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This is around 400 billion I grew up for 2 brews last weekend. I didn't get the chance to brew them so here the yeast sit in the fridge. This is after 2 steps and a week in the fridge but you can see the yeast flocking or settling out to the bottom of the flask. The resultant beer at the top of the flask is clear enough to read through and gets cloudier toward the bottom.

It usually wont clear this well in the fridge because I will use it after a day or two but I happened to have it on hand so I thought I'd share what it looked like after a week in the fridge.

image-914841061.jpg
 
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