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Yeast starter vs pitching onto slurry

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Janx

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Hey y'all. We brewed two batches yesterday, an 11 hour brew day all told, and we had a blast doing it. The first was our Humboldt Hop Rod and the second was Barn Floor Best Bitter. The Hop Rod was finished probably 5 hours before the Bitter. I had a starter of White Labs California V yeast that had been started 48 hours earlier and was going great. That got pitched into the Hop Rod before the mash had even begun on the Best Bitter.

The Best Bitter was chilled right onto a slurry of White Labs British Ale. This is the fourth batch through that primary using that yeast. We had it finished around 6 PM.

Well, by 8 PM, the Best Bitter's airlock was clicking 3 times per second. The Hop Rod clicked maybe every couple minutes, but was really just getting going.

So, it couldn't be clearer how much better it is to pitch directly onto slurry if you've been clean in your techniques. This morning, both are going 3-4 times per second, but the Best Bitter definitely got a huge head start despite being made hours after the rye.

My conclusion: what I knew all along. There is simply no better, more vigorous, numerous and healthy yeast than the slurry at the bottom of your primary after about 5 days to a week. No starter can compete with the vigor and cell count you get by pitching fresh beer right onto primary slurry. Seeing the two side-by-side yesterday really solidified this concept even more for me.

Cheers! :D
 

Dude

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Janx said:
My conclusion: what I knew all along. There is simply no better, more vigorous, numerous and healthy yeast than the slurry at the bottom of your primary after about 5 days to a week. No starter can compete with the vigor and cell count you get by pitching fresh beer right onto primary slurry. Seeing the two side-by-side yesterday really solidified this concept even more for me.

Cheers! :D

After reading your other post about pellet hops, you now see why many of us have been reluctant to use the slurry from our primary fermenters. Just too much hops in that trub to safely think that you won't get off flavors. That's why I haven't done it that way yet. Now the yeast cake from the secondary--that's a different story I think... :)
 
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Janx

Janx

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I'm not so sure. The more I think about that issue since someone brought it up here, it seems like a bad idea to me.

In the secondary, the alcohol levels are getting pretty high and yeast will be beginning to autolyze, or, basically, die. It's a really unhealthy environment for them, and that's all the more true the higher your alcohol content. I think you'd have a lot more tendency to have slow ferments, off-flavors, mutant yeast, etc from a secondary. German brewers take the yeast they use fo krausening at about 48 hours into the ferment because that's when yeast is healthy. I think the yeast settling onto the bottom of the secondary three weeks later is far from healthy the more I read about it.

The *real* solution is to get rid of pellet hops. Those things are horrible! It's bad to get hops into the fermenter for a lot of reasons, not just yeast re-use. It's something you should really address by switching to whole hops. Letting all that hoppy sludge get into the primary is just bad news.
 
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