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Franiblector

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Hey guys! Got a yeast querstion...

I received four 1/2 extract 1/2 grain recipe kits for Christmas - all with White Lab Liquid yeasts, from MidwestSupplies.com.
Problem is I haven't been able to brew all of them yet. I have only brewed 2 out of 4 kits so far.
I do plan on getting around to brewing them both probably within the next month or so.
My question is the date on the WL labels. It says best used before April of this year. Does that mean that I need to pitch it before April, or that my beer (post fermentation, secondary, & bottling) won't be very good past April?
I can't remember the exact verbiage on the label because I'm at work right now, but I was pretty confused as to whether I should be purchasing new yeast when I get around to brewing the next two batches, or just use what I have.

Should I be overly concerned, or just brew on like normal, or purchase new yeast when I'm ready?

BTW, the yeast has been in the fridge all this time....
 

Janx

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Oh, good, you do use liquid yeast. Ignore my comment in your other thread...

They work fine when they're old...they're just slower. The guy at the HBS gave us half a dozen old lager ones. We just make a starter a couple of days earlier than normal and they work.

Also, always make a starter with these liquid yeasts. I don't care what the package says; that is not enough of a pitch for even 5 gallons in my opinion. A vigorous, large yeast pitch is one of the best things you can do for your beer.
 

Dude

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Janx said:
Also, always make a starter with these liquid yeasts. I don't care what the package says; that is not enough of a pitch for even 5 gallons in my opinion. A vigorous, large yeast pitch is one of the best things you can do for your beer.

Okay...I've seen you mention this twice in recent threads.....what's the major advantage in this?
My 3 batches so far have taken anywhere from 24-30 hours to get good bubbling out of my airlock, I haven't used a starter yet. I've used White Labs liquid yeast every time.
My finished product seems to taste pretty good. What improves (taste, alchohol, etc.) by getting a faster and more vigorous fermentation going?
 

rightwingnut

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One thing I know a strong, fast ferment will do is minimize risk of infection, as the yeast overpowers any attempt by bacteria to do its thing.
 

Janx

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rightwingnut said:
One thing I know a strong, fast ferment will do is minimize risk of infection, as the yeast overpowers any attempt by bacteria to do its thing.
Yep, that's a biggie. Probably the primary reason for a big yeast starter.

Your beer will finish more quickly. It will ferment more cleanly and can be transferred to the secondary sooner.

You tend to get cleaner tasting beer for a combination of all of these reasons. Infection isn't always full-blown, and your wort is never sterile. The best you can do is send a swat team of vigorous yeast in to immediately secure the place. In the 24-30 hours it takes a beer to start without a starter, my beers are typically well on their way to fermented. That means I can rack them more quickly to get them off the trub, there is zero chance of even minor competitor bacteria presence.

When you pitch from a vial directly, the yeast have to come out of their dormant state, multiply to population, and then finally begin fermenting your beer. With a starter, you take care of two of those steps, mostly, and a much higher cell count of yeast hits the ground running the minute it is added to the wort. It is in the phase of its life to begin fermenting immediately and vigorously, and that will make a cleaner tasting beer.

So, it's a combination of things, some of which are sort of amorphous, and probably more complex than I understand. But in my experience and the experience of my brewer friends, your beer is better when you pitch a bigger, more vigorous yeast starter.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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don't forget good aeration too. since i started using my carbonation stone/oxygen bottle to aerate my cooled wort, my lag times have shortened up. and i still use the white labs pitchable yeast. so i could imagine how much faster and better a starter would help.

DeRoux's Broux
 

bandt9299

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Ok so whats the easiest way to make a starter with white labs liquid, I just brewed my first batch and it took nearly 24 hours to get the airlock bubbling (although the lid on the bucket was bowing up @ about 16 hrs) that was with white labs. Thanks in advance guys.
 

Janx

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Mix up a small batch of "wort". I boil about a half to three quarters of a gallon of water, add enough DME to make it amber colored, boil for a little while, let it cool with the lid on so it stays clean, pour it into a gallon apple juice jug, pour in the yeast (when it's cool enough), stick in an airlock, and in about 24-48 hours, you have a nice starter with probably at least 10 times the cell count of the little vial.

Remember, though. You need to be extra super conscious of sanitation with starters. A screw-up here could infect a lot of beer down the line.

Also, remember you can re-use yeast by just racking a new batch ontot he old yeast cake in your primary. That's the simplest and best starter of all, as long as everything is clean and you don't use the yeast for more than 3 or at most 4 batches.
 

bandt9299

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Janx said:
Mix up a small batch of "wort". I boil about a half to three quarters of a gallon of water, add enough DME to make it amber colored, boil for a little while, let it cool with the lid on so it stays clean, pour it into a gallon apple juice jug, pour in the yeast (when it's cool enough), stick in an airlock, and in about 24-48 hours, you have a nice starter with probably at least 10 times the cell count of the little vial.

Remember, though. You need to be extra super conscious of sanitation with starters. A screw-up here could infect a lot of beer down the line.

Also, remember you can re-use yeast by just racking a new batch ontot he old yeast cake in your primary. That's the simplest and best starter of all, as long as everything is clean and you don't use the yeast for more than 3 or at most 4 batches.
Thanks Janx you're great, I have read though that too much yeast isn't good either, how much is too much????
 

Janx

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bandt9299 said:
Thanks Janx you're great, I have read though that too much yeast isn't good either, how much is too much????
Yeah that's one of those things that you can just throw out the window in my opinion...one of those "well, in theory..." type things that never happens in the real world. You'll never pitch too much yeast with this method.
 

rightwingnut

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The lady at the brew shop says she likes to sell two vials of white labs to her customers, to get a good start without a starter...would there be any sense in making a starter with two vials, or is there no great benefit?
 

Dude

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rightwingnut said:
The lady at the brew shop says she likes to sell two vials of white labs to her customers, to get a good start without a starter...would there be any sense in making a starter with two vials, or is there no great benefit?

Other than putting another 5 bucks in her pocket! Unless it is more convenient for you, I don't see why making a starter from here on out wouldn't be the best bet.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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rightwingnut said:
The lady at the brew shop says she likes to sell two vials of white labs to her customers, to get a good start without a starter...would there be any sense in making a starter with two vials, or is there no great benefit?
i don't see it nut? you are "doubling" the yeast cells added to the cooled wort, but they still have to adjust to the new environment, which would produce the same amount of lag time (in my opinion). that's one of the reasons for a starter (along with reproduction of more yeast cells).

DeRoux's Broux
 

Janx

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Dumping two vials or smack packs in a batch directly will help lag time, but it's not as good as a starter IMO. If you're going to be making a starter anyway, there's no need to use two vials. It may make your starter ready quicker, but really isn't worth the cost.
 

homebrewer_99

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Janx said:
remember you can re-use yeast by just racking a new batch on top of the old yeast cake in your primary.
Janx, how do YOU do this? Hot wort or cooled wort?

I'm asking because I would like to know what you do to not shock the yeast with too hot and too cold a wort. Im curious.
 

Janx

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homebrewer_99 said:
Janx, how do YOU do this? Hot wort or cooled wort?

I'm asking because I would like to know what you do to not shock the yeast with too hot and too cold a wort. Im curious.
Hehe...well, it may not be as precise a method as you would prefer ;)

I definitely chill it. Before letting the wort flow onto the old yeast, I taste it and check the temp. I try to shoot for a temp in the 80s by adjusting my chiller flow but it's just a guesstimation.

Definiely have never shocked the yeast. It's usually fermenting like MAD within a couple hours. Seems impossible, but it's true. I think yeast is tougher than is made out to be as long as you don't hit it with hot wort. It's tolerant of a wide temp range, and it loves it when I bring the party to it! :D
 

D-brewmeister

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Janx said:
Also, remember you can re-use yeast by just racking a new batch ontot he old yeast cake in your primary. That's the simplest and best starter of all, as long as everything is clean and you don't use the yeast for more than 3 or at most 4 batches.
Hey Janx, just two quick Q's about the yeast cake method: Does the cake get progressively larger with each batch? I can see it gradually taking over the volume in my primary, and since i only have a 6 gal carboy, if it took more than a gallon I would be loosing batch volume. Also, have you tried using a similar method with the yeast sediment from a secondary fermenter? I am aware that the yeast have largely gone dormant by the time secondary is done, but would that yeast sludge have enough live ones in it? Perhaps using it as the basis for a starter? Hmmm..... D.
 

uglygoat

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ya the yeast increased in size. i did this little trick janx wrote about recycling the yeast right in the fermentor and the yeast cake grew about an inch in size each time i did it.... third times the charm though, an i'm dumping it and starting a fresh batch tonight.
 

homebrewer_99

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Janx: Sounds like a good temp but I would shoot for the 70s range. Just my preference.

Actually, I am not as tight-*ssed as you think I may be about brewing. :rolleyes:


D-brewmeister: the yeast from secondary is old and tired and probably a bit mutated. It's really not worth the effort. A lot like driving cross country on bald tires. You can do it, but....

Later!
 

Janx

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D-brewmeister said:
Hey Janx, just two quick Q's about the yeast cake method: Does the cake get progressively larger with each batch? I can see it gradually taking over the volume in my primary, and since i only have a 6 gal carboy, if it took more than a gallon I would be loosing batch volume. Also, have you tried using a similar method with the yeast sediment from a secondary fermenter? I am aware that the yeast have largely gone dormant by the time secondary is done, but would that yeast sludge have enough live ones in it? Perhaps using it as the basis for a starter? Hmmm..... D.
It does take up slightly more space I suppose, but it sure doesn't seem like much. Then again, I have a 14 gallon primary with 12 gallon batches, so I have room to spare.

I would think the secondary yeast would work, but I always use the primary because it fits my system best. Also, the yeast should be very vigorous immediately following a week of primary fermentation and should take off more quickly than yeast in a secondary. My system is to make, rack and keg a batch about every weekend. The yeats in the secondaries I am kegging has been in the secondary for at least 2 weeks and sometimes longer. I'd prefer to use the vigorous yeast in the primary.
 

Janx

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homebrewer_99 said:
Janx: Sounds like a good temp but I would shoot for the 70s range. Just my preference.

Actually, I am not as tight-*ssed as you think I may be about brewing. :rolleyes:
Just joking around, mate. I was mostly trying (feebly) to poke fun at my own slacker methods ;)
 

Janx

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You know in thinking about the question of more and more yeast in the fermentor a bit more, I think the additional quantities you'd see would be mostly non-yeast trub. The thing with this method is, the yeast doesn't have to multiply as much as normal because there's already an enormous cell count. So I don't think the yeast would double with two batches, triple with 3, etc. But you would get the accumulation of non-yeast trub from each batch.
 

Dude

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orrelse said:
Okay...I've seen you mention this twice in recent threads.....what's the major advantage in this?
My 3 batches so far have taken anywhere from 24-30 hours to get good bubbling out of my airlock, I haven't used a starter yet. I've used White Labs liquid yeast every time.
My finished product seems to taste pretty good. What improves (taste, alchohol, etc.) by getting a faster and more vigorous fermentation going?
As soon as I say that, my 3rd batch was bubbling away more vigorously than any previous batch within 10 hours of pitching--no starter.
I racked to secondary this evening and had a quick taste...this might be the best yet!!!
Based on your info though--I'll be using a starter from now on.....
 
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