Author Topic: New to Yeast Starters...  (Read 1026 times)

Offline tobywan19

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New to Yeast Starters...
« on: May 03, 2018, 06:39:01 PM »
I?m new to yeast starters so any insight is appreciated.

So plugging in the info to BeerSmith I get following info for my starter:

1.7 l starter size
1 packet of liquid yeast
112 grams (3.95 oz) or DME
1/4 teaspoon of nutrient

Boil for 15 mins, cool to 80*, pitch yeast and park on the stir plate for 2-3 days.

When I do this, due to boil off over 15mins I end up w much less than 1.7l of starter.

Is BeerSmith calculating this loss? Do I have the right size starter (it boiled down to about 1l)?

Am I obsessing over a minute detail?

Offline Oginme

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 05:47:19 AM »
I've actually never thought about dong a recipe in BeerSmith for my starters.  Mostly, I would need to create a new equipment profile and measure the needed parameters (such as boil off) to get it to predict what I wanted.  Further, that would mean that I would need to actually think about and control the flame on my stove (and the burner I pick to use).  My head hurts just thinking about it.

Personally, I don't think too much about the starters.  I tend to make over-built starters as it is and control how much of the starter I pitch my cell count, so I can be somewhat sloppy in my approach.  I have a 2.5 qt sauce pan that I use, weigh out the DME and yeast nutrient (usually around 140 gms of DME and about 1.5 grams of nutrient), transfer it to the warming water in the saucepan and top off the pan by rinsing out the plastic beaker I use for weighing out the DME.  Once I have the DME dissolved, I will take a refractometer reading and adjust the flame based upon how much water I need to boil off in around 10 to 15 minutes.  Around 10 minutes in, I take another refractometer reading and mentally calculate to when the starter wort will reach 1.036 to 1.038.  I set the timer and sanitize my flask and stir bar.  When the timer goes off, I turn the stove off and pour the contents of the pan into the flask.  Cover and chill overnight and pitch the yeast in the morning. 

In short, I really don't want to put too much effort into making more yeast with the exception that I want to make sure that I have active and healthy cells in quantity to make a pitch and build up  the remainder for the next brew. 
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Offline Kevin58

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2018, 11:58:09 AM »
I generally only look at the cell count needed for the recipe I'm making. I then adjust the size of the starter to best match that number.
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Offline jtoots

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 06:30:17 AM »
That's a pretty massive boil-off! This doesn't answer your question, but you could reduce that 15 minutes down to 5ish in my opinion.  You just want to make sure you come in at a SG of 1.030-01.40.  I would also recommend you definitely get below 80 degrees, I'd suggest 75.

Offline bobo1898

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 01:58:17 PM »
I always do 1.5L starter with 150g of DME which is about 1.040. If the batch OG is big, I adjust the amount of yeast I add to the 1.5L or if there's time, I'll make a starter, crash, then make another one from that.

I boil for 10 minutes, and guesstimate a little over 1.5L and typically hit that volume every time after boil off. jtoots brings up a good point. 5 minutes is probably enough. I've just done 10 minutes habitually and hit the numbers so I stick to it.
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Offline wellertheseller

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 06:50:28 PM »
question. i don't do any calculations in regards to yeast starters. i watched a few videos online (i know...) that said to use 2 cups water and 1/2 cup DME and boil for 15 minutes.....cool and pitch...etc. stir plate for a few days.

I am brewing 3 gallon batches and am just trying to ensure a healthy batch of yeast. anything wrong with this method?

Offline Oginme

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 09:28:42 PM »
Nothing wrong with the way you are propagating your yeast.  If you check on the starter tab in your recipe the program will do the calculations for you on the amount of DME to give you the estimated amount of yeast cells you will need.  If you do this, do not forget to update the manufacturing date of your yeast pack.
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Offline dtapke

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 09:40:19 AM »
in 15 minutes you shouldn't get a significant boil off in a flask.

secondly, if you're pitching to 3 gallon batches, unless you're brewing lagers or super high gravity beers, a single liquid pack of yeast thats fresh should be just dandy for you.

I really like the brewersfriend yeast calculator myself. https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

it'll let you play with the numbers and see the results "live"

As a side suggestion, i really enjoy my process for yeast starters, I brew a wort to the specified gravity i want, cool, and then pressure can the wort so that when i need a starter, all i have to do is grab a Can of wort. There's companies that even sell them nowadays.

personally, i do large starters so my 1 quart jars are all canned with 1.080 wort, this lets me make a 2l starter with 1 jar of wort. (or a 5L starter with 3 jars more often...)
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Offline wellertheseller

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 07:22:27 PM »
thank you for the advice. i meant to say i boil the water and DME for 10 minutes, then cool in a flask and then pitch. stir plate 2 or 3 days. i looked at the starter tab in BS and it seemed a bit complicated. i wondered about starters in brewing small batch. i contacted manufacturers for Omega and if over a certain OG, like 1.060 they said they would recommend a starter. said it couldn't hurt. i enjoy making them as part of the process too.

Once by making a starter, i actually found that i had a dead pack of liquid yeast. it never took off even after several days on the stir plate. went and bought a new pack of yeast and pitched both. turned out great.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 07:24:24 PM by wellertheseller »

Offline Oginme

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Re: New to Yeast Starters...
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 05:30:18 AM »
There are a couple of thoughts on pitching yeast floating around out there right now.  The first is to go by cell counts based upon the number of viable yeast cells and the gravity and volume of wort you are pitching into.  While in theory this can be done with yeast starters and assumed propagation rates of the cells, without doing actual cell counts and viability checks it is really educated guess work.

The second is the viability starter which assumes that a healthy, viable population of yeast cells will quickly multiply and do just as good a job of converting sugars to alcohol as one based upon strict cell counts.  This generally means pitching a starter when it gets to high krausen so that the cells are already happily reproducing at a good clip. 

I would recommend doing a little reading on yeast starters and then the starter page may not seem to be so bewildering.  While it is not set up so straight forward as to make it simple to understand, once you know what you are looking at you can navigate through it successfully.

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