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Fresh Wort for making starters

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Dan Pratt

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I recently aquired some cheap pilsner grain from the LHBS and was considering making fresh wort for use when i do starters.

The grain is like $1.25 per kg and i have already made an beer(tomahawk IPA - added LDME during boil) with it getting 20lts of 1046 just from the grain. The grain is old but what i think i could do is a single step mash, boil for 30mins and fill up a cube.

When i make my starters, using the tap, fill up what i need, boil for another 5 mins and use that for the starter wort?

Reason being for this idea
  • grain is cheaper than dex or maltose - 5kg = $6.25 and creates 22 litres of 1046 wort and ~ 20 x 1lt starters versus using malt/dex or whatever mixed with water at $6 for 1kg and only getting 8 starters.
I will be using starsan on the tap and lid before and after use, if by chance i have airborne yeast in my garage then the cubed wort would start to ferment which would be unlikey.

Has anyone done or doing this, using AG to make wort for starters instead of mixing up prior to the boil?
 

brettprevans

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Either use a tin of goo or just a 3rd sparge of your next batch. Much simpliwr and cost effective.

Howwver if u want to do it your way a 10min boil would suffice. And remenber starters like a low gravity wort ie below 1030.
 

Nick JD

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I used to strain the hotbreak through a double layer of swiss voile draped in a sieve, into a bowl.

Then when it'd filtered through, tip the clear wort (~1.060) into a 1L yoghurt container and put it in the freezer.

Perfect size for a 1.5L starter. The wort lost to trub is conincidentally about the same volume as is needed for a starter in most AG systems.

Now, I tip all the hotbreak in the fermenter, but that's beyond the scope of this thread.
 

manticle

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If you are going to do this, you might be wise to freeze the wort in smaller portions rather than keep it in a cube. Unfermented, it will have a shelf life and while boiling should remove micro-organisms, it won't remove their flavour effect.


The other thing to consider is that the main benefit of a grain wort starter for an AG beer is if it is made from the same wort as (at least as far as I understand) yeast produce eenzyme profiles specific to the wort they are fermenting.

Based on this idea and similarly to Nick's old method, I get the last few litres from the kettle into a sanitised erlenmeyer, let it settle, covered in a fridge overnight, decant the clear wort and discard the trub then reboil, cool and use that. Only applicable to no-chillers or if you continually brew identicval worts.

Anyway nothing wrong with grain wort for a starter if you've got the ingredients but portion and freeze like a soup.
 

Nick JD

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I have heard though that yeast will breed better in (and the calculators are probably based on) un-hopped extract starters.
 

manticle

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I've heard that too so it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other probably.

I don't count cells but I've never encountered any known issues by using yeast in hopped starters and considering where it's destined, I've never minded too much. It goes in the beer I made which goes in the beer I made. I reckon it copes OK.
 

Bribie G

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Nick I've just started a thread on the hot break, would be interested in you expanding the topic.
 

squirt in the turns

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Is it not the case that lightly hopping (like 1 or 2 pellets/litre) can be beneficial in starters as the antibacterial properties create an environment that favours yeast over whatever other organisms might be floating about? Shouldn't be a concern if sanitation is sufficient, but maybe a good step to take when working with small or old/weak samples of yeast that take a while to get a foothold in a starter?
 

Sprungmonkey

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if yoru doing a cube - take some out of the kettle into a flask at the same time - chill and use to propogate your yeast up (while the cube is chilling). That way wort is the same and its fresh- If its highly hopped take some out before putting the hops in and boil up. Then just dump it into your wort when you start fermenting (of if there is a bit of a lag time before fermenting chill it down and decant beer off.
 

MaltyHops

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Pratty1 said:
Reason being for this idea
  • grain is cheaper than dex or maltose - 5kg = $6.25 and creates 22 litres of 1046 wort and ~ 20 x 1lt starters versus using malt/dex or whatever mixed with water at $6 for 1kg and only getting 8 starters.
But going out of your way to make wort for starters you pay with your time and
sweat, gas/electricity and grain, of couurse, then you have to store the stuff.

I've been using up old Coopers kits to make starters - pour it all into a wide
tupperware tub and keep it in the freezer when not being used. When I'm making
starters, keep it in the fridge - two dessertspoons per 500mL times 5 and I make
enough yeast on a stirplate to equal two Whitelabs vials' worth. When the last of
my Coopers extract runs out, I plan to buy Coopers Mex or Canadian kits to keep
doing this (and no messy DME floating everywhere).

Ed. spello
 

Nick JD

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Bribie G said:
Nick I've just started a thread on the hot break, would be interested in you expanding the topic.
The reference that changed my behaviour has been posted. Well worth a listen.

One of those things that the individual brewer really needs to discover for themselves - that podcast really just lessens the fear of giving it a go.

I find secondary racking becomes more important though. I tip a LOT of crud in.
 

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Nick JD said:
I have heard though that yeast will breed better in (and the calculators are probably based on) un-hopped extract starters.
That's what I've come to understand also. I draw off enough wort for starters just before my first hop addition, which on most brews is at 60 minutes on a 90 minute boil. I put in my 3L or 2L Erlenmeyer flask and cover with foil. Once it cools I decant off the hot break and dilute it down to 1030 sg , boil for another 15 minutes, add nutrient, cool and pitch my yeast for a starter.
 

Judanero

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I've always just used LDME for my starters but after filling a cube today thought I'd strain off the last few litres from the kettle and use that to make a starter.
My question is do I have to decant off the supernatant? Or is the trub ok for the yeasties?

IMG_0901.JPG
 

Florian

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Sprungmonkey said:
if yoru doing a cube - take some out of the kettle into a flask at the same time - chill and use to propogate your yeast up (while the cube is chilling). That way wort is the same and its fresh- If its highly hopped take some out before putting the hops in and boil up. Then just dump it into your wort when you start fermenting (of if there is a bit of a lag time before fermenting chill it down and decant beer off.
I do this from time to time as well.

Another thing I've done, which is more in line with what the OP wants to do, is brew up a batch of wort from old grain, hop to about 10 IBU and no chill in 1.25L Aldi soft drink bottles.

The filling process is a bit messy, but it's so easy to just crack open a bottle or four of wort, pour into Erlenmayer and add yeast. Done. No messing around with DME, boiling on the stove and all that annoying stuff.

I've used bottles of wort that were well over a year old, same as no chill really, and minimal infection risk.



No that I've run out though I just do a second sparge into a pot and boil on the stove until desired gravity is reached. Today I found a big hard rock of DME in the pantry, gave a bit to my daughter to ruin her teeth with and chucked the rest into the pot to boost gravity. The starter is fermenting away nicely right now.
 

Dan Pratt

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Florian said:
I do this from time to time as well.

Another thing I've done, which is more in line with what the OP wants to do, is brew up a batch of wort from old grain, hop to about 10 IBU and no chill in 1.25L Aldi soft drink bottles.

The filling process is a bit messy, but it's so easy to just crack open a bottle or four of wort, pour into Erlenmayer and add yeast. Done. No messing around with DME, boiling on the stove and all that annoying stuff.

I've used bottles of wort that were well over a year old, same as no chill really, and minimal infection risk.

i like that, basically no chilling with smaller containers eg aldi 1.25lts which are the right size for my starters and then add to flask and pitch yeast. That would be much more effective. now to get through a dozen or so bottles of soda.

Thanks Florian.
 

Nick JD

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A thing I sometimes do is when making a 2L starter from LDME is to do 2L, 10 minute APAs as starters.

When you tip off the expended wort from your starter, you just tip it into a 1.5L PET bottle ... and you can enjoy your free extract beer at your leisure.

It's a great way to try out a new hop too. Picobrewing.
 

Florian

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Pratty1 said:
i like that, basically no chilling with smaller containers eg aldi 1.25lts which are the right size for my starters and then add to flask and pitch yeast. That would be much more effective. now to get through a dozen or so bottles of soda.

Thanks Florian.
Just make sure you get some towels for filling the bottles. Be aware that they might shrink a little, but only a little if you use Aldi's, some others shrink more I've found.

Have some towels underneath, quickly fill to the brim, then screw lid on with towel or water proof gloves while bottle is shrinking and subsequently overflowing.

As I said, a bit messy, but alright if you're prepared.

Hose bottles off after you're done to prevent mould growing around the lid, and if possible place them all together while no chilling, even put a blanket over them if you want to be pedantic.
Because of the smaller volume they chill faster, somewhat negating the no (slow) chill effect, so the longer you can extend the chilling process and therefore pasteurisation the better.

If you haven't got empties already and are in a rush, just get a heap of sodawater bottles and empty them into a clean keg, that way you can start straight away and don't have to waste anything. You might have to recarb the keg a little depending on your taste.
 

Florian

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Nick JD said:
A thing I sometimes do is when making a 2L starter from LDME is to do 2L, 10 minute APAs as starters.

When you tip off the expended wort from your starter, you just tip it into a 1.5L PET bottle ... and you can enjoy your free extract beer at your leisure.

It's a great way to try out a new hop too. Picobrewing.
Love it Nick, have to try that soon. As you say, great for new hops. Obviously works for the 2nd or 3rd sparge option (instead of LDME) as well.

Brilliant idea!
 

Judanero

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Nick that is an awesome idea! I'm definitely giving that a go.

Cheers
 

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