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Keeping A Starter

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Fat Bastard

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G'day,

I pitched a starter (recultured WLP-001) on Friday with the intent of using it in a brewday on Saturday, but It showed no evidence of starting by pitching time, so I bottled it (figuratively) and rehydrated some US-05 and pitched that instead. I didn't chuck the starter, and this morning has a good head of krausen on board and looks healthy.

Can I keep it for a week? I'm presuming it'll ferment out in a few days, so can I cold crash it, pour the beer off and give it a litre of 1.035 wort to keep it going until next Saturday?

Any advice on this matter, or on how to use the search facility taken with much appreciation.

Cheers,

FB
 

manticle

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Yes you can keep it. Be sanitary, smell and taste both sets of 'beer' before pitching into the main wort.
 

Nick JD

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I've bottled whole starters before and kept them in the fridge for about a week.

If it's a 2 liter starter, pour off the 'beer' until you have (I use a 600ml coke PET) ~500ml and then swirl to reconstitute ... then bottle and cap and fridge.

Remember to warm to wort temp a few hours before you pitch - and pitch with 10 days otherwise the yeast numbers will have started to fall off.

If you make starters PET juice bottles, you can cap them when they've finished fermenting out to stop it sucking air in.
 

Wolfy

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It should keep fine for a week.
You could also decant the spent starter wort, add fresh wort and 're start' the starter a day or so before you plan to use it.
 

Fat Bastard

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Thanks for the help guys.

It's got a nice thick krausen on top now, and looks strong & healthy. I may drop some more LDME in a day before the brew, but it's looking good so far!
 

Danwood

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I've bottled whole starters before and kept them in the fridge for about a week.

If it's a 2 liter starter, pour off the 'beer' until you have (I use a 600ml coke PET) ~500ml and then swirl to reconstitute ... then bottle and cap and fridge.

Remember to warm to wort temp a few hours before you pitch - and pitch with 10 days otherwise the yeast numbers will have started to fall off.

If you make starters PET juice bottles, you can cap them when they've finished fermenting out to stop it sucking air in.

Just a quick one...am I right in thinking that by getting rid of most of the starter, keeping the settled yeast at the bottom, you are ditching the liquid which could contain any 'off' compounds the yeast may have produced whilst multiplying?
In the past I have used the whole starter...I probably shouldn't have, eh ?!

Beersmith says - 1pkt US05 = 155B cells or 267B cells with 2l starter (more than enough for my next brew)

For this starter I have 750ml of 1.066 hopped wort left from a Weizenbock.

Will this be suitable diluted down with 1.25l sterile water for the starter (next batch will be 1.053), or should I add a little honey to match the OG?

And will 2 days before brew day be enough time for the starter to reach the pitching rate?

Many thanks for any advice offered,


Dan
 

Where's Jim?

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Slightly OT, sorry.

What would the ill effects be of keeping a starter (including starter 'beer') for an extended period - say a month or two, then decanting and restarting with fresh wort and then pitching?

And, if rinsed before 'restarting' do any off/oxidised flavours produced in the first starter carry on?
 

Wolfy

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[quote name='Danwood' post='914544' date='May 21 2012, 06:21 PM']Just a quick one...am I right in thinking that by getting rid of most of the starter, keeping the settled yeast at the bottom, you are ditching the liquid which could contain any 'off' compounds the yeast may have produced whilst multiplying?
In the past I have used the whole starter...I probably shouldn't have, eh ?!

Beersmith says - 1pkt US05 = 155B cells or 267B cells with 2l starter (more than enough for my next brew)

For this starter I have 750ml of 1.066 hopped wort left from a Weizenbock.

Will this be suitable diluted down with 1.25l sterile water for the starter (next batch will be 1.053), or should I add a little honey to match the OG?

And will 2 days before brew day be enough time for the starter to reach the pitching rate?[/quote]
For me, making a starter is all about yeast growth and yeast health, so I have a stir plate, add nutrients and keep the gravity at a moderate level (1.040). However, as you suggested the starter is not really something I'd want to drink, so I decant the spent starter and pitch only the yeast.
But it could be debated how much - if at all - notice a few yeasty-off-flavours from a 1-2L starter in a full batch of beer and so many people simply pitch the entire starter volume (and it's a bit easier doing it that way too).

The yeast will adapt to the new volume of wort when it's pitched - that's what the lag-phase is all about - so it's best to keep the starter's gravity between 1.030-1.040, the 'Yeast' book (page 133) even suggests that it is a "myth that yeast become acclimated to high-gravity fermentation from a high-gravity starter".

2 days should be enough for 1 step of a starter process, but it does depend on how much yeast you are starting with and if you need more than one step, in addition if you plan to decant the spent stater you might need to give it another day or two to let the yeast settle-out.
[quote name='Where's Jim?' post='914556' date='May 21 2012, 07:01 PM']What would the ill effects be of keeping a starter (including starter 'beer') for an extended period - say a month or two, then decanting and restarting with fresh wort and then pitching?

And, if rinsed before 'restarting' do any off/oxidised flavours produced in the first starter carry on?[/quote]
The only ill effects that you should worry about are that your yeast will die the longer it is stored, after (only) 1 month after about 1/2 your yeast will be dead. As I suggested above, a starter is about yeast health and cell counts, not about flavours or anything else.
 

JaseH

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This is the way I've done the last few brews, not sure if its the best way but its been working for me and you get an 'active' starter to pitch into your beer.

A couple of days before I brew I take my washed yeast sample/fresh yeast pack and use yeastcalc.com to calculate the steps to get close to the desired amount of yeast I need using dme.

Then the night before I brew I chill the starter(technically not a starter) in the fridge to drop the yeast out. The morning I brew I take it out the fridge, pour off the beer(leave just enough in to stir up the yeast cake so it can be poured out later) and leave it to come up to room temp.

When I'm brewing, during the first part of the boil I am generally cleaning out my mash tun, which by this stage has about 1.5L of wort sitting in the bottom of it which has seeped out of the grain after sparging and didn't make it into the kettle. I boil this up on the stove whilst the rest of the brew is boiling in the kettle, and use it with the decanted yeast slurry to make an active starter to pitch into the fermenter. I find that if I brew that arvo, the starter on my stir plate is kicking and ready to go later that night so I can pitch it before I go to bed. This way you get an active starter using the actual wort from your beer and little better brewhouse efficiency too ;)
 

Danwood

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Good advice, all.

I don't own a stir plate as yet, although it's a step I'll take sooner or later.

So for ease of use and to limit transfer infections, I was thinking of making my starter in the fermenter I'll be using, with the 750ml 1.066 hopped wort, but diluted to make 1.5l of 1.033.

If I tilt the fermenter so the tap side is highest I should be able to easily draw off the beer to leave the cake behind, on which I can dump the wort when it's reached the same temp.

I'll also be giving the fermenter/starter a regular shake for the 2 days prior to brewing.

A regular feature of my brews is a slight sharp, chemically sort of taste and smell. I've been researching this, and it sounds like my yeast is struggling to multiply and adapt to the 23l wort, and throwing off lots of un-savoury compounds as it tries.
Either that or under-oxygenated wort in the fermenter. Maybe both !!

I tried one of the Weizenbocks from my last batch and the bannana and big malt notes are there, but there's also that chemically taste ruining it....such a shame, I know there's a good beer in there somewhere !
 
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