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What size flasks do you use for starters?

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Amber Fluid

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I currently use a 2000ml flask for starters up to 1500ml but am now wondering does the size of the vessel have any impact on the contents?... (I usually just use a jar for up to 200ml)

I find the 2000ml flask to be a good universal size but am now wondering if I should acquire a 1000ml for the lower volumes. I am yet to have a need for larger volumes.

I really think it is pointless for a 250ml flask as I feel it would rarely be used. Therefore, what are the most common used size flasks people have?
 

Truman42

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i use a 2000ml flask for 2 litre starters in a 25 litre batch and its always suited me.
 

donburke

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say for a smackpack thats reached 10% viability, i do this for a 40 litre batch of ale

- 600ml wort and smack pack in a 1 litre flask
- after about a day i decant the lot into 2 litres of wort in a 3 litre flask
- after 2 days, let the yeast settle, decant most of liquid, rouse yeast and add to 4 litres in a 5 litre flask

each step gets a 30sec shot of o2 in the headspace and shaken for 45 seconds
 

Nick JD

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I use old 3L fruit juice containers that have been napisan and starsanned.

1L of boiled cooled water goes in; then I boil up a liter of 1.080 and some nutrient and add it. 2L of 1.040 well on its way to room temp.

Add 1/3 split smackpack when cool ... and it's off and running. Put the lid on and shake the shit out of it. Undo the lid to just tight enough to let CO2 out.

Bottle in the bin afterwards.

Here's a 1272 for a 17L APA (~1.5L starter needed) made from a 5th of a smackpack last night. I can't be arsed doing multiple steps.







.
 

mikec

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I often start in a 1L and step up in a 2L.
 

adryargument

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I simply chuck some yeast into 2L of wort in a 2L starter.
Leave it for a few days on a stir plate.

this generally works fine for 40L batches.

I have never *stepped up* a starter, and have never had an infected starter.

However starters are rare these days, i prefer to reuse yeast off the last batch.
 

Crusty

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I put 200gm DME into a 2lt flask & mix it thoroughly. I then tip 600mls of it into a 1lt flask, boil this & the remaining 1400mls for 10mins or so.
Let cool to room temp & pitch 30ml vial ( smacked pack divided into four ) into the 1lt flask. Spin on stir plate for 24hrs. After that, tip entire contents into the 1400mls in the 2lt flask & spin for another 24hrs. Pitch on brew day.
I have a 5lt flask as well, so, 1lt, 2lt & 5lt flasks for me.
 

Aydos

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If I am building up my starters from a 15ml vial I use my 250ml flask and start it in 100ml. Then into a 1l starter in my 2l flask and then finally 2l into my 2l flask again. I then usually grab another vial of yeast from this built up stock and dump the rest into the fermenter.

I was going to get a 3l flask but they were asking around $50 for it. That's a fair bit considering I can buy 2x2l ones for under $40
 

hsb

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I make a couple of litres extra, no chill the 20L batch, and use the 2L to activate a starter whether it is from slant or smackpack.
Get a free taster of the finished product before pitching.
I might step it up from 1L if the yeast is old. It's lazy to not step up a slant, but I am lazy.
I'd use my 2L flask whatever the size but if you're stepping up you need a second 'wessel', so might be worth having a 1L (or using a juice bottle, jam jar etc..)
 

JDW81

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If I use a whole smack pack it goes straight into a 1040 wort in my 2L flask.

If I reculture from a bottle (well usually a few bottles) I start in my 250mL flask, step to 500mL, 1L then 2L.

Don't brew lagers so no need to go bigger (yet...)
 

seamad

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Use 250, 500, 1000,2000, 3000, depending on yeast type [ some belgians can go crazy and need the headspace]. Start with little flasks with 1/4 of smackpacks or slants and go up from there.I find the wide neck flasks better as less volcanoes. Don't make lagers and for the big belgians make a smaller beer first and pitch onto that. Use yeastcalc.com for working out the numbers.
 

Bribie G

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I use a $3 lidded bucket that holds about 3L that I bought from Chickenfeed, and it's been serving me well for a couple of years. Provided it never gets used for anything else and gets faithfully perc and starsan treated like Nick's bottle, I expect it will outlast me :D

One advantage is that when the wort and yeast is put in, you can snap the top down and shake the shyte out of it to oxygenate it well. I leave the lid prised open very slightly - once had one pop off with a bang and do a frisbee impersonation.

I just made up a Wyeast lager yeast starter with about a litre of wort to inoculate a double batch, I don't do stepped starters with Wyeast, just chuck it into a litre and swirl every time I'm going past for a couple of days till it's done.

chickenfeed.jpg
 

stux

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I find that if you use a flask at capacity (ie 2L in a 2L flask) you can end up with a big mess, so try to keep volume to 75% of capacity.

Also, if you have too little wort in a flask it can firstly be hard to measure, and secondly, not so good for striplating.

So, basically 1-2L in a 2L flask and .5-1L in a 1L flask, and .25 to .5L in a .5L flask... and 2-5L in a 5L flask.

Lots of steps because I tend to step up a 25% split which might be a year old, to a 60L batch.

My standard progression is

500ml
1L
2L
3 or 4L

I sometimes do a 250ml, if the yeast is very old.

I'll generally pitch each step into the next, except when that'd mean overflowing, in which case its a chill + decant first.

So, 500ml into 1L makes 1.5L, then 1.5L into 2L makes 3.5L, then I'd chill that decant, and add the 4L to the 5L flask.

I'll skip the earlier/later steps depending on viability and requirements

but basically, mix it up a bit with the idea to generally double the volume at each step.

http://yeastcalc.com
 

Nick JD

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Actually, that juice bottle in my photo was opened and decanted into another exactly the same that was empty. I gave it a quick rinse with tap water and a squirt or two with Starsan.

Pretty sure the juice bottle came sterile anyway. You get a big jug of fruitjuice in your fridge and the sterile starter vessle FOR FREE! :D
 

Wolfy

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2L for most beers (ales) but 5L for a few (lagers).
 

jc64

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I love the approach of Nick JD and Bribie G, the K.I.S.S. principle at it's best.
 

Nick JD

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Lots of noobs to brewing see the $10 price tag on the liquid yeast and think, bugger that - but it's actually cheaper, and you're always pitching the correct amount of yeast.

You buy your pack of yeast and (I use little empty 300ml PET Coke bottles - get a dozen at the supermarket, or buy vials, better) and fill them after sanatising with cooled boiled water.

Then cut your smackpack and put your bottle on the scales and tare it. There's 125ml in the pack, so put 25g in four bottles and fridge them. This leaves you with 25g for your 2L starter.

2L starter has 200g of LDME in it.

So your $10 yeast and your $7 of LDME is giving you 5 lots of yeast. 5 lots of the correct amount of yeast. For $3.40 a batch, which is cheaper than dry yeast. $1.70 if you reuse the trub once each time.

And you're using the world's best yeasts, not something Fermentis or Danstart cobbled together.
 

doon

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Whats theshelf life of the yeast doing that method nick?
 

seamad

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I have used yeast that was1.5 years old and had it work, start with very small starter [25- 50ml for very old yeast] and build up. Use http://www.yeastcalc.com to get your steps.Usually split pack into 4 so enter 25 billion as start number not 100, then enter date to get number of viable cells. At the top you have entered wort OG and volume to give you pitch numbers. I try to keep growth factor under 5, usually @ 2-3.
 

Nick JD

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doon said:
Whats theshelf life of the yeast doing that method nick?
6 months and you're fine with chucking it straight into a 2L starter. Even longer.

There are issues with breeding small amounts of yeast in large volumes (2L), but I've found personally that these issues (haven't encountered them when making straight up 2L starters from the teeny tiniest yeast amounts) are not worth the hassle of stepping up starters. If you're into that sort of thing, knock yourself out - just be super sanitary.
 

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