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Cloud Surfer

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Out of interest, do you guys cover your starters to keep the light out of them?

I’m going to do a dunkelweizen soon and have the Wyeast smack pack for it. At an OG of 1.055 is it worth making a small starter or will one smack pack be enough. I know the Wyeast guide says to make a starter above 1.060, but just wondering what you guys would do.
 

MHB

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Depends on the volume too.
20L at 1.055 probably not, 40L at same for sure.
The typical recommended pitch rate for an Ale is around 0.5-1million cells/ mL/ Point of oP, 1.055 is 13.75oP, for wheat beer its suggested pitching at the lower end of the range gives more of the typical yeast esters, which are in large part why we brew Wheat beers.
So assuming 0.5*10^6 Cells X 20,000mL X 13.75 = 137,500,000,000 or 1.375*10^11. A fresh smack pack claims to have 100 Billion cells, or 1*10^11 (that's a bit of give or take, I have seen counts 30% higher in very fresh well stored yeast and a lot less if its got a bit of age or bad handling on it).
If the wort was well aerated I would probably go straight in, if you cant get 8-10ppm of Oxygen into solution or the wort is more than 20L. Make a starter!

Light mainly reacts with hop products (isoalpha acids), if you are using unhoped starter, meh.
It always made me wonder why beers brewed in clear glass demijohns (out of direct sunlight) not a hint of light strike, bottle that beer in a clear/green bottle and with half an hours exposure to sunlight, it reeks.
Heard a few theories none that satisfy.
Wouldn't put a starter on a windowsill, wouldn't be looking for a dark room red light either, just be sensible looks like the trick
Mark
 

Cloud Surfer

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Mark, that’s a good point about pitch rates to get the esters. I’ve got an O2 setup and seeing as it’s a 21L brew it sounds like pitching just the one smack pack is the way to go.

I did cover my starter with a towel to keep the light out. Was just curious what others did.
 

kadmium

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Mark, that’s a good point about pitch rates to get the esters. I’ve got an O2 setup and seeing as it’s a 21L brew it sounds like pitching just the one smack pack is the way to go.

I did cover my starter with a towel to keep the light out. Was just curious what others did.
I'm clearly not in the best practice camp, I just leave mine in the kitchen out of direct sunlight. I always make a starter, only because I harvest and keep that yeast for future. I use about 6 yeasts across the styles I brew and if I decide to do something unique I just pitch 2 packs or make a big starter and pitch the lot.

Harvested yeast I keep about 6 months between spins. If its been a while I spin it up and brew a beer (who needs more excuses to brew!)

Maybe they are all frankenmutated but they still produce reliable beers that don't seem to dramatically change from batch to batch. I always taste the starter wort prior to pitching though. Any funky or off issues straight in the bin and new yeast used. Always keep US-05 for emergencies and W34-70 for lagers.

Yeast on stock
- Dennys favourite (porters and stouts)
- Imperial Dry Hop (probably gonna ditch I prefer London Ale III)
- London Ale III
- Wyeast German Kolsch (Kolsch and Schwarzbiers)
- White Labs Czech Pilsner (bohemian)
- Giga Yeast English Ale #2 (Generic ales and English Bitters)

Not sure you ever seen a super floculant yeast on the spin but its weird!

Screenshot_20201201-160014_Photos.jpg
 

Cloud Surfer

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kadmium I admire your process of building a bank of yeast. To be honest I don’t see myself doing that, I’m probably to lazy. I’ve got a great Wyeast supplier a short drive away so I’m happy to buy a new smack pack each brew and start fresh with a new starter if needed for the big beers.

My first starter using the 1762 Rochefort yeast is in the fridge ready to go for tomorrow. The process was fairly painless and lifted another veil of secrecy surrounding this whole brewing thing.
 

kadmium

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kadmium I admire your process of building a bank of yeast. To be honest I don’t see myself doing that, I’m probably to lazy. I’ve got a great Wyeast supplier a short drive away so I’m happy to buy a new smack pack each brew and start fresh with a new starter if needed for the big beers.

My first starter using the 1762 Rochefort yeast is in the fridge ready to go for tomorrow. The process was fairly painless and lifted another veil of secrecy surrounding this whole brewing thing.
Yeah fair enough. Its super simple to harvest. Just over build by 500ml and put into a sanitised canning jar, leave lid loose and put in fridge till next time you need.
 

BrewLizard

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I'm with kadmium on this one. I don't know how you could not do overbuild starters (or harvesting) when liquid yeast packets are $15 each (+ice packs) here in Aus. I do it for all dry yeasts too.
 

grandadrob

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Why not use all the sludge from brew 1 to make brew 2. Then use half of the sludge from brew 2 to make brew 3 etc.

Another approach - last 3 pints of the brew in the fermenter, stir well and bottle without priming sugar. You get to drink 3 pints of beer and loads of yeast sediment to make a starter with....if you do this every brew you should get 20 batches from one commercial yeast......
 

Grmblz

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Why not use all the sludge from brew 1 to make brew 2. Then use half of the sludge from brew 2 to make brew 3 etc.

Another approach - last 3 pints of the brew in the fermenter, stir well and bottle without priming sugar. You get to drink 3 pints of beer and loads of yeast sediment to make a starter with....if you do this every brew you should get 20 batches from one commercial yeast......
Contamination, kveik is a different story.
 

kadmium

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Why not use all the sludge from brew 1 to make brew 2. Then use half of the sludge from brew 2 to make brew 3 etc.

Another approach - last 3 pints of the brew in the fermenter, stir well and bottle without priming sugar. You get to drink 3 pints of beer and loads of yeast sediment to make a starter with....if you do this every brew you should get 20 batches from one commercial yeast......
Cause I don't brew the same beer over and over and find that harvesting from a starter is so simple its criminal so why wouldn't I?

However Dr Hans did do an experiment where he re used the same fermenter without cleaning for a year just dropped back to back. He noticed it went south after about 12 brews if I remember.
 

grandadrob

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Cadmium ( you misspelt your name ) that is why I inferred 5 or 6 uses before starting over. I just bottled beer this morning I used a lot of pelleted hops that stayed suspended in the clear beer so I jugged the beer from FV and passed it through a sieve and paper tissues and then filled bottles using a jug and funnel - contamination is over exaggerated..........
 
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kadmium

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Cadmium ( you misspelt your name ) that is why I inferred 5 or 6 uses before starting over. I just bottled beer this morning I used a lot of pelleted hops that stayed suspended in the clear beer so I jugged the beer from FV and passed it through a sieve and paper tissues and then filled bottles using a jug and funnel - contamination is over exaggerated..........
Grandma Rob, (it seems you did too) you should do what works for you and I should do what works for me. I wouldn't be worried about infection as much as passing beer through a seive and paper towel by jug and then pouring into a bottle. So much oxygenation of the beer, with the words "lots of hops" in suspension I would be worried the beer is oxidised and will be very muted.

Then again it could be delicious. Brewing can be as simple or as complicated as people want to make it and that's the beauty of the hobby. But if the OP is going to the effort of making a starter then I dont see why for almost zero effort (sanitising a mason jar and pouring into it) they wouldn't. I would argue its more complicated handling a slurry and cleaning the fermenter then pitching back into the fermenter.

I'm not saying people have to be anal, but sanitation, yeast health, avoiding oxygen, and taking care are some simple steps to make great home brew.
 

grandadrob

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Kadmium - thanks for that - UK resident here - I meant very fine hop pellet particles - so fine they stay in suspension - a fine sieve did not catch them so I lined it with a tissue - not a paper towel that would have taken ages - my beers used to be ( pre covid) assessed by the head brewer of my local microbrewery and I have not had any real criticism - (I did ask him to be honest and tell me if I had problems) - the hop pellets in question were Nelson Sauvin - I get poor attenuation eg refractometer 10.7 down to 6.2 being typical - I would not know what an oxidised beer tasted like - perhaps you and others on this excellent forum could advise me - I prefer not to google.....
 

Grmblz

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contamination is over exaggerated..........
Till it happens, and it's not always obvious when it does, homebrew has a deserved poor reputation, whereas craft beer is much sought after.
Contamination comes in many forms and may not be immediately noticeable to the untrained palate, but it can be the difference between homebrew and craft beer, one is "drinkable" the other delicious.
If you like what you brew and how you brew it, then fine, but if you get a commercial craft ale and think cor that's nice, perhaps ask why your beer doesn't taste quite as good.
 

grandadrob

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My beer is good - but not as nice as the best craft beers in UK. I constantly strive to improve - getting really full in the mouth hoppiness so far eludes me - just adding tons of hops at 10, 5, 3, 1 minutes doesn't achieve it.
 

Grmblz

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Ahhh, THAT! can of worms, it's a new thing, are you referring to smell, taste (fresh hoppy not bitterness) or bitterness?
Remember that taste is a blunt instrument, what many perceive as taste is in fact aroma from the olfactory gland (smell)
One of my favourites here in Aus is Bentspoke's crankshaft Beer. In Cans. (note, they list the hop varieties but not the type, T45, T90, cryo etc) crack the can and prepare to be assaulted by hops, this was when they had a full opening lid can, due to moronic recycling rules here these cans were deemed not redeemable as their lid was missing so Bentspoke went to a traditional can with the stupid little opening (think coke or pepsi can) result? Almost no hop assault as your mouth is now covering the opening, meaning that all the hoppy goodness was in fact coming in through the nostrils.
The yanks have been leading the charge on this sort of thing with their IPA's, and have come up with cryo, and extracts to accomplish things that cones and pellets alone cannot. A quick look at this T-45 versus T-90 Hop Pellets…. gives a small insight into the intricacies of standard pellets, add in cryo, and extract and you do indeed have a Pandora's box.
For the big aroma/flavour hit, dry hopping is the way to go, at various stages in the fermentation, and also in the keg, BUT (there's always a fuc**ng but) open the bottle or tap, pour the beer and whoosh all that hoppy stuff, wait a couple of minutes and it's mostly gone, I have yet to find a big hoppy beer (not talking bitterness here) that keeps its allure for more than a few minutes.
Personally I think this whole huge hoppy thing is a bit of a fad and will die a natural death, a bit like "hard seltzers" just chuck a large vodka into a glass of soda water ffs (bloody millennials)
After 68yrs (56 drinking, I started early) if I had to pick one beer for the rest of my life it would be cask conditioned London Pride (the draught/bottled is rubbish, way too much co2 bite) being an ex Fullers landlord I'm probably a bit biased but it's stood the test of time a bit like Old Peculiar, I wonder how many hop bombs will still be around in 10yrs time, let alone the 60yrs that LP has been served for, Fullers and Youngs (yeh I'm a Londoner) were brewing craft ale when the great unwashed British population was drinking Grotneys, and Fosters (with a dash of lime ugh!) the yanks were swilling Budweiser!
Just Googled AND!
Bud Light is the most popular beer by FAR. It did $5.2 billion in sales last year, which is more than double the runner up, Coors Light.Aug 8, 2019 🤣

Oh dear I'm on my hobby horse again, sorry Rob got a bit side tracked, chase your hop fairies but be aware they are fleeting little creatures, maybe oils/extracts/cryo (I haven't used them so can't help there) are the answer, either way good luck with your quest, the beauty of this hobby/obsession is we are free to do as we please, and hopefully I've given you something to consider re: cryo/extracts, conventional wisdom btw is 50/50 cryo/T-pellets.

I'll stand by my statement that sanitation is key, followed by temp control, and then oxygen exposure, and I'm happy to agree to disagree. :)

fwiw, drain a wooden barrel (36 gal) of LP and in the bottom you'll find about two double handfuls of hop cones (food for thought)
 

kadmium

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Kadmium - thanks for that - UK resident here - I meant very fine hop pellet particles - so fine they stay in suspension - a fine sieve did not catch them so I lined it with a tissue - not a paper towel that would have taken ages - my beers used to be ( pre covid) assessed by the head brewer of my local microbrewery and I have not had any real criticism - (I did ask him to be honest and tell me if I had problems) - the hop pellets in question were Nelson Sauvin - I get poor attenuation eg refractometer 10.7 down to 6.2 being typical - I would not know what an oxidised beer tasted like - perhaps you and others on this excellent forum could advise me - I prefer not to google.....
Haha all good mate. Just sounded like a real process. I'm a simple man, prefer to fall into the area between best practice but not complicated. I like to stream line, maybe take a few shortcuts but if its necessary then I do it if that makes sense.

The issue with oxygenated beer post fermentation is its a hard one. It can lend a sherry or wet cardboard vibe when really bad. The problem with highly hopped beers is that they will only need a tiny little exposure and the damage is done.

Exposure to highly hopped beers usually leads to a browning in colour followed by muted hop character. The aroma falls off, flavour falls off and even bitterness is affected. You end up with a "meh" beer that doesn't have all the qualities you are trying to get by adding the hops. Thats my understanding and experience. I had a Galaxy SMaSH beer that I bottled. Was great just as it carbonated then fell of very rapidly. Ended up being that coppery, megaswill but nicer. That was a while back and I have since gone kegs and pressure transfers. Its improved all my beers significantly.
 

Klosey

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Ahhh, THAT! can of worms, it's a new thing, are you referring to smell, taste (fresh hoppy not bitterness) or bitterness?
Remember that taste is a blunt instrument, what many perceive as taste is in fact aroma from the olfactory gland (smell)
One of my favourites here in Aus is Bentspoke's crankshaft Beer. In Cans. (note, they list the hop varieties but not the type, T45, T90, cryo etc) crack the can and prepare to be assaulted by hops, this was when they had a full opening lid can, due to moronic recycling rules here these cans were deemed not redeemable as their lid was missing so Bentspoke went to a traditional can with the stupid little opening (think coke or pepsi can) result? Almost no hop assault as your mouth is now covering the opening, meaning that all the hoppy goodness was in fact coming in through the nostrils.
The yanks have been leading the charge on this sort of thing with their IPA's, and have come up with cryo, and extracts to accomplish things that cones and pellets alone cannot. A quick look at this T-45 versus T-90 Hop Pellets…. gives a small insight into the intricacies of standard pellets, add in cryo, and extract and you do indeed have a Pandora's box.
For the big aroma/flavour hit, dry hopping is the way to go, at various stages in the fermentation, and also in the keg, BUT (there's always a fuc**ng but) open the bottle or tap, pour the beer and whoosh all that hoppy stuff, wait a couple of minutes and it's mostly gone, I have yet to find a big hoppy beer (not talking bitterness here) that keeps its allure for more than a few minutes.
Personally I think this whole huge hoppy thing is a bit of a fad and will die a natural death, a bit like "hard seltzers" just chuck a large vodka into a glass of soda water ffs (bloody millennials)
After 68yrs (56 drinking, I started early) if I had to pick one beer for the rest of my life it would be cask conditioned London Pride (the draught/bottled is rubbish, way too much co2 bite) being an ex Fullers landlord I'm probably a bit biased but it's stood the test of time a bit like Old Peculiar, I wonder how many hop bombs will still be around in 10yrs time, let alone the 60yrs that LP has been served for, Fullers and Youngs (yeh I'm a Londoner) were brewing craft ale when the great unwashed British population was drinking Grotneys, and Fosters (with a dash of lime ugh!) the yanks were swilling Budweiser!
Just Googled AND!
Bud Light is the most popular beer by FAR. It did $5.2 billion in sales last year, which is more than double the runner up, Coors Light.Aug 8, 2019 🤣

Oh dear I'm on my hobby horse again, sorry Rob got a bit side tracked, chase your hop fairies but be aware they are fleeting little creatures, maybe oils/extracts/cryo (I haven't used them so can't help there) are the answer, either way good luck with your quest, the beauty of this hobby/obsession is we are free to do as we please, and hopefully I've given you something to consider re: cryo/extracts, conventional wisdom btw is 50/50 cryo/T-pellets.

I'll stand by my statement that sanitation is key, followed by temp control, and then oxygen exposure, and I'm happy to agree to disagree. :)

fwiw, drain a wooden barrel (36 gal) of LP and in the bottom you'll find about two double handfuls of hop cones (food for thought)
When I lived in London. Fullers ESB was one of my favourites. Is it still around these days? I lived there back in 1978.
 

Grmblz

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^ I imagine it would have to be, one of the difficulties of trying to produce a London Pride clone is that Fullers don't actually make a London Pride wort, they parti-gyle a mash then make ESB and London Pride from the running's, so logic would dictate that if their flagship ale (LP) is available then so too is ESB.
I know you can get bottles of it, we occasionally see it in specialty beer shops here in Aus, but as I mentioned before the bottled/keg versions are nothing like the cask conditioned ones, and not nearly as good imho.
 

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