Author Topic: stepping up my starter  (Read 3706 times)

Offline Wildrover

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stepping up my starter
« on: October 11, 2009, 10:37:39 PM »
So, I took the dregs of six two hearted ale's (good day) and made a starter according to Palmer's instructions for harvesting yeast from commercial bottles (except he recommends 3 bottles and I went with the 6 bottle method). 

One puzzling thing is that he says on pg 76 "In fact, you may not notice any activity in the starter for the first couple of wort additions until the amount of yeast builds to higher levels.  Add more wort as necessary to build the yeast slurry to pitching level."

So, what is pitching level and how do I know if I'm there.  I'm not asking for the technical defintion of pitching level here I'm asking how do I know as someone who took the yeast from commercial bottles of beer if I an acceptable level?  Also, when stepping up, how exactly do I do that?  I'm thinking right now that I will let this first iteration go and then step up as if this first iteration is a yeast vial and make my usual starter from there.  Does this sound okay or do I need to step up more times than that?  If so, how exactly would you do that? 

Thanks

WR

Offline SOGOAK

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Re: stepping up my starter
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 07:58:42 PM »
I wish I knew.  I tried to wrangle the brother thelonius yeast, I got lazy and it has been just idle in a growler for months.  Any yeast experts think it is worth starting?  I have a stable of stand by yeasts already along with some new ones that I need to use.
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Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: stepping up my starter
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 09:10:13 AM »
Quote
One puzzling thing is that he says on pg 76 "In fact, you may not notice any activity in the starter for the first couple of wort additions until the amount of yeast builds to higher levels.  Add more wort as necessary to build the yeast slurry to pitching level."

So, what is pitching level and how do I know if I'm there.  I'm not asking for the technical definition of pitching level here I'm asking how do I know as someone who took the yeast from commercial bottles of beer if I an acceptable level?
I have only done this a few times but my understanding is that it would be the same as if you made a starter from a vial. If you normally have 1/4"-1/2" of yeast at the bottom of you starter thats what I would shoot for when using bottle yeast.
Quote
Also, when stepping up, how exactly do I do that?  I'm thinking right now that I will let this first iteration go and then step up as if this first iteration is a yeast vial and make my usual starter from there.  Does this sound okay or do I need to step up more times than that?  If so, how exactly would you do that?

I would do 3 iterations. There may not be enough yeast from the first iteration to consume the larger volume of wort.  Of course a stir-plate and yeast nutrient would help dramatically if you have one because there would be enough air and nutrients for cell growth.

This is what I plan on doing with my slants prior to pitching them.

Cheers
Preston
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dhaenerbrewer

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Re: stepping up my starter
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 11:47:46 AM »
I know you weren't looking for technical terms, but here it is anyways. For a healthy fermentation you want 1 million cells per milliliter of wort per degree gravity in plato of your wort ( for an ale, about 20% more for a lager ). So, for a 15 Plato beer ( 1.060 SG ) you want 15 million cells per milliliter of wort. This can be easily tested with a hemacytometer and a simple microscope with 40x magnification. Of course, this doesn't account for dead yeast cells ( you can identify those by staining the sample with methylene blue ). But for those of us without a yeast lab in their kitchen, what does this look like? Preston had it about right with 1/4". Now this is relative of course. 1/4" - 1/2" in a 1000 mL Erlenmyer flask is about right. In a 500 mL flask that would be excessive and lead to a hot, aldehydic fermentation. In a monster 5000 mL flask, it would not be sufficient and your beer would likely be under attenuated.  As far as stepping up your starter, Erlenmyer flasks are great for this, because you typically want to double the amount of fresh wort on a daily basis ( if using a stir plate; if not, make it every other day ). Hope this helped!

Darin