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Maybe in a pickle with yeast starter

I made a 1500 ml yeast starter this past Sunday evening with 1 cup dme and a smack pack of wyeast 1412 belgian abbey. Was slow to start showing signs of fermentation, but got cranked up on Tuesday morning. It’s now Thursday evening and it’s still bubbling. I really need this to be a two-step starter because the og of my beer is going to be in the 1.080 range and my yeast pack was 2 months old (kept in fridge). My dilemma:

I need to brew on Sunday, but I’m leaving town tomorrow(friday) and won’t be back till Saturday evening. I don’t think the starter is going to finish tonight, Should I go ahead and cold crash, decant tomorrow morning and do the step up before going out of town? This is my first starter so I’m a little lost. Everything I’ve read said the starter would clear within 24-48 hours. This one seems to be the energizer bunny. Any suggestions always appreciated.

Thanks,
Ron

PS-My beer is an extract clone of Chimay blue, and I also have a dry packet of t-58 on hand for an emergency.

My advice, ditch the flask for a 1 gallon jug. You will get about the same yeast count doing a .75g starter.

With what you have, I would let the starter go until you get home Saturday. Then cold crash.
Don’t worry about the 2nd step starter.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]My advice, ditch the flask for a 1 gallon jug. You will get about the same yeast count doing a .75g starter.

With what you have, I would let the starter go until you get home Saturday. Then cold crash.
Don’t worry about the 2nd step starter.[/quote]

+1 I think you will be ok with what you have. If you are really worried. Cold crash overnight, then in the morning decant and make another 1L starter. Pitch it 8 hrs or so later when the yeast gets active. This is not totally necessary, but I’ve used it in a pitch with good results. Just helped add to my peace of mind. Good luck! :cheers:

Thanks guys. From what I’ve read and what you guys have said, seems to me a lot of folks feel that “pitch rates” are somewhat overrated, or at least not quite as cut and dry as a newbie like me would think.

I would say overstated more than overrated. Most of the calculators I’ve seen compute very high values for a “minimum” when maybe those minimums are “ideals”

I don’t use pitch calculators. I just do starters for pretty much everything (except dry yeast), but I do it because I find the process fun, not because of a calculator.

Just a follow up . I went ahead and crashed and decanted the starter then did the step up before going out of town. Left on Friday morning. When I got back Saturday evening, starter had little activity going on but was not clear by any means. Just so happens I was able to purchase a stir plate while out of town, so I put the starter on the stir plate overnite on Saturday evening. Pitched the whole starter on Sunday evening and by Monday morning had very active fermentation. It’s now Thursday morning and I still have a lot of activity. The yeast is doing its thing. Lessons:

  1. Fears of lack of yeast viability can be unfounded, especially if yeast is stored properly. Or maybe it’s just that pitch rates are more of a suggestion rather than rule. The pitch calculators had me scared on this one.

  2. Relax, it’ll be beer.

  3. Brewing is just plain fun.

Thanks for all the help,
Ron

Interesting read on the White Lab’s site:

“How can I pitch 1 million cells per ml per degree Plato?”

http://www.whitelabs.com/faq/beer-amateur

Great stuff Nighthawk. Really interesting to read the explanation in the difference between yeast that’s being reused in breweries as opposed to the yeast that I can use from a new vial. Truly, in this hobby, the learning never stops.
Thanks

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