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Questions about my first yeast starter

I’m going to be making my first yeast starter so I thought I’d try harvesting yeast for the first time as well. When I’m ready to make the starter I’ve read that most people use DME, but can I just put a couple High Life’s into an erlenmeyer flask and boil them, then cool it and pitch my harvested yeast? Would I need to add some sugar? Or is this just a bad idea all around?

The idea of a starter is to give the yeast sugar, and a beer that’s already fermented will have none (or at least very little). You also want to give the yeast the right sugars, which is why using table sugar is a Bad Idea™. Stick with DME or the tail runnings from a previous mash.

Did you really trademark Bad Idea?

I wish. That jeans company beat me to it.

Ok but won’t the tail runnings from my beer that has the yeast starter in it be just as low in sugar? It’s beer now, it’s just not carbonated.

If that’s the case, you don’t want to use that for a starter, either. You need unfermented wort.

He’s talking about runnings from the mash after you’ve reached you pre-boil volume. Using beer would be a bAD iDEA. :wink:

He’s talking about runnings from the mash after you’ve reached you pre-boil volume. Using beer would be a bAD iDEA. :wink: [/quote]

That’s what I thought at first, but he says “It’s beer now”. That implies it’s fermented.

Right. “Runnings” are the sweet wort that comes out of the mash. It isn’t “beer” until you pitch the yeast.

What I do for starter wort is pour a gallon or two of hot tap water into the tun for an additional sparge, after I’ve collected all the wort needed for the boil. Depending on the gravity of the beer I was brewing that day, that last batch sparge will be ~3-10°P, and can be either boiled down or diluted as needed to make ~9°P wort.

If you’re fly-sparging, just drain whatever’s left in the tun after you reach your pre-boil volume/gravity.

He’s talking about runnings from the mash after you’ve reached you pre-boil volume. Using beer would be a bAD iDEA. :wink: [/quote]

That’s what I thought at first, but he says “It’s beer now”. That implies it’s fermented.[/quote]

Sorry, Denny. :oops: I meant that’s what Sean was talking about.

Ahh, gotcha. Is there a suitable substitute for DME? It’s a long drive to my LHBS for one can.

If you have base malt on hand you can do a small mash to make some wort.

Yeah I can do that. It looks like the best thing to do from now on is just put a little bit of my wort from each batch in the fridge to save for the next batch’s starter. Thanks for all the help guys.

Just make sure you boil it, and if you’re going to store it for more than a week or so freeze it. The fridge isn’t cold enough to stop things from growing in the wort.

So should I see any growth in the actual volume of my starter or do the cells just multiply within the fluid? It’s bubbling a little bit so I think thats a good sign.

Several years ago there was a fad for a product that some grocery stores stocked in the Latin American section called Malta Goya. I gather it is some sort of malt based soda pop. Although I was eager to give it a shot (sounded awfully convenient–think about it, sterile starter medium in a can, neat!) I’ve never seen it before and it seems the practice has fallen by the way side.

Perhaps if you have a well stocked Latin section in your grocery store or a nearby Latin American grocery shop, this might be an option.

That’s a cool idea. I do have a very well stocked latin grocery store nearby. I’ll check it out.

Made the lawyers at Badi Dea Motors

sit up and pay attention too.

you should see some action, but it may be very quick and you can easily miss it…you say bubbling? the common wisdom is fashion cover that allows oxygen in, which a bubbler will not.

for example, one of my starter jars is an old pickle jar; i use the filter screen from my funnel with saran wrap and a large rubber band that stretches from top to bottom, holding the filter in place and keeping any fruit flies out.

another way to do it, is to seal with saran wrap, but take is off a few times the first night and really shake it up…this works better if you have a smaller opening on your jar/flask, whatever.

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