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Shakin' the Starter

I am making NB’s Black IPA this weekend. So, like a good little brewer, I pitched a starter last night of 1272 (Wyeast American Ale II). I have a 2L flask and had a total volume of about 1.8L to leave a little room.

I think Mr. Malty called for a 25 gallon starter, or something like that. But, whatever. I’m going with about 2L.

I don’t have a stir plate and have no plans to acquire one any time soon. But, I can certainly intermittantly shake. But, when I really give it a good shake, enought to stir up the yeast cake, a volcano of foam erupts.

DME was just under 180 grams.

So, is the intermittant shaking supposed to be more of a gentle swirl? Or do I need to get a 1 gallon growler or something like that to handle a 2L starter.

Thanks all.

a gentle swirl should be good enough. just enough to get the yeast off the bottom.

25 gallons starter??? you must have typed something wrong in their yeast pitching rate calculator… what was the OG and volume of the black IPA?

getting a bigger flask for starters is a good idea. a glass gallon jug works great. (maybe from some organic apple juice that comes in a gallon glass jug)

I know you posted you had no interest in a stir plate quite yet. But there is a simple DIY that requires no rheostats,potentiometers or other wiring, head scratching. I found a vague reference to this method years ago and found it the cheapest, easiest route.

I happen to have a stellar old train controller that was just gathering dust. The type is shown in the pic for reference, but any hobby train controller that has a built in potentiometer to run the train slow or full speed will work perfect as typically the controller is putting out straight DC. So all it takes is to run two wires from a muffin fan into the controller right to the screws on the unit meant for tracks, attach some magnets to the fan and you have a stir plate that operates the same if not better than a store bought model. As shown in the Pic I went super easy no hard mounting anything as the center of my muffin fan is metal so the magnets were just set in place and the muffin fan rests on a shop cloth to keep it balanced when spinning and to raise it up towards the lid of the box, two wires come through a hole and attach to the controller–done.

My cost to build:

  1. Controller - Free
  2. Muffin man - Free
  3. 2 rare earth magnets - $4-8 bucks at Axman (cant remember exact price) Had an old hard drive but broke the magnets trying to remove them.
  4. 1 project box - $3 at Axman (local surplus/gadget shop)
    The value no matter the cost is huge. Especially for lagers, I can make reasonably sized starters and it cuts prep time also, as I can grab a starter off the plate in 24 hrs crash it briefly and pitch either to a batch if ale or pitch to a step if doing lagers.

Get yourself a gal. jug, either glass or plastic, and use that for your 2L starter.

I did the same thing for the exact same beer. Gentle swirl once in a while. I also decanted the old wort on brew day morning and put in a new batch of wort.

That starter worked like a champ. The Black IPA is a great beer.

1 gal pickle jar. Look for one with a smaller opening and fuller shoulders. It helps you not make a mess when swirling.

BTW get ready to become addicted to sniffing yeast. Man I love the smell of a yeast starter. My wife laughs her butt off every time she catches me sniffing the bottle.

Barry

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]a gentle swirl should be good enough. just enough to get the yeast off the bottom.

25 gallons starter??? you must have typed something wrong in their yeast pitching rate calculator… what was the OG and volume of the black IPA?

getting a bigger flask for starters is a good idea. a glass gallon jug works great. (maybe from some organic apple juice that comes in a gallon glass jug)[/quote]

Just kidding on the 25 gallons. But, Mr. Malty does come up with some pretty big starter requirements. I think it called for a 4+L starter. 1.075 OG; yeast about a month old.

I’m coming up with 2.9 L with it set to “intermittent shaking”, but whatevs. I’d definitely get a 1+ gal vessel. Starting from a single pack, 2 L may not be big enough for high-gravity beers. And if you don’t plan on using a stir plate, there’s no reason for a flask.

Thanks for the replies all.

I use a flask so I can boil/chill in the same continer in which I use for a starter. But, it looks like I will be trying to find a I gallon jar, or maybe 2. One for a starter and one for harvesting yeast.

In any event, the wort is boiling now and we’re pitching with the approx 2L starter I made.

Your local liquor store has 1 gallon jugs for sale, and they come filled with a free gallon of wine too.

I believe I have identified the most intelligent person on the forums!

Maybe some Paual Masson. Or, perhaps a nice Corlo Rossi.

Great idea TG.

Thanks.

[quote=“ITsPossible”]
I happen to have a stellar old train controller that was just gathering dust. The type is shown in the pic for reference, but any hobby train controller that has a built in potentiometer to run the train slow or full speed will work perfect as typically the controller is putting out straight DC. So all it takes is to run two wires from a muffin fan into the controller right to the screws on the unit meant for tracks, attach some magnets to the fan and you have a stir plate that operates the same if not better than a store bought model. As shown in the Pic I went super easy no hard mounting anything as the center of my muffin fan is metal so the magnets were just set in place and the muffin fan rests on a shop cloth to keep it balanced when spinning and to raise it up towards the lid of the box, two wires come through a hole and attach to the controller–done.[/quote]

I was thinking of setting something like this up. I found a train controller thats got 14v DC output. Do you know if that would work with a 12v muffin fan?

[quote=“ITsPossible”]
I happen to have a stellar old train controller that was just gathering dust. The type is shown in the pic for reference, but any hobby train controller that has a built in potentiometer to run the train slow or full speed will work perfect as typically the controller is putting out straight DC. So all it takes is to run two wires from a muffin fan into the controller right to the screws on the unit meant for tracks, attach some magnets to the fan and you have a stir plate that operates the same if not better than a store bought model. As shown in the Pic I went super easy no hard mounting anything as the center of my muffin fan is metal so the magnets were just set in place and the muffin fan rests on a shop cloth to keep it balanced when spinning and to raise it up towards the lid of the box, two wires come through a hole and attach to the controller–done.[/quote]

I was thinking of setting something like this up. I found a train controller thats got 14v DC output. Do you know if that would work with a 12v muffin fan?

That will work fine. I just looked at mine again and the two hookups for accesories such as track lighting or other is DC 16V straight outputs and the output hooked up to the muffin fan is variable 0-15V DC as it is the output controlled by the built in potentiometer.

[quote=“TG”]Your local liquor store has 1 gallon jugs for sale, and they come filled with a free gallon of wine too.[/quote]Or if you don’t like wine, a gallon of organic apple cider costs $7 and you can pour out a pint or two, add two cans of concentrate, a tablespoon of yeast nutrient, and a packet of yeast and make a quickie hard cider. Use ale yeast and as a bonus, you’ll have a nice harvestable yeast cake after you pour off the cider.

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