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YAYST: Decant or not decant?

YET ANOTHER YEAST STARTER THREAD:

Decant or not decant?

I’m new to starters and will be using my first yeast starter on my next extract batch - an NB saison.

Much like the pro/con discussions of using a secondary fermenter - it seems split on whether to decant my starter or just dump the whole thing into my fresh wort.

Does decanting risk losing some of the viable yeast or will that have settled?
What are the cons of dumping the whole starter?

Thanks, folks…

Taste a little bit of the starter beer as you decant it off. It’s not very good. I think that is the main argument for decanting but if it is only a one liter starter it is still a very small quantity going into five gallons of beer. I tend to decant but if I’m running behind and it’s only a liter I’ll just dump it all.

IMO, a 1 L starter is too small to really do much good and could be detrimental by not having enough food for the yeast to be able to rebuild their glycogen reserves. I always decant the spent wort.

If I go 2L starter I’m assuming decant is the preferred approach?

I think the majority of people would say yes.

[quote=“BPBCo”]I think the majority of people would say yes.[/quote]I can’t imagine any reason that someone would recommend NOT decanting except for when using a yeast that doesn’t flocculate even when chilled in the fridge for a couple of days.

Ya me neither but just about every time I feel like that about something someone seems to chime in with an opposing view point…sometimes they even make sense :wink:

yeast starter wort tastes nasty I decant because I don’t wont that in my beer.

FWIW, I decant all of my starters.

I appreciate all the input - thanks.

While we’re on the subject of decanting I have a question:
Do you pour off all of the liquid - just leaving what I expect to be a yeast cake on the bottom of the flask? Or is it best to leave a bit of liquid starter wort?

I would fully decant. You can add a little distilled water or some of the new wort to loosen up the yeast cake for pitching.

I leave just enough to swirl the slurry into solution for pitching.

+1
Same method here.

I do both. Small ones I usually pitch the whole thing. Larger ones I usually decant. I sometimes don’t allow enough time to get the yeast to settle. This led to one of my biggest blow offs. Very vigorous fermentation with a very full fermenter.

The best argument I have heard not to decant is if you chill you are making the yeast dormant then you have to rouse them to ferment the wort. Extra stress?

[quote=“kh54s10”]I do both. Small ones I usually pitch the whole thing. Larger ones I usually decant. I sometimes don’t allow enough time to get the yeast to settle. This led to one of my biggest blow offs. Very vigorous fermentation with a very full fermenter.

The best argument I have heard not to decant is if you chill you are making the yeast dormant then you have to rouse them to ferment the wort. Extra stress?[/quote]

I can’t see why it would be extra stress if the yeast are dormant. Of course that assumes you make a big enough starter so they can rebuild their glycogen reserves before they go dormant. One reason that I never make a starter less than 2 qt.

[quote=“kh54s10”]I do both. Small ones I usually pitch the whole thing. Larger ones I usually decant. I sometimes don’t allow enough time to get the yeast to settle. This led to one of my biggest blow offs. Very vigorous fermentation with a very full fermenter.

The best argument I have heard not to decant is if you chill you are making the yeast dormant then you have to rouse them to ferment the wort. Extra stress?[/quote]

i have also heard that pitching a the whole starter at high krausen will result in a fast and vigourous ferment.

but i still cant get past the idea of pitching all that thin, oxidized, non- tempcontrolled, starter beer.

+1 for decant

[quote=“bdaugherty”][quote=“kh54s10”]I do both. Small ones I usually pitch the whole thing. Larger ones I usually decant. I sometimes don’t allow enough time to get the yeast to settle. This led to one of my biggest blow offs. Very vigorous fermentation with a very full fermenter.

The best argument I have heard not to decant is if you chill you are making the yeast dormant then you have to rouse them to ferment the wort. Extra stress?[/quote]

i have also heard that pitching a the whole starter at high krausen will result in a fast and vigourous ferment.

but i still cant get past the idea of pitching all that thin, oxidized, non- tempcontrolled, starter beer.

+1 for decant[/quote]

IME, it doesn’t result in a more vigorous fermentation than a decanted starter. And although it might start a little faster by pitching at high krausen, there’s not enough lag for a decanted starter to make it worth not decanting.

[quote=“bdaugherty”]i have also heard that pitching a the whole starter at high krausen will result in a fast and vigourous ferment. but i still cant get past the idea of pitching all that thin, oxidized, non- tempcontrolled, starter beer.[/quote]Every now and then I don’t have the time or inclination to make a batch of starter beer before a regular brew day so I’ll just take a half-gallon of the fresh, chilled wort and aerate and pitch the yeast, then keep it at fermentation temp for 24 hours (while the rest of the wort waits in the fermenters at the same temp). When the starter hits high krausen, I pitch the entire thing to the rest of the wort.

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