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Yeast Starter: Flask broke

Just making a yeast starter with the NB Yeast starter kit, and the flask broke as i pulled it out of the one step solution. (It was really weird, nothing in particular happened, it had just suddenly broken)

silly question: is there any reason I can’t use some other sanitized bottle with the foam stopper?

i have a growler that would work well, and it’s probably sturdier in the long run anyway. why even use a flimsy flask?

thanks!

Some have stated that they use plastic milk jugs. Flower vases also.

Use what is handy. The yeast don’t know what container they are in. :wink:

I have used flower vase a few times and it worked fine. As for flask, that’s really weird. Did you expose it to a sudden temperature change in the past? If you make starters in the flask on open flame, start with tiny flame first and then gradually increase it. Sure it’ll take a few minutes longer, but your flask will last you 5 times longer, if not for ever, because the temperature changes are gradual rather than blasting it with full flame every time.

I use a milk jug and it works fine.

From personal experience, I’d use glass. Just recently made 2 starters for two different yeasts on brewday and both yeast came out infected. One was in a gallon juice drink jug and the other from an apple juice jug. Both had been cleaned and sanitized along with a carboy I used for a new batch. After those starters became infected, I questioned my sanitizer (only thing all three came in contact with) and worried for my beer. The beer is doing fine but I had to dump both starters. From now on, I’ll be doing starters in a glass wine jug.

Growlers work the best unless you want to use a stir plate and watch the liquid vortex for hours. Not sure why bother. The flasks are notorious for breaking. I never heat mine on the stove that seemed a dumb idea regardless of “pyrex” or not. Boil your DME/water in a pot and pour it into the flask, then cool.

I’ve have several flasks and have owned them for years. I’ve been pretty rough with mine and never had one break. If your trying to heat them on an electric stove you need to place them on something to diffuse the heat.

Exactly. You have to diffuse the heat if you’re doing it over direct source like electric or flame. Pressure cooker is also great and your flasks will serve you for years and years and will most likely break because you dropped them lol

Email or call Northern Brewer. They’ll replace it. I had one break almost the same way. Used it, cleaned it, let it sit out to dry. The next morning, cracked! And it never touched the stove top. I boil my starter wort in a pot. Cool it in the pot. Then pour it into the sanitized flask. NB’s flasks are crap. Just read the reviews on the site. Go on amazon and get yourself a Pyrex flask. MUCH BETTER.

Stir plates keep the yeast in suspension and make bigger starters, faster. Just go to Mr.Malty and compare the size starters you need depending on how you are making them. A stir plate is best. Has nothing to do with watching it. Has to do with how it works.

I like to watch the starter… I also watch airlocks bubble for entertainment.

On a more serious note I dont think NBs flasks are crap. I have 2 that are 4 years old and use them on the gas burner to make starters then dunk them in an ice bath to cool.

[quote=“hlitton”]I like to watch the starter… I also watch airlocks bubble for entertainment.

On a more serious note I dont think NBs flasks are crap. I have 2 that are 4 years old and use them on the gas burner to make starters then dunk them in an ice bath to cool.[/quote]

Customer feedback is one of the best ways a company can gauge how they or a product they sell is doing. I implore you to read the reviews on this site. The reviews tell the story.

True. However I think that using erlenmeyer flasks as if they’re made out of steel is a bad thing on user part. No matter how good that glass is if you put it on the stove and blast it with full flame or full red hot electric, it’ll break very quickly. Start with low heat and raise it gradually and there will be no problem. Florence flasks are excellent for boiling as their shape ensures even distribution and the stir bar doesn’t fly off when you’re spinning because it has nowhere to go. Actually I have 4 1L florence flasks, 2 1L erlenmeyer, and 1 2L erlenmeyer and have been using them for a while. Then again I pressure cook them (except the 2L one - too big) so… It’s true that some of them are inherently defective though. Like the last flask I bought broke almost immediately so I just called and had it replaced.

@mvsawyer

I’m new at starters and such. Not to sound ignorant, but how did you know that your 2 starters became infected before pitching? What should a person look for?
Thanks,
Mike

I could be wrong but I really don’t think boiling in flasks over a high flame is a problem. I’ve been doing that for years and never broken either of my 5 L flasks. If memory serves, it can be a problem if you have cold water on one side and air on the other side and the flask is hot. As long as there is liquid on both sides you’re fine.

I mean these things are designed for labs where they get put on hot plates or heated with bunsen burners. All that lab stuff is basically the same kind of borsilicate glass. Rough handling seems a more likely cause unless the NB flasks are of really poor quality…

[quote=“Trappermike”]@mvsawyer

I’m new at starters and such. Not to sound ignorant, but how did you know that your 2 starters became infected before pitching? What should a person look for?
Thanks,
Mike[/quote]
Well, yeast smells…well…yeasty, kinda bready and a hint of sour. The smell of the starters I made smelled very sour, with a blast of cooked corn. If you’re not using a stir plate, yeast will leave a foam on top of the liquid. An infection will show up as big bubbles.

Pure yeast doesn’t smell at all sour to me. It’s… I don’t know, the smell of yeast. It’s sweet if anything, not sour at all.

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