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  • "The New Starter"

    The latest BYO has a very interesting article on a new concept in using a starter. You may need to be a subscriber to read this--if so, I can post the guts of the article if you like.

    Here's the key point: "On brew day, while you are heating your strike water, make up a liter of 1.040 wort in a flask (about 115 grams of DME and 1 L of distilled water boiled for 15 minutes). Seal with a sterile filter that allows air to flow both ways. Cool. Pour the barm beer off your starter and add the fresh wort. Spin this pitch on the stirplate with a sterile filter until your brew day is ready for the yeast pitch. The spinning will keep adding oxygen to the wort. Ideally this should be 4 to 6 hours. DO NOT oxygenate the wort from the brew and pitch as normal. This is the magic part of the process.

    What we are hoping to do is to keep the yeast in its aerobic fermentation (more precisely respiro-fermentation) phase until it has maxed its sterol reserves."

    Do not oxygenate?? Bill Pierce's (and others') mantra was always pitch a large population of yeast and oxygenate well.

    What do you think of this? Dr. Pivo, I sense (and hope) that you will respond.
    Colin Kaminski wants homebrewers to re-think that approach, which also has implications to our standard wort aeration practices as well.

  • #2
    Is this something other than a 4 to 6 hour old starter? Then not oxygenating?

    Why is that better?

    Comment


    • #3
      That is exactly my question. He says oxygenating does not help.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tex Brewer View Post
        That is exactly my question. He says oxygenating does not help.
        I haven't oxygenated/aerated in years. Think about why you do it...the yeast uses the O2 to synthesize sterols, which it uses to keep cell walls flexible to encourage budding. If you pitch a sufficient quantity of healhty, active yeast, than that isn't necessary. We've all been sold that it's all about cell count, when what really matters is yeast vitality. I talked to Chris White about my "Shaken, Not Stirred" starter method and he said "homebrewers are way too hung up on numbers".

        Comment


        • #5
          Isn't necessary...but does it help (or at least not hurt)? I have an O2 tank and a stone - it is very easy to oxygenate. If it doesn't hurt, why not do it?

          When you look at some of the recommendations for cell count and size of starters required, they talk about stepping up to several liters of starter in many cases. That's a big effort, and way bigger than oxygenating the wort, then pitching a smaller starter. I typically do a 1L or 1.5 L starter in my 2L flask.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tex Brewer View Post
            Isn't necessary...but does it help (or at least not hurt)? I have an O2 tank and a stone - it is very easy to oxygenate. If it doesn't hurt, why not do it?

            When you look at some of the recommendations for cell count and size of starters required, they talk about stepping up to several liters of starter in many cases. That's a big effort, and way bigger than oxygenating the wort, then pitching a smaller starter. I typically do a 1L or 1.5 L starter in my 2L flask.
            If it doesn't help, why do it? An you're talking about cell count, which I believe is a canard. I do a 1 L. SNS starter for nearly every beer I make and get great results. No stir plate, no decanting, no aeration.

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            • #7
              Denny, I'm just having a hard time with the brainwashing I've received over the years. Mantra: Make a big starter, use a stir plate, oxygenate the wort, pitch a large amount of yeast. Here's what White Labs says about the starter: "
              Vigorously shake or swirl the container to get as much oxygen dissolved in the solution as possible. Keep the starter at room temperature for 12-18 hours on a magnetic stir plate, or occasionally shaking it to keep the solution aerated."

              As for oxygenating the wort, breweries all seem to do it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Tex. Thanks for asking for my opinion. I am afraid I would have to think about it a bit, before I could give a reasonable opinion on the matter. I, for the first, don't know what "barm wort" is.

                If they are simply trying to have a sufficient supply of healthy yeast for the fermentation, well yes... you can do that ahead if you like. Even if doing a traditional aerobic fermentation and oxygenating, those greedy buggers will most likely have consumed every speck of oxygen within about 30 minutes, and then with an appropriate pitching rate in those conditions, yes you will have a healthy yeast population for the ferment.

                Should you wish to raise your healthy yeast population ahead of time, and then pitch them into a virtually anaerobic environment, that would also seem to be a reasonable way to create a healthy yeast population, and have it do what it needs to do in anaerobic conditions.

                I suppose my initial reaction Tex, is why would you want to make work with stir plates and crap before you are actually brewing?

                I can see no immediate reason why it shouldn't work.

                I can neither see an immediate reason how it would improve my beer, nor how it would lessen my work load in making it.

                I'd say if that will make your brewing experience more expeditious (depending on what equipment and work habits you already have at hand) or enjoyable (you like trying new stuff), then I can't immediately see any problem with doing it that way.

                If someone has convinced you that you make "better" beer that way.... well, I think I'll have a bit more of a think about this, and need a more succinct description of how it is being done before I would be inclined to accept that as a premise, and some stringent triangle testing to show that it is (since its a fermenting thing, it is pretty easy to split wort and test stuff...so would be easy to pull off with reliable data without huge amounts of confounders sneaking in).

                In short Tex, I think the making of wort is sort of a mechanical thing, where surely it makes a difference with what you use and how you do it.... but it is pretty straightforward stuff.

                But once you add life? Well, then it gets really interesting. I am continually playing with different oxygenation rates, fermentation times, temperatures, strains, and basically any way I can make those clever little buggers jump through different hoops and teach me what they can do.

                My first impression is that that particular direction wouldn't add either ease of work or improvement in product.....

                But I'm perfectly willing to have you prove me wrong!

                Comment


                • #9
                  BTW... I did not read the linked article (too lazy or disinterested ?). If you should like me to do so I will. And the term was "barm beer" not "barm wort" that I didn't understand.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tex Brewer View Post
                    Denny, I'm just having a hard time with the brainwashing I've received over the years. Mantra: Make a big starter, use a stir plate, oxygenate the wort, pitch a large amount of yeast. Here's what White Labs says about the starter: "
                    Vigorously shake or swirl the container to get as much oxygen dissolved in the solution as possible. Keep the starter at room temperature for 12-18 hours on a magnetic stir plate, or occasionally shaking it to keep the solution aerated."

                    As for oxygenating the wort, breweries all seem to do it.
                    If you read this, you'll see I referred to a leap of faith...https://www.experimentalbrew.com/blo...-dognew-tricks . Chris White himself told me that it was a good method and that homebrewers are "too hung up on numbers". And just because breweries aerate, why does that mean it's always necessary for us? We're homebrewers and we should use the advantages we have over commercial brewers. Again, think of why people aerate. You'll see that if you pitch an appropriate quantity of healthy yeast there's no need. Think for yourself....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the SNS link Denny. For SNS an important step is to shake it into as much foam as possible, in a vessel of 4-5x the starter volume, and pitch at high krausen. Add yeast after shaking the starter wort to avoid shear stress (never knew I had to worry about that). This differs a bit from the BYO method from what I can tell (can't access that link), which has you adding fresh starter wort to an existing decanted starter on a stir plate, instead of fermenting just one shaken starter.

                      I'm curious enough to try SNS. Maybe I will like it better than my standard procedure.

                      I ferment my starters right in my primary, no need for a separate vessel, no stir plate (don't own one), no decanting, super easy. With the SNS method I think I'd need to sanitize a gallon jug to do the shaking, but it avoids adding O2 so I wouldn't need to sanitize my airstone and tubing, so on balance about the same amount of work. Will also need to time it to pitch at high krausen but that's basically the day before brewing so pretty easy.

                      I'm done brewing for the season so this will have to wait for the fall. That's when I'll also try out Doc Pivo's paint mixer approach to speed up chilling, which promises to save real time.

                      By the way Doc, I thought "barm" was a misspelling, then I googled it, and basically it means krausen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        By "barm beer," they mean allow the yeast to crash/settle and decant off the liquid.

                        I'm finding this all rather confusing. No need to aerate/oxygenate the wort? Shake, don't stir? Shear stress?

                        Dr. P, "
                        make work with stir plates and crap" … well, a stir plate is not a lot of work. Making the starter is the main work, then putting it on a stir plate is easy. Greg, oxygenating the wort with a (sanitized) stone and tubing is also easy.

                        I previously pasted info from White Labs. Here is something similar from Wyeast on Making a Starter:
                        " Stirring and O₂:

                        Agitation aids in removing inhibitive CO₂ from suspension as well as possibly adding small amounts of oxygen. Stirring or shaking the starter periodically or using a stir plate will improve cell growth. The use of stir plates has been shown to increase cell growth 25-50% over a non-stirred starter.

                        Small additions of oxygen periodically throughout the growth of a starter will replenish sterols and improve cell yield."

                        Wyeast also has a section on Oxygenation. A few snippets:
                        "
                        Inadequate oxygenation will lead to inadequate yeast growth. … It is generally safe to assume that you need at least 10ppm of oxygen. … Homebrewers have several aeration/oxygenation methods available to them: siphon sprays, whipping, splashing, shaking, pumping air through a stone with an aquarium pump, and injecting pure oxygen through a sintered stone. We have tested all of these methods using a dissolved oxygen meter and have found that, when using air, 8 ppm of oxygen in solution is the best that you can achieve. Injecting oxygen through a stone will allow much higher dissolved oxygen levels. …
                        Method DO ppm Time
                        Siphon Spray 4 ppm 0 sec.
                        Splashing & Shaking 8 ppm 40 sec.
                        Aquarium Pump w/ stone 8 ppm 5 min
                        Pure Oxygen w/ stone 0-26ppm 60 sec (12ppm)
                        Traditional splashing and shaking, although laborious, is fairly efficient at dissolving up to 8 ppm oxygen. The easiest and most effective method remains injecting pure oxygen through a sintered stone."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tex Brewer View Post
                          By "barm beer," they mean allow the yeast to crash/settle and decant off the liquid.

                          I'm finding this all rather confusing. No need to aerate/oxygenate the wort? Shake, don't stir? Shear stress?

                          Dr. P, "
                          make work with stir plates and crap" … well, a stir plate is not a lot of work. Making the starter is the main work, then putting it on a stir plate is easy. Greg, oxygenating the wort with a (sanitized) stone and tubing is also easy.

                          I previously pasted info from White Labs. Here is something similar from Wyeast on Making a Starter:
                          " Stirring and O₂:

                          Agitation aids in removing inhibitive CO₂ from suspension as well as possibly adding small amounts of oxygen. Stirring or shaking the starter periodically or using a stir plate will improve cell growth. The use of stir plates has been shown to increase cell growth 25-50% over a non-stirred starter.

                          Small additions of oxygen periodically throughout the growth of a starter will replenish sterols and improve cell yield."

                          Wyeast also has a section on Oxygenation. A few snippets:
                          "
                          Inadequate oxygenation will lead to inadequate yeast growth. … It is generally safe to assume that you need at least 10ppm of oxygen. … Homebrewers have several aeration/oxygenation methods available to them: siphon sprays, whipping, splashing, shaking, pumping air through a stone with an aquarium pump, and injecting pure oxygen through a sintered stone. We have tested all of these methods using a dissolved oxygen meter and have found that, when using air, 8 ppm of oxygen in solution is the best that you can achieve. Injecting oxygen through a stone will allow much higher dissolved oxygen levels. …
                          Method DO ppm Time
                          Siphon Spray 4 ppm 0 sec.
                          Splashing & Shaking 8 ppm 40 sec.
                          Aquarium Pump w/ stone 8 ppm 5 min
                          Pure Oxygen w/ stone 0-26ppm 60 sec (12ppm)
                          Traditional splashing and shaking, although laborious, is fairly efficient at dissolving up to 8 ppm oxygen. The easiest and most effective method remains injecting pure oxygen through a sintered stone."
                          Inadequate oxygenation will lead to inadequate yeast growth...but what if you don't need much yeast growth? Think outside the box...don't blindly accept. Try it yourself.

                          Comment

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