Yeast Starters in a Nutshell

So now with us doing 10 gal batches I realized that a big cost is in the yeast. I have always done a starter culture with one vial, Bri all ways sided with 2 vials of white-labs. At 8 dollars and change a vial this adds up kind of quick. Overall this could be 15% to 25% of total costs. The first thing I did was read this book. first-steps-yeast-cultureInteresting read but a bit overwhelming. This book has everything you need to know about doing this at home. So here are the steps I took to start building my own yeast bank for future brewing.

First thing I did was make a 1,000 ml starter using 2 oz of DME and a few hops. Since I have an electric stove and it is not recommended that you place flasks on the coils I opted to make the starter on the stove in a pot. Basically I am preheating it to dissolving all the DME. Also I get the yeast vial out of the fridge so it could warm up to room temp. Otherwise you risk the shocking the yeast. 1Once everything is dissolved I moved it into the 1,000 ml Erlenmeyer flask and drop in the stir bar.

  • 2in order to keep everything sanitary I wrap the top with some tin foil and boil it for 15 minutes on a fondue pot stand and burner. 5I then let it cool down to room temp. I aerate it by shaking it carefully trying not to hit the top of the tin foil with the wort. Once it cools down and I am ready to pitch the yeast I sanitize a new piece of tin foil with star sans. I then spray the air with Lysol and use a healthy amount of hand sanitizer. I wait a few moments to let the air settle and I get my creme brulee torch ready. The next few steps happen kind of fast. I get the white-labs yeast vial and break the seal but don’t open it all the way. while still the holding vial I light the torch, take a deep breathe and pull the foil off the starter. I then torch the flask opening, open the vial completely dump it in and re-torch the opening of the flask. I use the new piece of tin foil that was soaking in star sans to recover the flask. Then I exhale. Then it goes on the stir plate. 7You can see here it is just starting to krausen. This particular starter is being used in a batch of beer that we were doing but I decided to make an agar slat of it for future batches. Basically the prep for the slats is the same as doing a culture. A 1,000 ml hopped starter is made with DME boiling for 10 minutes in a pot. Instead of putting into a flask you remove it from the heat, add 6 grams of agar to it and let it soak up for a few moments.c heat it back up until agar is fully dissolved. I then put 2 oz of this mixture in 1/2 pint mason jars. eit is important to place a piece of string between the jar lid and mouth and loosely close the lid. Do not close tight. Then it is off to the pressure cooker for 15 minutes @ 15 psi. This will reach internal temperatures of 250 degrees F. Efficiently sanitizing the agar solution and mason jar. After that I let the jars cool down on an angle until the slats were set.fOnce the slats are set I then spray the air with Lysol and use a healthy amount of hand sanitizer. I get a new piece of foil sanitized. I wait a few moments to let the air settle and I light my creme brulee torch. I flame a metal inoculation needle until red hot. I keep the needle with in 6 cm of the flame. Once again the next few steps happen kind of fast. I get the yeast starter, take a deep breathe and pull the foil off the starter. I then torch the flask opening, I dunk the needle into the fermenting wort. Then I remove the needle, re-cover the open flask with the new sanitized foil. Then I open the agar slat, swipe the needle on the slat flame that opening and close it up. Then I exhale. with in a few days you get healthy colonies of yeast growing on the slat. the slats will last 3 months before I have to re-culture them. I another post I will cover the “growing up” a few cells from the slat to a pitchable volume for a 5 gallon batch of beer.

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