Propper Starter Review

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Nosybear, May 18, 2019.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm brewing a Helles tomorrow. Normally I'd stir up a 2-2.5 liter starter for the beer but, since Thursday was Homebrewer's Night at the local homebrew store, I got home too late to stir the starter up, boil it, cool it and pitch the yeast. Since I was at the LHBS and noticed they had cans of Propper Starter, each good for a liter, I picked up two.

    At home, I sanitized the flask, opened the cans and poured them in. Diluted with equal parts water, it made a 2 liter starter. I smacked my yeast, dumped it in, put the aluminum foil over the top and started spinning. Now there's a nice white layer of yeast on the bottom of the flask and I'm ready to brew tomorrow (with the slight underpitch).

    I won't be buying it all the time. It's rather expensive at $5 US per can, I could hypothetically make sweet (unhopped) wort and freeze it but then the time savings are gone thawing the wort and I'd have doubts about sanitation, leading to boiling and cooling. So while it was nice to use in a pinch, I won't be using it all the time, I'll keep stirring up DME when I need wort.
     
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  2. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I sell it at $4.50/can, and I try to convince people as much as possible to not buy DME for starters, and go for the Propper instead. they're too easy to not buy them.
     
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  3. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Couldn’t agree more. Although I have been using Fast Pitch from Northern Brewer. It’s a buck cheaper/4 pack.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I love the idea but since I have a can seamer, I intend to make my own starter wort at some point. I could make a batch of .080 wort easily. I've done a test of water-bath without pressure and can hold 170F seemingly indefinitely without cans deforming. I'm not sure that would work with carbonated beer or soda but a still product seems to be no problem.
    I'm not convinced that starter wort needs to be 1.040, so I'd be tempted to make 1.090 wort and make starters with a 1:2 ratio for bigger starters per can. A 1.5 liter starter of 1.030 wort is better than 1 liter of 1.04 for yeast cell count.
     
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  5. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    If you do a starter at 1.020-1.030 range, you should get plenty of growth and it should be less stress on the yeast. So if you canned 1.090 wort and watered it down it should work great. If you have a big enough starter flask a bigger starter at lower gravity is better, since it puts less stress on the yeast.
     
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  6. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    Omega's owner had a lot to say on cell count. From what I remember, some strains of yeast like saison strains are really good at reproducing themselves, while hefeweizen is terrible at reproducing itself. And here are their actual numbers on that,
    * Hefeweizen Ale (OYL-021): 98M cells/mL
    * West Coast Ale I (OYL-004): 146M cells/mL
    * French Saison (OYL-026): 465M cells/mL
    * Brettanomyces lambicus (OYL-203): 885M cells/mL

    What they're saying is that the starter calculator doesn't take into account what yeast strain you're using, and it seems to make a big difference from strain to strain. But also, they believe it's totally unnecessary to have a cell calculator for each strain of yeast, and instead you should think of the the starter calculator as a "biomass calculator." The conclusion they wrote down: "Your pitch rate calculator is lying to you, but that’s ok."
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...If I'm going to the trouble, I'd probably just keep boiling and get to 1.100 so I could can pints and have a "2-liter" starter of 1.025.
     
  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #8 HighVoltageMan!, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
    I make 1.080 wort for starters, but I don’t can it, I freeze it. I brew 4-5 gallons of wort, I cool it and then place it in the refrigerator. I wait for the trub to drop out. What’s left trub free wort. I put them in 1/2 and 1 liter containers and freeze. When I make a starter I dilute it with equal parts water. It’s way cheaper than DME and I believe higher quality because it’s trub free and it has nutrients already added to it.

    The only way to make it better would be to can it, then I wouldn’t have to boil it to ensure it’s sanitary.
     
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  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    The best thing about calculators is the ability to reproduce an approximate pitch. Each yeast is different, lagers and ales grow differently and have different cell sizes. But in the end, it’s not important to know the exact cell count, it’s a ball park figure.

    Close counts in horse shoes, hand grenades and yeast pitches.
     
  10. Vallka

    Vallka Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a great way to do it, what is the recipe you use for this?
     
  11. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/530165/starter-wort

    I add any old yeast or even bread yeast, wyeast nutrient and magnesium to the boil. If it goes north of 1.080, no big deal. I use any old grain laying around, or just some cheap two row.
     
  12. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Which begs the question, do you decant your starters? If not, could the “any old grain” contribute a flavor in a negative way?
     
  13. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I decant. The starters are for growing yeast only, I don’t want to drink them. If you decant all the beer from the starter, you can add a little wort from the beer your brewing to get all the yeast from the flask. I also add some wort to the decanted starter to accumulate the yeast to the beer I’m pitching it into.
     
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  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    that's pretty much what I do
     
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  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I grabbed a can of this the other day cause I got a Midtbust Kveik vial directly from Norway I wanted to play with and didn't have any frozen wort handy. It took off like a bat out of hell but for $7CAD per can I can definitely do my own more effectively.
     

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