Yeast starter from the same wort

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MikeDave, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. MikeDave

    MikeDave New Member

    Nov 29, 2018
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    I'm considering making yeast starters from the same wort that I'll pitch the yeast into.

    My typical pattern is to build a yeast starter the night before and pitch the whole thing. I read that can affect the beer flavor a bit since I'm pitching about 5% of my total volume with a different beer. Not to mention the starter is highly oxidized. So yesterday, I put the starter in the fridge and decanted it before pitching this morning.

    I brewed yesterday so I pitched my yeast about 18 hours after putting the wort into my fermenter. This actually gave me time to cold crash my wort and drop hop matter, etc out of my unitank before oxygenating the wort and pitching my yeast. I like the idea of dropping hop matter before pitching the yeast, and might make this my standard practice. The amount of time I waited while my yeast starter cooled so I could decant is about the amount of time I usually let my starters build. Which made me wonder if I could just build a starter from the same wort that I put in my fermenter, and then pitch the whole thing the next morning.

    There are a lot of variables here, so I was curious what people thought about this approach. Mainly, these are the things I'm thinking about

    1. Making a starter from the same wort reduces my concern of adding what is essentially a different beer to my wort. However, yeast starters should be between 1.030 and 1.040 so depending on my OG, I'd have to adjust it (most likely by adding a specific amount of water). Would this make it a different enough beer to make a difference? It seems like it would be ok.

    2. I use a stir plate so my starter would still be heavily oxidized. Any idea how much that might affect my final beer? I know Brulosophy has done a Decanted vs Full starter exbeeriment that didn't really show a significant difference. It doesn't seem ideal to pitch a highly oxidized starter, but it also doesn't seem too detrimental.

    3. Is waiting 18 hours before pitching yeast a bad thing? Assuming I sanitize properly, it shouldn't matter, right?

    4. It's a little overkill to cold crash my wort and drop the hop matter, but that's essentially the method used for lagers in the book Brewing Classic Styles. I might just do this for all of my beers to help clear them up.
  2. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2014
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    I think the thing you'd have to watch is your gravity. As long as everything is sanitary the rest should be fine. And you can always decant most of the wort from the starter if you notice the oxidation affecting flavor.
  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2015
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    Big Lake MN
    #3 HighVoltageMan!, Feb 19, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
    Most starters are pretty neutral in flavor, so it should matter too much.

    Probably not a lot, a lot of people pitch the entire starter with no apparent ill affects. I personally make a starter a couple of days before, I crash them and decant them for the very reasons your concerned about. I don't want the beer from the starter in my beer I want to drink.

    I do, however, put a small amount of the wort from the beer I'm making into the flask about 20 minutes before pitching the yeast and mix it up well. It helps get all the yeast from the starter flask and it helps with temperature equalizing between the wort and yeast.

    It's fairly safe to wait. Lagers are better suited to this, I often wait 12 hours in the summer to allow the temperature of the wort to drop to my desired pitch temp, typically 44F. Ales may be more susceptible to bacteria growth due to higher temperatures.

    I did this for a while with the lagers, I noticed little or no difference in the beers. Hops are strained out as best as possible before pitching, but it's a lot of work to crash it to drop proteins and such and I found no benefit. It will not make the finished beer any clearer. I no longer do this, brew day is long enough already.
  4. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2016
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    Palmwoods QLD
    You will be heavily oxidizing your wort before pitching your yeast which in turn should clean up your 02 in your starter as well. I like your real wort starter idea sanitation is king if your waiting 18 hours.

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