You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Starters’ category.

We have Pacman!

I now have enough Pacman yeast to ferment 3.5 quarts of beer.  Just so you don’t have to read through parts 1 and 2 all over again, here’s the process I went through:

Day 1: Carefully poured (and consumed) all but the last ounce or two of a bomber of Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout. Dumped about 4 ounces of 1.030 wort into the bottle. Covered with foil. Shook like hell every chance I got.
Day 2: Saw a thin krausen. When it dropped the bottle went into the fridge.
Day 3: Decanted the new beer leaving about an ounce or two with the yeast. Dumped about 6 ounces of 1.035 wort into the bottle, covered with foil, shook like hell.
Day 4: Nice thick krausen.
Day 5: Krausen dropped – bottle went into the refrigerator to wait for next step.

This is going to be dumped into a 3.5 quart batch of IPA which is mashing as I type this.  Hurrah!

A quick update on my latest starter experiment:

The morning after making the starter there was a very thin layer of krausen on the beer, which means some yeast stuck around in the bottle and went to town on the wort.  That night the krausen had dropped so I put the bottle in the fridge to crash cool it and get the suspended yeast to drop out.  I don’t really know if that was a good idea or not, but I did it so there’s no use crying over it now.  This evening I decanted the beer in the bottle, which left a small layer of yeast at the bottom – not a lot but definitely more than what was there before.  I added 2 cups of fresh 1.035 wort to that (made using the coffee grinder / thermos method, which I’m going to stick with) and shook the crap out of it again.  With any luck, I’ll have a nice cake at the bottom of the bottle sometime tomorrow and the whole starter can be pitched into a batch of IPA or something.

More updates to come.

rogue-shakespeare-bottle.jpg
Nobody dresses like the guy on that bottle.  Nobody.

I’ll come right out and admit that I’ve tried this experiment before and failed.  But I’ve never tried it in front of an audience so what the hell, here goes nothing.  The idea is to harvest some yeast from an unfiltered / bottle conditioned beer, in this case Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout.  I’ve heard from reliable sources (namely the brewmaster at Rogue) that this can be done with this beer.  This is particularly convenient because I really like the Shakespeare Stout – enough that I would pay 6 bucks for 22 oz of it, which I did earlier this evening.  But if this experiment works out then I actually paid 6 bucks for some Pacman yeast (that’s what they call it, I swear) and the beer was free.  If this works.

Last time I wrote about a tiny starter I was grinding in a mortar and pestle and mashing in a coffee thermos.  Crazy, I know.  The problems with that method were A) it’s hard to maintain 150ish degrees in a coffee thermos for an hour and B) we broke our mortar and pestle.  Actually just the pestle.  So in between then and now there was another, un-blogged starter experiment wherein a coffee grinder was used to crush the grain and a higher quality thermos was pre-heated with boiling water before the mash.  The grinder worked pretty well but the thermos still lost heat too quickly (it’s time to get a better thermos).

Read the rest of this entry »

I almost don’t believe it. The starter I made last night seems to have worked. Or seems to be working, I should say. It hasn’t been pitched yet. Here’s what happened: I mashed for an hour in a coffee thermos. At the end of the hour, I removed the grain bag and poured the wort into a pot and boiled for 15 minutes. Then it cooled in an ice bath for a little while before being poured into a hyrdrometer sample tube and then into a beer bottle along with a few teaspoons of yeast. This was shaken vigorously for a while, covered in foil and left on the counter.

The Bad News: The mash temperature was down to 125F at the end of an hour. So the thermos wasn’t such a great insulator. Next time I think I’ll use a better thermos and fill it with boiling water to pre-heat it before mashing.

The Good News: I hit my target OG of 1.030. And the next morning there was a thin krausen. I didn’t expect to actually see activity in such a small starter, but there it was.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some updates on what’s brewing and what’s doing including, but not limited to:

Not-So-Old Ale Bottling!
Experimental Speed Ale Goes Into Secondary!
New Nano-Starter Experiments!
And I Co-Host Trivia Night At A Local Bar!

Read the rest of this entry »

There is a man in Jersey City who really loves beer. This is his story.