Yeast Starters with Hops - Some Experts Weigh In....

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Yeast Starters with Hops - Some Experts Weigh In....

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Wed May 09, 2007 10:21 am

A while back I was told by a forum user that he had read ASBC research that stated the presence of hops in a starter was detrimental to yeast reproduction and health. Although I was unable to find this reseach in my ASBC binder, I did get to ask this question of some industry experts when I was at the recent Brewer's Association's Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, Texas.

Dave Radzenowski (ex Siebel and Alltech, now a consultant with RadZan) stated that he knew of this article and it concluded that there was only 1 wild yeast (obviously not used in brewing) that exhibited this problem in the presence of hops. He stated that there would be no negative effects on brewing cultures and as the matter of fact there are only benefits.

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. (also ex Siebel and Alltech, now a chemical and sensory specialist with Brewing & Distilling Analytical Services) also echoed the same response.

So.... the experts have weighed in. I recently ordered the Compendium of Brewing Research Yeast CDs (1977-2005) published by the ASBC. This abstract that the postee referred to should be on one of the discs. When I get it I will search for it and post my findings here.


Eric
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Re: Yeast Starters with Hops - Some Experts Weigh In....

Postby billvelek » Wed May 09, 2007 10:43 pm

Mesa Maltworks wrote:snip ... Dave Radzenowski (ex Siebel and Alltech, now a consultant with RadZan) stated that ... there would be no negative effects on brewing cultures and as the matter of fact there are only benefits. ... snip
I just use yeast nutrient; what are the benefits of adding hops to starters?

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Hops are bacteriostatic...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Thu May 10, 2007 6:19 am

It is a good idea to add a small amount of high alpha hops to your starter solution as bacterial protection while the culture is getting started.

Eric
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Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

Postby billvelek » Thu May 10, 2007 9:17 am

Thanks for the reply. That's logical and makes sense, but its probably more important to some people and situations than others, depending upon sanitation and risk of infection. I'll keep it in mind, though.

For instance, I boil and cool my starter solution, and use iodophor to sanitize my starter jug (I don't have a flask). My aeration technique is to just frequently and vigorously shake the jug, which seems to work just fine; i.e., my beer is great, and I no longer even bother to aerate it before it goes into the fermenter, so my starters must be stepped-up sufficiently and my yeast healthy enough. What my point there is, is that I'm not constantly bubbling a larger volume of air and airborne bacteria though my starter with an airstone.

On the other hand, since adding a bit of hops to the starter can't really hurt, I have a couple of questions:
1. You mention high alpha acid hops; is it the alpha acid in particular that makes it bacteriostatic?
2. If its the acid, is it actually the pH of the solution that makes it bacteriostatic, ... so that a bit of food grade acid will also do the trick?
3. What sort of quantity of hops are we talking about here in a quart starter? Just a couple of pellets? ... or a teaspoon or tablespoon?
4. I usually boil my starter solution for just 5 minutes; will that length of time extract enough alpha acid, or would the starter need to be boiled longer?

Thanks.

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Is IsoHops extract antibacterial?

Postby etbandit » Thu May 31, 2007 4:47 am

I am curious as to whether isohop extract, like hop pellets, has antibacterial properties in beer?

I make 4L yeast starters for 24L batches, but I dont use hop pellets in the starters because I dislike the hop break that i get from using them.

I am thinking of using isohop extract as a substitute and was wondering if anyone knows if it retains the antibacterial properties of hops or whether the process of extraction destroys them.

My thoughts are that isohops extract should retain antibacterial properties, since hop properties are still retained following boiling of hops pellets in wort @ 100C. :?:
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Re: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:54 pm

Sorry for the massively delayed answer... I have been very busy.....

"I boil and cool my starter solution, and use iodophor to sanitize my starter jug"

Since you are not sterilizing your container that you are volumizing the yeast in, that is a perfect example of why the hop inclusion is a great idea!

"My aeration technique is to just frequently and vigorously shake the jug, which seems to work just fine; i.e., my beer is great, and I no longer even bother to aerate it before it goes into the fermenter, so my starters must be stepped-up sufficiently and my yeast healthy enough."

I am glad you feel that you are getting good results with your techniques, many home brewers do exactly what you are doing. But.... how do you know if the results would not be better without trying updated techniques? As a professional brewer, I am constantly striving to become more competent and as long as I can learn of scientific justification to try something new, I try to implement new techniques that offer benefits when practical.


"What my point there is, is that I'm not constantly bubbling a larger volume of air and airborne bacteria though my starter with an airstone."

That is what sterile air filters are for.

"You mention high alpha acid hops; is it the alpha acid in particular that makes it bacteriostatic?"

Nope... it just takes less hops to get the desired effect if they are high alpha. You can use any variety you like. As the matter of fact, this is where the use of old hops can come into play.... the only important thing in to get alpha and beta acids in solution.

"If its the acid, is it actually the pH of the solution that makes it bacteriostatic, ... so that a bit of food grade acid will also do the trick?"

Technically yes, but in small volumes it is difficult to dose acids into solution correctly without the potential of damaging the yeast culture. It requires a VERY accurate pH meter, not the one typical home brewers have... these pH meters start at about $500 and then you have to buy $275 probes! Therefore it is far easier to use hops.... you can't over do that!

"What sort of quantity of hops are we talking about here in a quart starter? Just a couple of pellets?"

Yep... 2 to 3 pellets will be sufficient.

"I usually boil my starter solution for just 5 minutes; will that length of time extract enough alpha acid, or would the starter need to be boiled longer?"

For a starter solution to be rendered sterile it takes 20 minutes at boiling temperature. You should always boil at least this long for that reason alone. If you include hops, boil for 30 minutes and you will get the maximum benefit.

I use a pressure cooker to make starter solutions. At 250 deg, I can do the same task in 15 minutes and the resulting jars, lids and starter solution are rendered absolutely sterile. These jars then can be stored indefinitely at room temperature. You can prepare months worth of starters in a single session!


Hope this was helpful!
Make your next beer (or spirit) a local one!!!!

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