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BeerTools Discussion Forum • View topic - Yeast Starters with Hops - Some Experts Weigh In....

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

Physics, chemistry and biology of brewing. The causes and the effects.

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

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Wed May 09, 2007 11:21 am

Make your next beer (or spirit) a local one!!!!

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

Postby billvelek » Wed May 09, 2007 11:43 pm

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Hops are bacteriostatic...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Thu May 10, 2007 7:19 am

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Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

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

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Is IsoHops extract antibacterial?

Postby etbandit » Thu May 31, 2007 5:47 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 2:54 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!!!!

Eric Watson
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Seven Fathoms Rum
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