Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

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Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:10 am

To help build up the wiki I'm going to start asking some newbie style questions so that we can talk them through. I'll put up the end product and put a link to this thread from the Wiki post. If you can provide links to actual products you use in your recipe that would help.

So question #1: What do you put in a yeast bomb?

- What are you fermenting?
- What do you put in yours?
- What is your process for making it?
- What ratio starter to batch of was?
- Do you change it for different ferments (sugar, grain, etc)?
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:29 am

To answer my own questions:

- What are you fermenting?
Grain based wort (barley, corn, wheat, etc) for whiskey

- What do you put in yours?
Water, yeast, heavy teaspoon of table sugar, White Labs Servomyces (https://www.whitelabs.com/other-products/servomyces)

- What is your process for making it?
As I start mashing boil ~500ml water & sugar in microwave in a large glass or Erlenmeyer flask. As it is hot, stir/swish the water, separate the capsule and dump it in and stir/swish a little more. Let it cool to pitching temp (anything under 95) and stir/swish. Dump a packet of the yeast of the day slowly into it as the water is still moving to reduce/eliminate clumps. Cover with aluminum foil. Let sit until I am ready to pitch into the wort, normally an hour or two. Before I pitch I make sure yeast is actively bubbling. Mine is pretty simple.

- What ratio starter to batch of was?
500ml to 5-10 gallon batch

- Do you change it for different ferments (sugar, grain, etc)?
As I am using grain abundant nutrients are present in the wort. I only seek to make sure the yeast is active and happy before I pitch. The Servomyces is just to kick start it and fill in any nutrients that may be in low supply.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby MontanaMule » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:07 am

I use a similar method. Not sure how scientific it is but it hasn't let me down yet.

1 cup DME
Top up to 1000mL in my flask

Bring to boil, mixing the entire time. Boil 10-15min then remove from heat and cap with tin foil.

When cooled to pitching temp add the following

1 tbsp dry distillers yeast (I bought a pound I keep sealed in the freezer)
1 tsp of nutrients
Sterilized stir magnet

Place on stir plate with airlock, usually I'll see fermentation begin within an hour or so and last a couple days. Somewhere in that time frame is optimal to pitch into larger fermentation vessels. However I have had success pitching a few days after my starter has stopped bubbling.

I've used this on grain and neutrals.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby clovermill » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:45 am

I might go a bit overboard, but I get excellent results when I do the following:

I first scale down my recipe to a 1/2 gallon version of whatever I am mashing.
For example, if I am making a bourbon that is 60% Corn, 20% Rye, and 10% Barley in a 20-gallon batch, I will take 3/4 gallon of water and1 lb flaked corn and boil it for an hour.
You end up with about a 1/2 gallon after the boil. Then, I add about ~5oz Rye and ~2 0z Barley at about 158F along with a pinch of enzymes and let sit for a half hour. When complete I place my steel pot in an ice bath (kitchen sink) and chill it to 80F. I will then pour this into a sanitized, glass, 1 gallon, apple cider jug that I fitted with an airlock and rubber stopper. Pitch yeast and yeast nutrient and let it get to work. 24 hours is what I usually give it, but I've gone three days before and it worked well too.

My philosophy is in order to get your yeast acclimated to what they will eat in your big batch, give them a taste of what they will get. I suppose they will 'hit the ground running' when pitched to the big batch after doing this.
From what I have read, yeast colonies can double between every 4-8 hours, depending on the strain, colony health, and the environment (energy source, ph, nutrients, etc.).
Most liquid brewing yeasts come in packs containing at least 100 billion cells. So going with a conservative estimate, if you give your yeast 24 hours to start before you pitch, you could pitch at least 800 billion cells. And if everything is perfect in your starter, you could get as high as 64 billion. Of course, the results most likely lie somehwere between those extremes.

These kinds of numbers will help your batch get off to the best start and reduce the amount of off-flavors as a result of bacterial contamination.
Of course, if you are doing an open fermentation, no big deal, but when making a neutral spirit from grain or trying to identify characteristics that different yeast produce, a good starter is paramount to success (in my opinion).

If anyone has criticism or some know-how to apply, feel free to let me know, I'd love to see how I can improve this more.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby The Baker » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:13 pm

Started my Tomato Paste Wash (about seventy litres) with half a kilo of FRESH baker's yeast, working fine. I think half or maybe three quarters of that amount would have been plenty.
Started another the same about a week later.
Took a big bucket full out of the new wash and made it up with the actively working first wash, threw the bucket full of new wash into the older one.
The new wash started to ferment, should be fine when I check it today.
The actively working first wash will chew up the bucket full of new wash with no problems.
Perpetual motion.

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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:14 pm

This is my take on a Yeast bomb...When for no reason at all the yeast just up and stops / dies...or you have something "nasty" takes over, something that you don't want, and you have to kill it, and start over...
Do all the regular checks first...Whats the temperature? and the pH? the gravity now? How does it look, smell and taste?

The idea is to pitch so much new, healthy, active yeast, that it overwhelms a wash and takes control.
The bomb should be around 10% of the volume of the main batch.

For each gallon you'll need...
4 teaspoons of yeast ( preferably fresh yeast and NOT from the same source as the one that gave you trouble to begin with)
2 cups of white sugar
2 crushed vitamin B tables (if your down-under a teaspoon of Vegemite or Marmite will do the trick)
1/4 teaspoon Epsom salts
1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient (if you have it) If you don't, boil a teaspoon of yeast/gal,let cool and add to the bomb.
Mix all the ingredients (except the yeast) in warm water until the sugar is dissolved... pitch the Re-hydrated yeast and let this sit until it working like mad.(over night)
pour this into the main body of your wash.
Within 12 hours this will be working like crazy.
Take daily gravity readings, but you should be done in three days
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby The Baker » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:28 am

Kiwi Bruce said, '4 teaspoons of yeast ( preferably fresh yeast...."

I am guessing you mean dried yeast, not the refrigerated,fresh, block yeast which is commonly used by bakers. And which I happily steal.....er, borrow, from my son from time to time. (And which requires say three times the amount of dried yeast.)

And that by 'fresh' you mean not out of date.

It would be more difficult to measure the block yeast with a teaspoon, though of course....

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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby shadylane » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:46 pm

I thought a yeast starter wasn't the same thing as a yeast bomb.
A yeast starter is a small ferment used to multiply the amount of yeast pitched.
A yeast bomb is homemade yeast nutrient made from boiled yeast.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby kiwi Bruce » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:14 pm

shadylane wrote:I thought a yeast starter wasn't the same thing as a yeast bomb.
A yeast starter is a small ferment used to multiply the amount of yeast pitched.
A yeast bomb is homemade yeast nutrient made from boiled yeast.


We agree on the meaning of a yeast starter.

But disagree on the yeast bomb. The first time I heard the expression "yeast bomb" was while I lived in London in the early 70's. I'd started Homebrewing back then, and I joined an informal, no name brew club, that meet every couple of weeks at a pub in Woolwich. There it meant a "BOMB" of over powering active yeast to unstick a slack ferment. I've always just assumed that was the correct use of the term and the bomb.

So I'll throw it up to a general discussion..."What do YOU think a yeast bomb is?"
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:20 pm

Yeah so when I started this thread I was leading with my ignorance on this - twice! :mrgreen:

1) After I posted I realized that what I was doing was not making a starter as much as I was doing a good rehydration on my yeast.
2) I didn't quite grasp that a Yeast Bomb was a nutrient mix intended to rapidly grow yeast, but it did not contain active yeast itself.

I updated the wiki to clarify the differences a day or two ago. If you read it there it is explained correctly. I have more work to do on it. I actually do appreciate you correcting me, if I had not realized that I would have not know to correct it. I would rather be corrected than give out bad info.

http://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Yeast
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:25 pm

How I defined Yeast Bomb on the Wiki:
A Yeast Bomb is a mixture of extra nutrients to increase fermentation speed. The nutrients are not added until the yeast is pitched. The B vitamins increases the activity of the yeast. The yeast hulls and other ingredients prove nutrients needed for aggressive growth. This is added to the wash at the same time as the yeast is.


To me a yeast bomb is to make a clean version of turbo part of turbo yeast. It's intended to supercharge yeast to make it go faster. One thing I want to add to the yeast wiki is advice on unsticking a ferment but I haven't researched it yet. From what I have read previously there doesn't seem to be a single easy thing, but more of a check list - pH, temp, SG, etc.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby kiwi Bruce » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:32 pm

So if what I'm describing, ISN'T a yeast bomb...what the hell is it? :wtf:

Oh, and I don't mind being wrong...I much rather know!
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:55 pm

To me it's mix of the two. The key to the bomb is yeast hulls being used as nutrient for the active yeast. Cannibalism for the win.
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby shadylane » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:03 pm

The first time I heard the term "Yeast Bomb" was from Pugidogs
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5994
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby contrahead » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:23 pm

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:Yeah so when I started this thread I was leading with my ignorance on this - twice! :mrgreen:


I bet I can do that too...

I've been fermenting grapes for more than 20 years, other stuff like grains for 6 or 7. I've occasionally read with amusement, the enormous amounts of yeast some recipes call for. Commercial yeast may be relatively inexpensive and using too much probably does no harm. However, people that dump shovel loads of yeast into their ferments, fail to appreciate how industrious these little organisms really are.

My 6 gallon plastic fermentation bucket stays in continual use; it gets no rest. After a week the contents get distilled or racked to a carboy, to make room for whatever comes next. For a ferment of all fruit to be turned into wine I'll splurge and use one whole 5 g. package of dry yeast, just to be on the safe side. For everything else that involves sugar and backset, I'll use a fraction of that quantity. For the last couple of years I've been blending my yeasts. I can easily inoculate at least 3 batches (buckets) of mash using just one package of champagne yeast and one package of baking yeast (which might weigh 4 times as much – or 21 g.) It may take an extra day or two for my ferment to catch up with someone who's fermenting with 10 to 30 times the yeasts.

My non wine ferments or worts are almost always boiled. I'll scoop out about a pint of this while hot and add a generous helping yeast nutrient or molasses or both. Unsulfured blackstrap molasses is full of vitamins and minerals and for a yeast “starter” it is far superior to white sugar – which has been stripped of these very items. Don't add yeast until temp drops down to about 90 deg F. and keep it warm long afterwards. I've read that an average yeast cell can divide or bud 12 to 15 times and under good conditions (including oxygen for aerobic respiration) require about 90 minutes to reproduce or double. A topic not discussed often is that under harsh conditions yeast can go dormant and reproduce sexually by producing spores, and in this form can survive hundreds of years, perhaps indefinately.

Letting a starter sit for only 30 minutes may produce some bubbles and prove the yeasts are good, but its not going to appreciably increase the number of yeasts. More time is required if reproduction of the yeast is your goal (as it is in my case). My method may be cheapskate and undesirable for some but but I like to think that I've learned something with my experimentation.

Additionally: I've found old packages of bakers yeast in the refrigerator that were way older than the “due” date or expiration date. Without exception the ones that I have attempted to “prove” - have proven to be viable still. I have a dehydrated, homegrown culture of sourdough starter in the fridge. Although I haven't touched it in a couple of years, I'm certain it will still work also..
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Re: Yeast Starter/Yeast bomb: What's your recipe?

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:47 pm

The term "yeast bomb'' has mostly been used in reference to rum washes around the different forums from what I have seen and read.
My opinion is that they are not necessary ,Molasses rum washes ferment out just fine without them.
Mine ferment dry in 4-7 days, thats fast enough for me.
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