Following our discussions last evening regarding yeast starters I thought it would be beneficial to dig up a little information and get it out to those interested.  I will also post in on our website too.

Here is a PDF from Northern Brewer that is pretty close to the process that I’ve been using for several years.  I however use a airlock and stopper rather than the foam stopper they list.

In addition to this I put mine on a stir plate to continuously agitate the yeast in the starter.  If I really want big happy yeast volumes I will attach my aquarium pump to the stopper with two holes so I can continually aerate the starter.  So in that case the stir plate is continuously agitating the starter and allowing oxygen to be dissolved into beer and feed the yeast.  The system would look basically like this and I wouldn’t go this far all the time.

You do not need to purchase a commercial stir plate and can easily make one with an old computer fan and some miscellaneous parts from Radio Shack:

Here is a nice video showing a similar process from BYO magazine and Basic Brewing:

Also, this link is a reference I use to determine how much yeast ‘should’ be pitched into a beer depending on its starting gravity.

Ok I hope that helps!

Here is a link to Brew Your Own’s website with a page for the new brewer to learn how to brew your first batch!

Water Filters Effect on Brewing Water (by Jon Stika)

Activated charcoal (carbon) should reduce Cl significantly and may affect SO4 (as it also has a negative charge and high molecular weight) but I don’t believe it will affect Ca, Mg, Na, and HCO3 significantly even though HCO3 does carry a negative charge. HCO3 and Ca typically will buffer each other, so if a little HCO3 is removed by the activated carbon filter, it will “bounce back” after the filter if the water is the same pH.

The positively charged Ca, Mg, and Na ions should go right through the filter and activated carbon. Ca is a good thing for brewing (yeast nutrition), Mg really doesn’t make much difference unless it’s really high and then will have a laxative effect (oh no), Na isn’t a hugh issue unless it is high and in combination with a high SO4 concentration then it will make give beer a nasty harshness (this is the problem I had with Patterson Lake water and to a lesser degree with SW pipeline water). Cl as an ion lends some sweetness to beer, but as a gas (Cl2) or trihalomethane gives a “cholrinated swimming pool” taste.

So I believe your filter will knock down the Cl taste if it has activated carbon, may reduce SO4 some, but will have little effect on the rest of the major ions.