Old Fashioned Yeast Starter

I’m behind schedule to get my fall / winter #lager going. My ‘lager-rator’ bit the dust so, what I plan on doing is dragging the broken chest freezer(where I’ve always lagered my #beer) out of my basement and into to the garage where it faces to the north and keeps very cold temps this time of year. what I’ll do is fill the chest freezer with frozen plastic ice bottles around the glass #fermenter.

I’ve done this before with great success. I put a glass fermenter into a plastic trash can and by rotating frozen bottles was able to keep the fermenter temperature at an average of 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a broken chest freezer in a cold garage, I can lift the lid at night when the temps are really cold and shot the top during the day when the temps get warm.


German Lager Yeast & DME

The jar of German lager #yeast (pictured) has been in my fridge for over a year, from last years lager.  Before you freak out and say, “that yeast is too old” here’s the trick…

The yeast ‘at the bottom’ of this jar is fine.   What I do to get it and only it…


Tools of the trade in sanitizer.

Everything is first sanitized.  This is a must.

Then, I measure the water I will need for my initial starter.


DME on the boil

I eyeballed an amount of DME I felt was sufficient and threw it in the pot.  I boiled this stuff for about ten minutes.  It was only twenty degrees Fahrenhei outside and only took 45 minutes on the front porch to cool.


Turkey baster into jar of yeast.

See that nasty dark stuff at the top of the old trub?  With the ‘sanitized’ baster, I can bypass that nasty stuff by collapsing the baster bulb ‘BEFORE’ I plunge it into the old trub, and none of the bad stuff gets in.  With the end of the baster at the bottom of the yeast jar, I ‘allow’ the baster bulb to re-inflate and only the good stuff at the bottom gets sucked into the baster!

Even though I for some reason am already getting a little activity, I don’t expect full activity until teo or three days have passed.  once this first phase has run it’s course I will decant and pitch it into a growler or 1/2 gallon glass milk jug of DME for the final starter phase.

I don’t have a magnetic stir plate (wish I did) so I am constantly shaking the starter.


Clean That Wort Chiller!

For the simple reason I share ‘some’ of my private reserve of ‘West Canyon’ Brewery #organic #homebrew #beer with other people, I am what some would call an ‘over-the-top’ clean freak.

As a matter of fact,  I schedule my ‘pre-brew’ day(s) cleaning just like it was a #brewday event.

One major thing some home brewers don’t seem to clean are their wort chillers.

wort chiller

My chiller (photo above) was rinsed thoroughly after the last brew day I brewed an organic molasses porter.  To the eye, it looked clean.  However, after brush cleaning it with 5 Star PBW cleaner…


…it left clean ‘soapy’ water looking pretty grimy (as shown above).

Anyone, please correct me if I’m wrong but,  the way I hear it, the people at ‘Star San’ recommend that after you have ‘properly’ cleaned your wort chiller submerge your chiller in sanitizer for a number of minutes (15min?), 24 or so hours just BEFORE your brew day.  Then take the chiller out of the sanitizer, DO NOT RINSE.  Allow 24 hours or so for the wort chiller to sit and air dry.

Go to ‘Beer Smith’ podcast look for the interview with Jon Herskovits of Five Star Chemicals.  If you’re a serious organic home brewer, it would definitely be worth the listen for sure.


Just a couple of quick notes.

When I schedule a ‘deep clean’ day for my equipment, it means that I’m going to be taking things apart.  One of the things I ‘deep clean’ is my boil keg piping.


A bottle brush is too large to fit through piping so, I use a tube (or pipe fitting) brush.


I also take the piping apart when I clean.  A it turned out, there was hop peddles stuck in the elbow of my brew kettle ‘feed tube’. By taking the inner tubing out I can also inspect the boil keg’s gaskets.


Brewers get a bit ticked off when they see one of there Kegs in a photo online all chopped up.  Some people don’t realize that they do NOT own the keg they ‘rented’ from the liquor store for whatever event they needed a keg of beer for.

People after the event, usually unwittingly, need to get rid of the keg at some point and either put it out for trash or try to sell it online.

The ‘proper’ method for purchasing 16 gallon Kegs to be converted for home brewing is to go to ‘any’ brewery and ask to purchase a Keg from them that no longer is functional.  If they do not have any they will put you on a list for when they become available.  I’m told the wait in not too terribly long.

From the AHA

5 Homebrew Tips from a Dogfish Head Quality Technician

Great article however, water should have been included. #1 NO! NO! for me is municipal tap water with 150 – 300 different chemicals (from China) added to it, all ‘hiding’ under the names of ‘fluoride’ / ‘chloride’.

The Completely Ad Hoc Organic Homebrewers Association

Organic Homebrewers Association Mission

Hello friend,

Living in what some may call the ‘Mecca’ of home brewing, Denver Colorado, I thought brewing all organic beer would be easy and relatively inexpensive.  Unfortunately I was very wrong in assuming both of those assumptions.  The biggest frustration as a organic home brewer (in Denver) was that ALL the local Denver area home brew grain supply stores told me that they would NOT carry organic grains.  So, what that meant, was that I would have to buy my grains online and have them shipped to me.  Buying grains this way is very expensive and impractical, really.  There is a much better way we organic home brewers can enjoy the craft of great organic home brew, we just need each others help.

The Organic Homebrewers Association mission is to support all facets of organic beer brewing in your local area.

The Organic  Homebrewers Association servers it’s members by providing local networking between fellow organic home brewers.  Local organic home brewing networks provides for a ‘trusted network’ of organic home brewers working as a ‘cooperative’ between themselves for the purpose of purchasing and distributing bulk organic grains.

Organic Homebrewers  Association Cooperative Project

The purpose of an ‘Organic Homebrewers  Association ‘Cooperative’ project is to build a ‘trusted’ community of organic home brewers with the goal of expanding local organic home brewing resources and decreasing the cost of organic grains / adjuvants for the individual home brewer.

The Organic Homebrewers  Association is an ‘Ad Hoc’ association started and ran by John Housand as a organic brewing (wine making) resource, networking and research center.

John Housand