First-ever canned wort allows homebrewers to make no-boil, no-hassle yeast starters

By |2018-10-18T13:27:37+00:00August 14th, 2015|

I love to make beer, but I hate to make yeast starters. Call me lazy, but I think they require too much pre-planning, they’re a hassle and they’re time-consuming. The added steps that they demand also increase the likelihood of contamination.

I realize, however, that yeast starters are critical for high-gravity beers, and they can even benefit some lower-gravity beers. Most experts recommend making a starter for any beer with an original gravity (OG) of 1.060 or higher. A properly made starter ensures that you have a large enough number of healthy yeast cells to pitch into your wort, resulting in a quicker start to fermentation and less chance of off-flavors developing.

A yeast starter is essentially a mini batch of beer that provides yeast cells with an “appetizer,” which rouses them awake and encourages them to propagate so that they will be ready for the “main course” in the fermenter.

YeastStarters

Now there’s a new, innovative product from Northern Brewer called Fast Pitch, which is the first-ever canned wort. Certified organic, Fast Pitch drastically simplifies the process of making a starter.

From Northern Brewer: “Fast Pitch is an instant yeast starter that’s as easy as making Kool-Aid. Go straight from can to flask and eliminate waiting, extra equipment, clean-up and risk of contamination. No boiling, no DME. From start to finish in under 5 minutes, Fast Pitch is as easy as pour, pitch, propagate!”

I’ve come across some pretty cool homebrew-related products in recent times, including Beer Dust and ACCUmash, but I think Fast Pitch is a real game changer.

HOW TO MAKE A YEAST STARTER FROM SCRATCH (with a 1.040 OG)

  • Mix 3 to 4 ounces of dried malt extract (DME) with 1 quart of water.
  • Boil for 20 minutes to sterilize, watching carefully to avoid boil-overs.
  • Cool to about 70 degrees in a cold-water bath.
  • Sanitize the yeast packet, flask and foil or stopper.
  • Add wort and yeast to the flask and cover loosely with foil or foam stopper.
  • Incubate for 24-36 hours, before adding to your cooled, aerated wort in a fermenter.

HOW TO MAKE A YEAST STARTER WITH FAST PITCH (with a 1.040 OG)

  • Sanitize the yeast packet, flask, stopper and can of Pure Pitch.
  • Add one can of Fast Pitch and 16 ounces of water to the flask, and swirl to mix. *Fast Pitch also contains yeast nutrients.
  • Add yeast and cover with foil or foam stopper.
  • Incubate for 24-36 hours, before adding to your cooled, aerated wort in a fermenter.

I like products that increase efficiency, eliminate hassle, save time and reduce the chances of screwing something up (i.e., with sanitation, temperature controls, measurements, etc.), which in turn leads to a higher quality finished product.

The only downside is the added expense of these products. But I don’t brew to save money. I brew because it is fun, and I like to focus on the fun aspects of brewing. I also want to make the best homebrew possible.

A pound of DME, which will make four or five starters, costs $5, whereas a 4-pack of Fast Pitch 16-ounce cans, which will make four starters, costs $9.99. But I think the extra $1.25 or so per starter is well worth it when you consider the time savings and hassle reduction.

All of this said, will I use Fast Pitch and ACCUmash or Beer Dust with every batch of beer I brew? Probably not. But with certain styles of beer, I surely will.

About the Author:

Aubrey Laurence
Aubrey has been a craft beer fanatic since the mid '90s and he has written about beer for a wide variety of publications in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado for well over a decade. He has judged beer in multiple competitions, plus he has rated and taken notes on thousands of beers from all 50 states and 68 countries -- visiting 16 of those countries on 6 continents. He is also a Certified Beer Server with the Cicerone Certification Program, an avid homebrewer, and a hop grower. In 2013 & 2014, he spearheaded Bellingham Beer Week. When he’s not drinking beer, he’s probably climbing a mountain somewhere. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and three cats. Follow him on twitter @AubreyLaurence.