May 26, 2007
So, last night it was time to brew the yeast starter for Sunday’s brew session. It’ll be my first brew in California, and my brother-in-law’s first ever. I’ll be doing a raspberry wheat, and he’ll do an IPA.
A yeast starter is typically brewed 1-3 days before the brew session begins, and it allows you to let the yeast go through the majority of their multiplication phase, to give you a large number of viable yeast cells to ferment the beer. This means that they don’t spend their time in your beer multiplying (which can contribute to off flavors), and they get a foothold in your beer very quickly, so no other microorganisms can get a hold of it and infect it. A starter involves boiling a small amount of malt extract in water, cooling it down, and pitching the yeast.
Yesterday I bought a 2L Erlenmeyer Flask for the purpose. Thinking that it would be perfect for brewing the starter, as it’s designed for high heat applications, I set it on the stove, with water and malt extract, and went to work. It started heating up, and when it came time to boil, it boiled over so fast I couldn’t even do a thing about it… So I tried again, keeping a close eye on the burner this time. I noticed as it was about to reach boil, cut the heat, as I noticed it slowly bubbling up towards the top. With a towel, I was working to transfer it off the burner, when it suddenly shot up and boiled over. Right on my hand. It immediately took some skin off.
Beautiful, huh? I put it under some cold water, put some neosporin and a bandage on it, and finished my starter. I decided it was better to boil the wort in a saucepan, and then pour it into the flask after chilling. There’s no real danger doing it that way. Consider this a very painful lesson learned.
I managed to do all this without exclaiming in pain, and didn’t even toss out any four-letter expletives. I really didn’t want to call attention to it, as I was hanging out with all my in-laws. Somehow I’ve still hid it from the wife, although her mother saw it today, so when she gets back today, I’m sure I’ll be “caught”. I hate when people fawn over me to try to take care of me, so hopefully they’ll leave me alone in my recovery.
On the bright side, I was flipping throught the channels today, and saw the below video… It managed to take my mind off of my hand for a while… I recommend turning the sound on your computer all the way down, and then watching.
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