It has been a long time since I brewed without using a yeast starter. Even if I'm using Wyeast, I still like to slap the pack and give it a head start in an Erlenmeyer flask. This takes a half-hour to 45 minutes of my time a few days before brew day, considering prepping, boil time, cool time, pitch, and clean up. Then I was introduced to canning yeast starters through the Deputy Chairman of the Kirksville Guild of Brewers, Mike Martel. Pop the top, pitch, and your yeast is started. What a time saver. So, I decided to give it a try today.
In the above picture you see the eight canning jars that I would be using, the pressure cooker, and the pot that was steeping about 1.5 lb of grains in a little over a gallon of water. After steeping for 30 minutes at 150°F, I put the burner on high and brought the wort to a boil making sure to take the grains out before the temp got above 170°F.
Once I brought the wort to a boil, I used a ladle and funnel to pour the wort into the jars and put them in the pressure cooker that already had boiling water going. Once the 8 jars were filled, I put the pressure cooker lid on, turned the burner on high and brought the pressure up to 15 psi and boiled for 15 minutes (15 @ 15).
After 15 minutes I turned the burner off and took the pressure cooker off the burner, then let the pressure decrease naturally. Once it came down, I took the lid off and arranged my beautiful jars of canned wort in a few rows for a nice picture.
Now, the next time I brew and get my yeast started, it will save me at least 8 * 30 min = 4 hours. This was about an hour process, so I net 3 hours saved.
Well, then I took time to write about it, so I really haven't saved much time at all when you think about it. I hope you enjoyed the information at least. For a lot more detail (maybe too much in my opinion), check out Canning Yeast Starters from a Sept. 2006 issue of Brew Your Own magazine.