Northern Brewer has a product called Fast Pitch Canned Wort. The instructions say that you can just mix it with water out of the tap and then pitch yeast to make a yeast starter.

Why does this not requiring any boiling? Presumably the canned wort itself is sterile, but what about the water that is added, and what about the outside of the container? In a video, a Northern Brewer employee just opens the can with his grubby hands, adds water and pitches yeast into it.

Why is this not a recipe for a an infected starter?

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    To me this is a case of brewing being what you make of it. They say you can do it this way. You certainly don't have to, especially not if you suspect it will be bad for your batch. The product has generated a lot of talk about this exact topic (homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=539504, beeradvocate.com/community/threads/…). To me it only seems like a useful product if you're the kind of brewer who is comfortable with not boiling water for a starter or for dilution. Not saying that's a bad thing, it's just not how I would do it. Jul 10, 2016 at 20:50
  • IMHO one can (no pun intended) use "normal" canned wort for the same purpose. IMHO there is no reason to boil ANY wort. Both extract and all grain beer can be made without boiling (eg "raw beers"). Apr 3, 2018 at 13:17
  • After making starter with Fast Pitch can, do I just put it in the fermenter bucket like I would normally do with dry yeast? And does it replace any other ingredients from my kit? I'm making a 5 gal batch of Irish Red Ale, how many cans should I use? Thank you for any info, Nov 10, 2019 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


Malt extract does not need to be boiled to make beer. It is perfectly possible to make beer using extract and cold water although it s a little easier if you dissolve the extract in boiling water first - just to make it more mobile and to pasteurise it if you feel it is needed. But just getting it hot to get out of the can and into the fermentation vessel is all that is needed. Once the Saccharomyces is fermenting well it forms a stable microbiome and (all things being equal) such a microbiome reduces the chance of infection from other sources. Sort of like penicillin mould keeps many bacteria at bay. Or used to....

Generally speaking water sources are chosen because they don't have contaminants. If one has to boil the water that one drinks then it will have to be boiled for any culinary use, including making beer. However fermentation (with saccharomyces or lactobacilius) is a method that can render water borne pathogens inactive and has probably been used as such for aeons.

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    This is true as long as the water source itself is free of contaminants as well. Otherwise at the start a combination of microbes along with the brewers yeast (saccharomyces) will be contributing flavor compounds. The "sacc" may win out, but the flavor impact my not be as expected.
    – brewchez
    Jul 16, 2016 at 15:55

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