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Old 11-14-2008, 07:23 PM   #1
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Default Advantages of a Yeast starter

Ok so after searching through many threads about yeast starters I see that the advantages are healthier yeast and more of it. This I assume allows for a much faster fermentation period. I made my first lager and using 1 vile of yeast it fermented out just fine even at 40F, I did pitch at 70 and it probably did start out at to high a temp for a lager but I don't taste any fruity off flavors. I guess what I am getting at is, would someone please sell me on the idea of getting a stir plate and using starters? Cause right now I want to but don't see the reason why I should since I have not had a problem with yeast failing to ferment. Will my beer taste better or have a better color or be clearer?

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Old 11-14-2008, 07:37 PM   #2
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you don't need a stir plate but you should always be using starters. underpitching is the #1 biggest mistake inexperienced homebrewers make. underpitching creates more esters which can make your beer taste off. it causes your beers to finish too high, especially in a lager. it allows any bacteria a chance to get a foothold in your wort. it can create undesirable alcohols that make your beer taste bad and give you a headache. the most important reason to pitch the correct amount of healthy yeast is because breweries and home brewers that make better beer than you do it. if you don't pitch the correct amount of healthy yeast you'll never make the best beer possible. sure, you'll make good beer. but it'll never be as good as it could be. take a look at this pitch rate calculator to get an idea of how much yeast you need to be pitching for a given beer. If you really read all the posts on yeast starters and you're still not convinced then i'm not sure anyone can.



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Old 11-14-2008, 07:55 PM   #3
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You do not need a stir plate to make good starters. Just periodically go and shake them up. It's also a good idea to use aluminum foil over the top instead of an airlock. You want oxygen getting in a starter to help the yeast reproduce.

I usually make a 1 gallon starter that I crash chill and pitch the sediment. Last batch of beer I made a 2 gallon starter and the yeast cake was the size of something I'd get off the bottom of primary fermentation.

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Old 11-16-2008, 12:56 AM   #4
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You don't need to assume it makes for a faster fermentation... it does. That period between pitching and initial fermentation is a prime opportunity for bad things to happen. Additionally, if you're brewing a higher-gravity brew like a tripel or something, you'll need a lot of yeast to chew through all those sugars. Starters are really easy to make and I don't think there is a downside. If nothing else, you can get your yeast washing technique down and turn your one yeast vial into a few mason jars ready to turn into their own starters at a later date...

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Old 11-16-2008, 01:06 AM   #5
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You definitely don't need a stir plate. I am currently using a clear growler to make my starters. I keep it on top of the fridge covered with foil. I give it a good shake everytime I walk past. That said, I do plan to upgrade to a stirplat in the future. Try it one time and you wil be a convert.

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Old 11-16-2008, 03:18 AM   #6
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I too used to question starters. At the time i had about 20 or so batches under my belt and i always used wyeast or Wl with beers all over the spectrum from low to high gravities, Never had an infection and all of them to me and people drinking them where good beers, So i figured it was just drummed up hype by people that over analyze everything. Then one day i caved in and bought a kit for starters and gave it a whirl. Now its been many a batch since that first beer i used a starter on but i do remember right away my beers went to another level in their taste, its hard to explain but instant difference was noticed.

I also do not use a stir plate and i do not think i ever will, I already have many a time completely over attenuated a beer with just using a starter and shaking the crap out of it, If i had a stir plate and was making even healthier yeast than i already am i figure that i would accomplish things like stouts finishing at 1.002, but that would not be to good.

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Old 11-16-2008, 05:24 AM   #7
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also, if you ever decide to bank your yeasts you will need to revive them into a starter. Just another advantage.

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Old 11-16-2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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also, if you ever decide to bank your yeasts you will need to revive them into a starter. Just another advantage.
Actually while reading one of the guides I thought about doing this. Big money savings. So while at the LHBS I asked if they sold viles for yeast banks, they did not but the store owner gave me 6 WL yeast empty viles. I love that store, I'm doing a project that will lower the amount that I buy from them and they still hook me up with free stuff.

Does the starter need to be in the dark like beer? I used 500ml of water and 1/2 cup of light DME. Then I put it in my fermentation freezer at 65F.
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:50 AM   #9
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Greetings!

I also have a question about starters. I have been just rehydrating dry yeast with great results but I thought I might try the liquid next to compare. I've done a bit of research and I think I can get a starter going but I'm still a little confused about what exactly to pitch. Do I decant the liquid and only pitch the yeast slurry or just dump the entire 2 L starter?

I apoligize if I'm hijacking or if my noobie question makes anyone moan!

-Tripod

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Old 11-17-2008, 03:03 AM   #10
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These links might help anyone with questions about making starters, decanting the liquid afterward, stir plate use and many other potential questions.

Fourteen Essential Questions About Yeast Starters
Proper Yeast Pitching Rates



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