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Old 04-29-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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Default Mr. Malty Calculator confusion

So up till now, I've only used dry yeast and re-hydrated prior to pitching. Mr. Malty would always show about 1 packet of dry yeast should work. For my next batch, the LHBS was out of dry so I got a smack pack of 1056. The Calculator tells me I need a 3 LITER starter for a 5 gallon batch of 1.070 OG wort. What am I doing wrong? That amount seems laughable.

Mr. Malty

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Old 04-29-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
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That sounds about right. You have to remember that dry yeast packets have a lot more cells than liquid yeasts typically. If you use a stirplate you can use a smaller starter, but for a big beer like that you'll need a big starter.

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Old 04-29-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
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Yes, liquid yeast really needs a starter even for a small beer. A bigger beer like yours would require more yeast. I think, though, for a 1.070 beer, even with dry yeast, two packages are recommended.

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Old 04-29-2008, 05:47 PM   #4
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Yeah, I used 2 packages for that pliny clone. 3 liters just seems like a lot of liquid to have to throw in there...won't that effect the FG?

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Old 04-29-2008, 05:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
Yeah, I used 2 packages for that pliny clone. 3 liters just seems like a lot of liquid to have to throw in there...won't that effect the FG?
Yep. Decant it
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
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Yep, that sounds about right. It means to make a starter with three liters of wort, not three liters of slurry.

I bet you can get by just fine with far less, though. The three liters is just the optimal pitching rate.


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Old 04-29-2008, 06:13 PM   #7
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There are two schools of thought about liquid starters. The first school says to pitch the starter at peak activity, usually 18 to 24 hours into fermentation. The yeast is still in suspension, so you have to pitch the whole thing, possibly adding some off flavors from the starter beer. The second school says to let the starter complete fermentation and rebuild its reserves of trehalose, glycogen and other nutrients. You let the starter ferment for a couple of days then refrigerate. The yeast will settle out in a day or so, and you can pour off the starter beer, leaving just enough to swirl up the yeast.

If I have time I like to do it the second way. As Yooper mentioned, that gives you a chance to build it up multiple times if you want. It also lets you pitch just yeast. If I don't have time I'll do it the first way. If I really don't have time I'll just throw money at the problem and pitch multiple packs of yeast. My last brew was a Vienna Lager. I realized too late (Sunday afternoon) that my only possible brew day was the next day. There was no way to build a starter so I just bought a couple of extra yeast packs and pitched three of the damn things. It's chugging along nicely but I don't want to do that again -- $20 worth of yeast adds up.

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Old 04-29-2008, 06:46 PM   #8
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Oh, I see.

So, smack the pack...once it has swelled, boil 3 liters of 1.040 gravity DME + water. Add the smack pack once the 3 liters has cooled. Let it do it's thing for ~3 days. Throw into fridge for a day. Let it warm back up to room temp and siphon out the beer before pitching.

That's it? No yeast nutrient needed besides what's in the smack pack? Will this all fit into a 1 gallon growler?

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Old 04-29-2008, 06:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
Oh, I see.

So, smack the pack...once it has swelled, boil 3 liters of 1.040 gravity DME + water. Add the smack pack once the 3 liters has cooled. Let it do it's thing for ~3 days. Throw into fridge for a day. Let it warm back up to room temp and siphon out the beer before pitching.

That's it? No yeast nutrient needed besides what's in the smack pack?
You got it. You might want to step up the starter (i.e. make a smaller starter then add some more wort after a couple days)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
Will this all fit into a 1 gallon growler?
Growlers are typically 2L (1/2 gallon). If it were me I'd just make a 2L total starter so that it all conveniently fits into one growler. Like TexLaw said, you should be fine with that size starter.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:54 PM   #10
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I never use a starter at 1.06 and below. Never had trouble having a good ferment. For Ales that is, I use dry Lager yeast anyway. The cell count is sufficient and marketed as direct pitchable for 1.05 and below on both the Wyeast smack packs and White Labs vials iirc.

"The Activator™ is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard strength ale wort (1.034-1.060 SG) with professional pitching rates. For lagers, we recommend inoculating the wort at warm temperatures (68-70°F/ 20-21°C), waiting for signs of fermentation, and then adjusting to the desired temperature. Alternatively, for pitching into cold conditions (34-58°F/ 1-14°C) or higher gravity wort, we recommend increasing this pitching rate."

"How do I make a "starter"?

A "starter" can be any volume of wort that you add yeast to before using it to make your beer. The yeast get active in this smaller volume, usually for 1-2 days, and then can be added to 5 gallons of beer, or 10 gallons, or whatever size your brewing. This can be a good way to "proof" the yeast, and also when making high gravity beers. White Labs recommends on their label to make a starter "if the gravity is over 1.070, if the yeast is past its "best before" date, or if a faster start is desired." "

So they claim even slightly higher OG's.

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Last edited by zoebisch01; 04-29-2008 at 06:56 PM.
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