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Old 09-25-2007, 03:20 AM   #1
Philip1993
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Default Use a starter...

I've been pitching yeast smack packs for years, and I just used my first yeast starter (1.89l). Wow, what a difference! Active, churning fermentation in 3 hours instead of 12. Always before, I had my ales slow/stall when they got around 60-62*. Since my beer had risen to 78* late last night, I dropped in 4 more ice packs. Forgetting that the nights are no longer 90*, this morning I awoke to find my fermenting wort a frosty 60^. After a few seconds of panic, I quickly realized that it was churning and burning just as it was last night!

All I can say is that I should have done this years ago...

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Old 09-25-2007, 03:24 AM   #2
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i felt the same way when i started using yeast starters a few months back... so much of a difference...

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Old 09-25-2007, 03:52 AM   #3
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Great!! Another convert...

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Old 09-25-2007, 04:05 AM   #4
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Yep. I always viewed it as one of those "last 5%" quality items. You know, the last 5% that make up 10x the work of the first 95%. Not so. The ability to ferment like crazy at 60* has got to reduce infection potential and reduce unwanted flavors.

Not to mention that my beer even looks less cloudy despite a ton more solids in suspension. It's hard to describe. Before it looked milky with chunks of solids (yeast clumps) in motion. Now it looks pretty clear with clumps in motion. Obviously, some of this is the yeast strain and some is psychological. But there is no denying that starters are worth the trouble.

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Old 09-25-2007, 12:02 PM   #5
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i've done 4 batches now and have used smack packs all the way, but after my last brew i decided i'm going to convert to a starter my next batch and i'm sure i wont go back. i've got a pound of dme at home and some hops too, so i'm going to make some wort some night soon and divide, bag, and freeze it as directed in the beginner's links thread "how to make a starter." then i'll just take them out and make a starter as i go.

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Old 09-25-2007, 06:17 PM   #6
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What about dry yeast? Is it necessary to do a starter for those, or are they so densely packed with yeast cells that a starter isn't necessary?

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Old 09-25-2007, 06:22 PM   #7
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No reason for starters for dry yeast. Just rehydrate in 4 oz water at under 90 degrees warm water and let sit without stirring for 15 min. Then stir back into suspension. Add some cooled wort until you fill the cup. Pitch when your wort is cooled. You should see the yeast working when rehydrating. I like dry unless I am making a specific flavor yeast profile. Nottinghams has always worked wonders for me.

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Old 09-25-2007, 07:34 PM   #8
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You guys are on the right track. Until you use starters, you can not appreciate the difference yeast starters make. I keep 3 yeast types going all the time and use 2000 ml flasks for pitching into 10 gallon batches. I have to use a blow off tube every time and get imediate vigorous fermentations. I repitch up to 5 times and then get another starter ready. That way it is not too much work.

WLP001 American Ale
WLP300 German Hefewizen
WLP002 ESB English yeast

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Old 09-25-2007, 07:51 PM   #9
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If you can plan far enough ahead, or if you always have something in the tank, a starter is the way to go. No doubt about it.


TL

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