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Old 04-15-2009, 02:02 AM   #1
BK_BREWERY
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Default what kind of DME for yeast starters?

1.) what kind of DME should you use for a yeast starter? same as in recipe, or is there a universal DME to use?

2.) why not use some of your actual wort and pitch whole starter next day?

3.) do you really need a starter with smack packs?

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:14 AM   #2
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1. just some Briess light DME...
2. because your other wort could become infected. plus you want to give the starter a couple of days to do its thing
3. some people do some don't...I do

there is a wealth of info on starters on this site and the net...

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:15 AM   #3
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1.) Usually Pilsner or Pale DME.

2.) Letting your wort sit while your starter is propagating isn't a good idea - it increased the chances for off-flavors due to bacterial or wild yeast infections.

3.) You don't need to, but it's highly recommended.

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:16 AM   #4
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1) any old DME will do, although darker ones run the risk of impacting the color of your final beer
2) Your beer (wort) could get infecting in the mean time
3) Depends on the OG and how old the smack pack is. If memory serves, smack packs are made to be able to pitch into a wort with OG of 1.040. So if the smack pack is more than a month or so old, or if you wort has a higher gravity, a starter is probably a good idea

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:21 AM   #5
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You should use a yeast starter for all brews that has an original gravity of 1.060 and above.

1. I use a similar DME as what is being used in that batch. Mixing ½ quart of boiled (cooled) water and ½ cup DME. This should give you a gravity of around 1.040, perfect for the starter.

2. Using the actual malt will give you a much higher gravity then you desire. Remember, you are making a yeast starter because your wort has such a high gravity. Think of it as preparing the yeast for bigger things.

3. I recommend a yeast start for any wort that is 1.070 and above, even with the smack packs. It is easy to do and really does contribute to the flavor of the higher gravity beers. Below is so pointer on when and how much to use.

This Pitching Rate Calculater is very handy.

Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator

If you're curious, here is the simple math to calculate the number of cells needed. For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.
(0.75 million) X (milliliters of wort) X (degrees Plato of the wort)

• There is about 3785 milliliters in a gallon. There are about 20,000 milliliters in 5.25 gallons.

• A degree Plato is about 1.004 of original gravity. Just divide the OG by 4 to get Plato (e.g., 1.048 is 12 degrees Plato).

So, for a 1.048 wort pitching into 5.25 gallons you need about 180 billion cells.
(750,000) X (20,000) X (12) = 180,000,000,000

As an easy to remember rough estimate, you need about 15 billion cells for each degree Plato or about 4 billion cells for each point of OG when pitching into a little over 5 gallons of wort. If you want a quick way of doing a back of the envelope estimate, that is really close to 0.75 billion cells for each point of gravity per gallon of wort. Double that to 1.5 billion for a lager.

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Old 04-15-2009, 05:08 PM   #6
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using that calculation tool it says i need 1.56 liters of starter that seems like a lot, no? i mean 1.56 liters is almost a 1/2 a gallon so now my green beer volume is 5.5 gallons won't that dilute, and or change my beer in some way? should i compensate for the starter somehow? if so how?

other question if using a different DME in the yeast starter than in your wort it won't affect your gravity, tastes, or color in the batch? (assuming your DME is lighter than, or the same as, the one your are using in the wort.) as in won't it lighten any beer if i use a light DME?

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Old 04-15-2009, 05:50 PM   #7
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I have both light and amber depending on the color of the beer I am doing. I have used the amber on ambers and darker beers, and the light for anything lower on the SRM scale.

In the future when I run out of DME I think I will do what I think Deathbrewer suggested and mash some grain in one of those coated cast iron pots (can't remember the real name for some reason) in the oven set at 155*. I figure 3/4 lb of grain at about .45c compared to 1/2 of DME is a bit of cost savings.

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Old 04-15-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by immaculatemale8 View Post
using that calculation tool it says i need 1.56 liters of starter that seems like a lot, no? i mean 1.56 liters is almost a 1/2 a gallon so now my green beer volume is 5.5 gallons won't that dilute, and or change my beer in some way? should i compensate for the starter somehow? if so how?

other question if using a different DME in the yeast starter than in your wort it won't affect your gravity, tastes, or color in the batch? (assuming your DME is lighter than, or the same as, the one your are using in the wort.) as in won't it lighten any beer if i use a light DME?
1.5 to 2-liter starters are pretty standard for propagation for most medium-gravity ales. With a starter this large, you don't pitch the entire thing though. You let the starter wort ferment to completion, chill it down to get the yeast to settle to the bottom, and then decant/discard the starter wort. Swirl up the fresh yeast bed and pitch only that - that way, you neither dilute nor impart any undesirable flavors to your beer.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:46 PM   #9
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so whats the benefit of doing a yeast starter what does it help with? seem you could just pitch the yeast as is, or is it just about lag time? does it benefit anything other than time?

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Old 04-15-2009, 10:16 PM   #10
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With a proper starter (i.e. larger than 1 liter), you increase yeast cell count, viability and vitality, which results in a better beer - shorter lag time, reduced chance for stuck fermentation, full attenuation, less stress-induced off-flavors, etc. There are numerous sources out there that describe the benefits in detail that a forum or Google search will find.

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