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Old 12-21-2008, 11:51 PM   #1
Korben
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Default White Labs Liquid yeast and starter question..

Just got my first liquid yeast vial, it is white labs and will be using it in a brown ale (yeah another one). I was wondering if i need a starter or not I have heard yes and I have heard no. If I do need a starter what do I need to start it and maintain it... (I tried to search but i am still a little confused, speak to me as if you were teaching a Labrador to brew) Really don't wanna have to buy a stir plate and extra equipment but i will if i have to..

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Old 12-21-2008, 11:58 PM   #2
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Hey Dude. It depends on your final volume and starting gravity. Go here to figure out how big a starter you need. Then use 100 grams of dme per liter of water for the starter. So if it says you need a 1.5 L starter, boil 150 grams of DME in 1.5L of water for 15 minutes. Cool to about 70 degrees F then pour the vial in. Be sure to aerate somehow, be it using a stir plate or shaking the hell out of it ever 2 hours or so. It will be ready to pitch in 18-24 hrs or you could pop it in the fridge at that point in order to get the yeast to fall out. Then decant (pour out) the liquid on top of the yeast cake, swirl the cake with the remaining liquid and pitch into your cooled wort! Easy peasy!

EDIT: Oh yeah, if you don't want to buy a stir plate, you can also put the starter in a 2 L coke bottle. Just be sure to rinse it out well and sanitize it first. The put the starter wort in, shake the hell out of it and pitch the yeast. Crimp sanitized aluminum foil over the top. Then about every two hours, sanitize the coke bottle cap, screw it on and shake again. That introduces oxygen to the wort and promotes yeast reproduction. Be careful when opening it again since a lot of dissolved CO2 will come out of solution and try to foam out of the bottle!

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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I always use a starter with White Labs yeast. It reduces lag time, which improves quality (in theory). It also proofs the yeast, so I know it's viable before I pitch (no "I pitched 30 hours ago and still no airlock activity!" worries). And you can taste the starter to make sure that everything is ok before you pitch.

Also, you don't need a stir plate. You get more yeast cells if your starter is well aerated, so the more you shake it the better (within reason). You don't even need to shake it at all -- you'll just won't get as many cells as if you could have had.

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:14 AM   #4
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Sounds great guys... I assume the DME is the food for the yeast I know it is dry malt extract. But I currently only have the liquid extract from my brew kit. What, if anything, else could I use for yeast food?

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:17 AM   #5
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DME = Dried Malt Extract. From your lack of experience I assume you aren't doing all grain. So what exactly are you using to make your beer?

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:20 AM   #6
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You can use either dried or liquid malt extract for your starter.

Since I've gone all grain, I don't remember the dried-to-liquid extract conversions. But I use 1 cup (137 g) of dried malt extract per liter that the Mr. Malty starter calculator above tells me to. (Others may disagree with this starter "recipe" but it's worked for me).

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Old 12-22-2008, 01:01 AM   #7
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I am using this Nut Brown kit with an upgrade to the white lab liquid yeast.
Click Here
My extract is in a sealed plastic bag so it would be hard to open and use some for my starter but I will probably just order some DME

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Old 12-22-2008, 01:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korben View Post
speak to me as if you were teaching a Labrador to brew
SIT!

Always make a yeast starter. You can believe the White Labs label that the yeast tube is "pitchable" by itself and you can also believe the label of a Miller Lite that it's a true pilsner beer.

You don't have to own a stir plate to make a starter. Just use a 22oz or larger bottle with an airlock and about a pint of starter solution, a moderate gravity wort 1.035-1.045. Either DME or LME works fine. For a quick and dirty method use a 12 oz bottle of Malta and 6 oz of water. Even a simple basic starter is far better than pitching "as is" and you can always increase your sophistication as you progress.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:17 AM   #9
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A yeast starter certainly isn't going to hurt you. On a homebrew level is hard to pitch too much yeast. It's up to you if you want to use one though. If you do, get some extra malt extract and make up a pint or so of wort that is around 1.040. Put the wort in a small vessel that you can use for fermentation. Once the starter has begun to ferment you have two choices, you can either pitch the starter into your batch while the starter is at high krausen, or you can wait for the starter to ferment fully and pitch it then. I'm not sure what the advantages disadvantages are either way. But pitching lots of yeast in a homebrew batch is hardly ever a bad thing.

Brian

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Old 12-22-2008, 01:24 AM   #10
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Until about 3 batches ago I had never made a starter and while I now think a starter is a good move its not required. I made a 9.0% maple wheat ale and plenty of 7%ish Stone clone's all without a starter. They were made using White labs yeast.

My first lager actually turned out quite well and it had no starter. I think that was using a white labs yeast also.

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