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Old 02-03-2008, 02:47 AM   #1
brandonp22
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Default Yeast starter or not??

When do I need to use a yeast starter? When is one not necessary?

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Old 02-03-2008, 03:42 AM   #2
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plenty of info on them here, read some old posts

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Old 02-03-2008, 04:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonp22
When do I need to use a yeast starter? When is one not necessary?

Anytime using liquid yeast I would use one, any time using dry yeast its not neccesary and probably a hinderance.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshpooh
Anytime using liquid yeast I would use one, any time using dry yeast its not neccesary and probably a hinderance.
I agree with joshpoo.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:10 AM   #5
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If you are using a very fresh batch of liquid yeast (either White Labs tube or especially the Wyeast Activator packs) and your beer is 1.045 OG or less (assumes 5 gallon batch), you don't need one. Otherwise, always make one, and it should be scaled relative to the gravity of your brew and the age of your yeast. See the Pitching Rate Calculator at MrMalty.com for full details.

If you are using dry yeast, it is recommended to rehydrate before pitching (unless it is a really small beer). It is generally not recommended that you make a starter with dry yeast because generally properly rehydrated yeast are going to be as healthy and viable (or possibly moreso) than dry yeast from a starter. If you need to get the yeast cell count up, say for a big batch, just pitch more than one packet of rehydrated yeast. Often, the cost of making the starter (e.g., cost of the DME) is more than another packet of dry yeast.

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Old 02-03-2008, 07:09 AM   #6
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Always use one with liquid yeasts to ensure the correct pitching rate (unless you can count the yeasts cells you are pitching). Pitching less that the optimum amount (under pitching) can result in the production of fusel alcohols and excessive levels of esters and diacetyl. It can also result in long lag times, slow fermentation and or under attenuation.

You should expect a lag time of 24hrs or less, any more and you are inviting trouble. To cut this down, prepare your starter early, let your starter ferment out fully, pour off the spent starter medium (beer) and add a little cooled wort collected 10 mins into the boil to ensure it is sanitised, shake it all up to aerate and pitch when it is active.

If that sounds like too much work, use dried yeasts. 1x11g sachet contains sufficient yeast cells for 6 usg of wort up to approx 1048 iirc...more info here Yeast Pitching Info

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Old 02-03-2008, 06:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
If you are using a very fresh batch of liquid yeast (either White Labs tube or especially the Wyeast Activator packs) and your beer is 1.045 OG or less (assumes 5 gallon batch), you don't need one. Otherwise, always make one, and it should be scaled relative to the gravity of your brew and the age of your yeast. See the Pitching Rate Calculator at MrMalty.com for full details.
According to the pitching rate calculator, your beer needs to be 1.028 or lower before you don't need a starter. That's with the freshest yeast possible and intermittent shaking.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PseudoChef
According to the pitching rate calculator, your beer needs to be 1.028 or lower before you don't need a starter. That's with the freshest yeast possible and intermittent shaking.
You are right -- I stand corrected.

That's wierd, because I have been using those numbers for a while now, and I am sure that I got them from Jamil's calculator (albeit the previous version). But I checked the math on the new calculator manually, and it is correct.

One note -- Jamil uses George Fix's high end of recommended pitching rates in his calculator. While I trust Jamil's advice, I consistently pitch a little lower than he suggests and get excellent results. Also note that every commercial yeast manufacturer's website that I have come across suggest pitching rates that are lower than Jamil's (actually, closer to the lower end suggested by Fix). I suspect that Jamil is very liberal in his pitching rates to be safe, while the yeast manufacturers are quite conservative to be cost effective. So as long as you are in this range, you are probably safe.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:55 PM   #9
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Fix's figures are quite low, commercial pitching rates for an ale are often 1 million cells per milliliter per degree Plato rather than 0.75 million cells/ml/deg plato. That's not to say Fix was wrong, I suspect commercials include a safety margin when it comes to pitching rates.

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Old 02-04-2008, 12:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
You are right -- I stand corrected.

That's wierd, because I have been using those numbers for a while now, and I am sure that I got them from Jamil's calculator (albeit the previous version). But I checked the math on the new calculator manually, and it is correct.

One note -- Jamil uses George Fix's high end of recommended pitching rates in his calculator. While I trust Jamil's advice, I consistently pitch a little lower than he suggests and get excellent results. Also note that every commercial yeast manufacturer's website that I have come across suggest pitching rates that are lower than Jamil's (actually, closer to the lower end suggested by Fix). I suspect that Jamil is very liberal in his pitching rates to be safe, while the yeast manufacturers are quite conservative to be cost effective. So as long as you are in this range, you are probably safe.
Yes, I do agree with this. I do believe Jamil is on the high-end when talking about pitching rates. I'm pretty sure he is still re-working the calculator to give a better understanding, but something like that can't encompass all types of beer where some you may even want to underpitch to drive yeast flavors.

Regardless, I would always suggest at least making a small starter to ensure that your yeast is actually viable. I would also always rehydrate dried yeast for the same purpose.
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