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Old 10-13-2006, 04:10 PM   #1
jlinner
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Default Yeast Starters??

What are the benefits of doing a starter yeast rather them just adding the contents of the package into the chilled wort?

And how do you go about making starter yeast?

Thanks,
John

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Old 10-13-2006, 04:55 PM   #2
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Main benefit is that it increases the amount of yeast you are pitching. While Wyeast and White Labs both claim their products are pitchable (and many people do with decent results), making a starter will help decrease your lag time and result in a healthier fermentation.

The best instructions I have found for making a yeast starter can be found here www.howtobrew.com

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Old 10-13-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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There are threads on here for making starters.

My method (and I don't measure anything very carefully) is:

1 quart of water and a heaping cup of DME.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Cool.
Pour into 1/2 gallon glass milk jug.
Pitch yeast.
Put cap on jug.
Shake to aerate.
Install airlock.
Wait 1 day.

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Old 10-13-2006, 05:24 PM   #4
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This is my technique. I like to start mine a week in advance to let the yeast go through its complete cycle.

I boil a little over a half gallon of water (to account for some boil off), 1/2 lb of light DME and Wyeast yeast nutrients for 15 minutes. I cool and add the wort to a gallon jug, pitch yeast and shake the crap out of it. I cover with foil and periodically shake until fermentation is complete. I then put in fridge until brew day.

Take the jug out the morning of your brew day and decant most of the liquid off. Let the temp of the yeast come up while you brew. After you brew and are ready to pitch the yeast, swirl what's left in the jug and pitch slurry into wort.

Now if I am going to brew on short notice, I will make a starter with a quart of water and cup of light DME before I brew. This will at least wake the yeast up by the time you are ready to pitch later in the day.

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Old 10-13-2006, 05:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seyahmit
Now if I am going to brew on short notice, I will make a starter with a quart of water and cup of light DME before I brew. This will at least wake the yeast up by the time you are ready to pitch later in the day.
That's what I always do and I always get super fast and vigorous fermentation. Do you get better results with the complete/delayed method?
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Old 10-13-2006, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewmanBeing
That's what I always do and I always get super fast and vigorous fermentation. Do you get better results with the complete/delayed method?
I prefer the bigger starter because I am actually increasing my cell count more and getting closer to a proper pitch rate. In a pinch, I will make the quart starter to wake 'em up.

Check out Jamil Zainasheff's website Mr. Malty. He gives a great explanation on proper pitching rates and has a cool new pitch rate calculator.
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Old 10-13-2006, 06:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seyahmit
I prefer the bigger starter because I am actually increasing my cell count more and getting closer to a proper pitch rate. In a pinch, I will make the quart starter to wake 'em up.

Check out Jamil Zainasheff's website Mr. Malty. He gives a great explanation on proper pitching rates and has a cool new pitch rate calculator.
I'm just wondering if you get better results. On a more theoretical level I am wondering what is better (for ultimate flavor) pitching with a larger volume of sleeping yeasts or a smaller volume of recently awakened yeasts?
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Old 10-15-2006, 04:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewmanBeing
I'm just wondering if you get better results. On a more theoretical level I am wondering what is better (for ultimate flavor) pitching with a larger volume of sleeping yeasts or a smaller volume of recently awakened yeasts?
I don't think the yeast are sleeping, in fact fermentation takes off within a few hours of pitching. From what I gathered, when you under pitch, the yeast needs to expend more energy reproducing. That is precious energy that could go towards eating the sugar in your wort. Before I started making the bigger starters, I was having a heck of a time getting my FG down below 1.018. I don't have that problem anymore.

In a few weeks I will be able to test that theory. Last weekend, I got together with a few guys from work that are also home brewers. We made a 20 gallon batch of brown ale. I know for a fact that he pitched a WL tube directly into his wort. He said it took forever for fermentation to start. When we all get together again to taste our beers, I will be interested to see how much of a difference there is between the beers and which beer attenuated further.
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Old 10-15-2006, 05:10 AM   #9
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Thanks man, you got me hooked on the idea of bigger starters. I like dryer beers and higher attenuation sounds good!!!

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Old 10-15-2006, 07:55 AM   #10
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Keep in mind, cell counts increase while there's oxygen to consume, fermentation happens when there isn't. If you OVER pitch, is there a possibility that the yeast would reach a critical mass (limited by something other than oxygen) that would cause them to all go into fermentation before all the oxygen is metabolized? If this happened, could you actually wind up with oxidized beer as a result? Seems to me that there's a fine balancing act, if you under pitch and don't aerate well, you get a really low final cell count once all the O2 is gone and there's not many yeasties around to ferment, so you get poor attenuation and long fermentations. Aeration during the initial day or so should theoretically fix that. However, if you over pitch you will have plenty of yeasties to ferment, but could potentially leave oxygen in solution. What am I missing? :-)

PS. I don't actually worry about it all that much as above, I make a 750 mL starter in an old bacardi bottle a day or two before I'm set to brew, and I don't even bother to decant, just dump it in.

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