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Bigbens6 04-21-2009 04:09 PM

Yeast starter
I am planning on making the switch from extract/steep to partial mash, in an effort to take my beer to the next level i am making many changes along the way but one i have had trouble deciding on is a starter for my yeast.

Alot of times i don't know I'm going to brew until 24-48 hours prior to brewing, just my schedule. How long does a starter take to get going?

As well, what is the big benefit of a starter, thinking logically it would seem that fermentation would be quicker but im not in this to make beer as fast as possible, so that is rather unimportant to me, are there off flavors during multiplication of the yeast i am avoiding, am i going to get better attenuation? Will i net lower gravities and more complete fermentation?

I guess to dumb it down, when the beer hits my lips am i going to notice and difference due to using a starter? As is i plan to use the wyeast packets, is that enough of a starter?

double_e5 04-21-2009 04:41 PM

24-48 hours is fine for a normal sized starter. Usually, I brew on Saturday mornings and will make my starter Thursday evening.

To the benefits: The answer is yes to all your questions.

Making a starter will improve the quality of your beer. Using the smack packs is not making a starter. When making a starter you are getting the growth phase going to increase the cell count.

rsmith179 04-21-2009 04:47 PM

I would highly reccommend making starters for all of your batches, unless you're using dry yeast packets. The vials from White Labs and the Smackpacks from Wyeast are just not enough yeast to just pitch into your batch. It doesn't take long to make a starter and you'll be happy you did. The results will be able to be tasted in your final product.

I normally start my starters right around 48 hours to go until brewday. I'll let it go for about 24-36 hours and then throw it in the fridge to bring the yeast out of suspension. On brew day, I'll take the starter out of the fridge, let it warm up to room temp, and then decant most of the liquid off the top. A nice little swirl to get all the yeast off the bottom and into the primary it goes.

ChshreCat 04-21-2009 04:48 PM

Note, you only need to make a starter if you're using liquid yeast. And dry yeast is just great for lots and lots of beers. Unless you're doing something specific like a hefe or something belgian or that sort of thing, something like S04 or S05 are great.

Lando 04-21-2009 05:24 PM

Not trying to hijack the thread, but with dry yeast it a starter is not needed? Is it preferred?

llazy_llama 04-21-2009 05:26 PM


Originally Posted by Lando (Post 1274334)
Not trying to hijack the thread, but with dry yeast it a starter is not needed? Is it preferred?

No. The main point to making a starter is yeast reproduction. With dry yeast, even if somehow 11g of yeast isn't enough (ie: HUGE beer) it's cheaper, safer, and easier to just pitch 2 packs.

With dry yeast, just rehydrate and pitch.

Bigbens6 04-21-2009 07:37 PM

how do you rehydrate, i have just been pitching the dry yeast right on top of my wort... did i miss something huge here haha?

rsmith179 04-21-2009 07:41 PM

Here's a good link for you:

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Preparing Yeast and Yeast Starters

Basically, just get one cup warm water and 1 tsp. of tablesugar and dump the yeast in there. Cover it up with some foil and you should see some action within an hour. You're essentially getting the yeast roused up and ready to ferment the wort they're about to be dumped in.

ChshreCat 04-21-2009 07:47 PM

I just do what the pack says to do. If it says to rehydrate I do. Most I've used just say to sprinkle on top. So, when The Man says to sprinkle, I sprinkle. :D

DonArmando 04-21-2009 10:53 PM

once i did a 6 days starter....it was really good and the fermenter is bubbling happily in this moment (blub)

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