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Old 01-16-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
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Default Do starters really make the beer better?

I am wondering if starters actually make better beer or if it may be overrated. If I have a healthy fermentation without a starter, will my results really be that different as with a starter? How does a starter make the beer better exactly? Do most nano/microbreweries use starters?

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Old 01-16-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dassy
I am wondering if starters actually make better beer or if it may be overrated. If I have a healthy fermentation without a starter, will my results really be that different as with a starter? How does a starter make the beer better exactly? Do most nano/microbreweries use starters?
It makes the beer better by making more yeast to get the job done faster and easier and prevent off flavors from the stressed yeast. If you want a good healthy fermentation with minimal off flavors then a starter is a must.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dassy View Post
I am wondering if starters actually make better beer or if it may be overrated.
The former.

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Originally Posted by dassy View Post
If I have a healthy fermentation without a starter, will my results really be that different as with a starter?
Probably not, but your odds of having a healthy fermentation are measurably improved by having a starter.

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How does a starter make the beer better exactly?
They provide for a healthy fermentation. They ensure that you have enough yeast to do the job without stressing them unnecessarily. They ensure that the majority of the yeast you're pitching are viable, which may not be the case with a straight pitch.

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Do most nano/microbreweries use starters?
In most cases, commercial breweries are probably repitching from previous batches. They can more easily recover fresh yeast from their fermenters than they typical homebrewer. If they're not doing that, then they're going to either grow up a pitch of yeast from a slant or something, in which case that's essentially their starter, or they're just buying a big enough pitch from the yeast lab in the first place.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:56 PM   #4
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I think it's just a matter of pitching enough healthy yeast. I don't think the beer cares how you obtained the correct amount of yeast. If you pitch plenty of yeast from a vial with no starter, your beer will turn out great. A starter is just a good way to ensure you have healthy yeast before you pitch and a way to reach proper pitching rates without having to buy multiple vials. With most of my beers having an OG of at least 1.060, it saves me money making starters rather than pitching 2-3 vials per batch.

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Old 01-16-2012, 11:04 PM   #5
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yes

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Old 01-16-2012, 11:13 PM   #6
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I like the fact that I can check the viability of the yeast before I dump it into my wort.

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Old 01-17-2012, 12:21 AM   #7
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try it. you'll notice the difference.

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Old 01-17-2012, 12:28 AM   #8
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I think it's just a matter of pitching enough healthy yeast. I don't think the beer cares how you obtained the correct amount of yeast. If you pitch plenty of yeast from a vial with no starter, your beer will turn out great. A starter is just a good way to ensure you have healthy yeast before you pitch and a way to reach proper pitching rates without having to buy multiple vials. With most of my beers having an OG of at least 1.060, it saves me money making starters rather than pitching 2-3 vials per batch.
+1 agree 100% you can just pitch 2-3 vials of yeast or 2 packs of dry yeast depending on your S.G. or save money and make a starter.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:28 AM   #9
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I think cell count matters more than anything.

I make a starter from a single vial/smackpack, but use re-pitched washed yeast as per mrmalty for subsequent batches using the same yeast (I tend to make a new batch the day I rack off the cake).

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