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-   -   First time making a yeast starter (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/first-time-making-yeast-starter-332737/)

BeerEngineer11 06-02-2012 04:29 PM

First time making a yeast starter
Newbie question...

Bought a brown ale beer kit online back in late March, but due to a ton of "reasons"(including putting in a new kitchen) I wasn't able to brew until now (6/1). I refrigerated the yeast and hops as soon as I received the kit.

Yesterday I made my first yeast starter, using the White Labs British Ale yeast WLP005 from the kit. The "best before" date on the yeast is June 8, 2012 (one week from now). I took it out of the fridge about 4-5 hours prior to pitching to bring it down to room (fermentation) temp.

I used a yeast starter kit from Northern Brewer. Followed the directions, using 650ml of water and 1/2 cup DME. Boiled about 17 min, cooled wort down to about 76-77 degrees (slightly higher than the temp I will ferment at, hoping this 6-8 degree difference won't have any affect), then pitched the yeast, which seemed slightly "clumpy". And I unfortunately forgot to add yeast nutrient.

Stirred the starter frequently last night, as well as this AM. When I first checked this AM, there was no krausen at all, and about a 1/4-3/8 inch layer of yeast on the bottom. I would assume that that is a significant amount of growth... correct?

Is the fact that there is no krausen reason to be concerned?

Thanks for any feedback!

LLBeanJ 06-02-2012 05:23 PM

Sounds like even with that starter size, you're going to be underpitching by quite a bit.

Assuming a 1.045 OG and a 5 gallon batch, you'll need about 158 billion cells according to yeastcalc.com. Using a viability date of 2/8/12 for the yeast, viability is estimated to be 16%, or 16 billion viable cells from the original 100 billion. A .65L starter using intermittent shaking, will bring you up to roughly 57 billion, which is about 100 billion short of what you really need.

You can go with it, knowing you'll likely have stressed yeast, and it'll probably turn out fine if you give it a good 4-week primary. The fact that you made the starter does help since the yeast you do have are awake and ready to go. Howerver, if you haven't started brewing yet, I'd suggest you do another step up with a 1.2-1.3L starter so you know you'll be pitching at the proper rate.

I wouldn't worry about the lack of krausen. That's not at all uncommon.

BeerEngineer11 06-03-2012 01:10 AM

Thanks for the reply, LLBeanJ...

Would purchasing another tube of the same yeast from my LHBS, and pitching that along with the starter help? (That way I don't have to wait to do another step-up, and can still brew tomorrow.)

I had no idea that, even though the yeast hasn't reached its "best before" date, that the viability decreases THAT much! If I'd known that I would have gotten new yeast!

I even called the online HB shop I bought it from to ask what ingredients are still "good" and what should be replaced. As for the yeast, they never mentioned anything more than simply making a starter.

I'm still planning on brewing tomorrow; I'll probably keep it in the primary for 4 weeks or so, like you said.

Thanks again!

(Any other suggestions/comments are appreciated!)

LLBeanJ 06-03-2012 01:43 AM

Got your PM, but I'll answer you here.

Yes, if you can get another vial of yeast that is fresh, then go for it. That'll put you right in the zone as far as count goes if you pitch it along with your starter.

Also, if your LHBS does not have WLP005, the Wyeast equivalent (i.e., the same strain) is 1187 Ringwood Ale.

Good luck.

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