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Old 01-26-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
arborman
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Default Help with first time Yeast Starter

I bought a yeast starter set up yesterday, which consisted of a flask and a 1/2 lb. of DME.

Is a stir plate required? If not, what is the best method, and how long, would I need to stir/prepare?

How far in advance can a starter be made? I am planning to brew next weekend, would it be too far ahead of time to make a starter this weekend?

Lastly, can I use dry yeast in the starter? Thats all I have on hand.

Thanks fellas

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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A starter is not necessary if you are using dry yeast. The manufacturer of the yeast will probably recommend that you rehydrate the yeast but I never do. I just pitch it right on top of the wort. You will want to make a starter if you are using liquid yeast like White Labs or Wyeast. You do not have to have a stir plate although they are nice. When I first started making starters I would just shake the flask everytime I walked by and it works pretty well. You can make your starter ahead of time and after about 24 to 48 hours you can cover the flask with sanitized tin foil and put it in your fridge. The yeast will floculate down to the bottom of the flask and then on brew day just take the flask out of the fridge, decant the beer off of the yeast cake at the bottom leaving enough beer to make a slurry, let the yeast warm up to room temp and then it is ready to pitch. I also recommend using Mrmalty.com to calculate pitch rates and the size of your starter. Also you want your starter to have an OG of right around 1.040.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. Being as all I have is dry yeast, is it possible to still make a starter with it a d still use it? I'd like to give a yeast starter a try (something to do today involving brewing), even if its not needed. But, if it just plain won't work to use a dry yeast starter in a brew, then I'd forget about it. If it won't hurt to do this, and I'd be able to use it in my Dead Ringer IPA I'm gonna do next week, then I'd love to try it out today

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Old 01-27-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arborman
Thanks for the feedback. Being as all I have is dry yeast, is it possible to still make a starter with it a d still use it? I'd like to give a yeast starter a try (something to do today involving brewing), even if its not needed. But, if it just plain won't work to use a dry yeast starter in a brew, then I'd forget about it. If it won't hurt to do this, and I'd be able to use it in my Dead Ringer IPA I'm gonna do next week, then I'd love to try it out today
I don't have the exact cell numbers but most dry yeast packages have enough yeast cells to ferment beers up to around a 1.070 OG beer. It would require 4 packages of liquid yeast to do the same job. That is why people do starters is to increase the cell count so they can pitch the proper amount if yeast without having to spend a ton of money on multiple liquid yeast packages. If you made a starter with dry yeast you would have too many yeast cells and over pitch your wort which could result in off flavors. If you need more dry yeast you just spend another $1.50 for another pack of yeast.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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I make starters with dry yeast when I make hard lemonade, but only because I have has problems in the past getting fermentation started with the acidic lemonade wort. That and the gravity is usually around 1.070 to 1.08.

I just rehydrate the yeast then pitch into my starter wort. Once it reaches high activity I pitch the whole starter to the lemonade.

You probably don't need to do this for Your beer though. What are the projected gravity numbers for your brew?

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Old 01-27-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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You can certainly make a starter with dry yeast. It will not hurt anything, unless you contaminate the starter. I think anything that gets the yeast going and excited to do their job is helpful, especially for big beers and odd things like acidic lemonade.

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