Electric Brewing Supply 30A BCS Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > I am confused about starters and starter calculators.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-18-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
natewv
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: baltimore, md
Posts: 201
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default I am confused about starters and starter calculators.

When people say "1L starter" what the hell are they talking about? I have a stir plate and a 1Lflask. I wish I had a bigger flask but I don't.

When I read "how to make a starter" threads or the Wiki I feel like I have always been told to use 2 cups of water with 1/2 a cup of DME. That's like a 300ml starter.

When I go to yeastcalc, I am asked for my "starter volume" (mr. malty just says I need a 1 L starter, usually). What does that mean? There's the stepping option on yeastcalc, which makes sense, but I don't understand how "big" my starter needs to be. I just feel like the calculators are nice and all, but they don't complete the circle and actually tell yo uhow to do it. For example yeastcalc says mix the "appropriate" amount of water and DME...why would tat be a user-defined value?

I guess what I'm asking, is given my equipment, let's say I want to make a starter for a 1.6 or so 5.25G ale. I'll use yeastcalc, I guess I can step it, but I haven't really been able to determine what "size" I need to start with that won't hurt the yeast. If I need to step it, I will, I just don't see any direction. What am I missing?

__________________
natewv is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
weirdboy
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 7,974
Liked 431 Times on 352 Posts
Likes Given: 60

Default

Here's an easy rule of thumb:

You need 100g DME per 1L of starter you intend to make.


So, put 100g of DME into your flask, then fill it up with cold water up to the 600ml mark or so, boil it for a bit, then top it off with sanitized water to the 1L mark. You can, of course, just fill it to the 1L mark before you boil, but it's easy to get boilovers that way unless you're careful.


If you are looking to step up a starter, a good rule of thumb is to double the size every step.

__________________
weirdboy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
peanasky
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Central WI
Posts: 114
Liked 8 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

Here's what I do, it may not be exactly equivalent, but it seems to work for me:

When I'm told I need a 1L starter, you can essentially do 2 500mL starters. Make a 500mL starter, let it finish, cold-crash (in the fridge), decant the old start liquid off leaving yeast behind, and then use that in a new 500mL starter.

As for the SG of the starter, that more depends on your recipe and the age/condition of the yeast. The older/smaller amount of yeast you have, you want to start off with a lower SG on the first round, then higher on the second. Also, a bigger beer will need more yeast, so you may have to do a few extra "rounds" or "step-ups".

Edit - or do what weirdboy said to get your 1L starter

__________________
peanasky is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
beertroll
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Shaftsbury, VT
Posts: 299
Liked 32 Times on 28 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default

A 1L starter is 1 liter of ~1.035 wort. From a typical White Labs or Wyeast package, you probably want to limit your first step to about 1L. Some people go straight to a big 2-4L starter successfully, but I've seen quite a few good sources recommend against making a jump like that. I believe the standard practice for stepping up is to double your starter size with each step.

Generally, you shouldn't need to make huge starters unless you're really brewing a big beer. For a 1.060 5gal batch, 1L should be plenty.

__________________
beertroll is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
weirdboy
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 7,974
Liked 431 Times on 352 Posts
Likes Given: 60

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by peanasky View Post
Here's what I do, it may not be exactly equivalent, but it seems to work for me:

When I'm told I need a 1L starter, you can essentially do 2 500mL starters. Make a 500mL starter, let it finish, cold-crash (in the fridge), decant the old start liquid off leaving yeast behind, and then use that in a new 500mL starter.
Don't do that. It doesn't work like you think it does. You may get a few new viable cells, but for the most part it is a complete waste of effort unless you actually expand the volume of wort the yeast have to work with. The yeast grow to a sufficient density occupy that volume of wort, so decanting and adding more wort isn't going to increase the amount of viable cells.
__________________
weirdboy is offline
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #6
Denny
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Eugene OR
Posts: 4,292
Liked 437 Times on 330 Posts
Likes Given: 530

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by beertroll View Post
A 1L starter is 1 liter of ~1.035 wort. From a typical White Labs or Wyeast package, you probably want to limit your first step to about 1L. Some people go straight to a big 2-4L starter successfully, but I've seen quite a few good sources recommend against making a jump like that. I believe the standard practice for stepping up is to double your starter size with each step.
Yeast manufacturers claim that a vial or smackpack is good for 5 gal. of 1.050 wort. While we all doubt that, they're certainly fine for 3 qt. of 1.035 wort. My own experience over hundreds of batches bears that out.
__________________

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

http://www.experimentalbrew.com - the website for the book "Experimental Homebrewing"...coming Nov. 2014

Denny is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
peanasky
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Central WI
Posts: 114
Liked 8 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
Don't do that. It doesn't work like you think it does. You may get a few new viable cells, but for the most part it is a complete waste of effort unless you actually expand the volume of wort the yeast have to work with. The yeast grow to a sufficient density occupy that volume of wort, so decanting and adding more wort isn't going to increase the amount of viable cells.
Well then, thank you. Learn something new everyday
__________________
peanasky is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
MagicSmoker
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 119
Liked 14 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 61

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by beertroll View Post
...From a typical White Labs or Wyeast package, you probably want to limit your first step to about 1L. Some people go straight to a big 2-4L starter successfully, but I've seen quite a few good sources recommend against making a jump like that....
Yeah, I've seen this recommendation a bunch of times, too, but it doesn't make sense to me. After all, a single package of liquid yeast is supposed to provide enough cells to ferment 2-2.5gal of wort, and I'd be willing to bet that everyone here has successfully made 5gal. of beer with just one smack pack or vial, so how come the same amount of yeast can't handle more than a 1-2L starter?!?
__________________
MagicSmoker is offline
mtnagel Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
BobbiLynn
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,951
Liked 791 Times on 539 Posts
Likes Given: 389

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by peanasky View Post
Well then, thank you. Learn something new everyday
+1 to this. Clicked on this topic because I am confused too. Thanks in advance for any and all additional info and info thus far.
__________________
BobbiLynn is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
natewv
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: baltimore, md
Posts: 201
Liked 5 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
Here's an easy rule of thumb:

You need 100g DME per 1L of starter you intend to make.


So, put 100g of DME into your flask, then fill it up with cold water up to the 600ml mark or so, boil it for a bit, then top it off with sanitized water to the 1L mark. You can, of course, just fill it to the 1L mark before you boil, but it's easy to get boilovers that way unless you're careful.

I'm going to just use a regular pot to boil and use the flask for the stir plate.

So what you are saying is a 1 L starter is made with approximately 1 L of wort. However if I were to cold crash and decant the starter wort...that 100 ml or whatever of slurry is equivalent to 1 L of wort?
__________________
natewv is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Confused about starters... ChadChaney Lambic & Wild Brewing 9 05-21-2012 06:14 PM
Im a little confused with yeast starters, and stir plates B_Lines Fermentation & Yeast 10 09-18-2011 12:20 PM
Confused on Yeast starters swamplawn Fermentation & Yeast 10 03-03-2011 05:00 PM
Confused about starters... scone Fermentation & Yeast 16 12-24-2009 09:39 PM
Starters... a little confused Schneider89 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 14 03-17-2009 04:14 PM