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Old 04-20-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
wyoast
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Default making a starter with dry yeast questions

What is the reason everyone says that making a starter for dry yeast is counterproductive? I've read more than a few times that pitching dry yeast in a starter will kill a certain percentage of the yeast right off the bat hence the notion that you would essentially be playing catch up...But isnt that the reason that we re-hydrate dry yeast before pitching into wort? to ease the initial shock? if so, why couldnt we re-hydrate in sterilized water then pitch into a starter to grow more new clean yeast to save for future use??

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Old 04-20-2013, 12:48 PM   #2
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I can't give you yeast count numbers or explain with certainty how dry yeast reacts to it, but I can say that it has worked with no noticeable problems for me.

On several occasions I have rehydrated dry yeast then dumped that slurry into a large starter to grow the yeast. I've done it with W-34/70 and US-05. The lagers came out clean, no noticeable off flavors, and in ales, I get the same flavor profile as if I had only rehydrated the yeast and then pitched it into my wort.

Dry yeast is suppose to have a much larger yeast count when compared to liquid yeast, so I'm not sure how much yeast is actually multiplying this way, but like I said, it has worked for me.

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoast
What is the reason everyone says that making a starter for dry yeast is counterproductive? I've read more than a few times that pitching dry yeast in a starter will kill a certain percentage of the yeast right off the bat hence the notion that you would essentially be playing catch up...But isnt that the reason that we re-hydrate dry yeast before pitching into wort? to ease the initial shock? if so, why couldnt we re-hydrate in sterilized water then pitch into a starter to grow more new clean yeast to save for future use??
Because dry yeast is cheap. You would spend more money making the starter than just buying 2 packs of dry yeast.
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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I guess..1lb DME-$9 enough to make 4 or 5 starters..2 pks dry yeast-$11. The closest hbs to me is about an hour and a half away so it would definitely be cheaper on me if I could just keep a few good strains going at home.

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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One of the vendors on the site did a yeast study that was very informative. After racking the beer off the yeast cake he put the slurry in pint jars and re pitched using those. He counted the yeast in the slurry and found enough yeast to pitch a normal gravity batch in each pint jar that he got.

I have started doing this and have to say it is a great way to save time and money. I get 4 pints of slurry from the first batch and use it for 4 generations or 16 batches total after the initial pitch. The best part though is walking to the fridge and grabbing the yeast and dumping it into the wort. No starter no re hydrating just shake and dump.

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Old 04-20-2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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Funny you mentioned that..I just did the same thing myself for the first time the other day after reading "yeast washing illustrated" on here. I now have 4 pint jars of rinsed Bry-97 ready to go. But I've also read posts about picking up different flavors from "hopped yeast" I guess I'll find out for myself when I experiment with it a bit. I was just not understanding the reasoning behind folks saying that pitching dry yeast into a starter would kill some of the yeast. Especially if you were to re-hydrate first. Just didn't make sense to me.

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Old 04-20-2013, 02:07 PM   #7
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For me it works simply because I only brew 2 styles of beer and keep those separated in the fridge. I don't even wash the yeast just use the slurry as it is.

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Old 04-20-2013, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoast View Post
What is the reason everyone says that making a starter for dry yeast is counterproductive? I've read more than a few times that pitching dry yeast in a starter will kill a certain percentage of the yeast right off the bat hence the notion that you would essentially be playing catch up...But isnt that the reason that we re-hydrate dry yeast before pitching into wort? to ease the initial shock? if so, why couldnt we re-hydrate in sterilized water then pitch into a starter to grow more new clean yeast to save for future use??
Hello, your kinda asking 2 different questions, you don't want to just pitch dry yeast into a starter right off the bat, but rehydrating the yeast first in water then pitching is the more proper way to use dry yeast.

Pitching dry yeast directly into a starter or wort will shock the yeast cells walls, when they are becoming active in liquid, the wort can travel thru the cell walls in both directions, and this can damage the walls, according to what I have read.

When pitching dry yeast into water, the water can travel threw the cells walls in both directions without damaging the cells walls, this is the reason for making a yeast slurry with water first, then pitch or make a starter.

Hope this helps, I way simplified what I read, but that is what I got out of, what I read.

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Old 04-20-2013, 03:07 PM   #9
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Jamil says that pitching into wort, either the full batch of beer or even starter wort will kill roughly half the yeast. So, if you wanted to make a starter, rehydrate your yeast first.

The second point is, why make a starter with dry yeast?
When propagating yeast for pitching, the general rule of thumb is to increase the volume of yeast-to-wort by a multiple of 5-10x the current volume. There is enough yeast cells to ferment a normal gravity beer from one pack of yeast. Another rule of thumb is for every 30 pints of gravity you use another pack of yeast... So, 1.030 use one pack, 1.031-1.060 use 2 packs, etc. Making a starter with a pack of yeast does not really increase cell counts, and actually from reading the Yeast book, it can weaken the yeast cells due to depleted reserves. Your pitching a pack of yeast into a starter is like making a starter for a jar of yeast slurry. It's just not necessary. Your best bet is to make a small batch of beer, like 2-3 gallons of 1.040-50 OG, then use the slurry of that batch for about 10 gallons of beer, or split the slurry into 2 for 2 separate batches. I culture yeast from slants and this is what I do.
When people use Wyeasy Activator packs and make starters, it doesn't do much for cell counts (unless they are using a stir plate), but rather wakes the yeast up and gets them prepared to ferment. Propagator packs have significantly smaller amounts of yeast in them, and those are meant to be used in a starter. I believe it's the same rule of thumb with the White labs vials as with the dry yeast... For every 30 pts gravity you add another vital. But you can, and should make a starter with those.
As to using pint jars of slurry, I would never just take them out of the fridge and pitch them... You should take them out at the beginning of brew day so they come up to temperature. You want to pitch your yeast at as close to the wort temp as you can get so you don't shock your yeast.

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Old 04-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
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Good info guys, thanks. As I understand it, 1-11 gram pack of dry yeast yields roughly 100-150 billion viable cells. What you were saying about pitching the whole package into a starter would be overkill.. that's what I was thinking too. Too many cells in too small of volume -no need for them to multiply- What I was planning was to split the pack in half or maybe even 3rds and making a low gravity starter ( say 1.020 ) for the sole purpose of propagating and multiplying the yeast..anyone ever experiment with this? I'm sure it will be a trial and error kinda deal to get the gravity and amounts dialed in so as the yeast won't get stressed to the point of producing undesired byproducts.

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