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View Poll Results: Under typical circumstances at what OG threshold would you make a yeast starter?
make starter on all batches 61 60.40%
>= 1.040 8 7.92%
>= 1.050 9 8.91%
>= 1.060 12 11.88%
>= 1.070 4 3.96%
>= 1.080 3 2.97%
>= 1.090 1 0.99%
never make starter 3 2.97%
Voters: 101. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #1
isutmase
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Default OG and necessity of yeast starter

I'm sure this has been talked about before, but I've got a buddy who's been brewing for a long time, he got me into it. His theory on yeast starters is that you really only need a yeast starter if your OG is more than 1.050. If it's less than 1.050, he says just pitch the liquid or dry yeast directly into you fermenter.

so is there a "magic" OG threshold where you can directly pitch yeast from the packet without needing a starter? I know there are tons of variables with this question: dry, liquid, strand, temperature fermentation, O2 in mash, etc.

I just wanted to get a few other experienced brewers take on direct pitching from yeast packets correlating to OG levels. I've only done 2 batches so far, both came out clean, both were under or at 1.050, both were direct pitched from packet, one was liquid yeast (1275), other was dry(us-05).

Excited to hear your thoughts...

Trey



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Old 05-08-2012, 01:58 PM   #2
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I'm curious about this as well. Just did a pale ale that I directly pitched from the wyeast 1056, and my OG was 1.065 and it's fermenting like crazy (even had to install a blow off tube the krausen was so wild), the batch I just brewed after was a citrus bomb IPA that the OG was expected to be higher (1.065-1.071) it ended up at 1.078 @ 70 degrees, but this time I made a starter and they are both bubbling allong. Should I have made a starter for the first?



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Old 05-08-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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If you care about making good beer, I'd recommend using a calculator like http://yeastcalc.com/ over any rule-of-thumb. You need to be pitching the correct amount on every batch. You should also properly rehydrate your dry yeast.

http://seanterrill.com/2011/07/29/dry-yeast-viability-take-two/

http://seanterrill.com/2010/05/09/yeast-pitching-rate-results/

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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With White Labs a starter is the only way to proof the yeast, but if I have a fresh (less than three week) smack pack that swells quickly, I wouldn't hesitate to pitch into 5 gallons or less of wort 1.050 or under.


But the "always make a starter" group here on HBT are much more passionate about their cause, so the vote will probably sway that way.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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There is no magic number, but Wyeast states right on the smack-pack that there is enough yeast for a wort with 1.06 OG or less.

That being said, I make a one liter (1/2cup DME in 650 mls h2O) for EVERYTHING under 1.065. Works for me.

Much discussion about this topic, and great beer can be made without a starter. However, most folks that use starters NEVER go back to not using them. That should tell you something.....
Pez.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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After I voted, I mean to say at least...It depends, if I am using dry packs, or smack packs, or vials, how old, etc. I just make one, when I don't have enough yeast for an adequate pitch.

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pezman1 View Post
Much discussion about this topic, and mediocre beer can be made without a starter.
Fixed that for you. When you factor in loss of viability from transport and storage, a single smack pack will rarely provide the proper pitching rate.

Some people don't use starters, and they claim their beer is good, but I've never tried their beer, and I've never seen any objective, verifiable, controlled experiment that showed that pitching too little yeast makes better beer than pitching the correct amount.

IMO there is enough conjecture and mediocre beer in the world, there's no reason to add any more.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pezman1 View Post
There is no magic number, but Wyeast states right on the smack-pack that there is enough yeast for a wort with 1.06 OG or less.
You have to specify: "enough" yeast for what? A few thousand cells will successfully ferment a 5 gal batch, given enough time. What that would taste like, who knows.

In order to achieve the typical flavor profile for a given yeast strain, you need to pitch at roughly the typical pitching rate: 0.75 million/mL°P for ales; 1.5 million/mL°P for lagers. If you have a reason for pitching more or less, then by all means go for it, but not knowing (or at least estimating) the pitching rate is like not knowing how much malt is going in.

Assuming a perfectly fresh smack pack (100 billion cells), you would have the standard ale pitching rate for 5.5 gal of ~1.025 wort. With 5.5 gal of 1.050 wort, you'd be pitching *at most* half the standard rate.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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I guess this means that you are using a new pack/vial in a 5 gallon batch.

For me there are too many variables. I use frozen yeast, washed yeast, yeast cake, new yeast and dry yeast. I have to treat each situation on it's own.

I always check mrmalty or yeastcalc and pitch the proper amount. 22 batches and have not had any bad ones at all.

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nateo View Post
Fixed that for you. When you factor in loss of viability from transport and storage, a single smack pack will rarely provide the proper pitching rate.

Some people don't use starters, and they claim their beer is good, but I've never tried their beer, and I've never seen any objective, verifiable, controlled experiment that showed that pitching too little yeast makes better beer than pitching the correct amount.

IMO there is enough conjecture and mediocre beer in the world, there's no reason to add any more.
Nah, I've had great beer made with just a smack pack and bad beer made with the "correct" starter. No conjecture needed.

Keep in mind I merely quoted the instructions on the back of the Wyeast smack pack. I didn't say they were Gospel.

BYO even had a experiment on this subject.

EDIT - Found the BYO experiment - Jan-Feb 2010. They under-pitched, correctly pitched, and overpitched, then tried all the beers. It confirmed that correct pitching rates speeded up fermentation, but results of the finished beers were mixed, with some even preferring the underpitched beers. Quote," Beyond that, our experiment failed to confirm some of the key predictions of the basic pitching rate model with respect to attenuation and ester production."


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