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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Reading "Designing Great Beers", and had question about Wyeast yeasts...
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
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Default Reading "Designing Great Beers", and had question about Wyeast yeasts...

They said that there is not enough cells even with the starter smack pack inside to properly innoculate a typical 5 gallon, 5% beer. Is this true?

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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Some say so. Define "enough". Most agree that up to about 1.055 - 1.060 you're fine. Some believe it's woefully inadequate.

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:51 PM   #3
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Hello, fellow Winnipegger.

The "smack packs" have about 100 billion cells.

Mr. Malty says you need 180 billion cells for 5.25 gallons of a 1.050 ale.

The answer is: a smack-pack probably contains enough yeast to get the job done, especially if it was produced recently and you have a relatively small beer. However, if the pack is a bit old, or if you have a bigger beer, you should make a starter. Thousands of brewers probably use no starter and feel like their beer is fine.

Personally, I would never pitch a smack-pack with no starter.

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #4
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Wyeast have two products an Activator and a Propagator. According to Wyeast the Activator is sufficient to inoculate a 5 gallon batch and the Propagator is not and needs a starter. Both have "smack pack" nutrients inside. I have used both with excellent success. I make 1.5 quarts of wort for both kinds. Some will say the Activator really does not need one some say all of them need a starter. I make starters, is easy and fast and fun

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osagedr View Post
Hello, fellow Winnipegger.

The "smack packs" have about 100 billion cells.

Mr. Malty says you need 180 billion cells for 5.25 gallons of a 1.050 ale.

The answer is: a smack-pack probably contains enough yeast to get the job done, especially if it was produced recently and you have a relatively small beer. However, if the pack is a bit old, or if you have a bigger beer, you should make a starter. Thousands of brewers probably use no starter and feel like their beer is fine.

Personally, I would never pitch a smack-pack with no starter.
Just curious then, how does a starter increase the capability of yeast? Like will a starter take a smack packed Wyeast pack and increase the year past 100 billion?
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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A starter is a medium to grow more yeast cells in.

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Just curious then, how does a starter increase the capability of yeast? Like will a starter take a smack packed Wyeast pack and increase the yeast past 100 billion?
That's exactly what a starter does. If you are a really new brewer consider dry yeast to make things easy for your first few batches.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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That's exactly what a starter does. If you are a really new brewer consider dry yeast to make things easy for your first few batches.
Dry yeast is your best friend right now.

But you can even get a little saucy and make a mini-starter for the dry stuff, so you get a feel for larger ones with liquid yeast. At the very least you'll confirm that your dry yeast is alive, and you won't get those "did I pitch dead yeast" thoughts running through your head when your wort doesn't start fermenting right away.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:19 PM   #9
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I've actually been brewing for about 2 years but after reading this book, started thinking about my yeast. So how many billion yeast cells are created with a starter?

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:22 PM   #10
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He's talking about 'great' beer. You can make regular beer without a starter. Great beer takes the proper amount of healthy yeast and good temperature control.

Making a starter with dry yeast will do more harm than good. They are dried with all the nutrients they need. Making a starter will use some up and it wont be big enough to increase the numbers. The only starter I'd make with dry yeast is five gallons.

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