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Old 05-19-2010, 10:50 PM   #1
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Default Starter step up ratios???

I've only been using liquid yeast and starters for my last 6-7 batches or so, and for all of them I've only needed up to a 1.5 liter starter, so I've pitched either a smack pack or prior slurry directly into the full starter volume of wort. Now I want to make a larger starter, and some of the info out there is pretty contradictory as far as I can tell, so input would be appreciated.

Mr. Malty says about stepping up a starter that "Five to ten times the size of the prior step is considered correct." It seems like he is saying that a 1 liter starter needs to be stepped up with at least an additional 5 liters, right? He also states that a vial or smack pack should not be poured into a starter of less than 1 liter. So, taking those two bits of advice together, how do you do a 3 liter starter? Make a 1 liter starter and pour half of it into a 2.5 liter starter? Just wondering...

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
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Well, if you are saying you have been using opposite of what Jamil says, why would you need validation? If 1.5L is working for you, why do you think you all of a sudden need to start listening to him? I use what works for me. I haven't used these online calculators in the past, when online wasn't available, and I've got decent beers. But if you want consistent batches (if you are trying to make the same beer exactly the same every time) then there IS a science behind it.

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Old 05-20-2010, 12:12 AM   #3
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Well, if you are saying you have been using opposite of what Jamil says, why would you need validation? If 1.5L is working for you, why do you think you all of a sudden need to start listening to him?
No, a bit of a misunderstanding here. I've been using Jamil's recommended starter size with success and trust his advice. My bad if I sounded like I was challenging it, which wasn't what I meant at all. I just am not clear his instructions on stepping up a starter, so I'm trying to understand whether I'm reading correctly that you really need a 1:5 to 1:10 ratio when stepping up, because 1 liter to 5 liters seems like a big jump for a starter (and I speak from complete inexperience on this...haven't done it yet, which is why I'm asking).
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:48 AM   #4
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He is not saying the next step needs to be that large. He's saying if you want a lot of yeast to step it up that much. He is also saying you could pour directly into 2L. So to answer your question, if it was serious, about the 3L starter - you could do as he suggests by pitching from 1L to 4L. But here's the catch - you don't have to go to 4L you could go to 3L instead, thereby giving you the 3L starter you wanted.

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Old 05-20-2010, 09:10 AM   #5
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No step up here. He means make a 3L starter and pitch into that.

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Old 05-20-2010, 10:11 AM   #6
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No step up here. He means make a 3L starter and pitch into that.
Ah, thanks. Is there a specific volume at which it becomes necessary (or at least advisable) to "step up" a starter, or is stepping up just an option that grows more yeast cells per volume of starter?
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:50 PM   #7
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The reason he says to use at least a 1L starter is because if the starter is smaller than that you'll be over-pitching the starter* too much which can lead to yeast that is depleted of nutrients.

So if you make, say, a 1.5L starter and then want to step it up; you want to step-up enough such that you don't over-pitch the starter too much and get yeast that is depleted of nutrients.

But the amount of yeast in a smack-pack/vial should be plenty to just make a 3L starter in the first place. Starting smaller and then stepping-up would probably be worse than just making a 3L starter to begin with.

* - all this is contingent on the health/viability of the yeast in the vial/smackpack. If you have a really old vial/smackpack then you are starting with less yeast to begin with and can use smaller starters and not be over-pitching them.

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Old 05-20-2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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I dont get too involved with the ratios but I would do either a 1l or 1.5l starter and step up to a 3l.

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Old 05-20-2010, 02:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
So if you make, say, a 1.5L starter and then want to step it up; you want to step-up enough such that you don't over-pitch the starter too much and get yeast that is depleted of nutrients.
Thanks, that makes sense.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artguy View Post
so I'm trying to understand whether I'm reading correctly that you really need a 1:5 to 1:10 ratio when stepping up, because 1 liter to 5 liters seems like a big jump for a starter (and I speak from complete inexperience on this...haven't done it yet, which is why I'm asking).
I believe the 1:5 to 1:10 thing is for when you are making a starter from a slant.
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