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Old 06-20-2012, 12:26 AM   #1
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Default What does a 2 liter starter really mean?

I am a few brews in, and thinking of washing yeast. This probably means I need to start making starters (I have read that if you let the washed yeast sit more than a week you should make a starter...)

In some threads, you brewers discuss things like making "a 2 liter" starter. What exactly does this mean? I understand the volume part, but what is the content? Is it 2 liters of simple wort with the beginning yeast put in? It it 2 liters of actual yeast? (that seems like a sh*t ton of yeast!). I know 2 liters is not a magic number, Im only using it as an example.

I love beer and learning about how to make better beer



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Old 06-20-2012, 01:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
I am a few brews in, and thinking of washing yeast. This probably means I need to start making starters (I have read that if you let the washed yeast sit more than a week you should make a starter...)

In some threads, you brewers discuss things like making "a 2 liter" starter. What exactly does this mean? I understand the volume part, but what is the content? Is it 2 liters of simple wort with the beginning yeast put in? It it 2 liters of actual yeast? (that seems like a sh*t ton of yeast!). I know 2 liters is not a magic number, Im only using it as an example.

I love beer and learning about how to make better beer
A 2L starter refers to 2L of wort, normally at 1.040. If you washed your yeast, you can calculate how many billion cells you have using Mr Malty and calculate necessary starter sizes using either Mr Malty or Yeastcalc (great for multi-step starters)


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Old 06-20-2012, 01:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I have more questions - So lets say I make 2L of wort, thats easy. Now lets say I pour in some un measured amount of washed yeast. How can a calculator tell how many cells that is, or will turn in to?

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:22 AM   #4
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Unless you have a way to count yeast in a sample, you are right. The calculator is going to be a guess.

A super low-tech solution....

Get a quality liquid yeast with a known cell count. Make a 1L starter and let it ferment out completely. Stick it in the fridge overnight to drop the yeast. Make note of how deep of a yeast cake you created. That will give you an "it's about that much" reference for your particular setup.

Brew your beer and snag some yeast. Make up a couple different starter batches - eg 1/8 cup slurry, 1/4 cup slurry, 1/2 cup slurry. Make a couple starters with those and see which produces "it's about that much".

Important note, if you ever get a bad batch or the yeast just isn't performing like it used to, chuck it.

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Old 06-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #5
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I like low tech advice, thanks!

I was hoping the answer was simple, like "It doesnt matter how much yeast you dump into a 2L starter, they will always multiply to XXX billions of cells when they eat a known quantity of wort". I knew in my heart it would not be that easy



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