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Old 04-22-2011, 12:55 PM   #1
natewv
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Default Is it worth it to make a starter now if I want to brew tonight?

Sorry if this should have gone to the noob forum...I'm on my 3rd batch, 2nd with a liquid yeast vial...the first did it's job with very very little (only 8 hours on day 2) "noticeable" fermentation. I know noticeable is relative and at times there are no airlock bubbles, but anyway...

I am not good with planning and I hoped to brew tonight, with liquid yeast from a Bell's 2 hearted ale clone extract kit from AHS that i have had in my basement (not refrigerated but below room temp) for almost a month. If I made a starter now (9AM), would it have any positive effect being pitched say around 9PM?

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Old 04-22-2011, 01:08 PM   #2
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What size starter are you planning to make? What is the anticipated OG?

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Old 04-22-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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umm, no clue. I was just going to follow directions from somewhere...like this

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-...ctorial-76101/

Why is that important?

I believe it's 1.060. I had to email AHS to get that information. I'm not sure why I should have had to do that, or why the anticipated OG has anything to do with whether or not I make a starter...which I thought was just to get the yeast a-working.? I'm not questioning your questions...well I guess I am...but I wonder why they would have an affect on whether or not i should make a starter this morning?

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Old 04-22-2011, 01:48 PM   #4
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You should be fine without a starter. But if you want to be safe and make sure the yeast is viable you could make one. From now to tonight is enough time for the starter to do its thing.

If you don't make one, the worst that could happen is you don't see much activity and you have to go buy some fresh yeast from your lhbs.

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natewv View Post
umm, no clue. I was just going to follow directions from somewhere...like this

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-...ctorial-76101/

Why is that important?

I believe it's 1.060. I had to email AHS to get that information. I'm not sure why I should have had to do that, or why the anticipated OG has anything to do with whether or not I make a starter...which I thought was just to get the yeast a-working.? I'm not questioning your questions...well I guess I am...but I wonder why they would have an affect on whether or not i should make a starter this morning?
I would generally recommend to make a starter any time you use liquid yeast. The higher the OG, the more yeast cells are required to complete fermentation. Making a starter ensures your yeast are viable and that you have enough cells present to do the job. Your vial or smack pack is advertised to contain about 100 billion cells. While that may be true when the yeast leaves the lab, it is unlikely true when you get the yeast in your hands. It could contain 90, 80, or even 50 billion cells depending on the manufactured date and/or whether the yeast was shipped during hot weather. On the other hand, the average beer requires 200 billion cells or more. If you build up the cell count ahead of time then you improve the end result of your beer and reduce the chance of a stuck fermentation. If you just directly pitch on the wort then your chances of a stuck fermentation or off flavors increase significantly.

Relatively small starters (i.e., 500 mL) usually don't take long to complete, but larger starters will require more time (i.e., up to 18-24 h). I typically plan about 3 days in advance, but I also use a stir plate which increases the cell count even more than simple starters.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bmsteele View Post
You should be fine without a starter. But if you want to be safe and make sure the yeast is viable you could make one. From now to tonight is enough time for the starter to do its thing.

If you don't make one, the worst that could happen is you don't see much activity and you have to go buy some fresh yeast from your lhbs.
I'm sorry but a starter is not just to ensure that the yeast is viable. Yes, it confirms that but it is more to propagate more yeast to ensure proper pitching rates. You can make beer without a starter but if you want to make the best beer you can, use a starter. To answer your original question, yes I would go ahead and start the starter even on brew day.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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I'm sorry but a starter is not just to ensure that the yeast is viable. Yes, it confirms that but it is more to propagate more yeast to ensure proper pitching rates. You can make beer without a starter but if you want to make the best beer you can, use a starter. To answer your original question, yes I would go ahead and start the starter even on brew day.
Yeah definitely not just to make sure it's viable. I just mentioned viability because the OPs yeast had been sitting in the basement for a month.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:39 PM   #8
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Always do a starter!!!! Even if your do a starter the morning of your brew day, you may not be getting yeast multiplication, but you will be getting them "awake" and possibly some growth. Unless you have multiple vials, or are pitching into a <1.048, the cell count in a wyeast or a white labs vial is not high enough.

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
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Great info from your fellow brewers...Make a starter!!! Best case scenario is to make your starter a few days in advance as the yeast will reach their max growth around 24 hours but giving it another 24 will allow the yeastie beasties to build their glycogen reserves. Then cool the starter and the yeast will floc out and fall to the bottom allowing you to decant the funky starter beer and pitch mostly yeast.

That said, you will still get significant growth in 12 hours, you can pitch the entire starter with minimal effect on flavor, especially when brewing a very flavorful beer like an IPA, and you will pitch healthier yeast that are ready to go to work. You should be hitting high krausen at pitching time which is ideal when not cooling and decanting.

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:19 PM   #10
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I agree to just go ahead and make the starter. You'll at least get the yeast out of it's dormant phase and thinking about reproducing, even if they haven't hit their growth phase stride by the time you pitch. It certainly won't hurt anything to do a short starter at least.

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