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Old 12-22-2013, 05:54 PM   #1
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Default Yeast starter, not enough?

I made a yeast starter last night, this is my second one ever made. And I have a Cali ale smack pack. I only added 2.5 cups water to 1/2 cup DME. Would that still produce a decent yeast starter or should I start over?



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Old 12-22-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Depending on the style of beer you are making that could be a sufficient amount of yeast.

If you are making an American Pale ale or something similar, with a gravity under 1.060 you should be fine with that amount of yeast.

When making a starter, most people like to make a wort that varies in size but is generally in the same range for gravity. Whether you are making a large 1 gallon starter for a lager you want to brew, or making a small .5L starter for a pale ale, you want the starter to be in the range of 1.037-1.040.

Here are a few links which will help you to make consistently good starters and have the optimal amount of yeast to pitch when your wort is ready.

http://yeastcalc.com/

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html


This is some good info for your next one. But like I said earlier, if your current starter is for a beer in the 1.060 range or less you should be fine with that amount of yeast. Considering your smack pack has a recent date of production on it.

cheers and good luck.



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Old 12-22-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the insight. It's a rough clone (all grain) of arrogant bastard. The OG wasn't really specified so I presume it would be around 1070 or so.

I could do a second yeast starter after this is done. I guess, I was more concerned with whether the yeast would actually do they are supposed to do in a yeast starter. If that made sense.

Thanks again. I'll read those links you posted.

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Old 12-22-2013, 07:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SciencePig View Post
Thanks for the insight. It's a rough clone (all grain) of arrogant bastard. The OG wasn't really specified so I presume it would be around 1070 or so.

I could do a second yeast starter after this is done. I guess, I was more concerned with whether the yeast would actually do they are supposed to do in a yeast starter. If that made sense.

Thanks again. I'll read those links you posted.
Your yeast will do what it is supposed to. Even in a starter that small. It just wont do as good a job as it should.


With a Gravity of 1.070 I'd say you should in fact step up your starter and make a larger one.

How have you aerated your starters thus far?

Since you've said that this is only your 2nd one I'm going to assume you have a basic set up and have just been shaking your starter intermittently to allow your yeast to get some of the oxygen they need to reproduce. If you don't have a stir plate and haven't even been shaking your starters, I recommend starting to do that whenever you have time. I would leave my starter close to my beer fridge so whenever I was home and I would grab a beer or walk past it, I would give my starter a 5 second shake.

With a gravity of 1.070 and your first starter's volume at about .5L right now, your next "step" should be a volume of 1.30-1.40 liters. To achieve a gravity of 1.037 in this volume you should add 7.1 oz of DME to your boil.

To properly step up your starter, you should put your .5 liter starter in the fridge the night before you plan on "stepping up". The day of you should get your water to a boil, as you are boiling you should be decanting or pouring out the used wort out of your starter. Being sure to leave all of your yeast at the bottom of your container. After you have decanted the old wort, allow your new fresh wort to cool. After its cooled to room or "ale" temp, just pour it on top of your original yeast cake. Let it do its thing for about 24-36 hours (being sure to shake it as often as possible during this time) and you will have all the yeast you need to properly pitch and ferment your clone.

If your current container isn't large enough to hold about 1.5-2 liters of liquid comfortably, you should be sure to sanitize one that is large enough and be sure to leave enough wort in your original container to mix your yeast cake back into suspension. Once you stir all the yeast up into your small amount of old wort, pour all of the contents into your newer larger vessel and continue with the steps above.

Once you get further into making starters and acquire or build your own stir plate, you will be able to get more yeast out of much smaller starters. Saving you time and money that you would be using to buy the extra DME.

Check it out if you have any interest.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-stirplate-cheap-easy-build-86252/
cheers.

Good luck. Hope this little step by step break down helps.

Cheers.
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Old 12-22-2013, 11:38 PM   #5
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The gravity of that starter is too high, in the 1.070 range. As noted above, shoot for 1.035-1.040 for starter gravities. You should still have more yeast cells than without the starter, but what you pitched won't be very healthy.
You're heading in the right direction, you just need a little more studying up on how things work. Good luck.

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Old 12-22-2013, 11:54 PM   #6
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Sorry for the confusion. The beer is to have an og of 1070. The starter is about 035.

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Old 12-23-2013, 12:13 AM   #7
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Never make a starter over 1.040 sg, the yeast will stress out before it is pitched in the wort. There are many yeast pitching rate tables available on the web. You have no way of knowing what your starter really contains with out a microscope and a hemocytomer to count viable cells per liter. Otherwise it's simply experience and trial and error.
For most brews, make a starter in a 2000ml flask and stir plate from a yeast starter pack or a very good saved sample a day or two ahead of time.
For example: I just made a 1500ml starter with DME 1.025 OG, that fermented out in a few hours. Pitched it in a 6 gallon batch or Irish ale all grain 1.060og . I suspect it will ferment out in 72 hours or less at the present rate of fermentation.

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Old 12-23-2013, 12:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies everyone. And Dave I appreciate the steps you gave in detail.

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Old 12-24-2013, 05:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SciencePig View Post
Sorry for the confusion. The beer is to have an og of 1070. The starter is about 035.
Actually, I rechecked and get more like 1.053 with better calculations of 1/2 cup DME=3 oz and 2.5 cups water, assuming zero evaporation during boiling.


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