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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Yeast starter vs. new yeast pack
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
Clintos
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Default Yeast starter vs. new yeast pack

Hey all. It's been a while since my last post. I've recently found the time to get back into brewing and have progressed into all grain over the past few months. Please bear with me as I ask my question, I need to provide a little background detail.

I am brewing a Lagunitas IPA clone from the "Clone Brews" book. It has a final volume of 5 gallons. My Wyeast smack pack arrived via UPS with the inner nutrient pack already busted, the package was partially swollen, it was warm, and the manufacture date is March 6th (2+ months old).

I was thinking I should make a yeast starter to ensure viability of the yeast after its rough journey. However, I have never made a starter, so I did a bunch of research. After using the pitching rate calculator at MrMalty.com to determine my numbers, the results said I should use two packs of yeast to create a 1.14 L starter.

So, my question is this: If a Wyeast package is made to pitch into 5 gallons of a "non-high gravity ale" (as long as the yeast is viable, of course), and I can get a new yeast package from my LHBS that I am more confident in the viability of, why should I not just buy a new package of the yeast and use it instead of using two packs to create a starter? Either way, I have to by a new package of yeast, so the cost would be the same, and I would have less work to do if I skip the starter.

Thoughts? Pros/Cons of each?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 05-09-2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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You don't need to pitch 2 packs into your starter you simply need to step your starter up. in other words make a starter let it go for a couple days cold crash it decant the "beer" from the top and add fresh wort

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Old 05-09-2014, 05:21 PM   #3
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You can use this http://www.yeastcalculator.com/ to calculate your steps

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Old 05-09-2014, 05:21 PM   #4
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From how I interpret your scenario, I think a couple things are backwards. If you have a higher gravity beer and you aren't sure the cell count will be appropriate for the quantity of wort you are fermenting, typically you would either:

A) Use two packs of yeast with no starter.
B) Use one pack of yeast with a starter.

If you put it into a calculator like Beersmith, it will usually tell you how many cells of yeast you will need, and if you need the starter. The starter can be a good way to save $5-10 on yeast.

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Old 05-09-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
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According to the recipe i looked up using google your OG should be 1.065 calculating viability for your yeast using mr.malty you should have 52% viability, or 52B cells but you need 225B. So if you go to http://www.yeastcalculator.com/ and put 52B as your cell count you can do a 1L starter with intermittent shaking to get 130B cells. Then you can step that up with another 1.5L starter wort to reach 263B which is more than enough yest cells for that beer.

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Old 05-10-2014, 02:55 AM   #6
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These calculators are all estimates. You have viable yeast in that pack, make a decent starter and you will be fine. Worry about calculators and 'exact' cell counts when you are ok with making starters. Any size starter will be a good start.

If it were me, I'd make a 2 pint starter, once done, I'd chill and decant. Then make a 4 pint starter, and pitch the lot when active.

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Old 05-11-2014, 11:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info everyone. I believe I will try Calder's suggestion. I'll post the results - it will be another week before brew day.

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