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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Do I need a starter?
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
rancidcrabtree
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Default Do I need a starter?

I'm brewing a brown ale with an SG around 1.060 on Friday. I'm using an old pack of Windsor, I'm not sure exactly how old it is, I got it at least 6 months ago and it is in the old packaging but it doesn't actually expire until November of this year. I have some light DME on hand, is it worth the trouble of making a starter at this point or is the yeast still viable enough that I don't need to bother?

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Old 03-14-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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I'm using an old pack of Windsor, I'm not sure exactly how old it is, I got it at least 6 months ago and it is in the old packaging but it doesn't actually expire until November of this year. I have some light DME on hand, is it worth the trouble of making a starter at this point or is the yeast still viable enough that I don't need to bother?
Is it a liquid or dry yeast? If it's a liquid yeast it's probably worth buying a new pack/vial and doing a liquid. Yeast starters are important with liquid yeast. You can go look in the Fermentation forum to see all the debate/argument over a 15 minute step to improve your beer.

If it's a dry yeast you're probably fine. Dry yeasts are cheap and if I was worried about it, I'd go spend a couple bucks on a new packet. Check Mr. Malty to determine if you need another packet to hit the desired pitching rate.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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I would recommend making a starter.

I always make a starter. I do a 1000ml starter for anything under 1.060 and a 2000ml starter for over 1.060/Lager.

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Old 03-14-2012, 07:17 PM   #4
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Since it's dry yeast, you'll be fine without a starter. Generally, making a starter for dry yeast is not recommended.

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Old 03-14-2012, 08:58 PM   #5
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It's dry yeast which I normally just direct pitch with. The only reason I was asking is because this pack is a little old. I'm thinking I'll just direct pitch again, especially since the SG of 1.060 is assuming it hit 70%, which almost never happens for me.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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1.060 isn't all that high. I think you'll be fine.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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Thanks Denny! I'm actually planning on trying your Cheap 'n' Easy Batch Sparge Brewing advice for this next batch to see if I can break out of the 60% slump I seem to be stuck in.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:33 PM   #8
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Good luck! Batch sparging can help if you don't have a well designed lautering system, but most often efficiency problems are caused by a poor crush.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:57 PM   #9
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Yep, I'll be batch sparging according to your method and I'll be dialing the crush on my Barley Crusher a bit tighter than last time (which was the default setting it came with). I'm going to keep going tighter every brew until I get either the efficiency I want or stuck!

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Old 03-14-2012, 10:19 PM   #10
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I'm going to keep going tighter every brew until I get either the efficiency I want or stuck!
That's exactly what I did and I average 85% now.
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