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Old 03-31-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
Metsbrew
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Default 1st time yeast starter

I want to make a yeast starter and save half the yeast for my next batch. I have a couple beginner questions, I've never done either. First how much dme and water will I need? I'm using a 1/2 gal growler and it's going to be about 1.06 og. Also when I pour it into the jar to save some, do I just pour the wort? Or does it have to be part of the yeast cake?

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Old 03-31-2010, 01:14 AM   #2
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1.060 is high for a starter, just FYI. Usually they are made around 1.040.

DME gives about 45 G per lb for 1 gal. So, for 1/2 gal, to get 1.060 you would need 2/3 lb (60*1/2 / 45).

What to pour out of the starter kind of depends on where in the fermentation cycle the starter is. The easiest would be to swirl the starter, get everything into suspension, then pour half of that and leave half.

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Old 03-31-2010, 01:20 AM   #3
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You want the OG of the starter to be 1.035-1.040. If you're using cups, 1/2 DME to 2 cups of water equals about 1.040. So, you could just adjust that upwards to get the right size starter for your beer.

If you're going to make a starter and save 1/2 the yeast, you want to make a BIG starter. One vial of yeast (or a Wyeast smack pack) isn't big enough for a 1.060 beer, so you'd need to make a starter for the beer, as well as make a bigger starter to harvest yeast from it. I'd recommend making the starter, making the beer, and simply harvesting the yeast from the primary. That's easier, produces more yeast, and requires less guess work.

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Old 03-31-2010, 01:37 AM   #4
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Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant the beer I'm making is going to be 1.06 not the starter. Would it be possible to make it, pour half to save, and then add more wort to it to finish the starter? Or is it easier to harvest from the cake? For some reason I thought this way would be easier so I didn't have to wash them.

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Old 03-31-2010, 02:06 AM   #5
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Good idea. Sounds possible to me though I've never done it. It's basically the same concept as stepping up a starter a couple of times from one vial/pouch of yeast for a really high gravity beer. It might be a good idea to let the first round of starter completely finish fermenting then flocculate out in the refrigerator so the yeast have time to build up their energy reserves. That'd take a couple/few days. Then you could decant a bunch of the clear liquid off, swirl the yeast into the remaining solution, then split that volume into two parts. Then you in essence have 2 "vials" plus worth of yeast and could than proceed with making up another starter as usual.

Washing yeast IS time-consuming, though not too difficult if you have at least one big glass jar and some pint jars.

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Old 03-31-2010, 02:30 AM   #6
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I think I will give it a try. How much of the liquid do u think I should decant? And After it's all done do I just dump everything in the wort? Isn't that a lot of liquid?

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Old 03-31-2010, 02:36 AM   #7
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I'd decant but leave "enough" to be able to swirl all the yeast back into solution so you can split it into two containers.

After you make up your second starter at the recommended starter volume for your 1.060 OG brew, you can either try to pitch the whole thing at high krausen preferably, or just let that completely ferment out and put it in the fridge to floculate out - then you just decant again, swirl the yeast into the remaining solution, and pitch that. If you pitch at high krausen with a 1.060 brew, it's a lot of liquid, but probably less than or around 1.5 qts.

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Old 03-31-2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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1.060 is a fairly big beer. Personally I would use the entire pack of yeast to make your starter and pitch it into your 1.060 brew. After primary fermentation you can wash the yeast and repitch into 2 or more new starters or put into the refrigerator for future batches.

I am fairly new with only 4 batches so far. My last two batches I made a big starter and pitched the entire slurry. Those beers are great. The first two were not nearly as good. I can only assume that it was due to the lack of a proper amount of yeast during fermentation.

Check out some of the online yeast count guides. I was surprised to see what is considered the proper amount of yeast to pitch.

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