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Old 06-10-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default Conflicting info.

So I just finished off John Palmer's book in anticipation of my first brew. I am going to attempt the partial mash version of BierMuncher's Blue Moon clone. The thing that has me a little conflicted is the yeast. I have a package of Wyeast 3944 the "Activator" pack and it says that I can pitch it without a starter. But Plamer's book says make a starter. So any ideas or help? I was going to make 5 gallons of this beer.

Any and all information will be appreciated.
Sincerely,
Alex J.

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Old 06-10-2010, 01:19 AM   #2
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Best practice is to make a starter. It is not required, but it would probably be a good idea. Use this yeast calculator to tell you how much yeast is recommended in your beer.

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Old 06-10-2010, 01:23 AM   #3
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Starters are good don't get me wrong. But for your average beer they are not required. I have made most of my beers without starters.

I typically only make a starter for a high gravity beer or a lager. Whenever I have made a starter my fermentation has always started quickly.

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Old 06-10-2010, 01:23 AM   #4
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The yeast companies are in it to sell yeast, and it's easier for them to do so if they say you don't have to do extra work to use their product. Which, although technically true (the yeast will get there on its own eventually anyway), it's usually better to make a starter than not.

Although for Belgians in particular I'm not necessarily convinced that underpitching is always bad a thing...you're usually trying to create esters anyway.

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Old 06-10-2010, 01:25 AM   #5
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+1 Make the starter based on the pitching calculator. Yes, just using the yeast package as sold will make beer, however if you look at the professional breweries they pitch yeast at a much higher rate than what they give you in those packs. More yeast = less stress on the yeast colony, and a more complete fermentation with less off flavors.

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Old 06-10-2010, 01:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Bigelow View Post
Starters are good don't get me wrong. But for your average beer they are not required. I have made most of my beers without starters.
I don't know what YOU consider an "average" beer, but for any but the lowest gravities, starters make for better beer.

It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...

The biggest reason I suggest folks make a starter is if you make one you'll have peace of mind.

And you won't be starting an "is my yeast dead" thread in a couple of days.

Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer. You will be less likely to start one of those "is my yeast dead?" threads that are on here every day.

You will also ensure that you have enough yeast usually the tubes and smack packs are a lot less yeast that you really should use for healthy fermentation.

Making a starter also usually means your beer will take off sooner, because the first thing that the little buggers do in the presence of wort (whether in a flask or in a fermenter) is have an orgy to reproduce enough cells to do the job...So it won't take such a long time in the fermenter since they started doing it in the flask.

Additionally it is better for the yeast to consume and reproduce incrementally rather than just dumping them into the fermenter...The yeast will be less stressed out than if you just dump them in.

Stressed out yeast can lead to a lot of off flavors...maybe even (though rare) the dreaded autolysis....Or the curse of 1.030....getting a stuck fermentation because the yeast have bit the dust.

So making a starter proves your yeast is still healthy, allows you to grow enough yeast to do the job, cuts down on lag time, and ensures that you will not get off flavors or stuck ferementations from stressed out yeast.

Also has to do with the actual pitch rates of the smack packs and tubes, and has to do with the data that Jamil Z has on his mr malty website.

I'll quote some of it, but really you should look at the stuff there;

http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php

Quote:
Ales & Lagers

The general consensus on pitching rates is that you want to pitch around 1 million cells of viable yeast, for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato. A little less for an ale, a little more for a lager. George Fix states about 1.5 million for a lager and 0.75 million for an ale in his book, An Analysis of Brewing Techniques. Other literature cites a slightly higher amount. I'm going with Fix's numbers and that is what the pitching calculator uses.
The Math

If you're curious, here is the simple math to calculate the number of cells needed. For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.

(0.75 million) X (milliliters of wort) X (degrees Plato of the wort)

* There is about 3785 milliliters in a gallon. There are about 20,000 milliliters in 5.25 gallons.

* A degree Plato is about 1.004 of original gravity. Just divide the OG by 4 to get Plato (e.g., 1.048 is 12 degrees Plato).

So, for a 1.048 wort pitching into 5.25 gallons you need about 180 billion cells.

(750,000) X (20,000) X (12) = 180,000,000,000

As an easy to remember rough estimate, you need about 15 billion cells for each degree Plato or about 4 billion cells for each point of OG when pitching into a little over 5 gallons of wort. If you want a quick way of doing a back of the envelope estimate, that is really close to 0.75 billion cells for each point of gravity per gallon of wort. Double that to 1.5 billion for a lager.
Pitching From Tubes, Packs, or Dry Yeast

Both White Labs and Wyeast make fantastic products and you can't go wrong with either one. There are differences between their strains and each brand has pluses and minuses yet neither is better than the other across the board. Use the brand your local homebrew shop carries, if you need a way to decide.

A White Labs tube has between 70 and 120 billion cells of 100% viable yeast, depending on the yeast strain. Some cells are much larger than others and there are more or less per ml based on size. (The information on the White Labs web site stating 30 to 50 billion cells is out of date.) We can just assume there are around 100 billion very healthy yeast. You would need 2 tubes if you were pitching directly into 5.5 gallons of 1.048 wort to get the proper cell counts.

A Wyeast Activator pack (the really big ones) and the pitchable tubes have an average of 100 billion cells of 100% viable yeast. The smaller packs are around 15-18 billion cells. You would need 2 of the large packs if you were pitching directly into 5.5 gallons of 1.048 wort to get the proper cell counts. For the small packs, you'd need eleven of them!

But to make it easier he has a great pitch rate calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

And according to his numbers on his calculator, really any beer above 1.020, you should be making a starter for.

Me personally when I use liquid yeast I just make a starter. I may not be as anal as some brewers and makes sure that I have the exact cellcount for whatever gravity beer I am making, but I do make one for the above reasons I mentioned, namely peace of mid, and a reduction in lag time.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:53 AM   #7
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For another viewpoint, check out http://maltosefalcons.com/tech/yeast...-and-practices
There are some minor differences between what she and Jamil say, but on the whole, they pretty much agree.

Since I started making starters, I have noticed a number of very worthwhile improvements which I attribute to the increased pitching rates:

  • Reduced lag times
  • Increased attenuation
  • Faster fermentation
  • Fewer off flavors
-a.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:07 AM   #8
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Starters are good. I have a tendancy to forget to make them. I pitch the yeast anyway and I still get beer. Use them if you want to. Don't if you're too lazy or spontaneous like I am. I just decide I want to brew, dump the yeast in some leftover wort from my last batch and hope that it starts going nuts before I'm ready to pitch it. If it's not then I pitch it, anyway, and it just takes an extra day or two to get started.

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Old 06-10-2010, 04:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
I don't know what YOU consider an "average" beer, but for any but the lowest gravities, starters make for better beer.

It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...

The biggest reason I suggest folks make a starter is if you make one you'll have peace of mind.

And you won't be starting an "is my yeast dead" thread in a couple of days.

Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer. You will be less likely to start one of those "is my yeast dead?" threads that are on here every day.

You will also ensure that you have enough yeast usually the tubes and smack packs are a lot less yeast that you really should use for healthy fermentation.

Making a starter also usually means your beer will take off sooner, because the first thing that the little buggers do in the presence of wort (whether in a flask or in a fermenter) is have an orgy to reproduce enough cells to do the job...So it won't take such a long time in the fermenter since they started doing it in the flask.

Additionally it is better for the yeast to consume and reproduce incrementally rather than just dumping them into the fermenter...The yeast will be less stressed out than if you just dump them in.

Stressed out yeast can lead to a lot of off flavors...maybe even (though rare) the dreaded autolysis....Or the curse of 1.030....getting a stuck fermentation because the yeast have bit the dust.

So making a starter proves your yeast is still healthy, allows you to grow enough yeast to do the job, cuts down on lag time, and ensures that you will not get off flavors or stuck ferementations from stressed out yeast.

Also has to do with the actual pitch rates of the smack packs and tubes, and has to do with the data that Jamil Z has on his mr malty website.

I'll quote some of it, but really you should look at the stuff there;

http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php




But to make it easier he has a great pitch rate calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

And according to his numbers on his calculator, really any beer above 1.020, you should be making a starter for.

Me personally when I use liquid yeast I just make a starter. I may not be as anal as some brewers and makes sure that I have the exact cellcount for whatever gravity beer I am making, but I do make one for the above reasons I mentioned, namely peace of mid, and a reduction in lag time.
Thanks for the information. According to the calculator I would need roughly a quart of starter.

Where are my manners. Allow me to introduce myself properly. My name is Alex John, I am a recent Chemical Engineering Graduate. I'm from Spring Valley NY (If anyone nearby has any recommendation on shops that would be great.)

This entire liquid yeast brewing is starting to sound like my senior design project, which was to propose a design a therapeutic antibody facility that generated the proteins using Mammalian cells. The process for raising those cells were similar, it went

Vial->Seed Train-> Production reactor, which is completely analogous to
Vial/Smack Pack -> Starter -> Primary

There was one pharmaceutical plant that I visited for my project which was making proteins using yeasts, the thing is they were using a few gallons to inoculate a 30,000L tank. But for our Mammalian cells, if it were inoculated with less than a 10th of the operating volume the things would stress and undergo autolysis. So I always have thought that the Yeasties were tough little buggers. But in retrospect the pharma company did keep that yeast bioreactor fed with varied sparge gasses, and did other things to make sure that the environment wasn't hostile. So it makes sense that beer in a carboy would need a bit more care.

Thank you for your input ladies and gentlemen. I will prepare a starter as per John Palmer's instructions. Now I only have Light DME as the recipe called for, should that be sufficient in creating the starter? (I purchase more of the LDME in case I had to prepare a starter.)

Thanks for all the responses, it really means a lot!
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