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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > difference between yeast starter and dry yeast
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
DontDrinkAndDrum
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Default difference between yeast starter and dry yeast

alright, the guy at my LHBS said that there are actually MORE yeast cells in a packet of dried yeast than in a yeast starter, but what makes yeast starters better or more preferable? is it because yeast cells in a starter are already active when pitching or what?

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:20 PM   #2
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I doubt there is more yeast cells in a pack of dried yeast than in a properly prepared yeast starter.

But a 11g pack of dried yeast is adequate and will only suffer if you make a starter.
A starter is not more preferable, it is just that there are more yeast strains available in liquid form and they do benefit from a starter.

If you have a dried yeast that is suitable/correct for the style of beer then I would always recommend it over a liquid yeast.

I'm lucky my favourite style of beer is ideally suited to a dried yeast.

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:20 PM   #3
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If by yeast starter he/you mean the vial or smack pack, then yes that is correct. If you make a starter, pitch the vial, and allow the yeast to propagate then there are about the same.

There is nothing about liquid yeast that makes it better. There are more specialty yeast available as liquid.

In any case the idea isn't to pitch as many yeast as possible, but to pitch the correct amount. One 11g pack of yeast is usually about right, with liquid you need to increase the number by making a starter. This is a good resource: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:28 PM   #4
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but what i was trying to say was, is it better to pitch a yeast starter because the yeast are already active, and they can get right to work eating up the fermentables upon being pitched in order to stave off an infection

and also, when using an 11g packet of dry yeast (i've used Nottingham's), is it better to pitch straight into the wort, or to actually follow instructions on the back of the packet and mix the yeast with warm water first and then add a little bit of wort every 5 minutes to bring the temperature of the yeast close to the temp of the wort (which they say is to prevent temperature shock)

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontDrinkAndDrum
but what i was trying to say was, is it better to pitch a yeast starter because the yeast are already active, and they can get right to work eating up the fermentables upon being pitched in order to stave off an infection

When you say starter do you mean liquid yeast in a starter? Or just the vial/pack?

The thing that determines the amount of time after you pitch and when fermentation starts, is cell number. The cells must reproduce to an adequate amount before large scale fermentation starts.

Dry yeast, if properly hydrated, will show airlock activity in >6 hours. Same for a liquid yeast in a starter. It may take 24-48 hours if you pitch straight from the vial/pack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DontDrinkAndDrum
and also, when using an 11g packet of dry yeast (i've used Nottingham's), is it better to pitch straight into the wort, or to actually follow instructions on the back of the packet and mix the yeast with warm water first and then add a little bit of wort every 5 minutes to bring the temperature of the yeast close to the temp of the wort (which they say is to prevent temperature shock)
I think it is well worth the time to rehydrate. You don't have to add wort to it, just make sure they match. I read the temp of the yeast and cool the wort to that.
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:33 PM   #6
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You LHBS guy must have meant more yeast in a dry pack than in a liquid yeast pack. People make starters at all kinds of sizes, and obviously the big starters are going to have the most yeast.

The yeast in dry packets are cultured and stored in a metabolically 'ready' state. That is, they have been cultured and propagated and packaged at their peak state (i.e., will have lots of stored energy and nutrients to reproduce and ferment your beer). The primary purpose of a starter is to propagate yeast, so comparing the two are a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Regardless, expect that if you pitch a fresh pack of dry yeast that has been rehydrated properly, you will get about the same amount of viable yeast as if you pitched a small to moderate sized starter made from liquid yeast.

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:35 PM   #7
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when i say starter, i mean something that one has to prepare by making wort ahead of time, and then pitching the yeast into that to give it time to activate before actually pitching into the final target brew

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Old 07-12-2007, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontDrinkAndDrum
when i say starter, i mean something that one has to prepare by making wort ahead of time, and then pitching the yeast into that to give it time to activate before actually pitching into the final target brew
OK, but you could do that with both dry or liquid yeast.

If you want to avoid the work of making starters, you are best to go with either pitching dry yeast, or pitching multiple packs of liquid yeast (at least, for higher gravity beers). Obviously, the dry yeast choice is the cheaper option.
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
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It is okay to just sprinkle the dried yeast on the wort.
I usually rehydrate with warm water and a little sugar at the beginning of my brew session. When I come to pitch around 4 hours later I have very happy yeast and normally see fermentation activity within a few hours.

Nottingham is a very good and capable yeast and doesn't need pampering.

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Old 07-12-2007, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy
It is okay to just sprinkle the dried yeast on the wort.
I usually rehydrate with warm water and a little sugar at the beginning of my brew session. When I come to pitch around 4 hours later I have very happy yeast and normally see fermentation activity within a few hours.

Nottingham is a very good and capable yeast and doesn't need pampering.
I use Nottingham yeast a lot (quite available here in Canada, and packaged with many kits I used to brew), and I typically just sprinkle it into the wort without doing the rehydration step with great results. So I agree with Orfy.

However, it might also be clarified that the rehydration step will ensure a higher count of viable yeast cells. Rehydrating in plain, hard (not de-ionized), de-chlorinated water is superior to rehydrating in wort because the high concentrations of sugars or other materials in the wort can actually damage the yeast cells as they hydrate. The net result is fewer viable yeast cells. In a well oxygenated wort, I suspect this is not a big issue since there is still plenty of yeast to propagate and begin fermentation. But in this situation, I also suspect that one wants to get a pitch of good, healthy yeast in high numbers. Also, the optimum (although likely not critical) time to pitch the yeast is 30 mins after rehydrating, according to DanStar.

Anyways, small stuff -- I know -- I just think rehydration in some cases (e.g., Evan's stuck fermentation thread) could be beneficial.
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