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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Do I need to do a starter if I am using a wyeast smack pack
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:50 AM   #1
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Default Do I need to do a starter if I am using a wyeast smack pack

Do I need to do a starter if I am using a wyeast smack pack for a 5 gallon batch or a dry yeast packet of a 5 gallon batch?

It will still ferment, but will take a little longer to start correct?

Just wondering why I am going to the trouble!

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Old 07-27-2008, 02:00 AM   #2
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I think you should be alright, but a starter would give you a quicker fermentation. Depending on the beer you are making stressing the yeast could be what you want or could give you flavors that you don't want, but I wouldn't worry about that. Good luck with the brew.

Edit: Dry yeast usually has plenty of cells to start a good fermentation. I didn't read the whole post well enough.

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Old 07-27-2008, 02:02 AM   #3
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a large (125ml) wyeast smack pack should be ok and dry yeast should never be made into a starter. but for any high gravity beers or smaller liquid yeast packs a starter is the best idea.

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Old 07-27-2008, 02:06 AM   #4
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That is basically correct. You can pitch a smack pack or a WL vial and they will eventually start. Although, you will most likely have extended lag times which opens you up to more potential problems. Ideally you want to get active fermentation as soon as possible.

With a starter you increase your cell count which will make it easier for the yeast to adjust to their new environment. There are other reasons that smarter people than me can give you. But, IMO, it is worth taking the extra time and effort to build one up. I have certainly had better results from by beers since using starters.

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Old 07-27-2008, 02:08 AM   #5
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No you do not need it to make a beer. A Great beer now I would say yes you need a starter if using liquid yeast. I think liquid yeast should always be used when possible if it is in the budget. Big gravity beers you will need a big healthy cell count so they can do there job properly. I have made many of beers with dry yeast and there were fine but I prefer the liquid. Sure it will ferment but for how far well that depends on the health of the yeast and your gravity. Starters are really easy and fun do in my opinion it is one of those next steps are you grow with your brewing experience. I usually make 1500-2000-4000ml starters depending on the gravity of the wort and it is only about and hour or so of mine time.

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Old 07-27-2008, 04:06 AM   #6
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I made my first starter, a full three days before the brew, and I had a thick krausen with heavy airlock activity within 5 hours.

It was amazing. Do it.

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Old 07-27-2008, 04:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redneckbeagle View Post
Do I need to do a starter if I am using a wyeast smack pack for a 5 gallon batch or a dry yeast packet of a 5 gallon batch?

It will still ferment, but will take a little longer to start correct?

Just wondering why I am going to the trouble!
It depends is the answer. For an ale under 1.045 or so with a pack within one month of its manufacture date, a starter is probably not needed (although Mr. Malty's web site would disagree). For dry, you could probably go to 1.060 on an ale without a starter with no issues. For lagers, I would always make a starter.

I started making starters for all of my beers a few years back and it made a noticeable difference. The first 24 hours of fermentation will have lasting effects on the quality of your beer. To get active fermentation quickly, I started my fermentations for ales at 70-72F ambient then dropped them down after they got active. That takes the yeast out of its optimal zone at the point when they are doing the most work. Plus, when the yeast is really active, it can generate 5-8F of extra heat (I think Bobby M did some measurements to confirm). My beer was always decent, but never great. IMHO, the best thing to do is start the wort at the bottom end of the yeast's optimal temp range to compensate for the extra heat it will generate. Being at a lower temp, it will start slower so you need a higher yeast count to start (the reason I do starters on every batch now).
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:50 AM   #8
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I've done 4 brews well above 1060 with no starter-dry yeast..
The last, AHS Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Dry Muntons Ale Yeast ($1.19 a pack) took it form 1.079 to 1.031 in 4 days.

I'm gonna try to wash some Wyeast from the Cheese VCC Ale this time around, but I'm starting to think if I can't afford the $6 for liquid yeast, I shouldn't be spending $40 on grains and adjuncts, nor the extra $$$ for the nice brew equip's...

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Old 07-27-2008, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridemywideglide View Post
I've done 4 brews well above 1060 with no starter-dry yeast..
The last, AHS Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Dry Muntons Ale Yeast ($1.19 a pack) took it form 1.079 to 1.031 in 4 days.

I'm gonna try to wash some Wyeast from the Cheese VCC Ale this time around, but I'm starting to think if I can't afford the $6 for liquid yeast, I shouldn't be spending $40 on grains and adjuncts, nor the extra $$$ for the nice brew equip's...
How low did your stout go to? I'm doing one now with relatively the same SG so I'd hope I could get lower than .031.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1v1116 View Post
a large (125ml) wyeast smack pack should be ok and dry yeast should never be made into a starter. but for any high gravity beers or smaller liquid yeast packs a starter is the best idea.
I pitched oen of these straight in(no starter) and it started fermenting vigourously in about 10 hours.
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