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Old 01-13-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default Do I need a yeast starter?

I am getting ready to start second batch of home brew. Last time I used an ingredient kit with a dry yeast. This time I am going with my own recipe and Wyeast 1272. Beersmith says my o.g. should be around 1.066. Do I need to do a yeast starter?

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Old 01-13-2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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It would be beneficial to use a starter.

You can probably "get by" without one, but no need to take the chance. Get your yeasties a nice happy start by getting 'em going early

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Old 01-13-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
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Your beer will be better if you make a starter.

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Old 01-13-2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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im still a fairly 'green' brewer but i have learned a think or two about the basics, one of them being starters.

i've learned (the hard way) yeast starters are good for 2 reasons:

1) making a starter lets you know before you brew if your yeast is even any good. if you pitch bad/dead yeast into a starter and it doesnt ferment - you've spared your precious ingredients and lost nothing but the yeast and a little DME.

2) fermentation takes off like rocket and also ensures full attenuation. one reason i started making starters is because earlier this year i had a batch that took 3-4 days to get started (i simply pitched the liquid yeast without making a starter) and because i couldnt leave well enough alone, i was popping the top, looking inside and screwing with the fermenter trying to get it started and ended up with a batch of ****ty beer.

since then i've always made starters and fermentation starts within hours , and i also noticed it really helps fully attenuate the beer. i didnt realize this until i actually used a starter (i wasnt using a hydrometer then either) but my non-starter batches were on the sweet-side and not attenuated fully or properly.

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:01 PM   #5
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Thanks, I will be doing a yeast starter. I just hope my recipe turns out.

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:02 PM   #6
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A starter will help...

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:38 PM   #7
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Making a starter is more than beneficial; it's good brewing practice. Here's why:

The brewing industry Rule of Thumb for yeast pitching is to pitch 1 million cells per milliliter of wort per degree Plato.

"But Bob," I hear you cry. "What the hell does that mean?" Simple! Follow closely.

Every degree Plato (°P) is worth about 1.004 specific gravity. Your 1.066 wort is as close to 16.5°P as makes no difference. Applying the Rule of Thumb, you need to pitch 16.5 million cells per milliliter (ml) of wort in your fermenter.

Five US gallons is approximately 19 liters, or 19,000 ml.

Thus: 19,000 * 16,500,000 = 313,500,000,000 or 313.5 billion cells.

An XL Wyeast 'smack-pack' contains on average 100 billion cells, even when fully swelled. (For the record, a vial of White Labs is on average the same count.)

So if you were to pitch the smack-pack only, you'd need at least three smack-packs to get the right pitch rate.

See why a starter is a good idea?

Welcome to the world of yeast management!

Bob

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:41 PM   #8
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Is this a smack pack? If it is, then, you don't need a starter as long as the yeast can handle the OG. Just read the pitching instructions on the packet of yeast.

I started my smack pack three days before brewing.

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:55 PM   #9
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Unfortunately, that's not entirely accurate. The highest-strength wort an XL smack-pack or vial can expect to handle is approximately 1.025.

Listen, I've physically done cell counts on both sizes of Wyeast package, as well as White Labs vials, using a haemocytometer, notebook, and way too much of my free time. The most you can hope for is from the White Labs vials - 20% of the time, you get 120 billion cells. Of course, 40% of the time, you get 70 billion. But the average works out to 100 billion.

Even if you take George Fix's standard for ale worts - 0.75 million cells per °P - you still end up short, even with a wort of 1.048 (12°P)!

Numbers don't lie!

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Old 01-13-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NQ3X View Post
Unfortunately, that's not entirely accurate. The highest-strength wort an XL smack-pack or vial can expect to handle is approximately 1.025.
I used Wyeast 1332 Northwest XL. On the back of the package, it said to use a starter if the OG was 1.060 or higher.

Quote:
Listen, I've physically done cell counts on both sizes of Wyeast package, as well as White Labs vials, using a haemocytometer, notebook, and way too much of my free time. The most you can hope for is from the White Labs vials - 20% of the time, you get 120 billion cells. Of course, 40% of the time, you get 70 billion. But the average works out to 100 billion.

Even if you take George Fix's standard for ale worts - 0.75 million cells per °P - you still end up short, even with a wort of 1.048 (12°P)!

Numbers don't lie!

Bob
The picture below was in 6 hours after pitching the above smack pack. Note: the smack pack sat out at 70 degrees for 3 days per instructions after breaking the nutrient pack.
The OG here was 1.058



24 hours

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Last edited by impatient; 01-13-2009 at 11:09 PM.
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