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Old 01-20-2011, 01:56 AM   #111
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This is where I start to get confused. We have dry yeast and smackpacks/whitelabs, all rated to go into a 5 gallon batch up to what... 1.055? So, if this little amount of yeast can do the job... why are we using so much more?
I think you'll probably find several opinions on whether or not a starter is neccessary. I personally have never made a starter, nor have I made any "big beers". From my understanding yeast starters are generally only made when using liquid yeasts and are used to make sure the yeast is still viable and active/ready to eat some sugar. If you do a search for pitch rate calculator I'm sure theres a link to one floating around somewhere that can tell you the pitch rate for the 1.092 beer. I think the majority of the time you're probably okay just tossing the yeast in, but starters offer a way to make sure the yeast is viable or to increase the cell count to handle a higher OG beer.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:20 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by tevbax82 View Post
So, I read all 11 pages, and am thoroughly confused. Really, up to 3 liters of yeast starter in a 5 gal batch? This is where I start to get confused. We have dry yeast and smackpacks/whitelabs, all rated to go into a 5 gallon batch up to what... 1.055? So, if this little amount of yeast can do the job... why are we using so much more?

Second--- Have started doing yeast starters. Added 1/2 cup DME to 750ml water, boil, cool, pitch yeast into 1000ml flask. So, I want to grow more yeast and increase the size. I simply "build" another dme/water/boil/add to flask after decanting?

Any help here would be appreciated. Also, how much yeast would you pitch at a 1.092 OG delirium.

Thanks!
Underpitching is dangerous in that it stresses the yeast and you risk it pooping out too early, leaving you with an underattenuated and sweet beer. Yes, a vial or smackpack should do the job for beers 55 and down; making a starter is an option for checking the viability of the yeast and helping your ferment get off to a good start.

Overpitching is risky in that it can lead to higher ferment temps and a lot of extra ester production in your beer. The good news is that you are really going to have to work super hard to overpitch, so don't worry about it because you'll probably never do it by accident. Generally, if I brew a beer up around the 90s, I make a starter, give it a day, then repeat the process from the OP (boil DME, cool it, then mix with yeast). I might decant some of the liquid off first before I add the fresh DME. That is one "step up." It is a good idea to do another step up for such a big beer just to be safe (and don't worry, you aren't overpitching). It's safe to say that you would be overpitching if you pitched your beer onto a yeast cake and then added a starter that has been stepped up twice.

Another option you have in brewing big beers to make sure that your yeast can handle the fermentation is to feed your sugars (if you have any). So if your recipe calls for a pound+ of, say, candi sugar, then don't add the sugar to your boil. Let your fermentation go for four or five days and then boil your sugar with just enough water to make a syrup and then cool and add that to your fermenter. At this point, your yeast will be plentiful and acclimated to the alcoholic environment. Some people also worry about adding too many simple sugars initially because the idea is that the yeast consume those first and then more or less putter out, again leaving you with really sweet underattenuated beer. Hope this helps.

And don't sweat it. Starters are easy, and it's better to spend a week stepping up a starter for a healthy pitch rate that may seem to "be a little high" than it is to have fermentation crap out on you because you were afraid to pitch too much. Again- you won't overpitch without trying really really hard to do so. Happy brewing!
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:06 AM   #113
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tevbax82, another benefit of a starter (if not already mentioned) kicking a fermentation off faster makes it less likely to get contaminated.

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Old 01-27-2011, 09:38 PM   #114
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Does it matter how much yeast I put into my starter? I've got a 125mls (4.25fl. oz.) smack pack, it's okay to dump that all into my 2 cups of water and .5 cup DME mixture or would I need to use more dme/water?

I'm using wyeast smack pack 1187. It says on the package contains 100 billion yest cells designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of wort, but all I've read says a starter is still a good idea to keep everything clean and healthy.

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:19 PM   #115
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Anyone???

Probably should've waited for an answer, but I'm cooling my mini-wort right now and about to pitch my yeast. Don't want to mess up my first starter!

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Old 01-28-2011, 12:20 AM   #116
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Sounds just right....it'll be perfect.

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Old 02-07-2011, 09:26 PM   #117
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I'm about to brew a bourbon porter at 1.06. Is the 16 oz to 1 smack pack OK for this, or do I need a bigger starter?

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:01 PM   #118
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That should be fine, but if you have time to make a starter, it certainly won't hurt. Happy Brewing!

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:52 PM   #119
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I am making a starter; my question was whether or not the 16 oz water - 1/2 cup DME was sufficient for a 1.06 brew. I've seen some say it's good for up to 1.06, but other say it's only good up to 1.055. The starter is already made at this point, though, so I'm going to give it a go and see what happens.

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Old 02-08-2011, 05:41 PM   #120
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Another starter question: Let's say I wanted to do a big ol' 1-gallon starter for something like a 1.090 beer, but I didn't have a big enough vessel to do the starter. Then let's say I let a 1/2-gallon starter run it's course, decanted the spent wort and added a 1/2-gallon of fresh wort to the container. Would stepping up like that give me the same amount of growth as a 1-gallon starter?

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