I don't understand
Yeast Starter? Why does the manufacturer recommend just pitching one vial or pouch but must homebrewers’ recommend using a starter? I understand the manufacturer recommends starters with lagers and high gravity beers but the others they say “The Activator is designed to deliver professional pitch rates (6 million cells/ ml.) when directly added to 5 gallons of wort. ( <1.060 at 70 degrees). However, if a package is slow to swell, suspected of being mishandled, or if the date is approaching the six month shelf life it is a good idea to build the culture up with a starter. High gravity or low temperature fermentations require higher pitch rates. This can be achieved with inoculating with additional packages or making a starter.”
Well- I don't know that "most" homebrewers recommend using a starter. Certainly not in all cases (me, for instance). It depends on what beer you're making. A Wyeast Activator (NOT the Propagator, which is designed to be incorporated into a starter) or a White Labs tube is designed to be pitched directly. All dry brewing yeast I know of is designed to be pitched directly (hydration is usually recommended, but I've pitched Nottingham and S-05 dry with good results).
That being said, these things are all designed for 1) 5 gallon batches and 2) as the directions you cited state, wort at <1.060 OG. In the two years since I began brewing, I have used mostly the Wyeast Activator, with three or four dry yeast batches, and several starters, made from Wyeast Propagators. All of these produced good beer. However, I'm thinking about making my first barleywine this coming Winter, and you can bet that I'll make a big starter to get that going.
Here's some info to ponder:
I wish that I could give you an opinion but my avatar is too aggressive looking and I don't want to confuse you with my opinion as being aggressive also. So, by just reading the above links I hope that it helps.
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