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Old 10-18-2011, 02:41 AM   #1
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Default Large Yeast Starter Question

So I need help deciding on how much yeast I need for my next batch of beer. I am thinking either an imperial porter or double bock, both of which have high starting gravity and ABV. A yeast starter calculator (http://www.mrmalty.com) said no less than two packets of yeast to make a starter of 10 liters (for the double bock)! That is a pretty big starter and I would need to spend another 8 bucks for a second packet of yeast. I would like to know if I can get away with just one packet of liquid yeast? Does 10 liters of starter sound about right for a beer with a starting gravity of 1.079 (the porter) or 1.088 (the double bock)?

Thanks

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:13 PM   #2
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IMO there is no need for a 10L starter unless you are brewing barley wine on a barrel system. You can make due with 1 smack pack if you have a stir plate. With the stir plate you are able to maximize yeast production and therefore will not need the 2nd package of yeast. You should be able to get one doubling or so out of your yeast in a 2L starter. That means if you start with a 100 Billion cell smack pack and make a 2L starter, you will have 200+ Billion yeast cells.

Here is how I make my starters:

1. Make a 2L starter with 1.040 OG (2 cups DME, 2L water, boil 20 minutes with yeast nutrient)

2. Pitch yeast into starter at 70°F and place on stir plate for 2 days

3. Cold Crash for 12-24 hours

4. Decant off liquid (I use my ranking cane and leave about a 1/2 inch of liquid above the yeast cake)

5. Swirl yeast into slurry and repitch into either:

a) another starter or
b) your wort

It is common for people to make their yeast starter 5 days before brew day. The yeast in the starter will consume the sugars within 24-48 hours. Your yeast undergo added stress if left in the starter after the sugars have been consumed. Also, be carefully not to pitch your magnetic stir bar into your wort either!
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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No that's not right there's something wrong in the input parameters of the calculator or the calculator itself, unless this is a 25gallon batch? Check all those parameters and recalculate, If that doesn't work reload the calculator in another window and try that, it does seem to be glitchy right now as if it is adding each parameter every time you change it.

Edit: You can also increase the growth factor to decrease the amount of packets needed, this will require you to step up the starter similar to dangerross' instructions above.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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With those numbers I get:

3 smack packs in 4.5 liters (intermittent shaking) or
34 grams dry yeast for the lager

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:40 PM   #5
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2 smack packs in 1.22 liters (intermittent shaking) or
15 grams dry yeast for the porter.

This all is for 5 gallon batches.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:49 PM   #6
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lagers require a massive amount of viable yeast cells. That is why they recommend brewing a smaller gravity lager first, rinsing the yeast and then using that rinsed yeast to create another starter for the doppelbock.

But yes, if you are starting fresh, you need an absolutely huge starter (for a doppelbock).

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Old 10-18-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for the good information. Yeah, it must have been glitching as COLObrewer stated. It sure gives me more confidence in doing a double bock now that I know I wont need a 10 litter starter.

btw there are two threads asking the exact same thing. This was my first thread/post on this forum and it was not posted till hours after I had submitted it. The other thread is titled- "Need Large Starter- Two Packets Necessary?"

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Old 10-18-2011, 06:25 PM   #8
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Also you are going to want to aerate with pure oxygen because air will not provide enough dissolved oxygen for the yeast to maintain their cell membrane and reproduce. Also you can speed up fermentation and by giving it another blast of O2 12-18 hours after fermentation begins.

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