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MN_Jay 06-10-2008 02:23 PM

Making a starter
I've been doing a lot of reading the past few days about making a starter. I want to give it a try with a Hefe Weizen I'm going to do this week. I already purchased the kit with Wyeast Activator. Everything I read here says to make your starter out of DME. A few questions -

1) Can I use the DME out of the Hefe Weizen kit or do I buy some just for the purpose of making starters. I assume if it's the later then it won't have any effect on the beer because it has an extra cup of DME in it?

2) How long can I store a starter before I brew. Can I make the starter one night, store it and then brew one or two nights later?

3) The DME, should it be the same color as the brew I'm making or can we use a generic extra light for everything?

4) I've read about decanting. Is this absolutely necessary? can I just pour the whole starter in there? My fear is that I get rid of much and end up underpitching.

Thanks again. I'd be lost without this place.

McKBrew 06-10-2008 02:44 PM


1) You could definately use the DME out of the hefe kit (It's not that much), many of us keep some extra DME on hand just for starters.

2) Two days is fine. Cover it with sanitized aluminum foil. I keep my starters on the counter for 2-3 days with no issues.

3) Use Generic light DME. You could use a different one, but might as well keep the lightest color on hand to be able to make a starter for all beers.

4) You don't have to decant. If you do, you won't lose yeast, it all settles to the bottom. Pour off most of the liquid and swirl the yeast in the remaining liquid.


Revvy 06-10-2008 02:55 PM

What McKBrew said!

(guess this thread is closed now.) :D

Ooohhhh except maybe watch a how to video from Joe Polvino


MN_Jay 06-10-2008 07:49 PM

Thanks for the replies. Last one - I realize that the point of a starter is for it to start fermenting but does it matter what point you pitch it in your actual wort? Does fermentation have to be complete in the flask before you can pitch it or as long as it started its fine? Last last one - can you freeze a starter for later use?

beeraggie 06-10-2008 09:05 PM

You want to pitch the starter when the yeast is still actively fermenting. I have never frozen my yeast, I have kept a flask of starter in the fridge for several months and it worked out fine. If your not going to use it put it in a sanitized beer bottle and cap and store in the fridge.

Waylit 06-10-2008 09:16 PM

Can I save the yeast dregs from the bottom of my primary, store it in the fridge, and use that yeast when I make a starter. How effective is this compared to using new yeast?

Waylit 06-10-2008 09:20 PM

to answer my own question...


Originally Posted by Mr. Wizard
I always harvest and re-use our yeast (like other commercial brewers) and the accepted rule is that yeast should be cropped as soon as possible when its viability and vitality are at their peak. Some ale brewers continue to crop yeast from the tops of an open fermenter and this is done towards the end of peak fermentation before the cap begins to fall into the beer . . . although in the case of some top fermenting strains the thick kraüsen never really falls.

Most brewers these days harvest yeast from the bottom of conical fermenters and one must wait until the yeast is on the bottom and can be taken. Our ale flocculates pretty well and we can harvest yeast about 3–4 days after primary fermentation is complete. The longer you wait to harvest and reuse your yeast, the greater the chance of having sluggish, not-so-healthy yeast in your next batch. I would suggest not reusing yeast that has been sitting on the bottom of a carboy for any longer than two weeks.

blacklab 06-10-2008 09:30 PM

I found that my starters never worked and was very frustrated. Then I started using an avatar.

timothywilliam 06-10-2008 10:23 PM

This may be a simple question, but regarding starters, does the DME in the starter affect your beer taste at all? Does it leave the taste of a DME that I didn't want or should I really even be worried about this?

Hoosierbrewer 06-11-2008 02:11 AM

You should decant off most of the liquid. It will not affect flavor.

Also, make sure if you are doing a wheat that you use a large blow off tube. They tend to be explosive.

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