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Old 09-16-2007, 07:24 AM   #1
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Default Proofing Yeast as a Starter

I was looking through the various threads on making starters and was wondering if anyone has ever tried proofing dry yeast as a starter before pitching. I read that DME can be used in place of brewer’s sugar in the wort as well as for priming.

Has anyone ever first boiled a cup of water, placed the water in a sterile container, e. g., a pyrex measuring cup, let the temp drop to approximately 80 degrees F and then added a teaspoon of brewers sugar and dry yeast as a starter? If so were the results favorable?

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Old 09-16-2007, 08:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAbrewer07
Has anyone ever first boiled a cup of water, placed the water in a sterile container, e. g., a pyrex measuring cup, let the temp drop to approximately 80 degrees F and then added a teaspoon of brewers sugar and dry yeast as a starter? If so were the results favorable?
Yes, but I used a teaspoon of honey and dry yeast as a starter. I also used honey in the primary.

Results were beer that is better than commercial, with more punch.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:51 AM   #3
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There is no real need to make a starter with dry yeast. You can proof it in some warm sanitized water on brew day and the packets come with plenty of yeast cells for your typical brew.

Liquid yeast starters are used to increase cell count prior to pitching since the vials and smack packs do not really come with enough (even though they are marketed as pitchable). I'm not sure I see the benefit in going through the extra work of making a starter when it is not required.

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Old 09-16-2007, 02:48 PM   #4
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agreed, no reason to make a starter for dry yeast. proofing it will tell you if the yeast is still viable or not, which is only needed if the yeast is past its 'use by' date, or if it was stored in less than ideal conditions (i.e. way too warm).

liquid yeast starters do two things: increase yeast cell count, and awaken the yeast so that you know there's still something viable in the tube/smack pack.

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Old 09-16-2007, 02:58 PM   #5
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You can proof the dry yeast if you want but I see no real advantage. If you suspect the yeast is bad, it is cheap enough to toss and buy more. You really don't want to re-hydrate and proof the yeast hours in advance of pitching (I think 15 minutes is ideal) so if you add sugar to proof and nothing happens then you still have you wort without yeast.

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerrific
You can proof the dry yeast if you want but I see no real advantage. If you suspect the yeast is bad, it is cheap enough to toss and buy more. You really don't want to re-hydrate and proof the yeast hours in advance of pitching (I think 15 minutes is ideal) so if you add sugar to proof and nothing happens then you still have you wort without yeast.
+1 to what Beerific said. Proof/rehydrate about 15 minutes prior to pitching for optimal results. Although I do think rehydrating is a good idea regardless.

Starters with dry yeasts are not only unnecessary, they can actually reduce your yeast viability unless you are really certain of what you are doing. Dry yeast manufacturers dry and package the yeast while they are at their peak of energy stores. Often making a starter with them will actually reduce these energy stores, making them less viable once pitched.
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Old 09-16-2007, 04:29 PM   #7
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Do not add sugar or honey to the solution for rehydrating your yeast. The dried yeast have no ability to control what crosses their membranes initially and the sugar or wort will kill some and wound others. Using warm water per the directions for your yeast strain will result in the maximum number of happy viable yeast.

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Old 09-16-2007, 11:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
Although I do think rehydrating is a good idea regardless.

Starters with dry yeasts are not only unnecessary,
OK then Please explain the difference between them? Would not rehydrating be like giving it a start...or a head start...or something like that?

Cheers
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Nick
OK then Please explain the difference between them? Would not rehydrating be like giving it a start...or a head start...or something like that?

Cheers
Basically, you rehydrate the yeast in the package and pitch it immediately while it is at its peak of energy reserves.

With a starter, if you don't get it just right (lots of things to go wrong), you can actually REDUCE the energy reserves of the yeast.

The yeast manufacturer has a lab with lots of equipment to optimize yeast quality at packaging. It is hard for a homebrewer to replicate this level of success with the yeast.
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:09 AM   #10
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Rehydrating the yeast allows the yeast cells to draw enough water across the cell membranes to restart their metabolism. Proofing is not necessary and is not recommended because it can actually begin to expend some of the yeasts' reserves and make the yeast less adaptable to the wort. See how to brew by John Palmer for the chemistry behind this.

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