Happy HolidaySs Giveaway - Winners Re-Re-Drawn - 24 hours to Claim!

Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Is a starter necessary?
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-17-2008, 06:05 AM   #1
yusky2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 7
Default Is a starter necessary?

i know this question has been answered before. is it necessary to create a starter for white labs or wyeast liquid yeasts? i know alot of people talk about doing it but both of their websites say it is not required. i don't really wanna make a starter if i don't have to. what could happen if i don't?

thanks.

__________________
yusky2 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2008, 06:31 AM   #2
A4J
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
A4J's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: the Desert, CA
Posts: 1,349
Liked 25 Times on 23 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

Are starters absolutely necessary? no.
Will your beer benefit from healthy fermentation because you used a starter? yes.

Using a starter means higher cell counts which leads to a more efficient fermentation and consequently a better beer.

__________________
Primary 1: pale ale
Primary 2: blondie


My mid-century modern keezer build thread.
A4J is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2008, 06:33 AM   #3
Tripod
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 661
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

I'm not the absolute yeast-starter authority, but my research has led me to believe that you will get some benefit from making and using a starter. But I don't think you absolutely HAVE to make one. You're probably going to get a ton of replies from brewers who say they never make one and their beer is A-OK. Other will swear by the starter...

My understanding is that making a starter gives your yeasts more of a "fighting chance" by allowing them to multiply to a really healthy level of numbers before they are added to your wort. They are going to multiply either way, but by making a starter they don't have to waste time multiplying in the wort. If they can be allowed to get straight to fermenting then other trace amounts of bacteria (or other badies) won't have a chance to multiply and gain a solid hold within your wort. Just like sending more soldiers into battle gives them a better shot at taking the hill, your yeasts will benifit from already having greater numbers.

The other reason a starter is good is that it gives you a chance to test that the yeasts are beer-worthy before you pitch. Granted, it doesn't happen often...but if you pitch a bad batch of yeast then you won't know it for a while. Then your wort is sitting while you scramble to get another batch of yeasts in there before it's too late (unless you had the forethought to buy two batches of yeast). By making a starter, you remove all doubt.

Pros, please correct me if I got that wrong...

-Tripod

__________________
No trees were harmed in the posting of this message but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced...

Primary: First AG Batch! - Irish Red | Bottle: Oatmeal Stout| Drinking: Nearcastle II... | Up Next: It may be time to try a lager

5/2012
Tripod is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
Jaybird
Sponsor
HBT_SPONSOR.png
HomeBrewTalk 2012 Vendor Giveaway Participate
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
 
Jaybird's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nor*Cal
Posts: 6,101
Liked 416 Times on 304 Posts
Likes Given: 153

Default

Think of it like this.
If your going into battle, do you want 100 of your best buddies or would you like to have 10,000 of your best buddies watching your back?
You decide
JJ

__________________
Need a False Bottom for your Keg, Kettle or Cooler?

I have been making custom False Bottoms for just about everything since 2008

Nor Cal Brewing Solutions, Reddings local homebrew store
(530)243-BEER and (530)221-WINE


Still have questions PM me here or hit the website.

http://www.norcalbrewingsolutions.com and like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NorCalBrewingSolutionsfor Facebook only promos too
Smoke Cigars? www.stogietoys.com
Jaybird is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 03:02 AM   #5
trainfever
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philly
Posts: 227
Default

Also by making a starter, you can save some of the yeast and make another starter for your next batch.

__________________

Yes, I am out of my mind, it's dark and scary in there.

trainfever is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 03:06 AM   #6
BierMuncher
...My Junk is Ugly...
HBT_MODERATOR.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
BierMuncher's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 12,229
Liked 613 Times on 355 Posts
Likes Given: 231

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by yusky2 View Post
i know this question has been answered before. is it necessary to create a starter for white labs or wyeast liquid yeasts? i know alot of people talk about doing it but both of their websites say it is not required. i don't really wanna make a starter if i don't have to. what could happen if i don't?

thanks.
There is no blanket answer.

It really depends on what you're brewing. The bigger the beer, the more benefit to a starter. My rule is anything 1.045 and below...no starter required.

If you don't want to mess with a starter (I rarely do), just bring it to room temp a few hours before and pitch it. You'll add about 6-8 hours to ferment time...but no degradation will occur.
__________________

*******
Check Out My Rolling Kegerator

BierMuncher Tried & Trues:
Tits-Up IIPA (3-Time Medalist), Black Pearl Porter, Kona Pale Ale, Outer Limits IPA, Centennial Blonde (4.0%), Nierra Sevada (SNPA), SWMBO Slayer Belgian Blonde,

BierMuncher is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 04:27 AM   #7
Calvinfan1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 63
Likes Given: 2

Default

I'm not going to lie....I get lazy and skip the starter on occassion, but I do feel guilty when I do.
I've broken it down with a microscope and some calculations. Even those fantastic White Labs vials that I use religiously don't have the amount of yeast cells you really need to do a five gallon batch of beer justice. You would need four of those vials to get the appropriate amount of yeast cells. It's twice as bad with those powder yeast packets.
Can you make good beer without a yeast starter? Sure, but for a little more effort, you are increasing productivity in your yeast and ensuring the right product for your beer.

__________________
Calvinfan1 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 04:36 AM   #8
emoutal
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 146
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvinfan1 View Post
It's twice as bad with those powder yeast packets.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that a pack of dry yeast has way more cells than liquid yeast. A starter is not normally used with dry yeast for this reason.
__________________
emoutal is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 01:06 PM   #9
Bob
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Christiansted, St Croix, USVI, US Virgin Islands
Posts: 3,921
Liked 127 Times on 95 Posts
Likes Given: 36

Default

As others have opined, yes and no. Check this to bear me out.

The rule of thumb is a certain number of active yeast cells per point of gravity per milliliter of wort. There are many reasons for this, as there are a number of flaws yeast can cause in the finished beer based on over- or under-pitching. Attention must be paid to how long the yeast has been sitting around - an old culture will have severely compromised viability. Also, attention must be paid to how the culture has been stored - temperature extremes are as bad as age. Call me a pessimist, but I always assume my yeast has been abused, just in case it has been!

Let's get practical.

A 1.050 wort requires ~185 billion active yeast cells for proper inoculation.

Dry: An 11g packet of dry yeast contains more than that number, so that doesn't need a starter; just rehydrate according to the instructions on the packet and pitch. Dry yeast is nowhere near as susceptible to temperature extremes as liquid cultures, and can be stored longer before viability becomes an issue.

White Labs: A vial of White Labs yeast contains, optimally, 140 billion cells. Unfortunately, that number is no longer reliable once the yeast is packed for shipment. Once it's shipped to the homebrew store, it's been shipped once - potentially exposing it to temperature extremes. Check the manufacture date on the package carefully. Significantly, the numbers, even when the culture is new, still require a starter for proper pitching. Thus, it's wise to always make a starter for beers over OG 1.037 when using White Labs yeasts, or buy two vials.

Wyeast: The "Activator" packs contain, according to Wyeast, "a minimum of 100 billion cells". What they really say is that each package contains 1.2 x 109 cells/ml. (That's 1.2 billion, by the by). No matter how you slice it, even the Activator pack is insufficient to inoculate a wort stronger than 1.026. The Propogator pack is even worse, with ~25 billion cells in a pristine pack. Thus, it's always wise to make a starter with Wyeast packages also or double-pitch.

Look - I'm not trying to scare you. I'm just giving you the numbers. Of course the manufacturers' websites are going to tell you what you read; do you really think they'd do otherwise? But the numbers are the numbers.

Keep in mind that many brewers experience excellent results from simply using the packages of liquid yeast, regardless of what the numbers say. They pitch the packet and RDWHAHB. Maybe that'll work for you. I'm a little too OCD for that! If you don't want or are ill-equipped to make starters, don't despair! Just keep pitching as best you can. Oh, and make good beer!

Cheers,

Bob

__________________

Brewmaster
Fort Christian Brewpub
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

Bob is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2008, 01:20 PM   #10
ajf
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
ajf's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 4,643
Liked 99 Times on 93 Posts
Likes Given: 39

Default

Another site that has great information on starters is MB Raines, Ph.D. - Guide to Yeast Culturing for Homebrewers - Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society (Los Angeles Homebrewing)

-a.

__________________
ajf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Brett starter or no starter squeekysheep General Techniques 4 07-31-2009 03:54 AM
starter slomo Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 04-27-2009 08:09 PM
Starter Question / Will 1/2 gal of starter do two batches? JKHomebrew General Beer Discussion 4 01-28-2009 01:39 PM
How big of a starter? Eskimo Spy Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 08-14-2008 08:08 PM
Starter? We don't need no stinkin' starter! Hopsnort General Techniques 11 02-13-2006 08:14 AM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS