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Old 01-04-2009, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Starter or no starter

I hear many people talking about making starters for their 5 gallon brew, even though they may start with a smack pack or White Labs vial. Unless you have a high gravity beer or suspect that your yeast is not healthy(long shipping time, exposed to high temps, etc), why would most bother with a starter. Supposedly the yeast is pitchable as-is, right? Is this just an extra measure to make sure the yeast is healthy, or is it more beneficial than a regular healthy pitch from the pack/vial?

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Old 01-04-2009, 12:12 AM   #2
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The pitching calculator at Mr Malty is the optimum way to do things.

Personally for me if the beer is less than 1.050, I won't use a starter. If it's over, then I'll make one or use two packets of Nottingham.

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Old 01-04-2009, 01:25 AM   #3
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if you can find the time to make one beforehand, always use a starter

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Old 01-04-2009, 01:32 AM   #4
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Cut down on lag time.

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Old 01-04-2009, 01:43 AM   #5
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I brewed 10 gallons of Amber and split into 2 seperate batches. I made a starter for one 5 gallon batch, and just pitched a smack pack as is for the other. The one with the starter showed early signs of activity in about 2 hours. Making a starter is just a way to promote healthy yeast faster. It also is another fun aspect of homebrewing. I mean how fun is it to be playing with beakers and bunson burners!

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Old 01-04-2009, 02:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone View Post
if you can find the time to make one beforehand, always use a starter
That's great, but why exactly do you believe that?
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milhouse View Post
I brewed 10 gallons of Amber and split into 2 seperate batches. I made a starter for one 5 gallon batch, and just pitched a smack pack as is for the other. The one with the starter showed early signs of activity in about 2 hours. Making a starter is just a way to promote healthy yeast faster. It also is another fun aspect of homebrewing. I mean how fun is it to be playing with beakers and bunson burners!
Exactly, hehe.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBrew75 View Post
I hear many people talking about making starters for their 5 gallon brew, even though they may start with a smack pack or White Labs vial. Unless you have a high gravity beer or suspect that your yeast is not healthy(long shipping time, exposed to high temps, etc), why would most bother with a starter. Supposedly the yeast is pitchable as-is, right? Is this just an extra measure to make sure the yeast is healthy, or is it more beneficial than a regular healthy pitch from the pack/vial?
From what I have absorbed from the experts around here, it depends on the yeast. What type of yeast are you using?
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBrew75 View Post
I hear many people talking about making starters for their 5 gallon brew, even though they may start with a smack pack or White Labs vial. Unless you have a high gravity beer or suspect that your yeast is not healthy(long shipping time, exposed to high temps, etc), why would most bother with a starter. Supposedly the yeast is pitchable as-is, right? Is this just an extra measure to make sure the yeast is healthy, or is it more beneficial than a regular healthy pitch from the pack/vial?
The reasoning for making a starter when dealing with liquid yeast is simple; even under ideal circumstances, there are never enough viable cells in either a smack pack or a single vial. Consult the Mr Malty calculator linked by McKBrew to see the numbers first hand.

Incidentally, there is an excellent Brew Strong podcast that explains the nuts and bolts of making starters, as well as the reasons to do so.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:23 AM   #10
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See MB Raines, Ph.D. - Guide to Yeast Culturing for Homebrewers - Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society (Los Angeles Homebrewing)

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