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Old 04-05-2013, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default What is a starter?

Getting ready to start my second batch in a week and I am using a liquid yeast (as opposed to a dry yeast which I did for my first batch).

I've seen a couple places about using a starter...what is this?

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:47 PM   #2
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Basically a starter is a mini beer that is created to grow up the yeast cells to the proper pitch rate for your beer

Www.yeastcalc.com is a great site to calculate pitch rate and determine what size starter you need or how many steps it will take to get there depending on the gravity of the beer

There is plenty of info on making Sayers via YouTube or on this site with a simple search

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
Basically a starter is a mini beer that is created to grow up the yeast cells to the proper pitch rate for your beer

Www.yeastcalc.com is a great site to calculate pitch rate and determine what size starter you need or how many steps it will take to get there depending on the gravity of the beer

There is plenty of info on making Sayers via YouTube or on this site with a simple search
I love making sayers!
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:06 PM   #4
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It's usually recommended to utilize the search function (or better yet, Google search through this site). This topic has been discussed at very great length.

Here's some threads that may help:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-make-yeast-starter-pictorial-76101/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-make-yeast-starter-pictorial-updated-340261/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/yeast-starter-using-dry-yeast-79535/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/fermentation-can-take-24-72-hrs-show-visible-signs-43635/

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Old 04-05-2013, 11:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcdowd

I love making sayers!
Me too!
Drinking and typing on a phone with auto correct is one of my favorite past times
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:40 AM   #6
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
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Done some research and I feel like I'm getting a better grasp but it brought up a couple more questions.

1) I'm making a recipe kit, should I just take DME from the kit? What about hops? Eventually this "minibeer" is going to be incorporated into my actual wort so will it ruin the flavor? In general, what kind of DME are people using? The DME that matches the style of beer they're preparing?

2) If I'm making a 1L starter, would using a 2 L soda bottle be okay? I don't have a flask. And seems silly but how do you sanitize aluminum foil?

3) I don't have a stirring plate, I can give it a swirl as often as I can but between work and life that'll probably be once or twice each morning, stagnant for 10 hours, and a couple times in the evening. Is this a problem?

4) Decanting? What? You let it go for a couple of days, then refrigerate the day before brewing, take out the day off, pour off liquid (what does this mean) and then allow it to go to room temp? Then I pour the contents into the cooled wort? Did I get this all straight?

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Old 04-06-2013, 07:51 PM   #8
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These are pretty basic questions. Sure you researched this? This YouTube video a few posts above this one answers most of these questions.

Quote:
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1) I'm making a recipe kit, should I just take DME from the kit? What about hops?
Get more DME. Don't steal it from the kit. Don't use hops in a starter.

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Eventually this "minibeer" is going to be incorporated into my actual wort so will it ruin the flavor?
No, you pour the starter "beer" off and only use the yeast that remains at the bottom of the flask.

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In general, what kind of DME are people using? The DME that matches the style of beer they're preparing?
Does not matter. I use Extra Light as a rule of thumb, as dark DME starters can throw off the color of lighter beers. But really, it doesn't matter much.

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Originally Posted by PrivetDriveBrewery View Post
2) If I'm making a 1L starter, would using a 2 L soda bottle be okay? I don't have a flask. And seems silly but how do you sanitize aluminum foil?
Sounds fine. Make sure the inside is cleaned well with a percarbonate cleaner like Powdered Brewery Wash or OxiClean if possible. Otherwise, use the hottest water you can handle and mild dish detergent. Rinse, then sanitize the inside with StarSan or Iodophor. To sanitize foil, dunk it in the sanitizer or spray it on with a spray bottle, wait 30 seconds, then use immediately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivetDriveBrewery View Post
3) I don't have a stirring plate, I can give it a swirl as often as I can but between work and life that'll probably be once or twice each morning, stagnant for 10 hours, and a couple times in the evening. Is this a problem?
This will still work, but you'll get a lesser utilization of the DME over the same time frame due to reduced gas exchange.

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Originally Posted by PrivetDriveBrewery View Post
4) Decanting? What? You let it go for a couple of days, then refrigerate the day before brewing, take out the day off, pour off liquid (what does this mean) and then allow it to go to room temp? Then I pour the contents into the cooled wort? Did I get this all straight?
After refrigerating the yeast, it should separate into a gelatinous yeast layer at the bottom and a clearish fluid at the top. Pour off almost all of the fluid, leaving the yeast layer in the flask and a small amount of liquid behind. That's decanting. Let the mixture warm for a few hours to room temperature. Sworl the yeast mixture like a madman just before pitching so you don't leave any behind.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:03 PM   #9
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Thadius, this was INCREDIBLY helpful. Thank you so much!

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Old 04-08-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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Have another question on this topic (I think I'm close to having a good understanding of starters)

So I am planning to brew on Friday, I want to make my starter tomorrow. That will give it 3 days to go. I'll make it tomorrow, and then refridgerate it Thursday, take out, and decant Friday morning so it's ready to go. Sound good so far?

Here's my question. The yeast I'm using is one of the Wyeast activator packs, its currently refridgerated, if I want to make my starter tomorrow when should I take the Wyeast pack out and pop it? Do I leave it out for a couple hours before I add it to the boiled DME? Thanks!

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