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Old 04-19-2006, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Yeast starter

I read the yeast starter FAQ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=2270) and it seems everyone has a slightly different take on the best approach. My question is, what's the best water/sugar ratio? 3/4 cup with a liter of water? 1/2 cup with 1/2 liter? I know high ABVs and Lagers require more, but for a regular ale or wheat, are there any downsides to using less sugar/water?

Judging by the pics there seems to be a good deal of sludge buildup in the bottle as the yeast revs up. After pitching the starter, do you typically swirl out the bottle with some (sterilized) water to get all of it into the fermenter? Is there a reason not to?

Also, I don't have any DME sitting around (still doing kits) but I do have a big can of pure dextrose -- I imagine this will work well as yeast food, right?

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Old 04-19-2006, 05:18 PM   #2
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There is one school of thought that says the starter's OG should be 70% of the batch's OG. This allows the yeast to 'ramp up' to the strength of the batch.

My method is to use 3oz DME/qt of water. I believe this makes something in the range of a 1035-1040 starter and that seems to work well for all of my batches.

I've started using the refrigerator method of settling out the yeast when the starter has a nice kraeusen. I then decant as much liquid as possible before pitching which always leaves enough liquid for resuspending the yeast cake.

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Old 04-19-2006, 05:23 PM   #3
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I use a cup of extra light DME and 2.5 cups of water.. then just shake it up until the mix is mostly foam and the sediment is gone and pour it in.

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Old 04-19-2006, 05:52 PM   #4
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Dextrose is not going to work well. It has(is) sugar, but lacks other nutrients needed for yeast health. Just buy some DME if you don't have it sitting around

Don't try to rinse out the yeast. It's a huge risk at that stage to no benefit. Just don't worry about whatever is left in the bottle. Schwirl it up, get as much as you can in one swift clean pour, and relax.

As far as sugar ratios yadda yadda, you're overcomplicating it. Just get some DME, make a quart of half gallon of "amber" wort, pitch your yeast in that, and go. It's not a big deal, and a wide range of strengths work fine. Remember, you're just trying to increase the yeast population and vigor. So type of beer and all that really doesn't matter.

Don't overcomplicate it. It's really very simple. But do use DME or you won't like the results. Cheers

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Old 04-19-2006, 10:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
It's a huge risk at that stage to no benefit.
Why is that? Right before pitching I've poured a couple gallon of water into the fermentation bucket, so how would swirling the starter bottle with more water hurt?
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBulldogg
Why is that? Right before pitching I've poured a couple gallon of water into the fermentation bucket, so how would swirling the starter bottle with more water hurt?
You should be fine. I usually wash the yeast with some wort out of the starter vessel. But this is only because I don't need to top-off with water. In general I need to wash out the yeast because I already discarded the liquid above the yeast sediment.

The best gravity for a starter is 1.040 because after that you may see the effects of the Crabtree-Effect. I can't find a good link on this. But when the concentration of sugar exceeds 10*P (~1.040) the yeast starts to bypass the aerobe phase and starts fermenting right away. This may lead to a reduced uptake of oxygen by the yeast.

You don't have to be at exact 1.040, just stay in this area for your starters. Even if the starter is for a higher gravity wort.

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