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Old 02-07-2010, 02:31 PM   #1
BrewN42
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Feb 2010
Upper Sandusky, OH
Posts: 4


My lovely assistant and I will be crafting our 1st brew today from a Midwest supplies kit (Irish Stout). We activated our Wyeast (1084 Irish Ale) a couple of days ago. After a ponderous bit of reading it has been suggested (mainly John Palmer) that even with a liquid yeast, one should create a yeast starter. Unfortunately, we do not have any dry malt extract for a yeast starter as our resident home brew supply shop was snowed in yesterday. I have 2 questions that I was hoping someone could help with; a) is a yeast starter really important if brewing with a liquid yeast and, b) if it is, is there a substitute nutrient (ie - a touch of malt extract, hint of sugar, etc...). Thanks, any suggestions would help to allay a newbies apprehension. Bottoms up!

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:43 PM   #2
ardentfrost
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Jan 2010
Atlanta
Posts: 100

I've only used the dry yeast and White Labs up to this point (I don't think my LHBS even carries Wyeast) and I've found that without a starter, the White Labs liquid yeast has a pretty significant lag time. I've heard Wyeast isn't much better, but again, I have no first hand account of that.

I try to make a starter every time now, especially when I'm using White Labs, but I'll admit that sometimes I forget. If I have no way to make a starter I just aerate really well, make absolute sure everything is sanitized well, and plan to not see any bubbles for two days (if I see bubbles sooner, all the better, but I expect two days with it).

People have said you can also make a starter from Malta Goya, which is a non-alcoholic carbonated soft drink made from barley and hops. You can often find that at the grocery store. However, since you're brewing today, you won't have enough time anyway.

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
danielinva
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Jun 2008
Henrico, VA
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If you don't have any extract to use, just go with the smack pack alone. It's not ideal, but it will still get the job done. Just don't use any simple sugars for your starter, it will make them lazy by teaching them to eat sucrose rather than maltose.

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #4
mr_bell
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Apr 2008
Chicago, Illinois
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IMO, a yeast starter definitely helps in terms of producing better beer. One of the keys to a great beer is pitching an adequate amount of healthy yeast. The need for a starter is dependent on the OG of the beer: the higher the gravity, the more yeast that's necessary and hence the need to increase the amount of yeast cells with a starter.

That said, this is your first batch, don't worry about it, have fun and enjoy the experience. Use the smack pack alone. I've done it many times and the beer comes out fine. As you gain experience and get the desire to make the best beer possible, then you will want to use starters.

Cheers

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:18 PM   #5
BrewN42
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Feb 2010
Upper Sandusky, OH
Posts: 4

Thanks, we were thinking about canning the brew for today but with your info., it appears as though we can get by with the 'unstarted' liquid yeast (which is already activated). We don't generally have time for a brew in the evenings and #3 son's wrestling schedule will preclude brewing over the next 3 weekends, rendering the existing yeast useless. Sounds like "all's a go for lift-off, Houston". Thanks again for the input!

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:26 PM   #6
BrewN42
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Feb 2010
Upper Sandusky, OH
Posts: 4

The kit suggest a fairly high OG of 1.042-1.046. Still think we're OK w/o the yeast starter?

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
EvilGnome6
 
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May 2009
Scottsdale, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewN42 View Post
The kit suggest a fairly high OG of 1.042-1.046. Still think we're OK w/o the yeast starter?
I would consider that a fairly low OG. Once you're over 1.060 I wouldn't recommend pitching without a starter. Mid 1.040s should be just fine.

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:57 PM   #8
BrewN42
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Feb 2010
Upper Sandusky, OH
Posts: 4

Thanks, still learning. Your gallery suggests you've been at this for a while. Appreciate the input & feel much better about going forward this afternoon. Only issue now is anticipation of the finished product.

 
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
mr_bell
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Apr 2008
Chicago, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewN42 View Post
The kit suggest a fairly high OG of 1.042-1.046. Still think we're OK w/o the yeast starter?
I like to use the Mr. Malty (www.mrmalty.com) pitching rate calculator for determining the size of a starter. Per this, @ 1.044 OG, your looking at 155 billion cells in 5 gals wort, just over a 1 liter (1.09L) simple starter. Wyeast packs have about 100 billion cells I believe. This for an ale, of course, not a lager.

It should be fine without the starter. Once you start to refine your process these are things to take into consideration; the pitching rate calculator is a great tool IMO.

 
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