I bought a 2000ml flask and a stir plate so that I can make yeast starters for my beer. Although I have been happy with my beers so far I have been apparently under pitching my yeast, in the case of my currently planned brew by a factor of 2/3. Incredibly, making starters has been the hardest technique I have tried to learn since I started brewing. I tend to over complicate things and it appears that yeast starters are no exception. So I went to the Mr. Malty site, punched in my information, and then realized I don't really understand what it is telling me. It shows four results, two of which I need some help with.
# Yeast cells needed - I understand this one, at least in theory. Obviously I can't get out a microscope and start counting yeast cells. But if I know how many cells the yeast manufacturer says I have to start out with, I can then calculate how many more I will need.
# Vials or packs without starter - I use a starter so I can ignore this data.
# Vials or packs with starter - My results say 2. Here's where the confusion starts. I thought the whole idea of a starter was to grow enough yeast from a single tube to give you the proper number of cells to pitch with. Is there a simple way to get the proper amount of yeast from a single tube? I have read a few articles that indicate it can be done, but they all describe a multiple step process. For that much work I'd just rather under pitch or buy another tube of yeast.
# Liters of starter required - I assume that this means that I need to make 1 liter of wort to pitch my starter with, correct? Also, if I only have one tube of yeast instead of the recommended two tubes, does that change the amount of wort needed?
Any and all help on using the Mr. Malty calculator and how to make yeast starters would be greatly appreciated.