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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > White Labs vial - need a starter??
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:57 PM   #1
sanigav7
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Default White Labs vial - need a starter??

Normally, I use Wyeast and make a starter for it. The local shop isn't carrying Wyeast anymore and is now selling White Labs. The guy behind the counter, who appears to be very knowledgable, said the White Labs is nicer for many reasons, most being shipping, but he said that the vial is able to be pitched without making a starter. "Just shake it up until it's creamy and pour it in" he said.
Is this true? Are there enough cells to do this efficiently? I plan on brewing tonight...but if a starter is suggested, looks like I'll be brewing later this week.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:05 PM   #2
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from WL
Quote:
Each vial is equivalent in cell count to a pint starter, or 75-150 billion cells.
Like Wyeast they claim you can pitch a vial directly up to 1.070 but thats way under pitching

i say make a starter
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:06 PM   #3
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Their website claims that each vial has 75-150 billion cells. At the top rate that's a shade too low of a pitching rate for most ales in the 1.050 range...

However, will it make beer without a starter? Yes. Will it make good beer without a starter? Most likely.

Will your beer be happier and likely better with a starter? Yes.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:06 PM   #4
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It depends on your OG, volume of wort, etc., but I believe the general opinion is to almost always make a starter when using liquid yeast. Use the calculator at www.mrmalty.com to get a more precise answer But just pitching the vial is probably ok, as long as the OG isn't too high.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:07 PM   #5
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Yeah that guy isn't correct. Make a starter.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:09 PM   #6
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It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...

The biggest reason I suggest folks make a starter is if you make one you'll have peace of mind. It's especially important if you have questionable situation happenning with your yeast, like not being sure the yeast arrived healthy.

And you won't be starting an "is my yeast dead" thread in a couple of days.

Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer. You will be less likely to start one of those "is my yeast dead?" threads that are on here every day.

You will also ensure that you have enough yeast usually the tubes and smack packs are a lot less yeast that you really should use for healthy fermentation.

Making a starter also usually means your beer will take off sooner, because the first thing that the little buggers do in the presence of wort (whether in a flask or in a fermenter) is have an orgy to reproduce enough cells to do the job...So it won't take such a long time in the fermenter since they started doing it in the flask.

So making a starter proves your yeast is still healthy, allows you to grow enough yeast to do the job, cuts down on lag time, and ensures that you will not get off flavors or stuck ferementations from stressed out yeast.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...
I take your 1.020 for lagers, but raise you a 1.035 for ales and 1.040 for Hefeweizens. Otherwise, I agree with you!
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:22 PM   #8
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awesome! thanks everyone. Changing plans and making a starter!
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:25 PM   #9
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I made a 1 liter starter of 3068, then stepped it to 2 liters, then 3 liters.

When I pitched it into two 5 gallon batches of my Bavarian Hefe, I had kreuzen inside 6 hours.

A starter is the only way to go with liquid yeast. Payoff is huge in better beer.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcaneXor View Post
I take your 1.020 for lagers, but raise you a 1.035 for ales and 1.040 for Hefeweizens. Otherwise, I agree with you!
The reason I say 1.020 is that IIRC if you're playing with mr malty, the very first gravity it actually says you need to use more than a single smackpack/vial on is for 1.030, it doesn't show that large of an increase in cellcount but it does show one, that's why I say if your beer is above 1.020 to go ahead an do it. I think one of them, either wyeast or whitelabs says 1.040, but I go with Mr. Malty.

Also where new brewers are concerned, who think their yeast is somehow a frail thing, like I said it proves viability.

But you and I both are in sync about it.
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