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Old 03-05-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
ricman525
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Mar 2011
Longmont, CO
Posts: 7


I had never used a starter before, only pitched a vial of White Labs, no matter the OG. Never had a problem with stuck fermentation, but was wondering if my beers would be improved with a proper amount of yeast.

Imagine my surprise when Mr. Malty told me to pitch TWO vials of White Labs into my 2L starter for a 1.084 IPA, ostensibly 3X the cells I had been using previously. The owner of my local shop scoffed, as did a friend who routinely pitches 1/2 a vial into a starter to save $$.

1st question: Really?!?
2nd question: It looks like I should use the "Simple Starter" selection on the Mr Malty dropdown, correct? I shook it about 3 times, does that qualify for "Intermittent shaking". Perhaps a stir plate is in my future, as that would drop the # of vials down to 1.

Before you scoff, might I add that I won 1st place in an AHA Competition with underpitched beer...

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:56 PM   #2
TyTanium
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Nov 2011
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Pitching half a vial to save money is a waste, imo. Here's why - when your beer is done fermenting, you'll have TONS of yeast slurry sitting in the bottom. If you wash it & store it, the little amount left in the vial is trivial. So pitch the whole vial into your starter from the beginning and use less time/steps/DME to build up a large enough cell count.

Proper pitch rates is more about flavor than attenuation; attenuation and fermentation aren't as correlated as one might think. Many an underpitched beer fermented out just fine. Mash temps, grain bills, age of extract, and strain of yeast affect attenuation more than cell count, IME. When you underpitch the yeast gets stressed and can throw out some unique flavors - sometimes desirable (i.e., hefe), sometimes not, depending on the style.

And you can make awesome beer underpitching - clearly your 1st place showed that. It's just not terribly consistent. And it may have been even better with a proper pitch.

EDIT: And select intermittent shaking and try to shake it more than 3 times

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
jtejedor
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Sep 2010
Las Vegas
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The owner of your LHBS should at least want to sell DME for starters Shaking it a few times a day should qualify as intermittent shaking I would think.

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
ChillWill
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Jan 2011
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
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As long as you oxygenated your wort really well you shouldn't be that far off tbh.

You did under pitch for that OG but not as much as Mr malty may scare you into thinking. It'll probably be fine. If you pitched under 24 hours ago I'd try and get some more oxygen into it, if not I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:50 PM   #5
ricman525
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Mar 2011
Longmont, CO
Posts: 7

Thanks for the feedback. I pitched 2 vials into the starter and then into my well-oxegenated wort and it was off like gangbusters in 12hrs. If it's not the best beer I've ever had, I'll likely reduce to 1 vial next time.

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:04 PM   #6
Maxkling
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Oct 2010
Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 554
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If you take the growth factor slide bar on the bottom and move it all the way to the right it will tell you what you need for only one pack of yeast.
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