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Old 01-17-2013, 05:28 PM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 16

So I'm going to try and use liquid smack packs for the first time and wanted to know if it is really necessary to use a starter to obtain the proper cel count. I'm looking to pitch 18 M into my 1.083 OG wort and since each smack pack is noted as producing 6 M can't I just add 3 smack packs equaling 18 M instead of taking the time with the starter? I know that the yeast starter is cheaper but my problem is time not money. All advice appreciated.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
Jul 2010
Portland, OR
Posts: 1,655
Liked 185 Times on 171 Posts

Yes, you can just pitch multiple packs of yeast if you want. Make sure they are fresher/more viable to have the numbers you have found you need (not sure about 6M, for example, Wyeast purports to have 100 million cells, perhaps you are meaning to refer to #million/degree plato/ml wort?). Without looking at a calculator 3 smack packs sounds ballpark for 1.083 if they are fresh.
Starters give you the benefit of greater numbers of yeast, but also viability and vitality being enhanced.
However you choose, it will still be beer. Worst that can happen is it doesn't turn out exactly like you intended.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
jdauria's Avatar
Sep 2010
Braintree, Massachusetts
Posts: 652
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Yes, you could just use 3 packs, but consider this:

According to a 1.083 OG 5 gallon batch of ale, needs 283 billion cells. So yes, without a starter, you could pitch 3 (actually 2.9 per the site), but with a starter with stir place, you only need 1 pack.

However, you also have to factor in the age of the yeast. Above numbers are with yeast packaged today. If the date on the smack pack was say 4 months old, you would need 12.9 smack packs without a starter vs 4 cost could factor in. And just FYI, if you use White Lab vials instead, the date on the vial is "best by", the actual date is four months earlier.

Saying all that, I did start myself by just using X number of smack packs, but have since moved to a stir plate starter. I find that not only does fermentation start quicker with a starter, it also finishes much quicker also. I also find that I am getting a cleaner, better attenuated final product.
Primary - Quarts of Schwarz
Secondary - O'Connor's Irish Stout
Kegged - London Calling Porter, A Little DAB Will Do

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