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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Need advice on a starter for old yeast
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:18 AM   #1
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Default Need advice on a starter for old yeast

I have a vial of WLP037 (Yorkshire Square) yeast that is about three weeks from expiring (according to the "best buy" date on the label).

Obviously, I'll be making a starter. I do not yet have a stirplate, but I've had some great results to date with shaken starters... though they admittedly began with more cells than I will have in this one.

What's the best strategy for me? Make a big starter from the get go? Begin with a small (say, 1 liter) starter, then decant and step it up?

If stepped up, how big should I go? I know this is a noob question, but I've never done a step up before.

Thanks for the advice!


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Old 03-16-2013, 02:21 AM   #2
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I think you are fine. I recently used almost a 1yr old vial and only used a 1L starter...turned out great.


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Old 03-16-2013, 02:24 AM   #3
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Use a yeast calculator to determine step sizes so you aren't just wasting materials. My understanding is you get decreasing gains from going larger if you have a low inoculation rate. So if you have small number of cells (maybe only 20billion or so) it may only be worth starting with 0.75-1L for the first step and larger for the second.

I like yeastcalc.com, but that's just me. There are others you can find with a quick search.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freisste View Post
Use a yeast calculator to determine step sizes so you aren't just wasting materials. My understanding is you get decreasing gains from going larger if you have a low inoculation rate. So if you have small number of cells (maybe only 20billion or so) it may only be worth starting with 0.75-1L for the first step and larger for the second.

I like yeastcalc.com, but that's just me. There are others you can find with a quick search.
I frequently check Mr. Malty to get my final size, but my issue is simply that I'm ignorant of the step up process. I know, stupidly noobish.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewdad

I frequently check Mr. Malty to get my final size, but my issue is simply that I'm ignorant of the step up process. I know, stupidly noobish.
Not at all.

Make a starter as usual.

Make sure it is done fermenting.

Put it in a fridge for 24 hours (overnight min).

Decant liquid off, leaving yeast (its easy to see because the beer will look like beer and the yeast like yeast. If you use a clear container, you won't be confused.

Make a new starter as usual.

Pitch what is left of the first starter into the second.

Repeat as necessary to get to your final cell count

Pitch final starter into wort.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freisste View Post
Not at all.

Make a starter as usual.

Make sure it is done fermenting.

Put it in a fridge for 24 hours (overnight min).

Decant liquid off, leaving yeast (its easy to see because the beer will look like beer and the yeast like yeast. If you use a clear container, you won't be confused.

Make a new starter as usual.

Pitch what is left of the first starter into the second.

Repeat as necessary to get to your final cell count

Pitch final starter into wort.
Stepping up to larger sizes each time, right? How large should the steps be?

Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:40 AM   #7
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That's where you need a calculator. I would use trial and error until I minimized the number of steps required to get to the cell count required for the beer. Shoot for 2, but you may need 3 steps. Obviously keep in mind that you don't want to plan for a 3L starter if you only have a 2L container.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freisste View Post
That's where you need a calculator. I would use trial and error until I minimized the number of steps required to get to the cell count required for the beer. Shoot for 2, but you may need 3 steps. Obviously keep in mind that you don't want to plan for a 3L starter if you only have a 2L container.
Gotcha. I have a gallon container, so that'll be fine.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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Okay, so Mr. Malty says that with intermittent shaking, I would need a 1.45 liter starter... if I had two vials of yeast. I don't, and seeing as how this is a Platinum (limited edition) yeast, I won't be getting another one.

Using one vial kicks me up to needing a 3.59 liter starter.

So... let's say I do a 1 liter starter today, let it finish, decant it. How do I determine the needed size of the next starter step?

I'm obviously missing something simple.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:09 PM   #10
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I don't know about mr. Malty, but on yeastcalc.com, it lets you choose the size of each step and the result of the previous step is automatically input. It also (as does mr malty) estimate viability of the yeast based on date.


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