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Old 12-16-2007, 11:30 PM   #1
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Default Wyeast Activator versus Propagator?

I have a question that's been on my mind lately as I plan my next batch. Wyeast, as you know, offers an Activator and Propagator version of their yeast strains. The Propagator is the cheaper of the two but also has fewer viable yeast because they are meant to be used with a starter. Here's my question:

If someone were to save money/cut corners and use a Propagator for a 5 gallon batch pitching, would that have the possibility of causing off flavors or otherwise negatively affect the batch? One thing I could think of as a potential problem is that the yeast would take longer to start up and as a result, bacteria would have a chance to do their thing or the fermentation would be incomplete or otherwise stunted.

Since I've read the fine print I have no intention of doing this myself. But a friend of mine who is getting into homebrewing things it'd be a good way to save money and he doesn't think that a starter is necessary when using the Propagator. What should I tell him? Thanks!

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Old 12-16-2007, 11:41 PM   #2
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The Propagator is designed to be used with a starter. If you don't you're seriously under-pitching and that can cause a multitude of problems.

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Old 12-17-2007, 12:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rdwj
The Propagator is designed to be used with a starter. If you don't you're seriously under-pitching and that can cause a multitude of problems.

Even the Activator benefits from a starter.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:43 AM   #4
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To make it clearer:

Make a starter for ALL liquid yeasts.

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Old 12-17-2007, 12:48 AM   #5
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I just made a post about this topic today.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:18 AM   #6
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While many a homebrewer has cut corners and skipped making a starter, it seems foolish to use a propagator without one. The reason they make the activators is for people who don't want to make starters, if you're feeling too lazy for a starter then at LEAST use the activator or you're just asking for trouble. If someone's too cheap to use an activator and too lazy to do a starter, then they should just stick to dry yeast - after all, chances are, if someone's being that cheap and lazy about their yeast, they're probably also being cheap and lazy about the rest of their beer too, in which case the benefits of liquid yeast are probably wasted in most cases anyway.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:26 AM   #7
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IF the beer's OG is less than 1.040 AND you inject pure O2, I'd suggest that an activator would be OK. If it's higher than 1.040 and you don't have oxygen, forget it.

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