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Old 05-22-2008, 03:19 PM   #1
Import Sales Rep/Beverage Consultant
Dec 2007
Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 195

I'm thinking of buying two 3 gallon carboys for doing smaller batches of beer, so I can brew more frequently and also experiment a little more (since there's become a whole group of friends with expectations!).

I tend to always brew with Wyeast Activator packs and though I've yet to make a starter, on an upcoming batch I plan to do just that...

Two questions:

1) Should the whole package of yeast be used for a half batch?
2) Is a starter still a good idea or not necessary?

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Old 05-22-2008, 03:36 PM   #2
brett's Avatar
Aug 2007
Omaha, Nebraska
Posts: 290
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You can make a smaller starter, or make a regular-sized starter and split it between two batches.

Or you can just make a regular size starter and dump the entire thing in.

I brew two 3-gallon batches per brew-day myself. So I usually make a 1/2 gallon starter, then decant 3/4 of the starter and split the slurry between the batches. It works pretty well.

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Old 05-22-2008, 03:50 PM   #3
Jan 2008
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i've gone to 2.5 gallon batches as well. its helping me improve my methods quite a bit. i just use my 5 gallon glass carboy (no secondary). the fermentation drives off the oxygen in the headspace. so, as long as you're holding things in the primary it works fine.

btw, you might want to check out the yeast washing sticky. i've been washing the yeast and saving it for future batches. the money you save allows you to experiment more.

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Old 05-22-2008, 04:34 PM   #4
Aug 2006
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 343
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I'm also a three gallon brewer. I'm also a White Labs man, so I'm not sure if my experience is applicable to Wyeast's products. Anyway, I make the amount of starter the Mr. Malty calculator tells me to. I swear it's always 1 L. While not strictly necessary, I feel better keeping my lag time down and knowing that my yeast is alive and active before I pitch.

As far as carboys go, I use a five gallon as a primary and have a three gallon to use as a secondary.

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Old 05-22-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
A4J's Avatar
Mar 2008
the Desert, CA
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Glad someone asked this. I'm planning on splitting a couple batches to experiment with different fruit tea additions at flameout. I was planning on doing a starter and splitting that.

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Old 05-22-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
Import Sales Rep/Beverage Consultant
Dec 2007
Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 195

so it sounds like a starter is still a good idea and that i can use the 5 gallon for primary and a 3 gallon for secondary.
which essentially means i can brew every week, using a 5 or 3 as primary and another 3 as secondary.

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Old 05-22-2008, 05:58 PM   #7
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Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
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I actually think the activator pack would be a reasonable direct pitch into 3 gallons (NOT the propagator which absolutely requires a starter) given good aeration and the gravity being under 1.070. That's what I'd do.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:40 PM   #8
AnOldUR's Avatar
Mar 2007
, New Jersey
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I actually think the activator pack would be a reasonable direct pitch into 3 gallons . . .
Done this many times with experimental 3 gallon batches using 5 gallon primary and 3 gallon secondary.

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