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Old 11-06-2008, 09:36 PM   #1
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Default Questions about making a yeast starter

I'm brewing a Belgian Triple on Sunday. OG is supposed to be 1.081. I'm using the White labs Abbey Ale yeast

I went to Mr. Malty and it calculated that if I use two vials of yeast I would need a 1.88 liter starter.

So I bought the two vials of yeast (with one vial it calculated making an even bigger starter.

From the instructions he said to add 1 gram of DME for every 10 ml of final volume. So if I made a 1.88 liter starter I would need 188 grams of DME and 1.88 liters of water.

188 grams = .4144 cups of DME
1.88 liters = 7.946 cups of water

Does this sound right?

I'm brewing on Sunday and was thinking about making my starter on Friday night. How much before does everyone else make their starters?

Thanks for the help.


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Old 11-06-2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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That sounds about right. Basically a half cup of DME in 2 liters. Two days before is fine. I'd just check the volume of the DME. Better yet, weigh it. 188 grams is about 6.5 ounces.


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Old 11-06-2008, 09:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith View Post
That sounds about right. Basically a half cup of DME in 2 liters. Two days before is fine. I'd just check the volume of the DME. Better yet, weigh it. 188 grams is about 6.5 ounces.
Good call, I didn't even think bout the weight factor.
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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1000ML=100grams
2000ML=200grams

way easy to remember.

Actually I do 5.3oz in 2qts water which would be 150 grams for a 1.030 starter.

Why 2 vials of yeast? Just make a bigger starter with 1. If you use Palmer's table on final yeast counts based on initial counts and starter size you get with a Wyeast Activator that has 100billion cells:

1qt starter=168billion
2qt =226billion
3qt =270billion
4qt =305billion

I think 2-3qts would be plenty for a 1.080 beer especially with Abbey strain yeast which are used to high gravity.
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:47 PM   #5
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If you don't have a scale, use your hydrometer. Put 2L of water in your pot, add 1/3 cup of DME. Mix and measure gravity. You're aiming for 1.040 on starter gravity. As long as you measure gravity preboiling of the starter, any sample can be added back to the pot. Add and mix DME until you hit 1.040.

Easy peasy
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:57 PM   #6
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I would also recommend to make a smaller starter (like half a litre) and wait until it ferments out, then decant the spent beer, then step up the starter with another half litre.

Sure, it takes a longer time, but it creates less adjustment stress for the yeast cells and you'll have overall better viability.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:09 PM   #7
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1.88 liters is about 8 cups water.
188 g is much more than .4144 cups DME. It's closer to 1.6 cups. Weighing the DME is the way to go.
I wouldn't try measuring the gravity of the starter before boiling as much of the DME wouldn't have dissolved. If you get to 1.040 pre-boil, you will be much higher than that after the boil.
I make my starters about 18 hours before using, but add O2, and leave them on the stir plate until I'm ready to pitch. If you don't have a stir plate, 2 days seems a reasonable time, and give it a good swirl as often as possible. Also, don't use an airlock, but loosely cover the top of the fermenting vessel. Many people use sanitized foil. I use an inverted sanitized jam jar.

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Old 11-09-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
I wouldn't try measuring the gravity of the starter before boiling as much of the DME wouldn't have dissolved. If you get to 1.040 pre-boil, you will be much higher than that after the boil.

-a.
I'm sorry, but this statement makes no sense at all. DME dissolves very easily in water without having to boil, that's how it's made in the first place. Use a whisk or let the stirbar do its work for a few minutes. Once the liquid is clear with no clumps, it's dissolved and the only change in gravity post boil will be from evaporation, not further dissolution.

I said if he didn't have a scale, using a hydrometer preboil will get you to your starter gravity and I stand by this. If he has a scale, then of course this is the way to go.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Camel View Post
I'm sorry, but this statement makes no sense at all. DME dissolves very easily in water without having to boil, that's how it's made in the first place. Use a whisk or let the stirbar do its work for a few minutes. Once the liquid is clear with no clumps, it's dissolved and the only change in gravity post boil will be from evaporation, not further dissolution.

I said if he didn't have a scale, using a hydrometer preboil will get you to your starter gravity and I stand by this. If he has a scale, then of course this is the way to go.
I just sacrificed 10g DME which I mixed with about 100 ml cold water, and measured the gravity. It was about 1.023 and there was undissolved extract in the pan..
I then warmed it up to about 160 for a minute, stirred, and measured the gravity again. It was about 1.035. Actually, I used a refractometer instead of a hydrometer because it's more accurate with my eyesight.
I agree that the water doesn't have to be boiling, but it does have to be hot, and then you have to apply temperature compensation or wait for it to cool.

-a.


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