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Old 12-05-2008, 09:05 PM   #1
Oct 2008
Northern Virginia
Posts: 14
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can someone please explain to me how to do a yeast starter or if I even should bother with one when using a wyeast activator pack? I'll be brewing an amber ale on Sunday.. SG will be 1.054.



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Old 12-05-2008, 09:10 PM   #2
Tonedef131's Avatar
Feb 2008
Fort Wayne
Posts: 1,891
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Just make a liter of wort in the 1.030-1.040 range, put it in a growler, pitch your "smacked" pack in there and then cover it with foil. It will help A LOT to give it a good swirl every time you walk buy it. If you aren't going to be able to shake it regularily you might want to make a 2 liter starter.

Edit: read this for the maximum amount of starter info your brain can hold: http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.htm

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:25 AM   #3
fratermus's Avatar
Feb 2008
Posts: 1,188
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Originally Posted by jbenedetto View Post
or if I even should bother with one when using a wyeast activator pack?
A safe rule of thumb is to use starters for liquid yeast cultures, and rehydrate dry yeasts.

At $6 a pop or whatever, I'd be very sure to get all the goodness out of a liquid culture.

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Old 12-07-2008, 01:33 AM   #4
Aug 2008
Posts: 225

wyeast states you don't need starter-i just warm it for 24 hours or so on my apple tv if under 1.060 sg--I haven't done one higher, but if i DO, i'll just use two packets.

isn't that the whole idea of the activator, it's all calculated out for you by wyeast? why add undeeded steps if not necessary-or is it necessary? I dunno, i;m a newbie----but wyeast isn't, i'd have to assume they kinda know what they are talking about and it's in thier best interest to have the beer come out good.

from their site:

6. Do I need to make a starter for an Activator?

No. The Activator is designed to deliver professional pitch rates (6 million cells/ ml.) when directly added to 5 gallons of wort. ( <1.060 at 70 degrees). However, if a package is slow to swell, suspected of being mishandled, or if the date is approaching the six month shelf life it is a good idea to build the culture up with a starter. High gravity or low temperature fermentations require higher pitch rates. This can be achieved with inoculating with additional packages or making a starter

Reason: spelling

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:30 AM   #5
frolickingmonkey's Avatar
Sep 2008
Whatcom County, WA
Posts: 331

I'm still newbish, myself. I used to not make starters and just pitched swollen smack packs, but I quickly learned that making starters is necessity. None of the beers I made with smack packs ever got below 1.020 FG. As soon as I began making starters, I was able to get down into the 1.010-1.015 range every time. Nothing else in my process changed and fermentation temps were also consistent across all my brews. The only conclusion I can come to is that yeast starters make the difference in my FG.
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:17 PM   #6
fratermus's Avatar
Feb 2008
Posts: 1,188
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I will point the OP to Jamil's FAQ on the topic and let them make their own decision.

FWIW, there is no way I would pitch two batches of liquid yeast (~$13) for a high-grav batch rather than making a sufficient starter. I'd crank up the the flasks and the stirplate and go to town.

Reason: high grav

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Old 12-07-2008, 01:35 PM   #7
EdWort's Avatar
Jul 2006
Bee Cave, Texas
Posts: 11,912
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It's been my experience that when you use starters with Wyeast packets, you will reduce lag time to visible fermentation activity by a substantial amount.

Pitching the packet alone and you can wait up to 36 hours for activity depending on the strain. With a starter, you can see activity within a few hours.

I will never pitch a 6 dollar yeast without a starter either. I want to know if that puppy is ok before I put it in my beer.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:44 PM   #8
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
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Its also not just a matter of enough yeast. Its a matter of pitching enough HEALTHY yeast. Making a starter insures the yeast are ready to eat the **** out of some wort.

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