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Yeast starter

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A yeast starter is the best way to build up colonies of yeast to ensure proper fermentation. While it is possible to ferment a standard batch with one packet/vial/smack pack of yeast, it is recommended that a starter be made from it anyway to ensure that there are many viable yeast cells and that the yeast is active when pitching to avoid long lag time.

[edit] Reasons for using a starter

1- More viable yeast cells

2- Shorter lag time

3- Healthier fermentation

4- Reduces the chances of underpitching

[edit] How to make a yeast starter

1- Make a wort of some kind. The simplest way to do this is to boil up some LDME.

2- Some will say it is best to aim for a gravity similar to the one that is being aimed at for the batch (to acclimatise the yeast). [Others] believe that a wort with a SG of 1.040 is best for yeast production.

3- Pour your 'wort' into a sanitised container- note that sanitation is crucial when it comes to yeast starters.

4- Ensure that the starter is at the right temperature- that is, the temperature you intend to ferment at. If it is at a higher temperature, the yeast adjust their metabolic rates during succesive cell division and become "aclimatised" to that temp.

5- Pitch the yeast into the starter.

6- Seal the container, but make sure that the CO2 can leave- some attach an airlock to a rubber bung, others use a rubber balloon.

7- Some step up their starters into larger volumes over several days if a large volume of wort is being fermented.

8- When the yeast is active, pitch it into your brew.