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At What OG to Start Using A Starter?

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Pelikan

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I'm going to assume most folks would argue "use a starter for everything," and I'm not necessarily opposed to this idea. But to this point I've only done high OG brews (from about 1.060 on up). Looking to do a few now that dip into the 40s. Would they also benefit from a starter, or could I get away direct pitching from the vial?
 

tedski

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Would they also benefit from a starter
Yes, these brews will also benefit from a starter. The yeast will already be through its lag phase and into or beyond the growth stage. Once you introduce it to your fresh wort, lag time will be drastically reduced and your yeast will already have high numbers, so the growth phase will also be reduced.

or could I get away direct pitching from the vial?
Yes, you can also get away with direct pitching of the vial. The vial is designed to pitch into ~1.050 wort. However, the yeast has gone dormant in the vial, so it will need to "wake up" and go through all phases. Lag phase will be longer than you've experienced with starters and the growth phase will be slightly extended.

Hope this helps.
 

ArcaneXor

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I use a starter when Mr. Malty tells me to use a starter, which is always. For some styles I do smaller starters than he suggests though, since for a Wit or Weizen I like to stress the yeast a little bit to up ester/phenol production.
 

Myrdhyn

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For what it's worth, White Labs vials say use a starter if pitching into wort with an OG >1.070
 

SumnerH

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Let's assume you're willing to underpitch when 10% more cells are needed--if 110 billion cells are called for, you're fine pitching 100 billion.

With dry yeast, you don't need a starter with an OG at or below 1.065
With liquid yeast, you don't need a starter with an OG at or below 1.029

So with liquid yeast, you pretty much always need a starter.

Now let's say you're a lot more lenient and are willing to underpitch when 50% more cells are called for--you're supposed to pitch 150 billion, you're fine going with 100 billion.

Then with a liquid yeast you'd want a starter for anything over 1.040.
 
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