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Do I need to buy another pack of yeast even though I am making a starter

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mad32brewing

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So I will be brewing a triple IPA this Saturday with an intended OG of 1.089. I am using a pack of Giga Yeast Vermont IPA(the pack says it has more than 200 billion viable cells and was package just over a month ago). I will be making a two-liter starter(this is actually my first time using/making a starter) but will be manually shaking it because I don't have a stir plate. I am looking at all of these online cell count calculators and they say that I will not have enough viable cells even with my 2-liter starter. I have been setting my target pitch rate a 1 million/ml and the growth factor is coming out to around .95 to 1, depending on what calculator I use. Do you think I am fine or do I have to go back to the homebrew shop and pick up another pack of yeast and pitch it with my 2-liter starter?
 

Bramling Cross

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There are a lot of perfectly reasonable answers to your question, but it depends upon how you want to tackle the problem.

Frankly, I don't have much experience with the starter on a stir plate and a yeast calculator method. If that's the route you want to take, I'd trust the calculator and get more yeast. It's a tried and tested method for many brewers and it makes great beer. But treating your yeast like panda bears that are so incompetent at being animals that it requires multi-million dollar zoo budgets to get them to screw has always seemed a bit silly to me. Brewers yeast has a very narrow outlook on the world, it wants to reproduce and that's about it. In so doing, it happens to make beer--which is good for us. But all you really need to do is get your yeast to reproduce, and yeast are not at all like panda bears. They don't need gadgets and spreadsheets to get in the mood. They're always in the mood.

Always.🐰

Were I you, I'd push your 1.089 beer back a week or two and simply make a nice 1.040-ish beer to build up your yeast. I prefer to make a batch of beer rather than a starter that is a large fraction of a batch of beer, but that's just my lazy way of looking at it.

I would also read this. I keep my core yeast strains going year round, but when I need to do something that my core strains can't do, or I want to give a new strain a try, I've found this technique to be faultless. I would also search the American Homebrewers Association forum for Shaken Not Stirred or SNS. They seem to have adopted the practice far more widely than this forum.

All three methods produce equally great beer. It's up to you to decide which best suits your needs.

I know this wasn't the clear cut answer you were looking for, but I hope that in a year or so, you'll look back at it as being useful,
 
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IslandLizard

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According to BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator you'd need 303 billion cells.
You've got about 154 billion left (1 month old, 77% viability).

Without a stir plate yeast growth won't be optimal, but shaking it as often as you can will help, and you should get close to the 300 billion cells you need for that beer.
I therefore recommend using a 1 gallon glass jug (such as the clear ones at your LHBS, $5-6) with a screw lid, and 2 liters of 1.040 wort. You need lots of headspace!

Before making your starter, first remove your yeast pack from the fridge, so it can warm up to ambient (room) temps. That's important, your yeast and starter wort should be within 10°F when pitching.

To make the starter wort, use 2 liter water + 200 gram DME. Boil and stir until dissolved in a clean kitchen pot. I estimate you'll evaporate 100ml during the boil, which is good. At the end of the boil you should have around 1.9 liters (it's not that critical). Add some clean cold water if you boiled off (way) more.

After the boil, cover pot with a clean, sanitized, well fitting lid, and chill the pot in sink or plastic dish wash tub filled with cold water. Leave the lid on, you don't want it contaminated. Replace chilling water when it's gotten as warm as the pot. The whole chilling process may take 30-60 minutes.
  1. When the starter is at ambient (room) temps (~68-74F), pour into your well cleaned and sanitized jug, add your yeast, tighten down the lid and shake as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds, creating as much foam as possible.
  2. Loosen the lid a little and let sit on counter or desk or so. Shake as often as you can, say once every 1 or 2 hours if possible. The more foam and the more air (oxygen) is kept in the starter, the better the growth. You should get ample growth during those 24 hours. Keep at room temps, 68F or up. Keeping it at warmer temps help speed up the process, which is beneficial.
Here are some possible improvements on this method:
  1. After shaking, best is to remove screw lid, and cover the opening with a piece of sanitized aluminum foil, loosely crimped around the jug's neck.
  2. Using the foil tent allows fresh air (oxygen) to move back in and produced CO2 out.
  3. Before each shaking, remove foil, wipe the opening area and neck with a clean, squeezed out, small, dedicated Starsan soaked washcloth. Screw the sanitized lid on and shake well.
  4. After shaking, remove lid, and put the re-sanitized foil back over the opening.
  5. I'd keep a small 1/2 - 1 gallon bucket or container with Starsan nearby with the washcloth in it.
Keep things well sanitized so no dirt or bugs can get in.

At the end of your brew day, pour the whole jug with yeast starter into your well aerated wort (or better yet, oxygenated using pure O2).

Notes:
You may want to add 10% gravity to your OG, since you'll be adding about 1/2 gallon of weak starter beer to it. That means aim for 5 gallons of 1.098 (= 1.089 + 0.009).

Brewing high gravity beer is not easy. There are quite a few more pointers...

Wishing you good fortune! :mug:
 

Bramling Cross

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Or just make a batch of low gravity beer. Whichever seems easiest to you.

(sorry, Lizard, I'm not trying to mock you. I've just never understood the thinking behind building a starter directed at a minimum number of yeast. I never understood the Jamil fad. Prior to that we were pitching fractions of a cake, but somewhere along the line it became fashionable to think that cake yeast was somehow dirty).
 
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BrewMan13

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I never had much luck with using spent yeast in the past, remember dumping batches due to that. Granted, perhaps my methods weren't as meticulous as they are today, but I just do starters now, and if I want to use a specific yeast for more than 1 beer, I overbuild the starter. Just the safer route based on my personal experience. I have crazy low lag times, sometimes only 2-3 hours (and more importantly, the beer is good), so the starter method is working for me.
 

VirginiaHops1

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Or just make a batch of low gravity beer. Whichever seems easiest to you.

(sorry, Lizard, I'm not trying to mock you. I've just never understood the thinking behind building a starter directed at a minimum number of yeast. I never understood the Jamil fad. Prior to that we were pitching fractions of a cake, but somewhere along the line it became fashionable to think that cake yeast was somehow dirty).
Yeah when I buy liquid yeast I always go to at least generation 2 and reuse the cake(saved in mason jars). I've never had any issues. I know some people make a starter everytime and save part and use part but I find harvesting the yeast cake much less work.
 

IslandLizard

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@Bramling Cross, @VirginiaHops1
Using the (partial) yeast cake of a recent, low gravity batch surely is a good alternative to making a starter, but then the OP won't be brewing his Triple IPA this Saturday. He'd be brewing a small beer instead. Then maybe brew the big kahuna next weekend, but more realistically, the weekend after.
 

IslandLizard

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I never had much luck with using spent yeast in the past [...]
Could be due to the methods used, sanitation process over the various successive batches, and a bunch of other factors stacking up the odds of it going south.

Generally, reusing yeast from high gravity beers is discouraged, and should be avoided from beers over 1.080-1.090. I've successfully reused (partial) cakes from 1.060-1.065 beers, even 4-5 generations down. If they were a few weeks old (stored in the fridge), made a vitality starter with it on brew day. Never had any issues with them. If anything, they nibbled a few extra points off.
 

Beermeister32

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I usually dump the entire yeast cake into a couple quart Mason jars and refrigerate it for later use.

Before I re-use the yeast, I will taste the beer it produced, then determine if I want to re-use it.

If I decide to re-use the yeast, I'll wash it first. I quit re-using entire yeast cakes as it can carry a lot of trub along with it which can cause off flavors in your new beer. Also subsequent generations of yeast can start drifting the flavor profile a bit. Doesn't always happen, but the potential is there.
 

kh54s10

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Or just make a batch of low gravity beer. Whichever seems easiest to you.

(sorry, Lizard, I'm not trying to mock you. I've just never understood the thinking behind building a starter directed at a minimum number of yeast. I never understood the Jamil fad. Prior to that we were pitching fractions of a cake, but somewhere along the line it became fashionable to think that cake yeast was somehow dirty).
Using a yeast cake is fine - if you want to brew the smaller beer. Otherwise make the starter.
 
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