Healthy Yeast: Adding Nutrients and/or Servo to Starter

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Jan 31, 2009
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I know its not necessary to add nutrients and/or servo to your starter or wort (I've never done it and my beers are fine), but I've become interested in experimenting with making my yeast as healthy as possible. I don't just mean the yeast count, but the overall health and vitality of these little beer-making machines.

So, I'm thinking of adding 1/4 teaspoon of White Labs nutrient to my starter and one capsule of servo to my wort (15 minutes). Anyone have any experience with this, see any problems, or have any suggestions?


I always put some yeast nutrient in with my starter to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Seems to work great although I have not really "experimented" to see if there are any quicker starts or a better fermentation with the nutrient added in. I just added the nutrient directly to the starter on the stir plate and everything was mixed in and working fine just a few minutes later.

I have not added nutrients to my wort after pitching though. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt any, but I figured they probably had enough nutrients to get started and that wort is pretty full of a bunch of food for the yeast already, so I don't add it to the primary. Again, I don't think it would hurt any to do so though.
I have always added nutrient to the starters, but I just recently started using it in my wort as well. Personally I think the servomyces capsules suck. I am sure the nutrients are high quality, but unless you are trying to be all reinheitsgebot I think that Wyeast brewers choice is a much better value. Servomyces are exponentially more expensive and I have noticed that the capsules don't fully dissolve even when boiled for 15min. At that price I want to be sure I am getting all the benefit out of them, so I started cracking them open and dumping the nutrients in.

Anyway, I started using them in high gravity wort and beers I planned to re pitch from. I did notice faster starts and a more controlled attenuation, so now I just use it in all my beers. So now I use the Wyeast nutrient in my starters and boils, and then keep some DAP around for meads. I am not sure if this is necessary but the Wyeast one is cheap enough that it is good insurance, especially in high gravity wort and in all starters. I build me water from RO, so I have always been somewhat concerned about zinc content and other trace it gives me a piece of mind.
According to the white labs site, the nutrient WLN 1000 contains amino acids and adds nitrogen to the yeast. It increases the health of the yeast, but not necessarily it's speed.

Servo, according to the site, is made up of dead yeast cells which help with zinc and helps prevent autolysis. It's dosage really makes it possible to only use in the wort, not the starter.
It's dosage really makes it possible to only use in the wort, not the starter.

Please don't ask me how I know that capsules are really simple to divide into equal doses, err, measures if you

* dump the contents (grind if necessary)
* arranged it into a line of constant width
* divide the line into the desired number of doses. Measures! I mean measures!

a bit of a libertine in his youth, who's much more boring and happy now