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How to make a yeast starter - Pictorial

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DeathBrewer

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i thought this picture might help out some newbies. found it on another forum.




MORE INFO:


Most starters are made as "1 L" starters, meaning they use a 1L flask or container. Since sizes vary, you may wish to measure more accurately to get the desired propagation of yeast.

Instead of using 1/2 cup of DME, try just using 1/4-1/3 cup to make a lower gravity wort. This helps the yeast get active quickly, and they go through their aerobic stage, eating oxygen and reproducing, rather than producing alcohol.

If you want to be a bit more specific, make a ~1.020 OG starter; use about 2 oz of DME in a final liquid volume (before adding yeast) of 800 mL. This works great in a 1L flask.

You will usually need to top off after your boil with some water to reach the right volume. I just top off with some freshly opened bottled water so it stays relatively sanitary.

Instead of an airlock, use some sanitized aluminum foil. This allows oxygen to get in and feed the yeast. Swirl the liquid every once in a while to keep those yeast busy. I usually just set it on the counter or desk and shake it every time I pass it. Swirl slowly at first so you don't foam over!

This method can be used the day of brewing. It's best to do it the night before, but getting a starter going in the morning or even a few hours before you brew will ensure that your yeast are awake and ready to rock once you're ready to pitch.

STEPPING IT UP:


There are two basic ways you can pitch a starter:

1. Just pitch the whole thing. This is most beneficial when the yeast are at peak fermentation, happily chugging away and ready for more.

2. Decanting. After your yeast goes for about 24 hours and is finished fermenting, you throw it in the fridge overnight. Then, the day you brew, bring the yeast out, decant (pour out) the liquid, and let it warm up for a few hours before you pitch.

If you want to "step it up" and make more yeast, then I would recommend using decanting, as follows:

1. Make a starter, let's say 1L. So boil 2 oz of DME in two cups water. Top off to 800 mL. Add liquid yeast and foil, and shake for 24 hours.

2. Put starter in fridge overnight.

3. The next morning, remove from fridge and decant. Keep sanitary and let warm to room temperature.

4. Make another larger starter, let's say 2L. So boil 4 oz of DME in 4 cups water. Top off to 1600 mL. Add liquid yeast and foil, and shake for 24 hours.

5. Put starter in fridge overnight.

6. The next morning, remove from fridge and decant. Keep sanitary and let warm to room temperature.

7. Pitch into beer that day or repeat until you have the amount of yeast you want.

If you want to store yeast for a short time, decant and put the yeast into a smaller container so it fills it almost all the way up. Then add an airlock. Make sure everything that touches the yeast is clean and sanitary.
:mug:

EDIT: This is my new favorite yeast calculator:

http://yeastcalc.co/
 

Glibbidy

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Actually an airlock is definitely not recommended when making yeast. You need the O2 transfer in order to grow the yeast. If you were making beer, well...that's another story.
The foil is best, or one of them fancy stoppers.
 

Jimbob

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I've also heard (from Jamil I think) that making less than a 1L starter isn't recommended either. It's not enough sugar or oxygen to get a proper growth phase.
I've heard Jamil talk about the same thing...the other aspect to it is pitching rate. I was on a kick awhile back of making a starter for every batch and that is not always necessary or advised. Some styles don't require the high pitching rate.
 
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DeathBrewer

DeathBrewer

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no matter what...the starter will ensure your yeast is viable, get it active and ready to pitch, and it's fun too :D

i've been using a lot of dry yeast lately and reused quite a few yeast cakes...haven't made a starter in some time.
 

Rick500

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I've seen it recommended in more than one place that 1/2 cup of DME to 2 cups of water makes good yeast starter wort, but isn't that going to be way higher than the recommended 1.030 to 1.040 SG?
 

Qdog

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does the type of DME matter when makign yeast starters, meaning how will it affect the beer in the end. Say if I am making a stout and I used a extra light DME when making a yeast starter that I would then be dumping into the stout.....would that affect it....Or is it just one of those things I need to play around with. Also, how do you know how much to pitch into the fermenter and how long can you keep re-using it.

Sorry for the barrage of questions...:drunk:
 

dp69_2001

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I usually do mine about 7 days before I plan to brew. After about 5 days I throw it in the fridge. When I start brewing I decant most of the beer off the top of it and swirl around the rest until all the yeast are into suspension. Let it rest and come to room temp for the next 3 hours while I brew, put them back into suspension and pitch those little bastards into your wort like it's 18 years old ready to go out into the world and do what it's made for. I also can my starters. I'll be posting a how-to next time I do it. It's great.
 

schneemann

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How far in advance can you make a starter? I've seen people say 24 hours and I've seen people say 7 days.
 
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DeathBrewer

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doesn't matter. there are many different schools of thought here.

you can do a starter for 2 reasons:

1. To make sure the yeast are viable and active. Pitch when they are happily fermenting and pour the entire container in...usually this is the 24 hour method.
2. To create more yeast. Allow them to reproduce, then stick it in the fridge overnight and decant the liquid.

leaving your yeastie beasties out for a week won't really hurt them, but they usually finish fermenting with 24 hours for a starter size, so it doesn't help anythying either. if you're going to do it that far ahead of time, i would just stick it in the fridge after 48 hours or maybe even step it up again.
 

dp69_2001

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I was kind of leaning more towards a quart starter from washed yeast. My last one didn't finish fermenting for about 4 days. Decanting isn't very important. The important part is just getting your yeast up to a decent pitching rate.

P.S.: many liquid yeasts come with enough to ferment 5 gallons of wort with no problem. The activator packs don't need a starter for a 5 gallon batch below about 1.060. And I think White labs is about the same.
 

beerthirty

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I was kind of leaning more towards a quart starter from washed yeast. My last one didn't finish fermenting for about 4 days. Decanting isn't very important. The important part is just getting your yeast up to a decent pitching rate.

P.S.: many liquid yeasts come with enough to ferment 5 gallons of wort with no problem. The activator packs don't need a starter for a 5 gallon batch below about 1.060. And I think White labs is about the same.
If you are using washed yeast just pitch enough and you don't need a starter.
Liquid yeast don't need a starter but the do benefit from one . I always start my liquids, but pitch the dry in dry.
 

Rezilynt

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Hey DB. Thanks again for the instructionals! You're doing a great job clarifying and simplifying the processes that so many are afraid of. Keep them coming!

BTW - I'm just guessing here, but, you are going to root for Denver on Sept 8th, right?:D
 
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DeathBrewer

DeathBrewer

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heh, if i did that i couldn't go to the game for fear of death.

i don't go to the games anymore anyway. beers too expensive and it really is crazy sometimes. not much a sports fan anyway, but i am known to crash a tailgate party every now and then ;)
 

Schlenkerla

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DB - Nice thread. I make mine at the 1000ml : 100 gram ratio.

I leave them on the home made stir plate until its pitchin' time. Max is about 5-6 days.

You can telll its time to pitch because the color changes dramatically.

I don't pour off anyting. I toss the whole thing.

I've been on the dry yeast kick too, but its like every other batch. One starter then one rehydrate batch.

I'd be doing all starters but my LHBS keeps giving me new/free dry yeasts. I'm oblidged to use them. Got Munich and SA-58, WB-06. Its his cheap way to keep me coming back for more grain!!!!
 

martinworswick

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i don't have the info to hand but when i read john palmers how to brew i think he suggested making a starter with the same style of wort that your brew is going to be as it gets them used to the environment they'll be working in...or something like that. am i remembering correctly or am i thinking of something else?
 

HairyDogBrewing

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i don't have the info to hand but when i read john palmers how to brew i think he suggested making a starter with the same style of wort that your brew is going to be as it gets them used to the environment they'll be working in...or something like that. am i remembering correctly or am i thinking of something else?
The main thing is to use malt extract.
If you make a starter with simple sugars, the yeast forget how to process complex sugars.
 

TexasSpartan

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I know it's bumping an old thread, but I want to say thanks to the OP for this. I just made my first starter using these instructions. Hope it works :)
 
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DeathBrewer

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Mr. Malty isn't the word of god. Just make a starter for now to make sure the yeast is viable...that will get you started.

What beer are you trying to make that would require a 3 liter starter, anyway?
 

DNW

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Actually an airlock is definitely not recommended when making yeast. You need the O2 transfer in order to grow the yeast.
Hey neighbor...

Can anyone explain how Oxygen is going to get in when there is a constant stream of CO2 pouring out?
 

Diablo

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Mr. Malty isn't the word of god. Just make a starter for now to make sure the yeast is viable...that will get you started.

What beer are you trying to make that would require a 3 liter starter, anyway?

It's a Hefeweizen using Wyeast 3068. I estimated OG at 1.05. The yeast was manufactured in June. The batch size is 6 gallons. The age of the yeast seems to be the big variable.
 
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DeathBrewer

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That's silly. That yeast is still good. You could probably just pitch it in as is and it would still work. I've kept yeast for well over a year and used it without a starter with no problems.

I would just make a 1 L starter and pitch.
 

techrunner

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Hey neighbor...

Can anyone explain how Oxygen is going to get in when there is a constant stream of CO2 pouring out?
think of the oxygen and the co2 as two separate things, each in their own flask with nothing else. if all you could see was the co2, it'd be most concentrated in and just above the wort. it wants to disperse, and spread out evenly, so the molecules will try to get up out of the flask to get a little space between each other. the oxygen is most concentrated outside the flask, and so those molecules will try to spread out and make their way into the flask, where there is very little oxygen. they each try to disperse, regardless of what else is in the same space, as long as there is no physical barrier. basically, the o2 will be able to swim against the co2, because it wants to get in the flask where its less crowded with other o2.
 

motobrewer

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lets say you wanted to make a 1L starter (or 1.5L, or 2L...)

what would you start with? Would you make 1 liter of wort and pitch the vial into that, or start at 500mL and step up?

Thanks
 
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DeathBrewer

DeathBrewer

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You could do either. I generally step it up.

OK, here is a good example...when we make 50 gallon batches we begin with a 1 L starter and then we make a 5 gallon starter and then we dump that in :D
 

motobrewer

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lol, bit of a jump, but ok.

i'm brewing a big maibock (1.070) in a week or so and I was just wondering. thinking about making a 3L starter.
 

bjzelectric

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Yea Im makin a barleywine(1.110) on Saturday. Just made a 2L starter. Plan on doubling it tomm. MrMalty was talkin about using 2 vials of yeast? I thought that was why I was "steppin it up." I guess ill see what happens...
 
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DeathBrewer

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lol, bit of a jump, but ok.

i'm brewing a big maibock (1.070) in a week or so and I was just wondering. thinking about making a 3L starter.
Well, think about it this way...the 1L starter is more than enough for a 5 gallon batch. And then you just treat the 5 gallon batch like a big starter! :D

A 2L starter will be fine for that batch. Hell, 1L will work fine, but 2L will CERTAINLY do the trick.
 
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