making a starter with a partial package of dry yeast

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faithie999

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yes, I am a cheap SOB. I have a single packet of S-05 left in the fridge and my LHBS is 2 gallons of gas away.

using an accurate scale, can I use less than a full packet of dry yeast to make a 1-liter starter that will be sufficient to get a batch of a 1.055-ish OG wort started?

I was thinking about using 1/3 or 1/4 of a packet.

thanks

Ken
 

madscientist451

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Yes that will work or....
Just use the whole pack in a starter, pitch half and save the other half in your 'fridge in a sanitized mason jar as the start of your yeast bank. Going forward, make a starter out of what you have saved, pitch half and save half. So the portion you are saving has never been in contact with the hops or kettle trub from a normal batch. Dry yeast used to be cheap, but the prices lately are $5+ for some strains, so saving your yeast can save you some money. All the LHBS in my area have closed down, so its a hassle to get new yeast, I try to take care of what I have.
I try to keep track of how many runs I get from a yeast strain and usually call it quits after 10, but some strains are pretty tough and can perform well for years.
 

jpakstis

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Yeah I make “vitality” starters all the time. If I’m looking for a 1L starter for brew day, I’ll make a 1.5L starter and save the 0.5L in a mason jar to make the next 1.5L starter and so on and so on. Many of these started from dry yeast packets.

Since these have been propagated before introduction to trub and hops they are very clean and can last several years in my experience. In fact I have some strains in our fridge over 5 years old that work just fine.

It also works for building up starters from commercially-available beers. It takes 1-2 step-ups but I have strains from local craft brewers I save too. That’s (almost) free yeast!
 

twd000

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Fellow cheapskate and dry yeast enthusiast here. It’ll work. I draw off a liter of wort on brew day, and pitch 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast in there. Shake the hell out of it to oxygenate, and keep it warm on a seedling heat mat. 12-18 hours later it’s at high krausen and I pitch the entire starter into the main batch. I keep the opened packages of dry yeast in a mason jar in my kegerator. So I can get five batches out of a single packet
 

PCABrewing

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Yeah I make “vitality” starters all the time. If I’m looking for a 1L starter for brew day, I’ll make a 1.5L starter and save the 0.5L in a mason jar to make the next 1.5L starter and so on and so on. Many of these started from dry yeast packets.

Since these have been propagated before introduction to trub and hops they are very clean and can last several years in my experience. In fact I have some strains in our fridge over 5 years old that work just fine.

It also works for building up starters from commercially-available beers. It takes 1-2 step-ups but I have strains from local craft brewers I save too. That’s (almost) free yeast!
How do you know if your starter has eventually migrated from the initial strain to some other (potentially wild) strain. Or just don't worry about it as long as it is making good beer? I haven't tried harvesting yet but I am more inclined now.
 

jpakstis

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How do you know if your starter has eventually migrated from the initial strain to some other (potentially wild) strain. Or just don't worry about it as long as it is making good beer? I haven't tried harvesting yet but I am more inclined now.
Are you asking about the ongoing “vitality” starter process or harvesting commercial yeast? I guess it ultimately doesn’t matter as I don’t think they are exposed to air and potential wild yeast that much. With the vitality starter I store pretty quickly after decanting. With dregs I guess there is a bit more risk since I will drain out the bottom of cans as I drink them. But it only takes one or two cans so it’s not too much exposure. I’ve only done that with breweries that have proprietary (Alchemist) or non-disclosed (Treehouse) yeast strains.

I’m also a pretty “tolerant” brewer although I haven’t noticed any differences throughout a stored yeast’s generations. The types of beers I brew, NEIPAs primarily, aren’t “yeast forward” but mainly to ferment and accentuate hops. When I first started getting into yeast harvesting, I only did the “vitality” starter approach. I think it’s pretty simple and has less chances for contamination, provided the storage vessels are clean and sanitized and they can be kept the fridge.
 

PCABrewing

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... I only did the “vitality” starter approach. I think it’s pretty simple and has less chances for contamination, provided the storage vessels are clean and sanitized and they can be kept the fridge.
Thanks,
I'm mainly interested if it is difficult to maintain the integrity of your culture once it (yeast farm) is established.
I have not tried it yet.
I'm not asking about starters, I already use them and have good luck with them, but I use one per batch and I do not attempt to propagate. So next batch starts with a new packet of yeast.
I'd like to try to get more miles out of my yeast.
 
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