My Yeast Starter Predicament

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foam_top

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I recently ordered an extract kit that came with Wyeast 1084, my first batch using liquid yeast. OG should be about 1059. I already know I should make a starter but I did not plan ahead. I have no DME and no stir plate.

However, I came up with a possible solution but I wanted to run it by more advanced brewers. This kit comes with 2 lbs of DME. Would it be such a bad idea to make a yeast starter using, in appropriate amounts, some of that DME? This would lower the gravity in the main vessel which, in theory, would make the yeast even less stressed once pitched. I know this will throw off my OG since some of the malt will already be converted but it's more important to me to have good tasting beer.

I also have tons of corn sugar on hand but I'm not sure if that's a good alternative for a starter.

And my last option is to just pitch the yeast without a starter...

Please share your thoughts and thank you in advance!

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/IrishBlonde.pdf
 

IchLiebeBier

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I wouldn't do it, personally. Wait until you can make the appropriate starter.

In theory, I think you COULD use the DME to make the starter, then calculate an appropriate finished gravity of the beer so that when you add the ENTIRE starter back to the finished beer, you'd be where you want to be with respect to the OG.

However, your hop utilization factor would be off and you'd have a higher chance of DMS in the finished product because you didn't boil all of the DME long enough.

Also, you may develop some off flavors by doing that (although a lot of people add the whole starter back to the beer, so it's probably a minor risk.)

I've read you shouldn't use sugar for a starter because the yeast will adjust to those sugars and then won't eat the maltose.

Finally, I've seen lots of people talk about using some malta goya malt beverage for a starter. I never have, but it could be an option.

BTW, the liquid yeast will keep for a good long while. Again, I'd wait and get the DME for a starter.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Your kit directions indicate that you got a smack pack, so the directions don't say make a starter... If you doubled the batch or raised the gravity then the smack pack wouldn't be enough, or rather there would be some lag time.
Am I missing something here?
 

zgja2

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Your kit directions indicate that you got a smack pack, so the directions don't say make a starter... If you doubled the batch or raised the gravity then the smack pack wouldn't be enough, or rather there would be some lag time.
Am I missing something here?

1.059 OG means you need a starter. At best there are 100 bil cells in the smack pack. A 1059 beer needs double that.
 

brewkinger

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Agree with making the starter using a little bit of the DME.
You don't need a stirplate, just give it a swirl every time you walk by.
Pitch the whole thing into your beer and be done
 

dwhite60

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Use some of the DME in the kit. You'll never miss it. 1/2 cup won't give you a two point gravity boost in five gallons. A pound in a gallon gives you 36 points.

All the Best,
D. White
 

IchLiebeBier

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I don't know guys. I did the yeastcalc calculation on it. Even if he has 75 % viability, with intermittent shaking he'd need to use 200 grams of the DME. That equals almost 1/2 a pound.

His starter should only be 1.040 or so, so adding 2 liters back into the batch at the end would throw the OG off unless he compensated for it.

I still think the hop utilization would be off.
 

Kiknjville

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You could pull some DME for the starter and then add some sugar to replace it. You would have to google to find the numbers but they are out there. Use mrmalty.com to figure out how much you need for a starter.
 

MaryB

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Pitch it and next batch plan for a starter! From their website

Usage

The Activator™ package contains a minimum of 100 billion cells in a yeast slurry.. The Activator™ is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard strength ale wort (1.034-1.060 SG) with professional pitching rates. For lagers, we recommend inoculating the wort at warm temperatures (68-70°F/ 20-21°C), waiting for signs of fermentation, and then adjusting to the desired temperature. Alternatively, for pitching into cold conditions (34-58°F/ 1-14°C) or higher gravity wort, we recommend increasing this pitching rate. This can be achieved by pitching additional Activator™ packages or by making a starter culture. Please see the Pitch Rate section for additional information.
 

zgja2

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Pitch it and next batch plan for a starter! From their website

Usage

The Activator™ package contains a minimum of 100 billion cells in a yeast slurry.. The Activator™ is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard strength ale wort (1.034-1.060 SG) with professional pitching rates. For lagers, we recommend inoculating the wort at warm temperatures (68-70°F/ 20-21°C), waiting for signs of fermentation, and then adjusting to the desired temperature. Alternatively, for pitching into cold conditions (34-58°F/ 1-14°C) or higher gravity wort, we recommend increasing this pitching rate. This can be achieved by pitching additional Activator™ packages or by making a starter culture. Please see the Pitch Rate section for additional information.

I dont buy it. 100 B cells is not enough for a 1060 beer. And the likely 60-75 B viable cells is defiantly not.
 

tmendick

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...you'd have a higher chance of DMS in the finished product because you didn't boil all of the DME long enough.

When I used to do extract, I would add most of the dme/lme within the last 5 minutes of the boil to reduce color and caramel flavor. I never had any DMS, the dms precursors should have been taken care of when the extract was made by briess/munton/etc.
 

kombat

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I dont buy it. 100 B cells is not enough for a 1060 beer. And the likely 60-75 B viable cells is defiantly not.

I agree. The well-established industry guideline for yeast pitching rate is 0.75 million cells per milliliter of wort per degree plato, for ales, and 1.5 million for lagers.

So the optimal pitching rate for 5 gallons (18,927 mL) of 1.060 (15° P) wort would be 213 billion cells of ale yeast, or 426 billion cells of lager yeast. A single smack-pack, even fresh from the factory, doesn't even provide half that amount for ales, or a quarter of that for lagers.
 

eadavis80

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Don't make a starter with table sugar for reasons previously noted. Honestly, if it were me - I'd make the beer without the starter this time around. I always make starters, but I always plan ahead too.
 
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foam_top

foam_top

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First of all, thank all of you for your input.

I came up with a really simple solution to my problem. So simple I feel stupid for not thinking of this earlier. :smack: This morning I pondered "what if one of my autumn kits has DME I could just borrow?" I hurried to the basement and opened up a few boxes and, sure enough, my porter has Bavarian Wheat DME. As long as I remember to replace it before end of summer I should be fine. Feel free to give me sh*t... I deserve it.

Thanks again! Cheers!
 

eric19312

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Do a vitality starter per Brulosopher

I did one first time on a recent batch. Had been growing a slurry from yeast harvested from a growler of Other Half's Hop Showers. After 2-3 steps done over a 6 week period (lots of cold crashing in between) I'd ended up with about 40 mL thick slurry in bottom of a my pint jar. Decanted and did the vitality starter per instructions (50 grams to make 500 mL, stir plate 4 hours, pitch without further oxygenation). Pitched a 1.055 APA at 66F under temp control and blew the top off a 6.5 gallon carboy 24 hours later. 1/2 cup thick slurry with no vitality from a very recent US05 batch in carboy next to it chugged along fine but never grew more than 1.5" krausen.

I'm sold on the vitality starter idea and will be doing these for a lot more brews.
 

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