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Starter OG for a BarleyWine

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chrislehr

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I've heard mixed opinions - some say all starters are 1.040, some say make it near your beer so the yeast acclimate.

What do you think? Looking at a 1.118 recipe for next weekend am calculating yeast needs.
 

surferdrew

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chrislehr said:
I've heard mixed opinions - some say all starters are 1.040, some say make it near your beer so the yeast acclimate.

What do you think? Looking at a 1.118 recipe for next weekend am calculating yeast needs.
From my experience, I've done 1.040 starters and done multiple steps to get up to a 1 gallon starter.

The key is more than just the cell count...oxygen and temp are crucial for the right environment.

In Jamil Z.'s book "Yeast," he offers two tips related to this:

1. Aerate with pure oxygen at pitching and again after 12 to 18 hours.

2. After 48 hours into fermentation, ramp up temp to 77F.
 

erikpete18

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I'd stick with the 1.040 starter. The yeast would be plenty happy in the higher gravity starter, but as they fermented it the alcohol produced is going to start stressing them out. Anything you gained by putting them in the higher gravity starter would likely be offset by the alcohol produced, and then its a matter of adding a high number of healthy yeast vs. a high number of stressed yeast.

I'll second stepping up the starters a couple of times to get a real high number of yeast. The yeast will acclimate fairly quickly to the higher gravity brew once you pitch it, just make sure you've got plenty to get the job done :).
 

ThePearsonFam

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yup, starters are to grow yeast cells. higher than 1040-1050 starters will encourage the yeast to make beer, not grow cell counts. I'd stick with stepping your starter from vial to 2L to 1gal (or whatever mr.malty recommends).

Are you interested in a malt only barley wine or are you willing to use adjuncts to get there?
 

jfowler1

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yup, starters are to grow yeast cells. higher than 1040-1050 starters will encourage the yeast to make beer, not grow cell counts. I'd stick with stepping your starter from vial to 2L to 1gal (or whatever mr.malty recommends).

Are you interested in a malt only barley wine or are you willing to use adjuncts to get there?
Growth, yes, but even more so, starters are for yeast health.

I do not fault the logic of the OP. It almost makes sense to create an environment that is similar to your wort. However, in practical terms, that logic fails. Ideally, you want your starter around 1.040 and on a stir plate about 24-36 hours before you pitch. The constant gas exchange that occurs on the stir plate basically super-charges your yeast. They will be healthy, and ready to ferment whatever type of wort you throw at them.

The large (+1 gallon) starters are really like conducting a mini fermentation. Since you do not have that constant gas exchange to facilitate health, you have to rely on the yeast to bud and multiply. If you are in this situation, I strongly suggest making your starter a week ahead of time (stepping up if neccessary) then once the mini-fermentation completes, put it in the fridge. This makes it easier to decant and pitch. If you try to decant while the yeast is still working, you actually select and discard the least flocculant yeast (the ones that were best suited to due the fermenting in your barley wine).

Joe
 
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