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brewhead

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ok i know there are two camps in this area. those that make a starter and swear by it and those that don't and wonder what's all the fuss.

my question is this. most of use either reuse yeast, use wyeast or white labs. in the case of wyeast - i still hear some insisting that a starter should be made. my contention is that wyeast is a starter in and of itself. why would you make a starter out of a starter?

white labs is pretty much shake n bake.

unless you're using dried yeast - it seems to me that the starter is not necessary.

what say ye?
 

El Pistolero

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I'm a complete noob, with only one batch under my belt, but having read every post on this site over and over again for the past month, I'm convinced that a starter is a good thing. :)

But having said that, on my first batch I used a packet of dry yeast, stirred it into boiled water that had cooled to 75 F or so, then pitched it after sitting for an hour...24 hours later the most active part of the fermentation had already finished. Go figure. :confused:
 

andre the giant

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I vote for starters.... big starters. For my most recent batch, the spiced strong english ale, I made a 1.5 qt starter. 48 hours later I pitched it into the wort and I had airlock activity within 6 hours. If I just pitched the smackpack contents (probably 1/10 the volume of my starter), it would have taken much longer.

The longer your wort sits without a dominant microorganism cranking away on it, the greater the chance that some bacteria or fungus will set up camp in your brew. A little bit of work up front making a starter is worth the peace of mind. IMO.
 

Rhoobarb

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Starters rock! I've only used White Labs yeast and for a very long time, I never made a starter. I just pitched the vial and waited. After reading about them here and on other sites, and reading an article in BYO, I decided to try it. I've never looked back.

Instead of 12-24 hours for fermentation to begin, it usually starts within 3-6 hours! And the quicker the fermentation, the less chance for bad things to happen to your wort. Since you ferment quicker, you end up racking to secondary, bottling and drinking faster, too! :) Plus, if you suspect your yeast may be old, etc., and it turns out your suspicion is correct, you've only wasted a quart or so of wort, not five gallons.

Racking fresh wort onto a previous yeast cake gives you the same quick result.
 

Dude

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Don't quote me on this but I believe you are right about the differences--I wouldn't be so concerned about using a starter with the Wyeast smack packs but with White Labs I would. I think White Labs vials have like 50 million cells or something, and the Wyeast packs have over a billion cells.
Again, not sure.

With any dry yeast I'd definitely use a starter.

I never used to understand the concept of the starter but my beers definitely taste better when I use them.
 

Janx

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I've said over and over that my opinion is that starters make your beer better. I firmly believe it is one of the top things you can do to improve your beer.

A larger cell count results in a quicker, more vigorous fermentation, and is a good thing. There's really no reason to think that not using a starter is advantageous in any way, except it's a bit easier/lazier. A starter reduces risk of infection and results in a healthier fermentation, which makes for tastier beer. Find a commercial brewer and ask them whether a bigger yeast pitch is a better thing. They'll all say yes.

And I would disagree with some opinions in this thread in this way: Dry yeast has a far higher cell count than either Wyeast or White Labs and thus needs a starter the least of the three (though it's still a good idea to use a starter with dry).

Wyeast is *kinda* a starter on its own, but you'll get a much higher cell count if you make a starter with it after the smack pack is fully expanded. The multiplication that takes place in one of the large smack packs may be adequate for 5 gallons, but you're still better off making a starter. For 10 gallons, it's mandatory.

Cheers! :D
 

Porter fan

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I used a starter for the first time sat. and i must say I was impressed with the lag time 4hrs! :cool: Lot's of good information shared here!
 

DeRoux's Broux

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still, both Wyeast and White Labs can use a starter for 5 gallons. bigger is better. the more yeast cells pitched and with proper aeration, the stronger and quicker the ferment. you'll double your cell count from 60 (White Labs) to 120 billion yeast cells w/ an average starter. Wyeast claims to have 100 billion, but I've read that's a little on the high side. this also helps reduce over working of your yeast which results in off flavors (like extra diacetyl).
 

uglygoat

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make a starter!!!!

i've been using runoff from the previous weekends mash when i am switching to a new style of yeast, instead of using dme. you almost always have some runoff left over, or you can even sparge a little bit more h20 through the grain bed, collect it and seal it up in tupperware. the next week, i boil up the wort/runoff, let it cool, and toss my yeasties in there.
 

andre the giant

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My wife says she'll can some jars of starter wort for me. It can't get much easier than that. Select a jar, open it, sterilize it, throw in yeast, put on bubbler..... DONE!

I know that's what a lot of other people do, but sometimes I feel I'm still trying to join the 20th century, let alone the 21st. :D
 

homebrewer_99

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andre the giant said:
My wife says she'll can some jars of starter wort for me. It can't get much easier than that. Select a jar, open it, sterilize it, throw in yeast, put on bubbler..... DONE!
I actually have a case of starter malt already "canned" in my clear flippy bottles. All I have to do is add yeast and an airlock. It's already sterilized.
 

ρ®ïMσ

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Zul'jin

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I made a starter for two reasons.

One, all the reasons to make one given in this thread and elsewhere on HBT made good sense.

Two, I wanted to get as much of the beer making experience as I could from my first batch.

Given how easy it was, how little time it took and seeing my wort begin to ferment in a few hours, I will make a starter next time too.
 

Kevin Dean

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The reason I use starters is very simple, my yeast fills 1/3 of a baby food jar before making a starter.

By all accounts, that's not enough. If I had all 13 strains on hand, for no added cost in an easily freezable area that took up no more space that I've already been using, I'd do it.

Just for giggles, try brewing a beer with a January issued platinum strain in July and August without the use of starters. :)

EDIT: Just noticed that this thread is OLD.
 

Brew-boy

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A starter is great and I do it every time as well, Just dont over pitch. You need the yeast to grow and go through there natural phases and if your lag time is really short that is bad for the yeast. The Brewing network had a great show on this when Chris White from white labs was on there. Mr. Malty can help you with the pitch rate.
 
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Scimmia said:
Guys, this thread is 2 1/2 years old!
Yeah don't get all over anyone about what they did 2.5 years ago.
2.5 years ago there was only unshoveled snowy uphill yeast and both ways!


Only 36 Members that joined before that post in 2005 are still around today!
 

wildwest450

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homebrewer_99 said:
I'm one of them!! :rockin:

I highly recommend starters. Not only for the yeast count, but the reduced lag time and knowing my yeast is good. ;)
If your primary is sealed with an airlock, does it matter if it takes 3 hour or 24 hours to start fermenting?? If your not making a "big beer" does a starter really matter? I think not.
 

The Bone2

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and last beer I brewed, the smack pack didn't get the fermentation going, so I pitched a dry yeast on top, which started the fermentation almost immediately.

I am making starters from now on.

I am..

a

nOOb.:ban:


PS. No offense, but I plan one using WhiteLabs from now on.
 

ρ®ïMσ

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Scimmia said:
Guys, this thread is 2 1/2 years old!
yes the thread is old, but when ppl start NEW threads asking questions that have already been answered they get chewed by other members. AND when i read an old thread that suggests one make a starter when using dry yeast i feel that is necessary that i interject that that is bad advice.
 

Bobby_M

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wildwest450 said:
If your primary is sealed with an airlock, does it matter if it takes 3 hour or 24 hours to start fermenting?? If your not making a "big beer" does a starter really matter? I think not.
Just because the lid is on doesn't mean wild yeast or mold spores have not made it in prior. The reduced lag time makes sure that the intended yeast wins.
 
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brewhead

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holy lag time batman!

ok now that i have A LOT more experience under my belt - here's the sort answer to my original question:

ALWAYS make a starter unless A) you are using dry yeast and in those circumstances hydrate the yeast B) you are cold pitching a known viable yeast slurry you have recently collected

otherwise make a starter. that's my recomendation. a smack pack imo is not enough for most 5 gallons of beer.

even with my 15 gallon fermenter that is locked up airtight - i still do not want any lag time. lag time can be dangerous and it frustrates the hell outta me.
 

CBBaron

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wildwest450 said:
If your primary is sealed with an airlock, does it matter if it takes 3 hour or 24 hours to start fermenting?? If your not making a "big beer" does a starter really matter? I think not.
Because your wort is not sterile. There are a number of organisms in your wort in the fermenter that can spoil the wort if given enough time. However if you pitch enough yeast, the yeast outnumbers those other organisms and they quickly either kill off the other organisms or turn the environment into something hostile to the other organisms by converting sugar into alcohol.
Pitching enough yeast will also result in a cleaner beer with better attenuation as it reduces stress on the yeasts.
So yes a starter does matter.
Craig
 

Warrior

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brewhead said:
ok i know there are two camps in this area. those that make a starter and swear by it and those that don't and wonder what's all the fuss.

my question is this. most of use either reuse yeast, use wyeast or white labs. in the case of wyeast - i still hear some insisting that a starter should be made. my contention is that wyeast is a starter in and of itself. why would you make a starter out of a starter?

white labs is pretty much shake n bake.

unless you're using dried yeast - it seems to me that the starter is not necessary.

what say ye?
From my own experience I used to always make starters with the old propagator size pouches of wyeast. The new Activator packs are good for direct pitching in a 5.5 gal batch that is around 1.07 or less O.G. I popped a pouch the morning before brewing a beer and it was swelled up good by the time I pitched the yeast 6 hours later. That beer was fermenting in about 6 hours. That was a 1.067 O.G. IPA using the Chico ale strain.

When I re use and wash the yeast from a previous ferment I do make a starter. I start it the day before and that is usually fermenting in about 4 to 6 hours. If you have a very high gravity beer I would suggest making a starter. For any beer under 1.07 gravity I see no reason that you can't pitch an activator right in after the pouch swells. If you have a pack that is older than 3 months I would maybe pop the pouch a day before you are ready to brew.
 

Craig311

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This is going to sound extremely lazy, but I'm actually just curious...

Instead of making a starter, why not just pitch 2 Activator packs into 5 gallons??
 

Yooper

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You certainly can, but then it costs twice as much! With yeast at $7 per pack, I try to get about 5 batches out of each pack if I can. I either do a starter and then split it, or wash the yeast, or pitch on the yeast cake, or some combination of the three.
 

stormtracker

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YooperBrew said:
You certainly can, but then it costs twice as much! With yeast at $7 per pack, I try to get about 5 batches out of each pack if I can. I either do a starter and then split it, or wash the yeast, or pitch on the yeast cake, or some combination of the three.

Ok help me out here If you would please.

I do the smack pack...
1. I pitch it into a small beaker with 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of DME.
2. I shake the piss out of it for 2 days
3. I add it to another larger beaker with 2 cups of water and 1cup of DME.
4. I shake the piss out of it for 1 - 2 days?

I want to use the yeast for more than 1 batch. Do I just split it half and half? Do I refrigerate it and bring it to room temp to pitch? Or do I freeze a portion of it for the next batch?

Im thinking i refrigerate it and decant the wort off the top. I then split it for 2 different batches. One Im making immediately the other I will make in a few days to a week or more.

What should this process flow be?

I thought I was growing the yeast? By splitting it am I not back to where I started?

Thank you for any help.
 

timdsmith72

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I'm in both camps! I make a starter when I use dry yeast...no starter when I use liquid yeast. :)
 

SuperiorBrew

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timdsmith72 said:
I'm in both camps! I make a starter when I use dry yeast...no starter when I use liquid yeast. :)
Do you mean you hydrate the dry yeast or do you actually add wort to the dry yeast? If the latter is the case you are actually making more of them less viable by doing it that way.
 

Pugilist

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Yes according to Palmer (as we know an expert), it is actually detrimental to make a starter with dry yeast.
 

timdsmith72

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I guess I technically just hydrate them. I add the packet to some water with a little sugar in it and let it sit for a few hours until it gets some foam on top.
 
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