To Be or not to Be Yeast Starter

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Hamsterheadsalem

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So when I first started brewing, everything I read and heard said doing a starter is the best way to go. All of my batches have began with a yeast starter on a DIY stir plate . Is there an advantage to doing a starter over direct pitching or what? What say you brewing gods?
 

hercher

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Starters are preferred over direct pitching of a smack pack of vial. You will have a higher yeast count than in the original package. Bear in mind, you really have no control over how that yeast has been handled between the manufacturing plant and your refrigerator. Was it shipped to your LHBS in a refrigerated state? Did the LHBS (or online supplier) immediately transfer it to their refrigerator, or did it sit out on the floor for a day or two? How did it get to you? If you bought your yeast online, it may have sat in the back of a hot truck overnight, or on your front porch for several hours.

Also, even under the best of conditions, it is questionable whether those packages have a sufficient yeast count for any but the smallest beers.
 

ahpsp

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The primary advantage is getting the correct pitch rate for the wort you are pitching into. You can also do that by buying more yeast if necessary, you are essentially using a starter to save that money. If you are using dry yeast then just buying more yeast becomes likely the best thing to do cost/time wise.
 

Weezy

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Why use starters? Advantages of starters?

1. If you check the popular web apps (yeastcalc.com or mrmalty.com) you'll notice that the current info says that retail package of yeast doesn't have enough cells for an optimum pitch for a typical 5 gallon batch. Pitching the retail pack directly will work but your beer may end up less than perfect due to stressed yeast leading to off flavors or under attenuatoon.

2. Doing a starter verifies the viability of the yeast prior to brew day. If the yeast starter doesn't ferment, the retail package was bad.

3. Starters also can be used to generate extra yeast slurry for saving for future, separate batches.
 

Faub007

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Font one was a smack pack. Middle 2 were starters. Photo taken about 8 hours after pitching. A picture is worth a thousand words and all.

image-240048842.jpg
 

day_trippr

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Two of those are teasing the third about riding the short bus...

Cheers! ;)
 

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