Two Smack Packs and a huge starter

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BMan1029

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My brew buddy and I are brewing Friday. We are doing two brews, both Imperial Chocolate Stouts...his recipe and mine. He has this idea to use two smack packs of Wyeast 1028 London Ale and make a huge starter with them. He is looking at an OG of 1.11 (or something similar, I'm trying to remember from what Beersmith said) Anywho, The estimated ABV was like 15.2 or something similarly nuts. This is only going to be a five gallon batch, and I'm trying to convince him that he is just wasting money by using two smack packs and making a starter, when I think one smack pack and a starter will yield a completely adequate cell count. Is there any reason to do what he is planning?
 

MBasile

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As far as I know, initial cell count and starter volume have a negative correlation (when one goes up, the other goes down).

According to Mr. Malty...
1 pack requires an 8.02L starter (3.01L with a stir plate)
2 packs requires a 3.23L starter (1.21L with a stir plate)

Also worth noting, by default Mr. Malty recommended 2 packs for this, probably due to the large size required for one.
 

indigi

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It's better to think about starters in terms of "yeast cells needed" rather than "starter size needed." Two packs/vials is the way to go for high gravity brews unless you're going to wash the cake of a small beer.
 

MBasile

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It's better to think about starters in terms of "yeast cells needed" rather than "starter size needed." Two packs/vials is the way to go for high gravity brews unless you're going to wash the cake of a small beer.
Cell count is directly related to starter size though, correct? Most of us don't know precisely how many billions of cells are needed for X gravity, or how many liters of starter grows Y amount of cells. The simplification to Z liters of starter is needed for X gravity is an easier way to handle it. All in all its the same thing though.
 

indigi

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Cell count is directly related to starter size though, correct? Most of us don't know precisely how many billions of cells are needed for X gravity, or how many liters of starter grows Y amount of cells. The simplification to Z liters of starter is needed for X gravity is an easier way to handle it. All in all its the same thing though.
Cell count is related to starter size, but it isn't linear, and unless you're adjusting for viability in the MrMalty calculator or some other software it usually assumes fresh-from-the-factory yeast, not a pack or vial that's been sitting around for a month or more. Like you showed in your previous post, starting with twice the amount of yeast doesn't mean you need half the starter wort.
 
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