Yeast starter and when to use

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Hi. I am new to brewing with only a few brews under the belt and now starting to explore improvements. I did a yeast starter from dry yeast from SafAle wb-06 Yeast 11.5g. Making hefeweizen small batch of 5l to test before going to 23l. This pack of yeast is suppose to be enough for 20 to 30l of beer but I hear a starter is always better. It's been 24h with regular stirring and now I put it in the fridge to settle out. I will pull off the starter wort and only use yeast settled to bottom and pitch that 24h later into batch. The cells probably have increased but using a yeast calculator not by much. Is it then even necessary. I also read that over pitching yeast is bad as well so now not sure which way to go. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
 

IslandLizard

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The biggest charm of using dry yeast is, it generally doesn't need a starter. Especially when you're pitching into a small (test) batch. Sprinkling the granules dry onto the wort's surface in the fermenter is the preferred method now, even favored over rehydration.

How much starter wort did you make, and of what gravity? How did you stir?
 

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I use starters for liquid yeasts, to 1) Make sure they're healthy and 2) Boost the cell count. For dry I just assume they're fine (it's worked so far). I use the calculators (Brewer's Friend for me, but there are many) to get an idea of what's recommended and then I just aim for something close to that but don't sweat the details.

For a 23l (approx 6 gallon) batch I'd consider 2 packs of dry for a normal beer, maybe 3 for an Imperial, and just pitch them and let it go. For me, dry yeast's convenience is it's inexpensive to buy more and skip the starter altogether.
 

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For a 23l (approx 6 gallon) batch I'd consider 2 packs of dry for a normal beer,
"Normal" as with an OG of 1.060 or below? 1 pack (11.5 gram) of dry yeast should suffice.

For me, dry yeast's convenience is it's inexpensive to buy more [...]
It used to be. I was astonished to see pricing on dry yeast lately, at around $5-7 a pouch!
I thought $3.95 for a pouch of dry was already pushing it, back in the days, before I started using liquid yeast at $6-7 a vial or pack plus the $2-3 in DME for making a starter. 😁
 
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As it is a small test batch, I pitched all the dry yeast into a starter of 500ml 24h ago. Periodic shaking and letting in fresh oxygen. OG I did not take but it is a 1:10 starter mix. I am really not so interested in increasing cell count but rather to acclimatize yeast to environment.
 

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It used to be. I was astonished to see pricing on dry yeast lately, at around $5-7 a pouch!

Same here. While some Fermentis packs can still be had for $4 or less, some of the best dry yeast are coming from other vendors like Lallemand or Mangrove Jacks and they are pushing prices close to White Labs or Wyeast packs. Even Fermentis 34/70 has been creeping up in price.

Making hefeweizen small batch of 5l to test before going to 23l...I hear a starter is always better.

I am not sure that is true. Personally, if I was making a 23l batch that was 1.060 or less, I would feel fine just pitching 1 pack of most dry yeast. On the other hand, if I was making the same beer with a pack of White Labs or Wyeast liquid yeast, I would want to make a starter. For a 5l batch with dry yeast, I would probably just direct pitch about 3 grams of dry yeast. Sometimes I will direct pitch a full pack (11 to 12 grams) of dry yeast into a 10L / 2.6 gallon batch.
 

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While some Fermentis packs can still be had for $4 or less, some of the best dry yeast are coming from other vendors like Lallemand or Mangrove Jacks and they are pushing prices close to White Labs or Wyeast packs. Even Fermentis 34/70 has been creeping up in price.

I'm finding this too. My batch size is 7 gallons into the fermenter. Most of my beers are 1.060+. I should really be pitching 2 or 3 dry yeast packets, but I'm not, due to cost.

Any tips on making a quick and easy starter from dried yeast ?
 

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Same here. While some Fermentis packs can still be had for $4 or less, some of the best dry yeast are coming from other vendors like Lallemand or Mangrove Jacks and they are pushing prices close to White Labs or Wyeast packs. Even Fermentis 34/70 has been creeping up in price.



I am not sure that is true. Personally, if I was making a 23l batch that was 1.060 or less, I would feel fine just pitching 1 pack of most dry yeast. On the other hand, if I was making the same beer with a pack of White Labs or Wyeast liquid yeast, I would want to make a starter. For a 5l batch with dry yeast, I would probably just direct pitch about 3 grams of dry yeast. Sometimes I will direct pitch a full pack (11 to 12 grams) of dry yeast into a 10L / 2.6 gallon batch.

I've resorted to using the Cellar Science yeast from MoreBeer when going dry. You get much more yeast for cheaper. It's great too when you can get two of the German Lager Yeast packs (aka w34/70) for the price of one Fermentis and you get an extra half ounce or so per pack to boot
 

rtstrider

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I'm finding this too. My batch size is 7 gallons into the fermenter. Most of my beers are 1.060+. I should really be pitching 2 or 3 dry yeast packets, but I'm not, due to cost.

Any tips on making a quick and easy starter from dried yeast ?

I'd use a 2L 1.040 starter on the stir plate. Have done that many times with dry yeast when a heavy pitch was needed.
 
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I'm finding this too. My batch size is 7 gallons into the fermenter. Most of my beers are 1.060+. I should really be pitching 2 or 3 dry yeast packets, but I'm not, due to cost.

Any tips on making a quick and easy starter from dried yeast ?

Use this. There's a drop down option for using liquid(two options for that), slurry and dry packets. From there input the rest of your info.
 

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I wouldn't have made a starter, but it doesn't hurt. I've only ever used dry yeast because it is so easy to use, and I've never felt restricted on variety. There are so many good dry yeasts, though I've heard this wasn't always the case. The only two times I made a starter were when I built up some Saison Dupont and another time when I harvested some wild yeast from grain.
 
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Now the question that at least for me becomes evident is which yeast is better - dry or wet? Dry seems to be cheaper and no starter required and as long as it is fresh, will have more than enough healthy cells for 23L or 6-7 Gallons. For liquid yeast it seems that a starter is always recommended on top of the already expensive yeast and then you are sitting with a starter which you are not really sure how many cells there are. Sure there are calculators for this but it is still a guess. This is kind of counter intuitive don't you think?
 

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@IslandLizard
I just pour some boiling water thru the spent grains after my main sparge and with a good squeeze often get a couple of litres of 1030 wort which I freeze ready to reboil and use in the next starter.
It doesn't save a fortune, it's a bit of hassle, but it helps the planet ( he says having a spare chest freezer a quarter full of hops), a keg fridge and a brew fridge.
 

jtgoral

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I'm finding this too. My batch size is 7 gallons into the fermenter. Most of my beers are 1.060+. I should really be pitching 2 or 3 dry yeast packets, but I'm not, due to cost.

Any tips on making a quick and easy starter from dried yeast ?
100 g of DME in 1 L of water + 1 pack of dry yeast is what I do for a starter.

But really I use 100g DME in 1 QT Bell's jar. I water can 7 of them for 10 minutes and then I can use sterile solution to make a starter until I am out of those jars.
 
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rtstrider

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Now the question that at least for me becomes evident is which yeast is better - dry or wet? Dry seems to be cheaper and no starter required and as long as it is fresh, will have more than enough healthy cells for 23L or 6-7 Gallons. For liquid yeast it seems that a starter is always recommended on top of the already expensive yeast and then you are sitting with a starter which you are not really sure how many cells there are. Sure there are calculators for this but it is still a guess. This is kind of counter intuitive don't you think?

Honestly it's not that one is "better" than the other. There are more liquid varieties than dry. It all depends on what you're looking to brew. For example if I brewed a batch with US-05 (bleh) and 1056 (bleh) they are so similar it's tough to tell. I hate us-05/1056 btw lol It has this flavor that's doughy that gets in the way of the brews. Personally there I'd use wlp001 or go for cultured up slurry from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which is even better but much closer to wlp001 than it is to us-05/1056. There are so many dry varieties now with Lallemand, Fermentis, Cellar Science, Mangrove Jack, etc Honestly the best way to put it is it's all in what you're brewing and your geographic location. In my case I live in the arm pit of hades for 10 months out of the year. The LHBS only carries wyeast liquid so if I want different varieties it's either make a one way 5 hour drive or order liquid within around a 2 week window, where it's cold the whole way regardless of ice packs (aka not paying for overnight shipping). Dry strains can be shipped here no matter the temperature and they just work. For dry, if you're using Lallemand at least, they have a pitch rate calculator on their site that says how many packs/grams to use per your batch size/og. That's pretty helpful.

If you want a good exercise in liquid yeast I'd highly recommend culturing up slurry from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and using that in a cascade/2 row smash. That yeast really shines around 67F. When that's done fermenting I'd recommend cold conditioning for a bit as it is a tad fruity until it settles out. Anywho going down a rabbit hole here lol
 

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Fresh yeast is always better. That's just a biological reality well known to bakers and brewers alike. Unless we're advising novices, I'd always recommend fresh wet/liquid yeast, because there are infinitely more strains available (most brewer's yeast strains don't seem to cope well with being dried commercially and die during the process), I don't support corporations who'd happily profit from standardisation (sacrificing strain diversity) and the ridiculous delay between pitching and fermentation when dry yeast are used, which is not a lag phase. A lag phase last about several hours and involves gene expression and enzyme synthesis, not days of shock response. I was reminded last week, when, based on an online recommendation, I pitched MJ08 to ferment a lager under pressure. It took over 4 days to show any signs of life and appears to be stuck, when a fresh yeast had finished by now. I've got some Lallemand 'Diamond Lager' to try too, based on another online recommendation. We'll see 🤞

Edit: M84 Bohemian Lager, not 'MJ08'.
 
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rtstrider

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Fresh yeast is always better. That's just a biological reality well known to bakers and brewers alike. Unless we're advising novices, I'd always recommend fresh wet/liquid yeast, because there are infinitely more strains available (most brewer's yeast strains don't seem to cope well with being dried commercially and die during the process), I don't support corporations who'd happily profit from standardisation (sacrificing strain diversity) and the ridiculous delay between pitching and fermentation when dry yeast are used, which is not a lag phase. A lag phase last about several hours and involves gene expression and enzyme synthesis, not days of shock response. I was reminded last week, when, based on an online recommendation, I pitched MJ08 to ferment a lager under pressure. It took over 4 days to show any signs of life and appears to be stuck, when a fresh yeast had finished by now. I've got some Lallemand 'Diamond Lager' to try too, based on another online recommendation. We'll see 🤞

I'm actually testing a "lag phase" dry yeast soon. I have Lallemand Koln cultured up. What I noticed is pitch rate does not seem to affect lag phase when pitching dry. A whole packet was pitched into 1L 1.040 starter (stir plate) just for testing purposes and it still took between 48 and 72 hours to kick off fermentation (verified with a refractometer). Ended up banking up the slurry in the freezer. Curious to see how it responds to growing in a liquid state. That's actually on the VERY soon to do list.
 

bobtheUKbrewer2

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I always use dried yeast, either safale 04 or Nottingham. I always make a starter (100 ml bottled water, 2 teaspoons brewing sugar, a tip of Vitamin C and a tip of nutrient). After 3 hours I have a 2 inch head, and pitch into my 13L and 9L stainless steel pans with loose fitting lids. 24 hours later a good head with brown sludge on white foam. Take the brown sludge off twice a day for 2 days. Bottle after 4 to 6 days. Admission, last 2 brews were yeast cultivated from St Austell Proper Job, not tasted them yet.

ps one UK brewery ferments in slate baths with no lid at all.
 
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