Yeast Starter for big beer

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PotRoastMan

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I am planning for doing an extract version of The Plinian Progeny Triple IPA.
it's a fairly big beer with OG 1.090 and an unbelievable amount of hops.

I use dry yeast, US-05, and got two packs with this kit.

I'm wondering best way to do the starter, should I dump both pack into it, or just use one yeast pack?
I could also "double cycle" the starter. There's no rush with any schedules.. I might do this in about two months.

I've made a lot of beers, but not super experienced with bigger ones.

to ask another way, for a big beer -
1 yeast packet in a starter
2 yeast packets in a starter
1 yeast packet starter, and do a 2nd starter with the result (add 2nd yeast packet yes or no... and if yes, when?)

thx.
thx.
RDWHAHB (while you brew).
 

McMullan

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I've been planning to compare pitching a dry yeast starter vs a pack of dry yeast, but haven't got round to it yet. I'm expecting the starter to have a shed load more yeast cells. My preference at the moment, for your big beer, is make a big starter that you can drink. Make a half batch of session beer, using 1 pack of yeast, then repitch all the yeast slurry (while it's fresh) into your big wort. Adding 2 packs is going to speed up the process, but not necessarily going to produce significantly more yeast. For significantly more yeast use 2 packs in a full batch of session wort, but 1 in a half batch is going to produce enough yeast for the big beer. The main difference is likely to be fermentation rate of the big wort. Obviously, as wet yeast are being repitched the big wort needs to be oxygenated. I'd add yeast nutrients to both worts, too.
 

GreenTerror

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I have made plenty of starters using dry yeast and with good results. You are increasing cell count significantly. The yeast are active and "ready to go". I have found that the fermentation starts of much faster and healthier. Yes, in the end I get similar results pitching it dry and straight in the wort, but I find the fast healthy fermentation to make some high quality beer.

To answer the OP original question I'd make a 1 liter starter and just use 1 package, let it go 24 hours or more, with yeast nutrients and you'll have plenty to get that beer going.
 

odie

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I do bigger beers with a single US-05 and have no issues. Just dry pitch one packet and save the other for another beer.
 
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Commercial breweries using dry yeast ...
I've had quality beer at a couple of very small craft breweries where they were using Fermentis products - they direct pitch (do not rehydrate and do not reuse). One of the breweries moved to a larger location over time. :mug:
 

davidabcd

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I'm guessing the main issue with making a starter using dry yeast is it trashes the marketing that claims we don't need to make a starter.
How does making a starter from dry yeast trash the marketing claim that you don't need to make one? You don't need to make one. That's fairly obvious. You could make a starter. People do. But it doesn't change that dry yeast works on its own.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I would direct pitch both packs without making a starter and I would not bother with rehydrading.

Starters with dry yeast are counterproductive.

It really depends on what type of starter you are making and your goals. If you are just making a 1L or smaller without a stir plate and pitching the entire starter at high krausen (a type of vitality starter) then you are probably not doing much. If you are making a larger starter on a stir plate, crashing/decanting, and just pitching the yeast slurry, then you will have built up the cell counts significantly. In that case, you could just use one pack...or just spend $4 on another pack of US-05 and skip the process.
 

McMullan

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That's what you wrote. Do you mean something other than that?
What I'm suggesting is it's possible we get better results from making a starter with dry yeast. Making a starter is a very simple procedure. Less hassle than making beans on toast, if you ask me. I'm going to assess it soon. So watch this space. I mainly use wet yeast, I've only just started using dry lager yeast. Although they work sprinkled straight out of the packet they are inferior compared with fresh wet yeast, in my experience. If they can't be improved I'll stick with wet yeast.
 

McMullan

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Dry yeast is packaged at the point in the process where it's ready to begin fermenting.
No, it's not. It was placed under considerable stress by the potentially lethal drying conditions. So much so the cell viability is surprisingly low. Maybe 60%, if we're lucky. Simple solution is to pitch more to account for this, right? And perhaps a better solution is to make a starter? I don't know 🤷‍♂️ Once activated, dry yeast express little more than a shock response. Although they are nutritionally conditioned, before drying, to multiply, it can take days before they remodel their proteome to bud and ferment efficiently. Healthy fresh wet yeast on the other hand take several hours (a genuine lag phase) to remodel their biochemistry for fermentation.

I don't know whether it's relevant, but there was that guy who made a starter with dry yeast then won best beer in a big national home-brew completion in the US last year. This and my observations of dry yeast behaviour suggests there might be worthwhile benefits to making a starter with dry yeast. It can't hurt to try it out.
 
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@McMullan : over the recent years I've scanned AHA forums, there have been numerous discussions regarding reusing dry yeast and how - for some people and for some strains - the yeast produced flavors can vary between the 1st pitch and the re-pitches.

As for whether or not making a starter is simple, here's a "thought experiment": for a home brewer who knows nothing about starters (and storing liquid yeast) how long would an appropriately detailed process description be?

 

McMullan

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As for whether or not making a starter is simple, here's a "thought experiment": for a home brewer who knows nothing about starters (and storing liquid yeast) how long would an appropriately detailed process description be?
For a novice, I'm going to simplify their process and recommend they start with sprinkling in dry yeast. Like most of us did. Anyone who can cope with managing a brew day, extract or AG, should be able cope with making s simple yeast starter. Maybe even beans on toast, too.
 

beerfactory

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Anyone who can cope with managing a brew day, extract or AG, should be able cope with making s simple yeast starter. Maybe even beans on toast, too.

Sourdough hot cakes. Apples to apples comparison? Maybe not. Anecdotally, I have made thousands of sour dough starters from dried yeast over the course of four decades. They taste good.
 
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Anyone who can cope with managing a brew day, extract or AG, should be able cope with making s simple yeast starter
Also keep in mind that OP (and numerous others in the past who ask about big beers and dry yeast) is working with a kit. A starter isn't difficult, but there are a number of parts and steps that need to come together to make it happen.
 

davidabcd

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As for whether or not making a starter is simple, here's a "thought experiment": for a home brewer who knows nothing about starters (and storing liquid yeast) how long would an appropriately detailed process description be?
I've never made one and, most likely, never will. The only reason I have an idea of "how" is from being around here. Extract isn't complicated now but it was before I started brewing.
My thinking is, "Dry yeast is glorious--fast, cheap, simple and effective--so why would I ever bother with a starter?"
 

McMullan

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My thinking is, "Dry yeast is glorious--fast, cheap, simple and effective--so why would I ever bother with a starter?"
That's your prerogative as a home brewer, of course. But it doesn't matter what you, I or anyone else thinks. What really matters is, is there a worthwhile benefit to be gained from making a starter with dry yeast? To my knowledge, no one has tried to answer this question formally. Wouldn't you be interested to know?
 

Bobo1898

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Make a half batch of session beer, using 1 pack of yeast, then repitch all the yeast slurry (while it's fresh) into your big wort.

I agree with this on big beers. I've had better results brewing a bigger beer, when the yeast came from a smaller beer---whether that was repitched directly on the cake or harvested and repitched with a starter. I tend to try and brew something similar prior though. For example, if brewing a Belgian quad, I'll make a a Belgian pale or single first.

That being said, if you don't have time to do this, a starter would be your next best option, I would think. And since you're doing this from a kit, I'd emphasize a starter even more because of the handling of the yeast and how old it might be, etc. If you couldn't do a starter, then I think picking up another packet wouldn't hurt. And don't directly pitch. Rehydrate before pitching.
 

Dancy

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In the last year or so, I’ve made three AG recipes of Belgian Dark Strong Ale starting at 1.090+ and pitch direrectly two packs of Mangrove Jack’s M41. Fermentation started quickly and was very vigorous with final gravity in the single digits. The yeast manufacturers are fine with no starter being made and purchasing a 2nd pack is cheap versus making a starter, which is an extra step I’d rather not take. When I decide to use liquid yeast for a BDSA, I’ll make a starter.
 
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Anecdotals can lead to curiosity which can lead to "citizen science" which can lead to ...

no one has tried to answer this question formally
As I mentioned earlier, the ancedotals (a starter with dry yeast results in better home made beer for some people) are out there. So those stories have been shared.

It's reasonable to believe that home brewers have run the "citizen science" experiments to their satisfaction.

So, if there is a next step, a working definition of "answer this question formally" may entice those home brewers to share their results.
 

GoodTruble

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I second (third) M41 for big belgian beers. I used it in a strong blonde ale last year that went from 1.100 to 1.010, and still tasted great/smooth (Made a starter).

I am also a fan of M42 for stouts. Adds a slightly nutty flavor that plays well off maris otter. (Also made a starter both times).
 

Erik the Anglophile

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How about a ~3dl 1.035-1.040 vitality starter made the night before? I am gonna brew this weekend, a 1.050 stout at about 14L in the FV. Might try making a small vitality starter the night before.
 

McMullan

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How about a ~3dl 1.035-1.040 vitality starter made the night before? I am gonna brew this weekend, a 1.050 stout at about 14L in the FV. Might try making a small vitality starter the night before.
It's difficult to say, not knowing what's in there, yeast wise. I'm not even sure what a vitality starter is supposed to be. An assessment for the presence of live yeast? It might surprise how little viable yeast slurry makes 3dL look busy. It's only Tuesday, so plenty of time to do that then make a proper starter 👈 If it's supposed to wake up the yeast then I think I'd prefer to do that in the FV wort on brew day, given I know whatever I'm going to be pitching is up to the task of fermenting my wort.
 
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How about a ~3dl 1.035-1.040 vitality starter made the night before? I am gonna brew this weekend, a 1.050 stout at about 14L in the FV. Might try making a small vitality starter the night before.
Nothing wrong with running your own comparison.

Be sure to document the processes well so that others can recreate your comparison if they are interested.
 
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