Yeast Starter Questions

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ace0005

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Hi, wondering if someone out there can help me. I need to make a yeast starter for a 10 gallon batch. I have all of the equipment, but I'm not sure of exactly how to make a yeast starter. I hear that it's easy, but I've never made one.

I understand that it's like making a "mini-beer." My issue is that I do not know how much yeast to make. Furthermore, when I make the yeast, how many yeast packets do I need to purchase to create a starter? I'm hoping that 1 packet will suffice!

I'm looking to up my game and brew a Belgian Dark Strong Ale (recipe here: Belgian Strong Ale). Any and all advice is welcome, thanks! :mug:
 

VikeMan

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You should check out one of the Yeast Starter Calculators, like Mr. Malty or YeastCalc, or the one right here (sort of) on this site:

They are pretty straight forward, just needing information like the batch size, beer type, amount of starting yeast, yeast age, etc.
 
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ace0005

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You should check out one of the Yeast Starter Calculators, like Mr. Malty or YeastCalc, or the one right here (sort of) on this site:

They are pretty straight forward, just needing information like the batch size, beer type, amount of starting yeast, yeast age, etc.
I will try those. I used this one - Brewer's Friend, and it's telling me that I need to make a 10 L starter! My flask is only 4 L 🙄. I might as well use a glass conical fermenter to make this starter!!
 

VikeMan

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I will try those. I used this one - Brewer's Friend, and it's telling me that I need to make a 10 L starter! My flask is only 4 L 🙄. I might as well use a conical fermenter to make this starter!!
I don't know enough about your beer and yeast to know if that's crazy or not, but a couple of tricks to avoid starters that are bigger than your equipment can handle...

- Do a multi-step starter
- Use more yeast at the beginning (i.e. multiple packs)
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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I don't know enough about your beer and yeast to know if that's crazy or not, but a couple of tricks to avoid starters that are bigger than your equipment can handle...

- Do a multi-step starter
- Use more yeast at the beginning (i.e. multiple packs)
i calculated assuming that i'll hit the estimated starting gravity of 1.098
 

VikeMan

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so basically make 2.5 starters and mix together?
A multi-step starter means making one starter, then taking the yeast resulting from that starter and putting it into another (generally larger) starter.
 

VikeMan

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I just popped this into BrewCipher. At default settings, with one pack of brand spanking new yeast, the recommendation is a 2 step starter; 1.1 quarts and 4.0 quarts.

ETA: With 2 packs, recommendation is a single step, at 4.8 quarts.
 
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I just popped this into BrewCipher. At default settings, with one pack of brand spanking new yeast, the recommendation is a 2 step starter; 1.1 quarts and 4.0 quarts.
that seems much more manageable than 10 L
 
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Wow, i just downloaded the brewcipher spreadsheet ...... looks like i've got something to do for the rest of the afternoon!
 

VikeMan

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Wow, i just downloaded the brewcipher spreadsheet ...... looks like i've got something to do for the rest of the afternoon!
Let me know if you have any questions. There's also a User Guide downloadable from the same site(s), but note that any "tricky" inputs tend to have mouse-over popup hints.
 
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ace0005

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Let me know if you have any questions. There's also a User Guide downloadable from the same site(s), but note that any "tricky" inputs tend to have mouse-over popup hints.
Thanks VikeMan!
 

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I will try those. I used this one - Brewer's Friend, and it's telling me that I need to make a 10 L starter! My flask is only 4 L 🙄. I might as well use a glass conical fermenter to make this starter!!
Just for perspective, I brewed a 5.5 gal batch of a Tripel* that started out at 1.128. This was before I started making starters, and I pitched just one smack-pack of Wyeast 3787 into well-aerated wort.

Yes, there was a lag of about 13 hours before fermentation became evident, but at 17 hours, the kreusen was high enough that I installed a blow off tube (and saved the kitchen wallpaper from a messy wipe-down).

* others have suggested that I should properly call this a barley wine
 
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ace0005

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Just for perspective, I brewed a 5.5 gal batch of a Tripel* that started out at 1.128. This was before I started making starters, and I pitched just one smack-pack of Wyeast 3787 into well-aerated wort.

Yes, there was a lag of about 13 hours before fermentation became evident, but at 17 hours, the kreusen was high enough that I installed a blow off tube (and saved the kitchen wallpaper from a messy wipe-down).

* others have suggested that I should properly call this a barley wine
Lol! My last brew was supposed to be an Imperial Robust Porter.... I ended up making a Robust Porter at 3.5 ABV.... which is why I need to oxygenate, and use starters now! At least the beer tastes great 😊
 

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My favorite yeast calculator:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator

To get a picture, estimate the yeast you haven't bought yet, at 3 months old or 50% viability (just manually edit that cell for now).

You need a stir plate (buy or build one) to get appreciable growth, especially for bigger (10 gallon pitch) starters. Do your research, there are 100s of threads on yeast starters.

Countertop + intermittent swirling won't cut it, chances are you'd be mopping half the yeast off the counter each morning.
 
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My favorite yeast calculator:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator

To get a picture, estimate the yeast you haven't bought yet, at 3 months old or 50% viability (just manually edit that cell for now).

You need a stir plate (buy or build one) to get appreciable growth, especially for bigger (10 gallon pitch) starters. Do your research, there are 100s of threads on yeast starters.

Countertop + intermittent swirling won't cut it, chances are you'd be mopping half the yeast off the counter each morning.
So use a stopper and air lock?
 

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So use a stopper and air lock?
Starters need oxygen to propagate. So don't use a stopper and airlock. Just loosely crimp some aluminum foil over the flask's neck, to cover the opening and an inch or 2 below. That will allow ample air/CO2 exchange at the opening, helped by the low vortex created by the stir bar (being on a stir plate).
Or use one of those dedicated foam plugs.

Plenty of examples of that to be found around the Fermentation & Yeast forum.
 

CDS

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Hi, wondering if someone out there can help me. I need to make a yeast starter for a 10 gallon batch. I have all of the equipment, but I'm not sure of exactly how to make a yeast starter. I hear that it's easy, but I've never made one.

I understand that it's like making a "mini-beer." My issue is that I do not know how much yeast to make. Furthermore, when I make the yeast, how many yeast packets do I need to purchase to create a starter? I'm hoping that 1 packet will suffice!

I'm looking to up my game and brew a Belgian Dark Strong Ale (recipe here: Belgian Strong Ale). Any and all advice is welcome, thanks! :mug:
I relied heavily on this when I first started with yeast starters. Really helped me.
 

VikeMan

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I relied heavily on this when I first started with yeast starters. Really helped me.
The original version of HTB (the online one you linked) was great for its time. But parts of it are hopelessly outdated, including the yeast starter section. Building the pint-sized starters it advocates does little more than prove there are live yeast. Cell counts won't increase significantly. And pitching the result into 10 gallons of 1.098 wort would be very disappointing.

It does mention stepped starters at the end, vaguely, but doesn't provide any math or real directions to guide that.
 
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CDS

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The original version of HTB (the online one you linked) was great for it's time. But parts of it are hopelessly outdated, including the yeast starter section. Building the pint-sized starters it advocates does little more than prove there are live yeast. Cell counts won't increase significantly. And pitching the result into 10 gallons of 1.098 wort would be very disappointing.

It does mention stepped starters at the end, vaguely, but doesn't provide any math or real directions to guide that.
Yeah, this is true - I was purely thinking of the "mechanics" part of the starter process which I found helpful when I started, since I didn't even know where to begin. But you're right - I always use a yeast calculator for actual measurements.
 

cmac62

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If needed I'd brew a "starter beer". Do a 5 gal batch of 1040 or so beer and pitch directly onto the yeast cake. Then you know you have enough yeast for a 10 gal batch of 1099 beer. Good luck :mug:
 
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Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but assuming that the yeast I bought is 3 months old, and gleaning the knowledge dropped on me from you awesome people... this is what I came up with.
Yeast Starter.jpg


I understand this to mean that for each step, I will be using 101 grams of DME to create the starter.
 

VikeMan

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Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but assuming that the yeast I bought is 3 months old, and gleaning the knowledge dropped on me from you awesome people... this is what I came up with. View attachment 720535

I understand this to mean that for each step, I will be using 101 grams of DME to create the starter.
The DME needed for the second step would not be the same as for the first step. Normally, it should be proportional, along with the starter volume. I don't know why this calculator doesn't show you that. Also, I see you specified (or it defaulted to) Stir Plate. Do you have one? If not, you'll probably want to choose "manually shaken."
 
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The DME needed for the second step would not be the same as for the first step. Normally, it should be proportional, along with the starter volume. I don't know why this calculator doesn't show you that. Also, I see you specified (or it defaulted to) Stir Plate. Do you have one? If not, you'll probably want to choose "manually shaken."
Fortunately, I have a stir plate. The reason for the disparities is because the inoculation rate and the growth factor turn red, which apparently is not good.
 

VikeMan

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The reason for the disparities is because the inoculation rate and the growth factor turn red, which apparently is not good.
Hmm. I don't see any disparities in your screen shot other than that it's not telling you how much DME to use for step two. Is it showing you that now?
 
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ace0005

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Hmm. I don't see any disparities in your screen shot other than that it's not telling you how much DME to use for step two. Is it showing you that now?
The fields turn red when I try to increase my starter volume. See image for example. And when I adjust the volumes, the DME needed increases.
yeast.jpg
 

VikeMan

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The fields turn red when I try to increase my starter volume. See image for example. And when I adjust the volumes, the DME needed increases.
I see. But it's still not telling you how much DME you need for step 2.

And BTW, you probably don't want to increase the starter volume to the point that it warns you about inoculation rate. I wouldn't normally recommend going below about 25 million/ml. Usually, when you run into that issue (too low a rate), that means you should probably either increase your starting cell count (i.e. use two packs) or use more steps.
 

cmac62

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Of course you could use a recipe calculator and only add DME until you get to 1040 for the volume of water used.
 

VikeMan

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I wonder if the 101 g is for the whole 4 l of wort?
Do you mean 4.5 liters? That would be a gravity of ~ 1.008. So that can't be it.

And if we assume 101 g in the first step (1 liter), that's about 1.035. So... the DME for the second step is missing.
 

cmac62

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In brewers friend calc, the first liter requires 96g, and the 4 liter requires 383.4g. So I'm guessing the 101 is only for the first ltr. :mug:
 
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