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bperlmu

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just a general question, how many people here use yeast starters and when? Ive never used one and have never had a problem but ive also never made anything with a particularly high gravity...no more than 1.060 or so. they seem like kind of a pain. I use white labs liquid yeast which has always fermented fine for me. I have a weizenbock on deck that will probably be pretty high gravity, should i consider using one?


anyone got any recomendations for some good fall drinking?:drunk:
 

Bernie Brewer

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I would recommend one for all beers, with the excepton being when you use dry yeast. With big beers starters are a must, also if you ever brew anything more than 5 gallons at a time. Even with little beers, starters will reduce your lag time considerably.
 

GIusedtoBe

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bperlmu your finally getting around to your wiezenbock? This is the "Phat fired Wiezenbock" right?

I would recommend a starter just so you know that your yeast is active before you pitch. Particularly with a high OG beer. There are several threads on here about long lag times with direct pitched WL yeast.

Have you brewed any of the recipes in Papazian's book before? In yours, he calls for 6.6 lbs of LME and 1.5 lbs of DME for an OG of 1.064 - 1.068 . I don't think you'll hit that OG with those ingredients. maybe if you substitute DME for the LME.
I brewed a different wiezenbock and used 9 lbs of DME and my OG was 1.076, maybe 1.080 after temp correction.

Good Luck & keep us posted
Al
 

cubbies

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I use a starter, and now that I do, I wonder why I never did before. It takes no time at all and the benefits are great. I don't brew particularly large beers at all, but I still think it is worth it. Certainly doesn't hurt anything and really only takes about 10 minutes.
 

BNVince

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I didn't use one on my first batch and it took about 3 days for any activity. It was the worst 3 days of my life. Well not really but it was nerve racking.

Anyway, I made a starter last night for an American Pale Ale I'll be brewing either tomorrow or Wednesday. The airlock was already bubbling this morning and hopefully I'll have some nice krausen going tomorrow so I can brew.
 

cheezydemon

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I start a starter in my primary now. That makes it less of a hassle. The time between pitching and vigorous fermentation is so reduced with a starter that it is not only quicker, but there is so much less chance of contamination. The benefits of the greater yeast colony on flavor and off flavor have been discussed to death. For me it is a no brainer. It is exciting to do the starter the night before brewing. It doesn't take very long, and it gets the action started a full day ahead of time. Time well spent!
 

98EXL

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I use starters, and always use them (well, since I started using them :D )
 

FlyGuy

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I think that if you are using fresh Wyeast smack packs, and you are brewing ales in the SG of say the 1.030's or 1.040's, you don't need to bother with a starter. There will be enough yeast in there to ferment out a 5 gal batch, provided that you aerated really well. Just make sure the pack swelled up before you pitch so that you know you had viable yeast.

For lagers or bigger beers, absolutely go with a starter. You will still get beer if you don't, but it may not be as tasty as one made from a starter. A healthy pitch of yeast and lots of aeration will help you to avoid the most common off-flavours that people experience in their beer, particularly from higher alcohols and esters. Fusel alcohol (a hot, sometimes solvent-like flavour) and diacetyl (a butterscotch-flavoured secondary product from ester production) are good examples of off flavours that can end up in your beer when under-pitching.
 

SW Brewer

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I started using them after I had some two day lag times. I made a double sized starter (4 cups of water and 1 cup of DME) with a Wyeast propogator pack for my Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale clone. The OG on that one was 1.064 and the starter was bubbling away when I shook it up and dropped it into my primary. Bubbling on the airlock started 4 hours later and is CRANKING now. I am worried I may have some blowoff in my 6.5 gallon carboy.

Greg
 
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bperlmu

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GIusedtoBe said:
bperlmu your finally getting around to your wiezenbock? This is the "Phat fired Wiezenbock" right?

yeah i had two other batches lined up before that one....but hopefully ill get it started this weekend
 

b767fo

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I did a starter for my weizenbock - ended up with beer all over the basement! Lesson learned, use a larger blowoff tube. I also did one with a bavarian lager smack pack... the pack took several days to show any activity, as did the starter; but then it finally woke up and was bubbling nicely (must have been an old or damaged batch of yeast).
 
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bperlmu

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GIusedtoBe said:
bperlmu your finally getting around to your wiezenbock? This is the "Phat fired Wiezenbock" right?

I would recommend a starter just so you know that your yeast is active before you pitch. Particularly with a high OG beer. There are several threads on here about long lag times with direct pitched WL yeast.

Have you brewed any of the recipes in Papazian's book before? In yours, he calls for 6.6 lbs of LME and 1.5 lbs of DME for an OG of 1.064 - 1.068 . I don't think you'll hit that OG with those ingredients. maybe if you substitute DME for the LME.
I brewed a different wiezenbock and used 9 lbs of DME and my OG was 1.076, maybe 1.080 after temp correction.

Good Luck & keep us posted
Al
Weizenbock is (finally) in the primary. I used a starter and it is just starting to bubble. So far, so good.... we'll see how this goes
 
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bperlmu

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homebrewer_99 said:
Starters are your friends...;)

I pitched a starter in my weizenbock yesterday, and i came home and the plastic cap of the blow off valve was on the floor and foam was coming out of the airlock. Its fermenting like crazzy!!! its a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy.... ive never had this happen before. I dont mind a mess, but im concerned about nasties getting in the beer because the beer is coming out the airlock... what should I do???


oops i meant to say cap of the airlock.... Im not using a blow off hose.
 

HighPlainsDrifter

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Don't worry, chances are it will be fine. Just clean/sanitize your air lock and reattach.

BTW put me in the always use a starter crowd ;)
 

GIusedtoBe

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bperlmu said:
im concerned about nasties getting in the beer because the beer is coming out the airlock... what should I do???


oops i meant to say cap of the airlock.... Im not using a blow off hose.

Mine did the same thing. Foam and beer up throught the airlock on a 6.5 carboy. This was the only one that I've done in my short brewing history that you could see all the stuff swirling like it was in a washing machine.

What was your OG? Did you follow the recipe exactly or change it? Mine is bottled but will probably be late Sep to early Oct before its ready.

Regards
Al
 

CBBaron

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bperlmu said:
I pitched a starter in my weizenbock yesterday, and i came home and the plastic cap of the blow off valve was on the floor and foam was coming out of the airlock. Its fermenting like crazzy!!! its a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy.... ive never had this happen before. I dont mind a mess, but im concerned about nasties getting in the beer because the beer is coming out the airlock... what should I do???
oops i meant to say cap of the airlock.... Im not using a blow off hose.
weizenbock.... That spells blow off to me. Two types of beer seem to have frequent blow offs, wheat beers and high gravity beers. A high gravity wheat beer doesn't stand much of a chance. I would get a blow off tube on there right away and be glad you didn't plug the airlock and blow something else.
BTW you can replace the airlock with a short piece of transfer tubing for a blowoff tube.
Also don't worry about the beer. The large outgassing of CO2 will protect it quite well. Havn't heard of one messy blowoff case that had an infection, just a mess.
Craig
 
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bperlmu

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GIusedtoBe said:
Mine did the same thing. Foam and beer up throught the airlock on a 6.5 carboy. This was the only one that I've done in my short brewing history that you could see all the stuff swirling like it was in a washing machine.

What was your OG? Did you follow the recipe exactly or change it? Mine is bottled but will probably be late Sep to early Oct before its ready.

Regards
Al

My OG was around 1.068. maybe a little higher with temperature corrections, but I did not measure my temp cause the damn cat knocked the sample over before I could measure it....messy....

anyway, im guessing the OG was around 1.069 or 70 because i added the whole 2 lb bag of DME rather than trying to measure out 1.5 lbs...so i also just a few extra hop pellets... anyway, it smells good and looks cool so lets hope it goes well

I am planning on aging it for a bit before drinking it, I have a couple batches that i can work on in the mean time. So hopefull i can set it aside and sort-of forget about it for a month or two
ben
 

Coastie

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I like to use Wyeast smack packs. Is this the same as creating a starter? Or is it a "starter lite?"
 

jeff

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I began using starters last year. I never really had a problem with just pitching that smack pack, but since discovering starters I can see a noticeable improvement in all my beers: Cleaner taste, less lag time, better attenuation, etc. I typically make a 1L starter a few days before the and that seems to work well for me.
 

Brewing Clamper

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The only time I don't make a starter is when I pitch to a yeast cake. To beat a dead horse into the ground, once you realize how much you cut lag time (not to mention infection risk) you won't ever go back.
 

CBBaron

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Coastie said:
I like to use Wyeast smack packs. Is this the same as creating a starter? Or is it a "starter lite?"
Starter X-lite.
Wyeast smack packs just have a small amount of yeast nutrient to help the fermentation and get the yeasts activated. The smack packs do not cause the yeast to multiply. The 100 billion yeast cells in the Activator packs are enough to ferment an average gravity Ale if they are healthy but a starter is recommended for best results.
I usually do a 2 liter starter using 1 cup of DME. This ensures the yeast are active and there is sufficient population for the ferment. I figure since I am doing a starter any ways I buy the Propagator packs and save myself the $2.50 difference.

Craig
 

1234Alchemy

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I've never used a starter (because I have only brewed 4 beers). Twice I've used dry yeast packets, twice I've used Wyeast smack packs. My very first beer was brewed with a dry yeast packet that expired well over a year before brewing. Oops.

I've had intense, vigorous, washing-machine-like fermentation on 3 of the beers. The lag time has never been longer than 8 hours. I don't have access to my notes right now, but I believe I've had fermentation rolling once with dry and once with Wyeast after only 4 hours--and I mean seriously rolling. I'm probably gonna do a yeast starter for my next batch, just to see how that works. I'm definitely no expert, but I personally have had nothing but great luck just opening the yeast packages and putting them *directly* into my cooled wort. No hydration or anything.

Maybe I'm just lucky. :p
 

CBBaron

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Alchemy said:
I've never used a starter (because I have only brewed 4 beers). Twice I've used dry yeast packets, twice I've used Wyeast smack packs. My very first beer was brewed with a dry yeast packet that expired well over a year before brewing. Oops.

Maybe I'm just lucky. :p
Yep you are lucky. :)
Actually, it is not too surprising. Dry yeast does not require a starter due to the number of cells packaged and rehydrating only makes a small difference. Wyeast smack packs are nice because you can see if the yeast is active before pitching. For moderate beers the yeast in a smack is sufficient but it is under pitched in most cases. Still with good aeration you should see no problem with your technique with average sized beers.

Craig
 

bassplayrr

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I've been using starters since my second batch. My first batch, using a White Labs yeast, failed to start after three days and had to be saved with some generic dry pack I had around.

It's not much work, 1/2-3/4 of a cup of dry extract, your yeast, and maybe a little yeast nutrient in a 1000ml flask. Two days later, happy and active yeast ready for pitching.
 

BNVince

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I didn't use a starter on my first hefeweizen batch and it took over 3 days to begin fermenting. The whole batch is pretty much ruined and has taken on a somewhat plastic taste. I'm not sure if this was due to sitting in the bucket so long without fermenting or hot side aeration or a combination of both (or possibly the beer gods were frowning upon me that day).

Anyway, I made a starter for my second batch which was a pale ale. I had airlock activity in less then 8 hours and it fermented out to final gravity in 6 days. So, needless to say, for the small amount of extra work, I'll be doing a starter from now on.
 

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Is a 1 L flask large enough to do a 1 L starter on a stirplate, or will I get krausen blowing out of the foam stopper?
 

Gregg Meyer

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please explain how you make a starter yeast the night before. i brewed an
octoberfest and used a kit. I have never done a kit before I was sold/told by my
local home brew company that i could use an english ale by white labs as a good yeast for that. I did see that I am one month late of the best use time and my
6.5 gal carboy for fermentation is quiet. It has been 33-34 hours since the pitch and all is quiet. It's freaking me out. Do I just buy more white labs that is fresh and just pour it in after I warm it to room temp?

I have done several extracts where I used DME I have done two All grain sessions for a total of right at 12 sessions all together, just starting.


Gregg,
 

sudbuster

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Gregg Meyer said:
...............Do I just buy more white labs that is fresh and just pour it in after I warm it to room temp? ................

Gregg,
Greg, IMHO, just give it a bit more time, up to 72 hrs. unless your vial was very mishandled, i have found English ale to be very forgiving and a mean yeast when adjusted to the wort.....:) Good luck....... https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Starter
 

Gregg Meyer

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I brewed this past sat and the yeast has not yet began it thing. I pitched a whit labs yeast that was one month older than I was supposed to use or best use by date. i just couldn't get around to brewing till last sat. What is the best route to take. Do I have a window of time before the wort goes bad or is it already bad?
 

Gregg Meyer

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I'll give it more time. I just haven't brewed since spring am excited to have the fermenter back in action. i go to Vermont in 2 weeks and will travel to Middlebury to get some Ottercreek ale. Too bad i can't get it in Nebraska. That is a Very nice beer. Maybe I could teach myself to make a clone. What would I look for when tasting it to try and make a clone??
 

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