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If I have a particular equipment profile (ie Robobrew) and a recipe was created with another one, will choosing my equipment in the recipe automatically change what needs to be changed? Or should I stick to recipes created with the same equipment?
I update my profile every year after looking at my process and yields. When I open a recipe with the old profile (I append the date of the change to the profile name), I use the 'scale recipe' function to adjust the recipe to the updated profile. This happens more often with recipes I only brew every few years or so than those recipes which have become standards.
If you just change the equipment profile without using the scale recipe function, the program will not adjust anything in the recipe. It will just recalculate the final results based upon the changes in the process as outlined int he new profile.
A word about equipment profiles. The ones supplied in the Beersmith software are often, if not mostly, provided by users like you and me. They may work great for the person who created it but might not work very well at all for you. That is because everyone has a different process and way of using our brewing equipment even if we are brewing on the same piece of equipment. That is why Beersmith creator Brad Smith says to use the default profiles as starting points for creating your own custom profile. All it takes is a bit of time, a container capable of holding a gallon of water and a scale to weigh it. Even then you need to make notes during your brew sessions to fine tune your profile.
Here are a couple of tutorials. They are for Beersmith 2 and for different systems but the method of measuring volumes is the same.
I know this is old now, but I went through the same old starter, no starter forum stuff when I was venturing out to try some liquids not all that long ago.
You do need to check your dates, especially on liquid yeasts. Having said that, and if you can get it fresh from the homebrew store, you do not need a starter for 5-gallon batches below 1.060. If in doubt, pitch two packets as per the White Labs instructions.
The Direct Pitch stuff from White Labs is awesome. The last two times I have used it, the yeast was very fresh, and I had noticeable activity in about 4 hours.
Yeasts are often handled and stored under less than ideal conditions so viability can vary considerably, regardless of how "fresh" the yeast is. A starter, even a small one to verify viability, is a good insurance policy.
Just because you get yeast from the local homebrew store does not mean it is fresh. And yeas that is past its best by date is not unusable. My LHBS will often (as in every time I stop in) will just give me packs of expired yeast and they work great.
Fresh= Well within the expiration date listed on the package. The Direct Pitch has it clearly printed in blue on the package. The yeast in the two homebrew stores I buy from are stored in display coolers.
I have a job and don't get to brew as much as I would like. As a result, I like simplicity. I'm enjoying beer, not making a profit. I spend the money on the fresh yeast from places that I trust, and I usually overpitch anyway. It usually turns out well. Would I order liquid yeast online and have it shipped? Probably not. Well, not unless I had to.
It is just like the sparge/BIIB argument..Do you want to be efficient, or do you want to spend a few more dollars and make life easy? You can do a starter or not. Life is wonderful in the First World.
Even if properly handled and stored the viability of liquid yeast changes considerably between the date it was packaged and the expiration date on the package. That's why I asked you to define fresh. What you post in forums can influence new brewers, so clarity is very important.
If you're willing to sacrifice quality for convenience, that's your prerogative but, please, don't make it sound like an accepted or best practice.
The White Labs PurePitch is meant to be direct pitched unless you are harvesting. Wyeast has the Smack-Packs that have an activator. They are meant to be direct pitched.
Tradition and the recipe books I look at do recommend a starter, but it is not necessary with some of the newer products out there, especially at low to moderate OGs. We can argue all day about what is and what is not a good practice, but newer brewers also need to be aware that there are other choices out there that DO actually work.
If you choose to go against tradition, recipe books and experienced home brewers, as I said before, that's your prerogative. One of the main objectives of this and other homebrewing forums is to provide information that promotes good brewing practices. It's my prerogative to point out things go against that goal.