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Yeast starter problem



Hello, a friend of mine gave me an extract kit as a gift not knowing anything about brewing. I didn't have the heart to let them know it needed a yeast starter. My question is how do I make a starter w/out all of the extra equipment. I have never used a starter but I am positive I need one for this kit. It's OG will be 1.085. Can anyone please give me some ideas.
Thank you in advance.


Forum Moderator
Grandmaster Brewer
Aug 25, 2008
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Are you using dry or liquid yeast?  Starters are not recommended with dry - just use two packages of fresh dry yeast.  

If liquid, some people make starters in a growler or 1-gallon apple juice jug, etc.  Use DME to make a THREE quart (liter) batch of ~1.040 wort.  Pitch yeast on starter wort about five days in advance.  It should ferm out in 36 hours, and when done, cool it to ~55F so the yeast settle out.  When ready to pitch, decant the old wort and pitch just the slurry.  Or buy THREE liquid packs/tubes.  

EDIT:  I entered 5.25 gallons of 1.085 ale at MrMalty.com's yeast calculator, and it said a 3L starter with two liquid packages, so this is clearly a case where using dry yeast would be easier if you are newer to starters and don't want the hassle.  If your kit is a "yeast neutral" style you could use a dry yeast.  Because of the high OG of 1.085, I'd recommend rehydrating the yeast per mfr's instructions to maximize viability.



I agree w/ Maltlicker... The yeast starter may or may not be necessary, but he has explained better than I can on ho to preform the task.
Whatever you do, DO NOT make a glucose yeast starter.... This can kick the yeast into an overdrive state once you pitch it and you may end up w/ a day of fierce activity followed by a stunted growth after the glucose has been consumed...
I personally do not use starters unless my OG is extremely high, but rather just let the yeast grow on its own chord, just as I do w/ my heavy wines. I hope the brewmasters can appreciate my choice in doing this.
If you wish to make a starter, use DME and keep the OG at a med. Level as maltlicker says between 1.030 and 1.040. It is not rocket science. A couple to few days of Yeast spawning will kick off your wort into a frenzy. If you are in a pickle, just pitch some extra yeast... you'll have great success. SALUTE!


I spoke to Northern Brewers where the kit was bought from and he told me to just use 2 of the wyeast smack packs and I should be just fine. We will see how it turns out. I am a very positive person so I have a feeling it will be great.