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Yeast Starters


Tom Ussery

I am starting to make two five gallon batches of all grain beer in a brewing session.  I used to make only one.  The two batches that I make are yeast compatable always.  For a five gallon batch I use one tube of wyeast.  I still only want to use one tube, but for two five gallon batches.  I have been told that one tube may not have enough yeast for both batches, so my questions are: how do you make a good yeast starter?  How long should it go before it is ready to split and pitch into both batches?  Please help!
 There are basically two options:
 1) Use two tubes
 2) Make a starter!

To make a starter, all you need to do is purchase some dry malt extract and a bit of spare hops (you can use whatever hops you have laying around - the hops helps to prevent infection).

Colin created a very nice scaleable recipe for a yeast starter in the October 2003 recipes at this link:

You can view the recipe there or download it using the link and then scale it to suit your needs.

I usually boil up about 1/2 to 1 gallon at a time and then store it in large capped sterilized bottles until I need a starter.  Then I uncap the bottle, add the yeast and put a stopper and airlock on it.

I usually let the starter ferment for at least 1-2 days before pitching it.  Ideally you want the starter actively fermenting when you pitch it.

If you need additional advice - try posting on our "General Brewing" forum - I know there are several regulars there who use their own starters.