Author Topic: More yeast if i don't make a starter?  (Read 7330 times)

Offline The Drizzle

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More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« on: May 16, 2012, 04:21:02 AM »
I've never made a yeast starter before but I heard it was a good thing to do. I've also heard that if you don't have a starter you can use two yeast packets rather than just one. Would this be okay to do or will it hurt the beer? (I don't make anything too fancy, just standard ales for now) Or would I be better off making a starter? Also, could someone explain the benefits of a yeast starter?

Thanks for any help.

Offline Rusty Nails

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 06:52:29 AM »
What you are asking depends on a lot of variables, such as OG, size of batch, type of yeast, age of yeast. I have read a lot of methods on how to decide, but I always go to the Wyeast web site and use their 'Pitch Calculator', which is simple to use and explains everything in simple terms. There is a lot of info there, including a video on an easy way to smack the 'smack pak'.
White Labs also has great info, however I use Wyeast simply because they are local for me.
That said, a lot of great homebrews have been made with no starters.


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Offline PetenNewburg

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2012, 07:06:34 AM »
 Do whatever the Yeast manufacture recommends for the yeast you are using.  Some dry yeast is sprinkled on top of the wort.  Liquid yeast manufactures usually recommend a starter; others say to make a slurry.  I usually use liquid Wyeast and a starter.  The starter allows you to be sure the yeast is viable.
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Offline jomebrew

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2012, 10:37:26 AM »
A simple starter will double the yeast cell count which might be needed depending on the gravity of the beer.  An easy to remember rule is anything over 1.050 needs more than one package of yeast. 

A starter will have a bunch of happy, eager to please yeast.  They will party big time in your 68f wort retreat like singles at Club Med.  No need for them to acclimate to the new digs like pitching from a package or vial they are hot to trot and ready to bud some daughters.  Just make sure they start out with a good amount of oxygen.  They'll need it for a bit.

A starter costs a few cents above a yeast package.  multiple packages double the yeast cost (I use White Labs Vials so that is $6 a pop).   

I use 200grams of DME in 2000 ML water for my starter.  I get the water to about 120F and pour 1/2 (leaving the pot off the burner) into a stainless steel bowl with the the DME and use a wisk to mix it up.  then pour it back into the pot at a medium low heat and then raise the heat until it just boils a little.  I boil for 10 - 15 minutes, then chill, covered.  Once at 65F or so, I pitch my yeast and cover with foil.   I use an Erlenmeyer Flash with a stir plate now but used to just shake the flask everytime I walked by to get oxygen into the wort.   I shook that thing a couple dozen times.  I also use a couple drops of anti-foaming goop and never have a spillover.


Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 04:29:26 PM »
I've had great luck with Fermentis (SafAle and SafLager) dry yeast. I just sprinkle it on and in a day or two it's busy doing it's thing.
To stretch it out I have recently started washing the yeast and experimenting with starters. For fun more than anything else.

Unless you're going after a particular style, like a Hefeweizen or Belgian, (please don't ding my Karma for expressing an opinion that differs from yours, you know who you are) in my opinion liquid yeast is a waste of money.
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Offline piper55

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 06:04:30 PM »
 it wil give your beer a good fast start to its fermentation to .Like Joe said keep your yeast happy, and they will treat you well

KernelCrush

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 06:34:18 PM »
I have to agree with Maine.  Recently doing 10G batches going to 2 ea 5G carboys splitting them dry vs liquid.  I get my wife to pour so I am blind and I always prefer the dry yeast..so far...only 4 batches.  I saw a big improvement when I went to dry yeast rehydration with GoFerm.  Night and day difference.  Fermentis product rocks but they suck at customer service.  Dont expect an answer if you have a question for them. 

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 07:30:46 PM »
I have to agree with Maine.  Recently doing 10G batches going to 2 ea 5G carboys splitting them dry vs liquid.  I get my wife to pour so I am blind and I always prefer the dry yeast..so far...only 4 batches.  I saw a big improvement when I went to dry yeast rehydration with GoFerm.  Night and day difference.  Fermentis product rocks but they suck at customer service.  Dont expect an answer if you have a question for them.

Did you make a starter with the liquid yeast?  Did you control fermentation temperature? 

If not you are not comparing apples to apples. 

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KernelCrush

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 03:19:03 AM »
Tom,  Yes to starters using stir plate.  Got cell counts as close as I was able with calculators. Both carboys in same fridge with external controller.  starters & rehydrations being pitched at wort temp.  Injecting 30 seconds O2.   did 3  batches with WLP001 vs US05  (repitching the second 2) and the 4th with a 2001-2278 blend vs S23-S34/70 blend.  Fifth one is lagering.  As a side note the dry yeast versions all cleared better.  But they are all great products...they make beer.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 06:04:42 AM »
Interesting.  What temps did you pitch and ferment at?  What did you like and dislike?
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KernelCrush

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 06:44:44 AM »
Pitched the ales around 65F, fermented at 67/68F.  Pilsners pitched at 39, with a rise to 48.  I have a hard time describing flavors but my preference has always leaned towards what I call ultra clean, and I seemed to get that more from the dry yeast.   I could not identify the yeast and had no preference once i finished the blind tasting...the difference was so minor.  My results may very well have to do with my handling methods/my taste buds & perceptions/my system.  Like everything...it depends.

Offline jomebrew

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 09:15:48 AM »
I am a bit superstitious I think.  I have never had a bad batch of beer and the ones I liked the least were the ones I used dry yeast.  I also switched to liquid when my brewing mentor did so most of my early batches were dry yeast. 

For some unknown reason, most of my beers these days are much stronger and I like how well they ferment using liquid yeast and a starter.  It is most likely all about better techniques, more consistent process and good pitching rates rather than dry versus liquid.  plus, all the cool kids use liquid yeast and Luddites use dry yeast   ;D  ;D  ;D

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2012, 03:52:21 PM »
Washing yeast from a batch I racked yesterday. It was SafAle US05, washed from a previous batch. Haven't decided if I'm going to do a starter or not. There's a lot of yeast here. I don't think I'll need one.

I've tried several different yeasts, and settled on this one because, well, I just like it.  It produces a clean and crisp brew, doesn't add much in the way of off flavors, has high attenuation, settles well, and only costs a couple bucks.  Even less after I stretch it over a few batches.

A starter isn't going to harm things.  I don't see much of an advantage other than eliminating lag time.  The only time I'd consider two packets is if the starting gravity was above 1.060. 
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2012, 03:57:05 PM »
I see no reason to do a starter.  You should have PLENTY of yeast in the slurry.  If you had a pint of sterile wort laying around, you could add it to the slurry at the start of brewday to wake up the yeast.  But, I'm usually too lazy to do that except for beers over 60...just like you.

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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: More yeast if i don't make a starter?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2012, 04:57:49 PM »
Quote
If you had a pint of sterile wort laying around, you could add it to the slurry at the start of brewday to wake up the yeast.

I have some LME lying around. I may do just that, only I'll do it the night before.  Saturday's brew should take off like a rocket!
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