Author Topic: yeast starter really needed?  (Read 6608 times)

Offline gwapogorilla

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yeast starter really needed?
« on: February 09, 2013, 07:26:41 PM »
I was doing research into a Belgian trippel. In doing so, I found the Wyeast smack pac that has  100 billion cells...no starter needed. But, looking at beersmith program, the yeast starter page for my recipe(1.080 OG) it states I should use a starter to obtain 280 billion yeast cells that are needed.

What is the difference in beer with a starter and without? Is there a flavor difference? fermentation time?

Offline Detmurds

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 11:14:40 PM »
This is a great question to be honest!  Does it make a brew any better? 
My goal is to become a better brewer!

Offline grathan

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 08:40:15 AM »
I think the biggest difference is reaching your desired attenuation. If not enough yeast are developed then they could die out before they finish their job. The bigger the beer, the more important this becomes, mainly because alcohol is toxic to yeast.

Second biggest thing would be off flavors from stressed yeast.

Offline Rusty Nails

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 09:08:01 AM »
Wyeast recommends a starter for this gravity. I have always gone with their recommendations and never had a problem.

Ed

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 08:34:47 PM »
.... Wyeast smack pac that has  100 billion cells...no starter needed.

That's a generic marketing claim, intended to mean 'typical' five gallon batches of approx. 1.050 gravity. 

But most yeast calculators indicate viability of liquid yeast is already 75% after only one month, which is typical for most LHBS inventory, so that's 75 billion. 

So starters are a good idea for most batches to ensure the best results. 

Offline gwapogorilla

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 04:04:55 AM »
.... Wyeast smack pac that has  100 billion cells...no starter needed.

That's a generic marketing claim, intended to mean 'typical' five gallon batches of approx. 1.050 gravity. 

But most yeast calculators indicate viability of liquid yeast is already 75% after only one month, which is typical for most LHBS inventory, so that's 75 billion. 

So starters are a good idea for most batches to ensure the best results.

Okay..I get that...but here's another one for you. I was playing around with beersmith this weekend, designing a Belgian Wit. It came up with a gravity of 1.048...beersmith comes up with needing some 221 billion yeast cells for my starter?! The recipe was mainly with wheat malt...it it because wheat is less feremetable?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 04:16:44 AM by gwapogorilla »

Offline Curly55

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 07:06:05 AM »
In order to compare these two (tripel and wit) recipes in this regard you have to ensure everything else is the same. Yeast strain, packaging date, and so on. And the last thing I could think of, and I'm no beersmith programmer so I don't know how beersmith does it, but duddels and tripels are often under pitched by nature to stress the desired charictures of the yeast. Now with that being said almost all home brewers tend to under pitch by nature therefore be carful with trying this yourself.
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Offline factory

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2013, 07:43:13 AM »
In his book, "An Analysi of Brewing Techniques" George Fix says:
For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.

(0.75 million) X (milliliters of wort) X (degrees Plato of the wort)
There are about 20,000 milliliters in 5.25 gallons

So, for a 1.080 wort pitching into 5.25 gallons you need about 288 billion cells.

(750,000) X (20,000) X (19.25) = 288,000,000,000




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Offline jomebrew

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 10:19:28 AM »
+1

In his book, "An Analysi of Brewing Techniques" George Fix says:
For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.

(0.75 million) X (milliliters of wort) X (degrees Plato of the wort)
There are about 20,000 milliliters in 5.25 gallons

So, for a 1.080 wort pitching into 5.25 gallons you need about 288 billion cells.

(750,000) X (20,000) X (19.25) = 288,000,000,000

Offline gwapogorilla

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 02:58:40 PM »
Guys, I can't thank you all enough for your replies. It seems that every author has their own ideas as to pitching rates. I have been reading "how to brew" by John Palmer, and his pitching rates are....wide and forgiving.
Where can I find good information on pitching rates?

Offline ihikeut

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 06:42:17 PM »
Yeast The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White and  Jamil Zainasheff. This book will cover everything about fermentation and yeast, including building your own lab.

Offline factory

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 08:41:17 AM »
Yeast The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White and  Jamil Zainasheff. This book will cover everything about fermentation and yeast, including building your own lab.
+1
Yep, another good reference.
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Offline spatin

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Re: yeast starter really needed?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 10:22:31 PM »
I have not run the numbers, but I get better attenuation and faster starts on the "bubbles" when I use about a 1000 ML starter.  I pretty much always use a starter now.  It makes me worry less about infection.  Can't complain about the beer either.
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