Making a yeast starter

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    • #1104
      Jeff WilhelmJeff Wilhelm
      Participant
      @jeffw

      How do you make a yeast starter?

      I used to make starters in an attempt to decrease my lag time. I tried several variations but with no noticeable differences.

      I am in the need to create a yeast starter for my next batch as it is my biggest beer (1.083) that I’ve made. And, I think a starter will be necessary with a liquid yeast.

      So, I am looking for help from others who have had success with starters.

    • #4021
      Dave McVeigh
      @mich-dave

      In a nut shell, you are just brewing a smaller batch of beer. I do it in a growler using dry light extract to make a wort between 1.040 and 1.050. Lately I use a drop of olive oil in it instead of oxygenating, but either is benificial. If you have a stir plate, that helps too. Neither of these are required for a starter, but do help.
      Mich Dave

    • #4022
      Chip Lewis
      @iechyd-da

      There are other benefits to making a yeast starter besides reduced lag time. It lets you know that your yeast are viable, as well as producing a greater amount of yeast to pitch. I use a starter every time I use liquid yeast, if I don’t I usually have a 12-18 hour lag. With the starter it is about 3-5 hours. I don’t use a starter for dry yeast like US-05.

      I have just recently starter using a stir plate that I made from a computer fan, radio shack project box, magnet, and cell phone charger cord. I’m not sure if it is helping yet but I figure it can’t hurt.

      I am planning to make my first lager next week, a blonde dopplebock with a SG of 1.095. I have stepped my starter from 750ml to 1500ml and am going to step it up one more time to about 4000ml. This should provide me with enough healthy yeast to get a good strong fermentation and not stress the yeast.

      My normal starter is about 1000ml and I use around 4oz DME and a some yeast nutrient and ferment that for about 2-3 days. Then decant off 1/2 to 3/4 of the liquid and just pitch the slurry at the bottom of the starter.
      :-ch

    • #4023
      MEGA Admin
      Keymaster
      @mega-admin

      You want to shoot for a starter gravity around 1.040.
      Use the “Starter Wort Calculator”, Jeff (in the user menu).
      I use a stir plate, but have also had success using olive oil.
      My usual starter scenario:
      The day before I brew (~18-24hrs):
      Get out the liquid yeast and let it sit at room temp while I do everything else.
      Mix DME and water (1g/10ml) in 2000ml Erlenmeyer.
      Bring to boil, and let it ride for 20min or so.
      Crash cool in ice water bath.
      Once the wort is at room temp I pitch the yeast into the mix and loosely cover with sanitized foil (it needs to be loose to promote gas exchange).
      Add a sanitized stir bar, put the flask on the stir plate and crank it up.
      After 12hrs it looks nice and cloudy, and at ~18hrs it has developed krausen.
      I try to use it at 18-24hrs.

      You can cool it and decant the clear wort off the top, but I usually just pitch the whole thing.

      :bs

    • #4520
      Fred Genslinger
      @fredmiester

      Can somebody clear this up.

      I have only recently been making yeast starts and I have also been doing a little reading about under pitching yeast.
      1 vial of liquid yeast has about 100 million yeast critters. So if I calculate from my OG of 1.091 that I will need 345 million yeast cells and it calls for 2 cups of DME with a little over a gallon of a starter… Wow! Does this mean I need 3 vials of liquid yeast or just by making my starter that large will make it all happy?:S

    • #4522
      Chip Lewis
      @iechyd-da

      I don’t think that there is a simple answer. If you haven’t, check out http://www.mrmalty.com and use the pitching rate calculator on there.

      Short answer is maybe. If you do everything right and make sure the yeast are happy, you will have enough yeast with a starter that big.

      I’m sure I under pitch a little my starters are usually no bigger than 2000ml. On my dopplebock which started at 1.080 I wanted a lot of yeast so I went the lazy way and used 3 vials and a 2000ml starter. Fermentation started quick and finished at the right gravity.

    • #4523
      Fred Genslinger
      @fredmiester

      Chip Lewis wrote:

      I don’t think that there is a simple answer. If you haven’t, check out http://www.mrmalty.com and use the pitching rate calculator on there.

      Short answer is maybe. If you do everything right and make sure the yeast are happy, you will have enough yeast with a starter that big.

      I’m sure I under pitch a little my starters are usually no bigger than 2000ml. On my dopplebock which started at 1.080 I wanted a lot of yeast so I went the lazy way and used 3 vials and a 2000ml starter. Fermentation started quick and finished at the right gravity.

      Alrighty then. the mrmalty calculator confirms what I asked. Pretty much use the 3 vials.

      Now, another dumb question. If I double everything to make a 10 gal batch with the same gravity do you double the yeast or just the ingredients???I would guess gravity is a control??

    • #1105
      Chip Lewis
      @iechyd-da

      Well if you double the volume you would double the amount of yeast you need. Mrmalty.com says you would now need over 600 billion yeast cells for 10 gallons of 1.090 beer.

      If you’re going to make a 10 gallon batch of 1.090 beer your best bet would be to make a 5 gallon batch of a 1.040-1.050 beer. Use the yeast cake from that batch to pitch into the 1.090 beer.

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