Yeast Starters

General brewing information, questions and discussion. Topics that do not seem to fit elsewhere.

Moderators: slothrob, 2row, wottaguy

Yeast Starters

Postby Ben Bythewood » Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:42 pm

Ok I have yet to use a yeast starter in any of my beers (about 5 batches) ranging from 1.044 OG brews to a 1.10 OG barley wine. The beers thus far have come out great and fermentation has gone well just pitching the whitelabs vial alone (70-120 Billion Cells). Everybody seems to talk about making a yeast starter though. I have been to Mr. Malty and read everything he has to say and perused alot of material on whitelabs and so forth. I have two major questions concerning this process though that I havent been able to answer.

1. Why do you need to use a starter and what are the consequences of not using one?

2. What do you do about the large amounts of liquid required for starters? For instance according to Mr. Malty for a 1.054 gravity brew of 5 gallons you need a 1.74 Liter starter. It seems to me that 1.74 liters of fluid being added to the wort will dilute it no? How do you get around that?
Ben Bythewood
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:15 am
Location: Boston, MA

Here are some reasons ...

Postby billvelek » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:53 pm

You don't always need to use a starter ... so long as you pitch sufficient yeast to fully attenuate your brew before the yeast exhaust themselves, and that depends upon circumstances. Since you have already made reference to the Mr.Malty website, I assume that you have read the info there about pitching, which should answer most of your questions.

The bottom line is that you can pitch dry yeast packets without making a starter, although I generally do it anyway for a couple of reasons: the yeast are active when pitched so I think it gives me faster starts, and it gives me a little more yeast than just the packet for when I pour some of the starter into my bottling bucket; if my beer has been in secondary for very long and most yeast has flocculated, I think it helps the bottles carbonate just a little bit faster -- and I'm always in a hurry.

But when you use a liquid starter, I'm pretty sure that most of the time you need to make a starter in order to increase the yeast population up to the level needed for your beer. See the calculator at MrMalty.com

Hope that helps a little.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
Visit www.tinyurl.com/bvelek - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
User avatar
billvelek
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Arkansas, USA

Postby Ben Bythewood » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:37 am

Thanks for your help Bill, and that kind of answers the first question of why you should use a starter. Still however, my bigger concern is with the amount of liquid that a starter generates and the diluting effect I am afraid that would have on the wort, how do people deal with this? or Question #2 above. Any takers on that one?

~Ben
Ben Bythewood
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:15 am
Location: Boston, MA

My Technique...

Postby wottaguy » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:58 am

Hi Ben,

This is what I do when I make a starter.
I'll create the medium using light malt extract and make sure that the OG is at or near the same gravity of the brew being fermented. When added to the wort at pitching time. it will not have the tendency to dillute your wort and possibly lower the OG of the wort.
As far as the volume that is pitched, I brew 10 gallon batches and for a normal gravity brew, i'll use a 3/4 gallon starter made with the above and with 2 vials or packs of liquid yeast. I'll make this starter within 48 hours of pitching. I pitch the entire amount into the wort as my fermenter can handle the extra volume.
I never used a beer kit like Mr Beer etc so I have no opinion about them.
If the volume question is an issue for you, then perhaps it is time for you to maybe upgrade your equipment to be able to handle what you want to do in your brewing. You can also reduce the volume of your wort to accomodate your fermenter vessel volume.

Hope this helps...
Ron
Visit my blog @ http://www.wottashomebrewblog.blogspot.com

On Tap:
HL Pale Ale
HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
User avatar
wottaguy
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Florida

more about starters

Postby billvelek » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:42 am

Ben, I didn't mean to ignore you on ques. 2, but I didn't have time to go into that then. Sorry, but wottaguy has covered it now; I was sure you'd get your answer.

Let me add that I've read where some people worry about some impact that a starter can have on their beer flavor, so they prepare their starters well ahead of time, put them in the refrigerator to help the yeast flocculate to the bottom, and then carefully pour off the excess liquid, leaving the yeast slurry behind. Sort of the same thing as pitching onto a yeast cake in the bottom of your fermenter, except there is no trub or hops to worry about. That might help you too, but you do lose the advantage of having your yeast already active when you pitch.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
Visit www.tinyurl.com/bvelek - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
User avatar
billvelek
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Arkansas, USA

RE: more about starters

Postby wottaguy » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:54 am

Yess! Bill is correct and the technique he describes is a very good one to keep in mind.
Thanks Bill for your observation!
Visit my blog @ http://www.wottashomebrewblog.blogspot.com

On Tap:
HL Pale Ale
HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
User avatar
wottaguy
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Florida

Postby Ben Bythewood » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:09 pm

Excellent,

Those are very good suggestions, I can see both techiniques working well. I actually do All-Grain (just converted from extract brewing) on a duel converted 15 gallon keg system. I ussually ferment in a 6.5 or 7 (?) gallon bucket so space isnt that big of an issue. I didnt think about matching the wort in the starter to the OG of the brew to avoid it diluting it. By the way, here are a couple pics of my system.

http://www.doreau.net/pic_files/beer/beer1.JPG
http://www.doreau.net/pic_files/beer/beer2.JPG
http://www.doreau.net/pic_files/beer/beer3.JPG
http://www.doreau.net/pic_files/beer/homebrew.JPG
Ben Bythewood
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:15 am
Location: Boston, MA

RE: more about starters...and pics!

Postby wottaguy » Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:19 pm

Hi Ben and thanks for sharing the pic of your kettles. Here's the url to my blog which has some pics of the brewery. It's a one burner setup, and I use a 15 gallon Extreme cooler for the sparge water, a 15gallon Hobby Beverage Mash Tun that I really love...my boil kettle...fermenter...insulated fermenter box...chest freezer...etc...the link is below::

http://www.wottashomebrewblog.blogspot.com/

any questions...just ask!
Visit my blog @ http://www.wottashomebrewblog.blogspot.com

On Tap:
HL Pale Ale
HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
User avatar
wottaguy
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Florida

Postby Ben Bythewood » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:55 pm

Haha, I actually already looked at that the other day. I ran into the link on another post. I was drooling over it (and your beer!!) for quite some time. Very nice setup, looks like you will be opening a micro-brew in your house soon. Too bad you live all the way down in Florida!!

~Ben
Ben Bythewood
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:15 am
Location: Boston, MA

Postby jawbox » Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:44 am

Ben,

Jamil has a nice article in this months Zymurgy on starters.
My main reason for using a starter. Reduced lag time on fermentation, less chance of some other nasty critter getting in there first.


Later,
Jaw
PowerMac G4 933 Mhz, 1GB Ram, 17" Studio Display, Mac OSX 10.3.9
MacBook 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.6.2
IMac 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.6.2
IPhone 5
IPad 2
I like macs ;)
User avatar
jawbox
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 510
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:43 pm
Location: W. Dundee

Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:05 pm

Surprisingly, there's evidence that yeast starters that have been fermented to completion, then flocculated and stored in the fridge, then pitched cold from the fridge after decanting off the spent liquid, can start just as fast and ferment as far as yeast pitched at high krausen.

In addition to not adding the oxidized starter medium, you're less apt to thermally shock the yeast.

Some other benefits to pitching the correct yeast amount include fermentation to completion and controlled ester formation.
BTP v2.0.* Windows XP
User avatar
slothrob
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1768
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:36 pm
Location: Greater Boston


Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests