Do I Need A Starter?

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lukasfab

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hey guys

do I require a starter for 20l of say 1.048 wort using liquid yeast?



thanks
 

tiprya

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If it's relatively young yeast you shouldn't need a starter. If wyeast, pop the bag and once it has swelled 3cm or so its good to go.

Depending on age etc, you can look at online calculators such as:
http://yeastcalc.com/
 

stux

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hey guys

do I require a starter for 20l of say 1.048 wort using liquid yeast?



thanks
Depends ;)

Its hard to get super fresh liquid yeast in Australia, so you should at a minimum make 1L starter
 

manticle

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No.
Unless the yeast is old or has been badly stored.
I consider 1 or 2 months reasonably fresh if it's been transported and stored ok. I'm not quite sure you mean Stux.
If making a starter is easy enough or will put your mind at ease then go for it. How much growth do you get from 1 litre (unless you mean active starter)
 

stux

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No.
Unless the yeast is old or has been badly stored.
I consider 1 or 2 months reasonably fresh if it's been transported and stored ok. I'm not quite sure you mean Stux.
If making a starter is easy enough or will put your mind at ease then go for it. How much growth do you get from 1 litre (unless you mean active starter)
You're right. 2L would be better

1L will give you growth if the viability is low, and virtually none if its not

If its 3 days old (the youngest I've ever had), Mr Malty still recommends a 1.6L simple starter. If its 1 month old 2.2L, if its 2 months old, then 3.5L

Mr Malty always seems to err on the side of insane, so I would as a matter of course make a 2L starter, pretty much unless its fresh off the plane.

But sure, pitch it direct, it'll work.
 

Wolfy

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do I require a starter for 20l of say 1.048 wort using liquid yeast?
Given the dictionary definition:
require [ri-kwahyuhr]
verb (used with object)
1. to have need of

I'd say 'yes' you do 'have need of' a starter.
But it's not essential, and you'll still probably make quite decent beer without one.

However, given all the factors involved, including yeast health and freshness, I'd suggest that making a starter is almost always a good idea, even if it's not always essential.
 

mikec

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Better to make it, and not have needed it, than to not make it, and needed it.

Is good practice.
 

Parks

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I've always struggled with a taste I didn't like in my lagers until this last batch where I finally convinced myself to suck it up and stop scrooging on yeast.

So I pitched a massive amount of yeast, and the flavour I was detecting is gone.

I will never again under pitch a lager (at least 2 packs / vials per 20L batch or big starter).

Ales are a lot more forgiving in my experience.
 

manticle

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You're right. 2L would be better

1L will give you growth if the viability is low, and virtually none if its not

If its 3 days old (the youngest I've ever had), Mr Malty still recommends a 1.6L simple starter. If its 1 month old 2.2L, if its 2 months old, then 3.5L

Mr Malty always seems to err on the side of insane, so I would as a matter of course make a 2L starter, pretty much unless its fresh off the plane.

But sure, pitch it direct, it'll work.
I feel, from personal experience only, (not from any scientific basis of cell counting), that Mr malty way overestimates the amount of yeast needed to make good beer.

Wyeast's recommendations are that 1 pack is sufficient to innoculate 19 odd litres of 1060 wort and this is how I tend to pitch (although I often make identical all wort active starters but that's a slightly different thing).

I do not find my beers suffer from serious lag time or from the various general effects of underpitching in terms of flavour outcome and have not found comp comments, other brewer's comments or non brewer's comments to reflect that I need to change this practice.

Therefore I say - no, 20 L of 1048 with fresh enough yeast, well stored does not need a starter. By all means make one and be as sanitary as buggery about it but you can make beer, and very good beer, without it- arguably as good as if you had made the starter, mr malty notwithstanding.

I don't usually rehydrate my yeast either and have found similarly - similar lag time, fermentation and flavour profile with rehydrated as compared with non. Improper, unlab like conditions of 'testing' and measured only with qualitative rather than quantitative instrumentation of course but just because Mr Malty gives me a number or the yeast book suggests I start counting cells doesn't mean my beer sucks when I do it a different way.

I'd call 3 days very fresh. I buy milk that came from Victorian cows that is older than that.

Please note I'm not talking about lagers or high gravity beers. I make starters, often and if I make those beers I always make starters but I have successfully pitched a fresh swelled pack straight in to many an ale below 1060 and been very happy and for 1048, I wouldn't be fussing about too much.
 

Wolfy

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I feel, from personal experience only, (not from any scientific basis of cell counting), that Mr malty way overestimates the amount of yeast needed to make good beer.
It does. ;)

It uses "An often quoted pitching rate is 1 million cells per milliliter of wort per degree Plato". That number is then adjusted depending on the beer being brewed x1.5 for lagers and x0.75 for ales (the 'Yeast' book also suggests a 0.5 multiplier for beer you want more yeast character from - English Ales or German weizen, but this is not found on MrMalty). The book also mentions that if your yeast is in good condition, you can use 50% less again - which is a good indication that the calculated rate is an overestimate and that there is a very large amount of leeway (or factor of error in the calculation).

However, since we (as home brewers) probably can't give the yest the exact conditions they need for optional growth and health, we probably have less healthy cells than estimated. As a result the 'overestimate' used by MrMalty balances out real-world home-brewing 'underestimate' of the number of cells in the starter. So MrMalty probably still gives a good ball-park place to start when looking at how much yeast or what size starter to use.

The other thing to remember about starters, is they are not only about growing yeast cells, it's equally -and perhaps more important- to ensure that the yeast is healthy and active, and a good starter can help do this (just as a poor one can hurt the yeast's health).
 

lukasfab

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so if a wyeast yeast pack is 2 months old its not considered fresh?

where do you guys get your packs from?


ah just looked into craftbrewer, they seem only days old, they obviously send with ice?
 

manticle

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It does. ;)

It uses "An often quoted pitching rate is 1 million cells per milliliter of wort per degree Plato". That number is then adjusted depending on the beer being brewed x1.5 for lagers and x0.75 for ales (the 'Yeast' book also suggests a 0.5 multiplier for beer you want more yeast character from - English Ales or German weizen, but this is not found on MrMalty). The book also mentions that if your yeast is in good condition, you can use 50% less again - which is a good indication that the calculated rate is an overestimate and that there is a very large amount of leeway (or factor of error in the calculation).

However, since we (as home brewers) probably can't give the yest the exact conditions they need for optional growth and health, we probably have less healthy cells than estimated. As a result the 'overestimate' used by MrMalty balances out real-world home-brewing 'underestimate' of the number of cells in the starter. So MrMalty probably still gives a good ball-park place to start when looking at how much yeast or what size starter to use.

The other thing to remember about starters, is they are not only about growing yeast cells, it's equally -and perhaps more important- to ensure that the yeast is healthy and active, and a good starter can help do this (just as a poor one can hurt the yeast's health).

I agree. need was the operative word though and I don't think 1048 wort needs a starter.

Will a starter hurt? Not if you're sanitary.

Will it help? Possibly.

Is it needed? No.
 

Wolfy

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so if a wyeast yeast pack is 2 months old its not considered fresh?
After 2 months about half the yest will be dead (after only 1 month 25% of the yeast will be dead) which means it is not even close to being 'fresh'.
That's not an exaggeration either - put the numbers into MrMalty and you'll see for yourself.
I believe that JZ did extensive research and actual cell counts on aging packs of yeast to determine those numbers, so they should be pretty reliable.

When you see those numbers, you start to realize that (unless you pre-order or get it from a shop the day they get new stock) most of the liquid yeast that Australian home-brewers get their hands on is decidedly 'old' and 'not fresh'.
 

manticle

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Under what conditions is that calculated? 1/2 the yeast in a 2 month old pack that has been well refrigerated or is it averaged out between 'well' and 'not at' all to give an estimate based on an average?


I think people get a bit tied up in all this personally (someone told me half my yeast is dead so it must be) but I do understand that I'm a bloke who brews stuff he likes in his laundry and Jamil is an award winning, celebrity brewer and successful author and has carried out tests that I have not.
 

stux

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so if a wyeast yeast pack is 2 months old its not considered fresh?

where do you guys get your packs from?
I pre-order my wyeast from AbsoluteHomebrew, and when it comes in (straight off the plane basically) I pick it up.

BUT I don't tend to use my yeast fresh, instead I split it and do multi-step starters, when I'm ready.

End of the day, I figured I could buy expensive stale yeast, or I could get a discount for pre-ordering (12$/pack), split it 4 ways... 3$/brew, and 'mature' my own yeast ;)

Easy to see some nice creamy white yeast in 6 month old splits (10% viability?)... pretty much all peanut brown at 12 months.
 

Wolfy

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Under what conditions is that calculated? 1/2 the yeast in a 2 month old pack that has been well refrigerated or is it averaged out between 'well' and 'not at' all to give an estimate based on an average?
I have no idea, send him an email and ask. :)
However, I assume that the conditions are better than the way we eventually get our liquid yeast here in Australia. That assumption is based on the idea that he gets his yeast shipped directly from the manufacturer and then keeps it refrigerated and in good condition.
 

spudfarmerboy

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So, if I was going to use a 6 week old pack of Wyeast 1968 into 23 litres of 1.055, how big a starter would I need?
 

Dazza88

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lol. Plug it in.

Is Mr malty defaulted to ales?

So for lager starters should up the og by 1.5 to get an appropriate amount?
 

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