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Brewing Big Honkin Stout next weekend. Any tips?

Plan on brewing our hosts Big Honkin Stout next weekend and I have some questions.

Will the one yeast pack be enough, or do I need two?
Or does this need a starter yeast…which Ive never done before?
First time brewing a stout, is it any different than an IPA, or a wheat?
Should I still use Irish Moss?

Any awnsers will help alot, and any other input is welcome.

Thanks fellow brewers.

I would definitely use a starter. If you don’t have the equipment the I would get an additional yeast pack. Mr. Malty is a great guide to pitching rates and how to make starters ( Irish Moss shouldn’t be as critical in this brew since this brew is so dark. Usually I just dump some in out of habit, but it won’t hurt if you forget on this one. As far as differences between a stout and an IPA or wheat on brew day, it depends on what you’re doing. If this is an extract batch I would say that brew day is pretty similar. If this is all grain I might consider doing a longer boil for a stout.

This will be extract with grain. I’ve heard yeast starters are fairly simple to do. Depending on how confident I’m feeling, I may do one. My localt homebrew shop said that when they do starter yeast, they make it up and put it right in fermenter. If I just use yeast packs, should I useboth packs, or should I just use part of the second one?

This was my second brew last fall. And, despite what I’m sure were many mistakes, it turned out amazingly. I am still enjoying it and have half the batch squirreled away for next fall. I’m going to brew it again and up the cascade aroma hops (maybe a lot). Delicious.

If you’re going to use packs, use both, but take the leap and do a starter. You wind up with the right number of yeast and their good and healthy. Don’t worry about it it being too tough. If you can brew beer, you can make a starter. Give it a couple days. Swirl it every time you walk by it, every commercial break, etc. You’re up to it.

Just buy a starter pack now and get it over with. You can get one from our host for $20-30 depending on how big of one you want. Think of it this way; if an extra yeast pack for your beers are $7 each that means you only need to brew four beers with your starter kit to make up for the price. After that it is a net gain really. It’s a money saver and makes better beer.

I brewed this 3 weeks ago, and haven’t bottled it yet. I’ve only done about a dozen batches but I would say jump in and do the starter.

You don’t need anything special. You just need a jug big enough to hold the 2 liters or so of wort and you can cap it with a piece of sanitized aluminum foil for the couple days it will ferment. Get it going a few days ahead of time; decant off most of the wort when the yeast settles; shake it up and pour it in.

That makes a great way to get into harvesting your yeast too; which can be a money saver.

Thanks everyone for the quick replies. Ive researched enough, and watched enough videos now, I will be using a starter for this batch. Sounds pretty simple. I have a growler that Im going to use for a container. Im still a little confused on when I should make the starter…how soon before brewday. Some say a day, some say 3-4 days. Is it personal preference, or is there an advantage to making it a few days early?

Personally I like to do it two days out. Let it ferment out and then chill it so it drops out and you can decant off the liquid before pitching all the nice yeasties. But that’s just me, you could just as successfully do it after a day and toss it all in there.

I plan on brewing Sunday evening, so I figured Saturday morning I would make the starter. Does it have to be chilled to decant it? I can always make it Friday night too. That way its ready for sunday. Should I pitch the yeast into the starter that my recipe calls for? Dumb question maybe, but I just wanna get this right!

I make my starter the day before, and just toss it all in the fermenter.


Make your starter on Sat for a Sun brew day and toss the whole thing in the fermenter (sans bottle, you can hang on to that). Add liquid and all after a thorough swirl to get all the yeast in suspension again. :cheers:

Sounds like either way is acceptable to do. Thanks again everyone!


Just to be the devils advocate I am going to say that you should do your starter 3-4 days in advance. Let it ferment for 2-3 days shaking it up every time you walk by and then saturday night put it in the fridge to crash all the yeast it. When you are ready, decant off the liquid and pitch.

Why make a half a gallon of “beer” without hops that is going to have oxidation issues that is going to dilute your final product and take up precious carboy space that could be used for fermentation/krausen when all you want is the yeast?

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