Hey all, first time poster here and new to the brewing world, or I should say back again after many years off. I am brewing one gallon kits now since we have a tiny kitchen and I am learning a ton more by doing these smaller batches.
I had a question about a yeast starter I made. The kits I have been using are form Brooklyn Brew Shop, and I am doing the Smoked Wheat at this time, they all come with a package of dry yeast, the type I do not know. Last time I brewed, I just through the package in, and it seemed to work, however I had been reading a lot on making yeast starters, so I tried per John Palmer’s site, http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-5.html. BUT, and here’s where I might have killed them, I did not “PROOF” it like he says thinking this was just a precautionary step to make sure you have good yeast, but maybe this is a necessary step to waking them up before pitching???
This morning when I checked on it (brewed last night) there was relativity NO action, no bubbling or very very faint.
So I guess it’s a two part question, if I did screw it up, can I just pitch some more yeast into the fermenter jug, and might someone recommend one I can get from Northern Brewer here?
OK, well I hope I am making sense here, thanks in advance for any information folks can spare, and sorry for what is probably a super newbie question.
If you’re doing one gallon batches you don’t need a starter or to proof dry yeast.
Thanks for the reply, actually, I should have read some older posts first. When I came home today, lots of action going on, and lots of bubbles, so I guess I didn’t kill them. I don’t fully understand why it wouldn’t be beneficial though, making a starter I mean, but then again I guess that’s why I am here!
While dry yeast doesn’t always have the best viability, those little packets contain a ridiculous amount of cells. You should never proof dry yeast for brewing cause you need them to keep as many reserves as possible. Rehydration is the key & typically the only thing you’ll need to do for dry yeast.
A starter can be done with dry yeast, but is rarely necessary. A starter is simply a low gravity ‘beer’, although most frequently without hops. The idea is to wake the yeast up & to propagate an appropriate cell count for whatever you’re brewing. It’s a technique most frequently done with liquid yeast cultures. That tube of White Labs says it’s good for a 5 gallon batch, but in reality that’s only if the vial is super fresh & you’re pitching into a fairly low gravity wort. Let’s say you’re making a big barleywine. You could either pitch 2 tubes of yeast or pitch that yeast into a 2 liter starter. Just like fermentation, the yeast will reproduce to eat the available sugars, leaving you with a much higher cell count. I only buy 1 vial of yeast for my 25 gallon conical instead of 5 or 6, which is a huge savings. I’ll do several starters, each a higher volume than the last, to get enough yeast to properly ferment such a large volume. By under-pitching you’ll create yeast health & stress issues that will create off-flavors in your beer.
With your 1 gallon batches & dry yeast, you shouldn’t have to worry about them. Find a pitching rate calculator you like - there’s a few of them out on the web, just always use the same one since they will all tell you very different things - and measure out your dry yeast according to that. MrMalty.com is a fairly popular one.
Wow, great info, thanks Ozwald, I’ll go check out that pitching calculator now!
No problem. If you plan on doing these small batches for quite some time, consider investing in a high quality scale that can read (at least) decigrams i.e. one decimal point like 5.4 grams. You can find them online or at a headshop. I use mine all the time on bigger batches even, like weighing my hops for 12 gallon batches.