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Dry yeast starter?

Brewing an all grain dead ringer… Chose dry yeast suggested by Northern Brewer… Should I do a yeast starter? If so, is that ok to do with a dry yeast?

Whether or not the dry yeast can handle the fermentation depends upon the age of the yeast, the estimated OG of the beer, and if you rehydrate the yeast before pitching.
I would recommend a starter with the Dead Ringer having an estimated OG of 1.064 or pitch two packets of rehydrated yeast.

This is a starter calculator I like to use.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitc ... alculator/

No, don’t use a starter with dry yeast.

The viability of dry yeast does go down with age and poor storage conditions, but dry yeast is processed and prepped for direct use. A starter will actually weaken the yeast. Rehydrating on the other had just before pitching (15 - 20 minutes before) is a great thing. Just take 1/2 cup of warm (80-100 F) water, and sprinkle the yeast on the top. After 15 minutes, stir it up and pitch to your beer.

If you rehydrate and the yeast is not too old or abused, one pack is plenty for that beer. If you want to put the yeast directly into the wort without rehydrating, you might be better off with two packs.

This is from an e-mail from Fermentis on making a starter with dry yeast.
“Once you have rehydrated the dry yeast (see rehydration tab in the “tips and tricks” section on www.brewwithfermentis.com), the yeast is in the same condition as any other yeast in liquid. If you do not rehydrate before you start agitating, you can end up decreasing viability due to the cell membranes of the yeast cells being in a fragile state. If you rehydrate the yeast appropriately, you can propagate the same as you would any other yeast.”

[quote=“flars”]This is from an e-mail from Fermentis on making a starter with dry yeast.
“Once you have rehydrated the dry yeast (see rehydration tab in the “tips and tricks” section on http://www.brewwithfermentis.com), the yeast is in the same condition as any other yeast in liquid. If you do not rehydrate before you start agitating, you can end up decreasing viability due to the cell membranes of the yeast cells being in a fragile state. If you rehydrate the yeast appropriately, you can propagate the same as you would any other yeast.”[/quote]
Yup, rehydrating is a good idea. You can loose as much as half the yeast cells if you pitch the dry yeast directly into the wort. But that doesn’t stop a lot of people from pitching directly and getting perfectly healthy fermentations out of it. The key, as you pointed out, is how fresh the yeast is and how strong the gravity of the wort. I wouldn’t be too worried about pitching directly into a beer with gravity around 1.050 or less, and I wouldn’t think of doing that for one with gravity of 1.070 or greater. In between, it can be a judgement call. But rehydrating isn’t exactly a hard thing to do, so why not.

As far as treating it like any liquid yeast culture for propagation, everything I have read previously disputes that. Freshly rehydrated dry yeast is (according to what I’ve previously read, which also matches my own experience) actually healthier and in better condition than most liquid yeasts. This is supposedly due to high levels of fatty acid deposits that the yeast have due to the processing before drying, and these prep the yeast for explosive reproduction once they are exposed to a favorable environment. If that volume is too low, as would be the case of a starter, they will not reproduce to the same extent as they would in the full volume of wort and you would actually end up with a less healthy fermentation.

I have experimented with using starters with dry yeast, and you CAN get make it work and get a really good boost doing it, but only by doing a multi-step process: Make a starter, and then feed it with fresh wort every few hours. It will have to be a pretty big impact on reducing lag time and speeding fermentation, but it takes a pretty large volume and is a lot of work when you can just add another pack instead.

I am new, but so far I have had better luck with rehydrating dry yeast.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”][quote=“flars”]This is from an e-mail from Fermentis on making a starter with dry yeast.
“Once you have rehydrated the dry yeast (see rehydration tab in the “tips and tricks” section on http://www.brewwithfermentis.com), the yeast is in the same condition as any other yeast in liquid. If you do not rehydrate before you start agitating, you can end up decreasing viability due to the cell membranes of the yeast cells being in a fragile state. If you rehydrate the yeast appropriately, you can propagate the same as you would any other yeast.”[/quote]
Yup, rehydrating is a good idea. You can loose as much as half the yeast cells if you pitch the dry yeast directly into the wort. But that doesn’t stop a lot of people from pitching directly and getting perfectly healthy fermentations out of it. The key, as you pointed out, is how fresh the yeast is and how strong the gravity of the wort. I wouldn’t be too worried about pitching directly into a beer with gravity around 1.050 or less, and I wouldn’t think of doing that for one with gravity of 1.070 or greater. In between, it can be a judgement call. But rehydrating isn’t exactly a hard thing to do, so why not.

As far as treating it like any liquid yeast culture for propagation, everything I have read previously disputes that. Freshly rehydrated dry yeast is (according to what I’ve previously read, which also matches my own experience) actually healthier and in better condition than most liquid yeasts. This is supposedly due to high levels of fatty acid deposits that the yeast have due to the processing before drying, and these prep the yeast for explosive reproduction once they are exposed to a favorable environment. If that volume is too low, as would be the case of a starter, they will not reproduce to the same extent as they would in the full volume of wort and you would actually end up with a less healthy fermentation.

I have experimented with using starters with dry yeast, and you CAN get make it work and get a really good boost doing it, but only by doing a multi-step process: Make a starter, and then feed it with fresh wort every few hours. It will have to be a pretty big impact on reducing lag time and speeding fermentation, but it takes a pretty large volume and is a lot of work when you can just add another pack instead.[/quote]

What would you do if you didn’t have another pack and could not get another pack. I’m really glad your experiments are contrary to the expertise Fermentis has. Old myths die very hard.

If I didn’t have another pack, I’d brew something else or reschedule the brew to make sure the yeast are ready for action - something I have to do frequently here, as getting supplies is not as easy as it is in the states. I have experimented to try and give myself more flexibility, and have found what works for me and what doesn’t. For example, once dry yeast have been rehydrated and gone through a fermentation cycle, they are just like any other yeast that can be harvested and reused. But that first initial pitch is different. They are both weaker in certain respects, and quite a bit stronger in others - they don’t need as much oxygen as a liquid yeast starter would because they have such strong reserves when freshly rehydrated, and they seem capable of an impressive growth phase. I won’t claim to be more of an expert than the folks at Fermentis, but I will say what I’ve found to be true from my personal experience.

Am I being too anal or should you boil the water you rehydrate the dry yeast with and then cool that in a sanitized flask, and then add the yeast to start rehydration?
Don’t you risk wild yeast infection if you just rehydrate with no boil first?

Mr. Octabird
American Made!

It depends on how much you trust your water supply. I just add warm water straight from the tap, but if you think there might be a large amount of living wild yeast in your water, you will want to boil first.

Of course, even if there is wild yeast in your water, it would take a LOT of wild cells to outcompete the cultured yeast. That is actually one of the reasons that make me less worried about contamination. You are pitching such a huge number of yeast cells into the wort that they will simply overwhelm any competition that might be present. It is only when you get microorganisms that eat something different than the cultured yeast (such as acetic acid bacteria or Brettanomyces) that you really need to worry. Not that you can tell ahead of time what might be in a dirty water sample, so if you don’t trust your water, boil it.

[quote=“Octabird”]Am I being too anal or should you boil the water you rehydrate the dry yeast with and then cool that in a sanitized flask, and then add the yeast to start rehydration?
Don’t you risk wild yeast infection if you just rehydrate with no boil first?

Mr. Octabird
American Made![/quote]

On my last brew, I boiled the water, put it in a sanitized mason jar, cooled it in a mini ice bath, then put the dry yeast in that. Worked very well.

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