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Dumb starter question

first off, i know i know…should have put this in the yeast discussion. however, i figured a quicker response was in order here.

im making a 1.068 ipa soon. wanted to make my starter tonight and have been doing some reading and internetting…(is this a new word?) mr.malty says with a simple starter, and one smackpack (1056), i should make a 3 qt. starter. my question is this…in palmers how to brew book he says one lb. of dme in one gallon of water will produce a 1.040 wort. with that being said, is a 1.040 wort a good starter wort? and if so, 3 qts is 3/4 of a gallon, soooo does that mean 12 cups of dme is what i need to make a 1.040 starter???

I have read somewhere that a starter should be 1.030-1.040 so you don’t stress the yeast.

Instead of finding some formula to determine how much dme I need, I just add some dme to the water and take a gravity reading prior to boiling it. Then add water or dme as needed. I aim for a gravity of 1.025 as the water will evaporate during the 15 min boil, leaving a starter wort usually around 1.035.

Don’t forget the idea of a starter is to build cell count. Palmer’s methods are solid and I have used them since the beginning and always have came out on top!

his simplified method starts out 1/2 cup DME to 1/2 quart water makes a 1.040. You would need 3 cups in 3 quarts of water to make the 40 pointer.

You don’t want too strong a starter like JT said it will stress the yeast. I boil the starter for 10 min no need for longer.

palmers methods are sound and accurate, yes. but a 1/2 dme to 1/2 quart of water is too small of a starter for a 1.068 OG from what i understand. am i wrong?

Paging Denny Conn…I know you’re out there somewhere!

#1 Here is a good link for calculating starter wort.

The bottom line is not to exceed 1.040 as it will stress the yeast and will not create optimal conditions for growth, so anywhere in between 1.020-1.040 is recommended.

Also some would say go ahead and make a 3-10q/l starter but the majority will agree that for optimal growth you should step up towards big cell counts. IE: If it were me, I would make a 1-1.5L starter and add a second or third feeding if necessary 24-48 hours after each step if making a simple starter.(See below-now referred to as shaken starter in this conversation.)

In this case their are two things you will learn. #1 is to select shaken starter in the radio bar within Mr malty. You will select this in the program and practice it in making starters. #2 What this means is after the wort is boiled/ cooled you shake it vigorously to infuse the wort with O2 because it has none after boiling. Then you shake/swirl the starter a few times a day to expunge bound CO2 and introduce O2. By doing this you are emulating what a stir plate does constantly. So you will now notice the Q/L requirement drops in the calculator.

So in this beer you need 1.86L with one pack to hit the 246b/cells you are seeking. Which is still fine to make in one step if your vessels accommodates. IE: 1L flask = .75L starter / 2L flask = 1.75L As you want to make room for foaming during boiling and the krausen during growth.

In this case I would simply make a one step 1.75L as it will grow approximately 239b/cells which is close enough. If you only have a 1L make .75L to grow to approximately 130b/ cells and then pitch a second wort of .75L which will hit the amount needed as you actually create more cells with the 1.5L split up in two steps than you would making 1.5-1.75 in a first step but this all depends on your exact situation and patience. But lets say you wanted to make a lager at 1.050 that calls for 368b/ cells then if using a 2L flask you would make the first step 1.75L = 239b/ cells then you would need a second infusion of wort of 1L to finish at 368b/ cells otherwise it calls for almost a 5L starter which is too big for one step as a rule and secondly it is a waste of DME when you could have cut it down just by doing it in steps which is not all that difficult.

A pint starter is definitely too small. A pound of DME per gallon of water is about right. So 3/4 lb for a 3 qt starter.

You can make a smaller starter if you shake it up frequently to introduce oxygen. According to the MrMalty calculator, with “intermittent shaking” you could use a 2 L starter. Make sure you aren’t using an airlock.

+1 Do not use an airlock- use a foam stopper or foil. You’ll thank us later!


is there a possibility of shaking up the yeast and shocking them too much? my first big beer was the nb imperial stout and i used whitelabs yeast. i let the starter go for about four days and everytime i would look at it, i would vigorously swirl up the cake in the bottom. when i pitched it, it didn’t take. luckily a hb store was open on a sunday and i bought two smackpacks and saved the beer.

and you think 2qts to 8 cups of dme will be enough with intermittent shaking?

You might not have a scale, but I think 8 cups is way too high. Its been a while but I recall having measured approximately 5oz of DME in a cup. If only using two cups / 10oz I see a SG of 1.054. You will want to cut way back to about 1.5 cup for 2q/L

Also it was not because you shook the yeast as it was not a shock that killed them or other…There were other variables within your process that hindered the yeast such as osmosis dynamics or high SG that possibly stunted or no O2 etc… Far too many things that may have done you in. The shaking of the yeast didn’t cause problems is the only thing I can give an answer to as your question lacks the variables to determine the true problem.

sorry…my bad! i meant to say 8 oz! i have a scale and for some reason i was thinking along the lines of liquid volume measurements!

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