Getting started with liquid yeast

Do I need to use a yeast starter when using Wyeast 1056 American Ale for a 2 gallon double IPA batch?

It depends on your OG, the age of the yeast, and how well the yeast was handled.

Without knowing that it’s hard to say. But if you figure an average OG of DIPA being 1.075 and a yeast cake that is 2 weeks old you would still want to make a 1L starter.

Personally, I always make a starter, no matter the OG or batch size. I do 2.25gal test batches in which I will make a 1L starter, up to 5L for 10gal batches. If only at least to get the yeast jump started for their job.

Try out this pitch rate/starter calculator as a guide on starters.

I will also make a starter to pitch freshly propagated yeast cells as @loopie_beer does, even if the calculator indicates the package of yeast has enough viable cells for the batch.

For a 2-gallon batch, I’d personally skip the starter. Unless it’s really high gravity.

Your talking about a smack pack correct? If that’s the case I don’t think you need a starter for the 2 gallon batch. If it was 5 gallons then yes. If you save your yeast you will have plenty for 5 gallons next time. @loopie_beer is an experienced brewer but I never make starters for saved slurry. As long as I have enough I just warm to pitching temperature. Fermentation usually starts quickly and I’ve used some pretty old yeast.

1 Like

me do like to make a yeast starter any time on the packages it does say wait 3 to 5 hours to inflate than toss it in
but still make a starter and it does add to the fun of brewing beer .just tis morning did make a starter for next week.

I’ve never made a yeast starter and have used both liquid and dry yeast. The only brewing I’ve done is 5 gallon extract with OGs lower than 1.055. The calculator says those would require a yeast starter also. What’s the harm of not doing a starter? Longer fermentation? Only once did I have a beer not meet the desired FG.

Not having enough yeast cells could result in off flavors due to stressed yeast…

Two reasons I use yeast starters with liquid yeasts… So I don’t have to worry about a fermentation not finishing at the best FG possible to prevent sweet overly malty beers for the style. To prevent the off flavors yeast can produce when underpitched.

I used to worry about when to get a starter going and a planned a brew day not happening. Didn’t take me long to figure out it is better to have the starter ready and waiting in the frig for the brew day. A week or two from the starter being finished and the brew day wasn’t a problem.


Ok, good info. So with dry yeast you shouldn’t make s starter, correct? Potentially pitch more than one packet if more than 230 billion cells are required and maybe just rehydrate? Thanks again flars.

1 Like

Correct. Dry yeast are packaged with glycogen and other nutrients in reserve. Making a starter depletes those nutrients. You are also correct that pitching more than one pack would be better.

As far as rehydration. There are many on here that don’t do it and claim to have no problems. There are also many manufacturers and studies that claim a 50% loss of viability if pitched without rehydration. It’s a step that takes no effort to complete so if I use dry yeast I rehydrate.

1 Like

Also wanted to add that making a starter also shortens lag time. I’m not so vain that I want that beer to finish sooner than later but rather not have any wild yeast or bacteria take hold during this lag.

indeed no starter needed but try to make a starter like what flars said i do make sure got a starter waiting for me in the fridge i make one few day before brewing day actually did make one yester day for weekend brew day

The smack pack is designed to inoculate five gallons of up to 1.060 wort 2.5 times your volume. No worries there. It is important to aerate the wort though. The most simple but least effective is to shake the fermenter and/or roll it around. Definitely better than nothing. Some others are to use a sanitized wisk, a paint stirrer and drill, or some similar homebrew shop gadgets. There are O2 kits or if you can get one a medical O2 tank and diffuser. I use an aquarium pump with some tubing and an aquarium diffuser stone. Run it through a piece of broken racking cane to get it to the bottom. Sanitize everything that contacts the wort of course.

You can make a starter with dry yeast if you don’t have an extra pack when you need it or a pack of dry yeast is ultra expensive in your part of the world. You also need to consider the cost of the DME and your time to go through the steps for making a successful starter. The dry yeast must be turned into liquid yeast by rehydrating it before adding to the starter wort.

It would be a 3 hour drive to get another pack of dry yeast if I had planned poorly. That would make the pack of dry yeast very expensive. This is one of the reasons I harvest yeast or overbuild a starter to save some of the yeast propagated for the next starter.

1 Like