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Measure ingredients by weight or volume?

I feel like such a noob for asking, but, I made my first yeast starter today and the instructions called for 1/2 cup of DME, and not having any, i picked up Barley Malt syrup at Wild by Nature.

So using a ratio of LME/DME of 1.25 I made my yeast starter with 5 ounces of the malt syrup…by volume.

The syrup jar was 20 ounces (by weight) and about 1/2 of it was left, so I figure the 5 ounces by volume of malt syrup was about 10 ounces by weight.

Did I do the right thing?

Generally, what is the basic method for determining when to measure ingredients by weight or by volume in any given recipe?

Go by weight. Better yet, let your hydrometer be your guide. Start with a weight based on your recipe and adjust with water or more extract depending on where you need to be. You will be slightly over your target using volume, but not enough to matter really. No worries.

Did you test the gravity when you were done?

The starter recipe did not specify a target gravity, but when that I re-read the recipe instructions again, I realize that they state the DME measurement as “1/2 cup” which implies a volume measurement. If it called for “4 ounces” then I guess it could mean by weight or by volume.

Despite the fact that the instructions said 1/2 cup, it is FAR more accurate to weigh. For a starter, you want an OG of about 1.030-1.035ish.

Thanks for the replies and I agree (albeit in hindsight) that measuring the specific gravity of the starter would be the most reliable method.

This is yet another good lesson in identifying, understanding, and using reliable information.

Once again, in hindsight, I see that Wyeast (I was using a smack pack) has their own instructions for making a starter, and at least there, not only do they say 1/2 cup of DME, but they add in parenthesis (100g, 3.5 ounces), plus they indicate the target gravity as 1.040.

Unfortunately for me, the source of info I had used only said 1/2 cup DME in 650ml of water, whereas Wyeast said 1/2 cup DME in 1000ml of water…big difference.

Hopefully I didn’t harm the yeast although they likely didn’t get the intended kick start as the SG of my starter was pretty high.

1.040 is close enough. Wyeast actually uses 1.020 for their own growth media. I use 3/4 oz. of DME per cup of water which puts me at about the mid 30s.

The good news is that about 9 hours after pitching I had Mt Vesuvius on my hands.

Ambient temp was high but I specifically used Wyeast 3724 with the NB Sauvignon Saison kit.

My next starter will be done with the good tips in mind.


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