Newbie needs high O.G. yeast starter help

Hello Everyone,

I would like to thank anyone that takes the time to read this tread in advance. I would just like to say that this is my first time using liquid yeast. I have made 6 extract only kits, before this, all with dry yeast. Here is my problem. I am trying to make Northernbrewers “The Number Eight” extract kit, this kit has an O.G. of 1.084 and uses Wyeast’s 1762 Belg Abbey II yeast. I made a starter of 2 cups water to a well rounded 1/2 cup of Pilsner DME, and it has been swirling away on my stir plate since yesterday afternoon . According to all of my reading this O.G. for the starter is near or at 1.040 and is of a volume of 2 cups or .473 of a liter. Here are my questions, will this be enough yeast to finish out this high gravity beer? Will my starters O.G. be high enough that the yeast will not be “shocked” when I introduce it to the wort? And the million dollar question, If this isn’t enough yeast how may I add more? By introducing more water and DME? If so how much? And should I raise the O.G. of the starter?
I just love this hobby and would really appreciate any and all suggestions guys and gals.

You will find the answers to all your questions at these three links.

Be ready to control your wort temperature. With the amount of yeast you will be pitching the rapid fermentation will produce a lot of heat. Hold you wort temperature at the low end of the yeasts range. ... cfm?ID=130

In my opinion, Belgians and hefeweizens should always be underpitched on purpose. The fruity and spicy flavors produced in these styles require the yeast to be stressed out a little bit. Underpitching a little bit helps stress them out… in a GOOD way.

For any other style, you might want to make a bigger yeast starter off the bat, as 2 cups is pretty small for any style. It would be a great idea to consult on if you want a good ballpark figure of how big a starter to make. But in my experience, for this brew being that it is a Belgian, I would guess you should be fine with the 2 cups that you’ve already got. I’d maybe go a full liter in future, but 2 cups is probably good enough for this time around. I’ve done far worse in my earlier years, when I’d just pitch a straight tube without making a starter – sometimes it would turn out fine, sometimes it wouldn’t. The fact that you’ve made a starter at all already puts you in a good position. If you want to grow your starter more, just boil up another 2 or 3 cups of wort the same way as you made it before, then cool and combine and let it ferment another 24 hours. It’s all good. Might even be great.

Thank you both very much. I wish I would have known of the Yeastcalc site before. It would have made my day much easier.

Dmtaylo2, thank you. I will try doing that I am going to give it the 24 hrs total for the first starter and then add another 2-4 cups of wort and add to it. I am just quite nervous to screwing up my starter, killing the yeast, and having to buy another packet. I’m on vacation and really wanted to get this kit and another fermenting. You guys have, again, been great. Thank you kindly for the advice and encouragement.

That’s the conventional wisdom, but I disagree based on my experience and the words of Dr. Clayton Cone of Lallemand/Danstar and Neva Parker of White Labs. According to the 2 of them, the same enzyme, acetyl Co-A is used for both yeast growth and ester production. When it does one, it isn’t doing the other. So, by underpitching, there’s more cell growth needed and the enzyme goes to that rather than ester production. According to the info they provided, overpitching would be the way to get more esters.

I have another question to ask of you. What should the starter wort O.G. be for a beer of this size. I have read that a gravity of 1.060 is where you want your starter to be for a bigger beer like this. (Again the kit I am making’s it is at an O.G. of 1.084) Having now almost 2 liters of 1.040 should I, after the next 24 hours, place it in the fridge and let it settle out and remove the old wort and make one a new starter at 1.060? Thanks again fellas for giving me your time and advice.

Your starter should never be over 1.040. I prefer 1.030 and yeast companies use about 1.020 for propagation. You’re growing healthy yeast, not making beer, and you get more healthy yeast with lower gravities.

Denny thank you very much sir. I will carry on with what I have then, you have been most helpful! I guess it’s just time to wait for my starter to finish up tomorrow and have a brewday and a homebrew. Cheers sir!