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Starter gravity strength?

I know Palmer says 1.040 is what to shoot for for most beers, but how about the high gravity beers?

Doing a Bel Strong Ale soon and the OG I am shooting for is just outside the styles high side at 1.104.

Was thinking should the yeast in the starter be exposed to higher gravity so they aren’t shocked when they get pitched?

I would make a 1l starter of 1.030 wort. Pitch that into a 5g starter of 1.050 wort and pitch your BSA on to that yeast slury.

I’ve found that even with high gravity beers, my yeast does better if it was grown in a low gravity starter. At 1.040, you’re building up cell count and encouraging very healthy yeast. That’s exactly what you want for a big beer.

There’s a reason mrmalty.com doesn’t vary starter gravity based on OG of your beer.

If it were me, I would make a 2 gallon batch of beer (~1.04) with the yeast and use the slurry for the big beer. I don’t care to take the time to step up a starter 2 or 3 times only to dump most of it before pitching

i always shoot for 1.040 cause palmer says so. i’ve read the logic on it and it seems valid. i usually do 1.070-1.080 beers with 1.5L starters or a yeast cake and i’v never had a problem with attenuation. however, if i was doing anything higher in GP i would definitely use a yeast cake from something else. either that or make a huge (say 5L) stepped up starter. though huge starters just seem like a giant waste of ingredients/time/resources when you could just make a lower gravity batch and just use the yeast cake.

Yeah. If you harvest yeastcakes from your fermenters, you’ll end up with lots of yeast to share. I have 12 quarts of W1945 slurry banked from recent brews I bottled this week.

In defense of large starters, a 4000ml starter uses just shy of 1 lb of DME so that’s $4 plus maybe 1 hour of mostly down time to heat and cool the thing. Making a small batch of beer takes twice as long and is more expensive. I’m almost never at a loss for beer around here so I can’t imagine wanting partial kegs taking up more space. Also I’d have to plan more in advance!

Thanks for all the input guys!

I decided to make a Gallon starter and nearly 1 pound or so of DME. It measured out to 1.044 SG. I guess worse case would be I have to pitch more yeast if it stalls, but I think it will be ok.

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