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When should you use a yeast starter

Im realatively new to home brewing and would like to know when you should use a yeast starter. I know a lot of the kits on Northern Brewer’s site generally tell you if you need to create one. Do you get better results if you always have a starter? What makes you need a starter over just using the yeast pack?

Try checking out the best online homebrew information on yeast here. http://www.mrmalty.com/index.php
especially this article http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.php

IMO, you never “need” a starter. There’s enough yeast in the commercial products that unless it’s been mishandled you’ll get a more or less healthy fermentation. That said, a single pack/vial pitched into a 5 gal batch is always going to be less than what brewers consider standard. Keeping the pitching rate closer to the standard will, as a rule, make better beer: http://seanterrill.com/2010/05/09/yeast … e-results/

You need a starter when you don’t have enough yeast. Wyeast and White Labs say that their product is enough for 5 gals but that’s usually underestifishing. You can just buy more packages or you can make a starter. Stronger beers and lagers need more yeast so these you usually need a starter. If you are using dry yeast you don’t want to make starter. Dry yeast are in prime condition right after they rehydrate and making a starter with them would just make them tired out before they even start their job.

Most yeast flavors come from reproduction. So if you want little yeast character Pitch lots of yeast so their is little reproduction. If you want lots of yeast character then pitch a small amount.

I make one for everything most of the time. Depending on how old the yeast is sometimes I will not but that has to be some pretty fresh yeast and a pretty low gravity.
For sure anything over a 1.045 or 1.050 IME.
Especially if your getting yeast shipped to you, I would always make a starter.
Depending on the turn over rate of your LHBS will vary also

if you use dry yeast like safale-05 you wont need a starter. anything with liquid yeast over 1.045 i would definately make a starter like grainbelt said, or pitch multiple packets (expensive).

mrmalty.com will tell you how much yeast you need for a given ammount/gravity of beer. try to come as close as you can, to the recomended yeast cell count for whatever beer youre making for the best results and minimal strain on the yeast

I make a starter if my beer is over 1.035. If I plan enough ahead of time, depending on the yeast I want, I’ll make a mild, 60/-, or bier de garde at 1.035 and get two or three jars of pitchable yeast from rinsing the yeastcake.

My question is what beer is under 1.035, lol

Everything I brew. Wait, you’re talking FG, right? :wink:

No OG.

Over the course of 50 batches, I sort of fell into a personal trend. If the beer is going to be 6% and higher, I just found I had a better overall fermentation and quality beer by making a starter. Less than that, then I didn’t bother. Not really any science behind it other than analyzing with my taste buds. Or maybe I just got better at brewing as the years went on.

I love brewing, it’s a great hobby. So at this point, really, I just figure what the hell. I’ll make the starter because I want to, it’s part of the fun of brewing beer. =)

[quote=“Brigg9”]Over the course of 50 batches, I sort of fell into a personal trend. If the beer is going to be 6% and higher, I just found I had a better overall fermentation and quality beer by making a starter. Less than that, then I didn’t bother. Not really any science behind it other than analyzing with my taste buds. Or maybe I just got better at brewing as the years went on.

I love brewing, it’s a great hobby. So at this point, really, I just figure what the hell. I’ll make the starter because I want to, it’s part of the fun of brewing beer. =)[/quote]

assuming you constantly hit your final gravity

Unless you’re massively under- or over-pitching, pitching rate doesn’t seem to have any impact on FG. The attenuation limit of the wort is what it is, and the yeast can’t change it.

IMO, I always make a starter for any beer where I am using liquid yeast.

Too cheap to pitch multiple packs to ensure proper pitching rates and it just isn’t that hard.

Ales, usually 2L starter / 1 pack/ decant / pitch. Sometimes, depending upon the beer’s OG, 2L / 1 pack / decant / 4L / decant / pitch.

Lagers. ALWAYS 2L/ decant/ stepped up to a 4L / decant / pitch. Usually, I use 2 packs of liquid yeast for lagers right from the beginning.

STIR PLATES!!! Build your own! 8)

That said, for many years, I just smacked the pack and pitched it. Made just fine beer. Now, it’s better. :slight_smile:

Just brewed my 165 batch since I have stepped away from kits and kept track of my own recipes.

Also, I use US-05 frequently and rarely re-hydrate. Just sprinkle. Personally, I have had no problems with slow starts to fermentation or high FG.

There is an article in BYO this month about whether or not re-hydrating is necessary. Starters for dry yeast are generally considered to be detrimental.

a10t2 is one of the contributors. GOOD STUFF! 8) Listen to him.

General consensus will be that a starer ( liquid yeast ) will give you a better beer that will have a better chance of finishing where it is supposed too.

Good Luck

Unless you’re massively under- or over-pitching, pitching rate doesn’t seem to have any impact on FG. The attenuation limit of the wort is what it is, and the yeast can’t change it.[/quote]

unhealthy yeast can change you FG

Unless you’re massively under- or over-pitching, pitching rate doesn’t seem to have any impact on FG. The attenuation limit of the wort is what it is, and the yeast can’t change it.[/quote]

unhealthy yeast can change you FG[/quote]

As will temperature issues during fermentation. I like to ferment cold, so I overpitch a little, usually, if I want cleaner results.

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