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Yeast starter for Belgian Tripel

Going to brew first Tripel. The recipe recommends a 3 liter starter and warns not to over pitch. I was going to make 2-2 liter starters but this might be too much. Calculated need yeast for target OG at Mr. malty for 1.080 with stir plate and it says only need 1.73 liters. Will this be enough or should I invest in a larger vessel for my starter as mine is only 2 liters? :cheers:

With out doing a cell count on a microscope, you have no idea how many yeast cells you are actually pitching.

Make a starter you feel is satisfactory and go with it.

Who is the author of the recipe that warns of over pitching and what is the outcome that he doesn’t like?

It is a recipe from BYO magazine and it says over pitching will cause the desired flavor of the yeast to be effected and its characteristics will be diminished and recommends to under pitch and increase fermentation temp to keep yeast active. :cheers:

With out brewing the beer under the exact condition except cell count, you wont know which beer is better. They might even taste the same to you.

:cheers:

Poor advice IMO.

I mean I get what they are going for, but I agree with Denny, and its REALLY surprising that BYO would print that. Underpitching is a very risky way to get the flavor profile you want.

A huge portion of the flavors in a tripel (as with a dubbel, saison, wit, BDSA/BGSA) are yeast-derived. The yeast produce those flavor compounds (the pear/pepper/citrusy esters/phenols) typically in the growth phase of fermentation. Hence the thinking is, if they don’t HAVE to grow, they won’t produce those flavors, so underpitch and let them grow.

If it were me, and I really wanted those phenols and esters to come through, I would make a 2-step starter. I would make my first as a 1-1.5L starter off of a vial/pack, then refrigerate and decant.

THEN, on the brewday (or a day before if you don’t have a stirplate), get anoter liter/1.5L starter going with the decanted/stepped-up yeast. Try to time this so when it is actively fermenting, pitching the whole thing into your tripel. Some purists will tell you that this isn’t a great idea as you are mixing starter with your precious beer, but for the proportions in question, it won’t be a big deal. This is a much better alternative to underpitching IMO, which can invite other fermentation problems (stalls, fusel alcohol, etc.)

The other way you can be sure to get those flavors is to pitch at a relatively low temp (like 63-65), then raise the temp by about 1* per day once visible fermentation starts (I highly recommend this).

Good luck out there soldier :cheers:

[quote=“Pietro”]I mean I get what they are going for, but I agree with Denny, and its REALLY surprising that BYO would print that. Underpitching is a very risky way to get the flavor profile you want.

A huge portion of the flavors in a tripel (as with a dubbel, saison, wit, BDSA/BGSA) are yeast-derived. The yeast produce those flavor compounds (the pear/pepper/citrusy esters/phenols) typically in the growth phase of fermentation. Hence the thinking is, if they don’t HAVE to grow, they won’t produce those flavors, so underpitch and let them grow. [/quote]

Actually, more current thinking by Dr. Clayton Cone of Lallemand and Neva Parker of White Labs is that you will actually get more esters by pitching more yeast. The enzyme acetyl co-A is responsible for both yeast growth and ester production. But if it’s doing one of those, it doesn’t do the other. So, if you pitch a large amount of yeast, there’s no need for growth and acetyl co-A goes to ester production. If you pitch less yeast, there is more need for growth and consequently less ester production. Note that this is a matter of more and less, not necessarily over or under pitching.

FWIW, for my tripels (including one just kegged) I pitch a single step 3 qt. starter of WY3787.

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