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Yeast Starter on Dry Yeast

Ok, I got bored on brew day. I busted out the Erlenmeyer Flask and Stir Plate and made a yeast starter on dry yeast. 11g’s of Lallemand West Coast Ale to be specific. It has been quite some time since I used dry yeast and I normally use White Labs or WYeast, so I had starter on my mind.

I made a small 650 ML starter and let the yeast do its thing for 12 hrs before pitching directly into my wort.

I have noticed a very rigorous fermentation for the last 48 hrs or so and that is re-assuring, but my question (outside of my clear blunder) is should I be concerned? As in run to the LHBS to get another packet of dry yeast, or should I ride it out and check my gravity in about two weeks?

I basically thought nothing of it (dry yeast starter) until I recalled a chapter in Jamil’s book that says that it is a very bad idea.

I’d hate to see that I made six gallons of top shelf Kool-Aid.

Thanks for the replies.

The reason Jamil calls this a bad idea IIRC is that the yeast blow through their energy reserves on replicating in the starter and can’t multiply quickly and healthily enough to make a clean beer when pitched into the wort.

A 11g satchet of yeast contains about 200bi cells, which is enough for 5 gallons of 1.060-65’ish beer. What was your gravity?

Shorter answer: your yeast are making beer. There might be some sign of yeast stress in the beer (diacetyl, fusels), but they should be light. Don’t pitch any more yeast.

If things are going very fast that can be bad, as it might mean your ferm temp is too high and this led to a runaway fermentation. as in, wamr temp makes things go fast, going fast generates more heat that makes things go faster, etc.

As for starting a dry yeast, the down side is that the dry yeasts were treated so as to have their nutrients and stuff all ready for fermentaiton. By growing them first in a starter, they aren’t pre-charged any more. I don’t think its a bad idea, just not necessary. Its still yeast, and actively growing/metabolizing yeast at that. Not really any different than a liquid starter culture. The one other aspect is that you seeded the starter with a whole lot of cells, so they probably didn’t have time to multiply much. So the only thing the starter did was to get those yeast fermenting actively. Thats OK because dry yeast have enough cells for a 5gal fermentation anyway.

When making such a small starter another factor is that the cells per ml is very high and the Yeast can get stressed and the starter can be more detrimental than beneficial. Also in just 12 hours the growth phase is probably not done either. It would probably have been better to just pitch the packet directly into the beer believe it or not.

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When I have dry yeast, I’ll use the stir plate but only to re-hydrate the yeast. Not because I think it helps with anything, but because I made the @#$& stir plate and I wanna play with it.

I usually boil some water in my tea kettle at the start of the brew and forget about it until we’re cooling the wort. by then the kettle water is back down under 80F. By the time we’re ready to pitch it’s been spinning for 10-15 minutes.

It may just be wishful thinking, but I feel like I get shorter lags. I often see the beginnings of bubbling before bedtime on brew day, and generally 2-3 bubbles/sec by morning.

If you’re going to do a starter anyway you might as well stick with liquid yeast.

Follow up question: I am planning on making a 1500 ML starter with 5.32 oz of DME and 6.34 cups of water. This will me a SG of 1.037 needed to ferment wort that is around 1.070 SG.

Does this jive? It should give me a 1500 Ml starter by my calculations. This time I intend on using liquid yeast :lol:

Also, being that I have no airlock that will fit my 2000 Ml Er Flask, after adding 02 to the starter, should I just firmly secure sanitized aluminum foil over the top and let the puppy sit for like three days on the stir plate before pitching?

At the risk of sounding like a contrarian, why does anyone use liquid yeast? I’ve used both, but after reading a few of these threads, liquid yeast seems to have the following cons:

-More expensive
-Often requires a starter
-Has a lower cell count

I guess there are more varieties, but still, why are liquid yeasts a thing if dry yeast is cheaper, more plentiful, and hassle free?

[quote=“uberculture”]At the risk of sounding like a contrarian, why does anyone use liquid yeast? I’ve used both, but after reading a few of these threads, liquid yeast seems to have the following cons:

-More expensive
-Often requires a starter
-Has a lower cell count

I guess there are more varieties, but still, why are liquid yeasts a thing if dry yeast is cheaper, more plentiful, and hassle free?[/quote]

Like you said, more variety. I find that there are only about 2-3 strains of dry yeast that I care for. Also, I brew a lot of Belgian styles and there just aren’t dry yeasts that are appropriate for most of them. I have found that after testing I prefer WY1056 over something like US05, so I’ll go to the trouble of making a starter rather than accepting what I feel is inferior flavor.

I have brewed a few beers with dry yeast and in ny experience they all tasted inferior to my beers brewed with liquid yeast. They have a certain “boring” taste If you will. On occasion i have found this taste in commercial beer that used dry yeast as well.

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For me I have found that I can dial in a style a little closer with liquid yeast (preferably WYeast strains). Also, I feel that I may have a greater ability to inoculate a purer strain with liquid yeast after washing.

On a more personal note, I actually used to work in a microbiology lab in a past life; this of course before entering the doldrums of wealth management. And doing extra steps like this it brings me back to my roots, or what I am paying hefty student loans for. :blah: I know it sounds cheesy, but the extra steps make me feel like I have better control over my finished product.

However, I can also agree with people the prefer dry yeast. They seem to have everything you need to make a great beer and require minimal effort to get them going. I just wish that they would have more variety. I have yet to reuse dry yeast, so I cannot comment on whether or not they are good for washing, inoculating and reusing.

:cheers:

I generally boil my wort in the flask with foil on top, then let it cool. This sterilizes the foil. Of course I consider new foil off the roll (and untouched by my hands) to be sterile anyway. So yes your plan for the starter looks solid.

I use dry yeast a lot but for lots of styles theres no good substitute and liquid yeast is a must. I do save my yeast and use it a few times to reduce the cost per batch. If you do things right you can save a slurry for several months.

I’m firmly in the liquid yeast camp (and have been for more than 25 years), but I do use dry yeast from time to time, especially S-04 (I don’t like S-05…to me, it’s just not as good as it’s liquid counterpart).

As far as saving and repitching dry yeast after a fermentation, while there’s no real need to do so I’ve done it this year twice as an experiment (both times taking it through 4 gens) with no resulting problems or off flavors. I’ll even go so far as to say that generation 2 thru 4 produced noticeably better beer than the original pitch each time, and the fermentations I’ve experienced with repitched dry yeast have generally been quite robust and perfectly healthy. Since I try to brew every few weeks, I simply stored the saved yeast just as I’ve always done with with liquid yeast: in a foil covered flask on it’s own beer, in the back of my fridge. In my opinion there is also absolutely no need to wash the yeast after use, assuming that your sanitation practices are what they should be. Wjile I stopped at 4 gens, I have no doubt whatsoever that I could have taken it further (as I routinely do with liquid yeast).

So all in all, I considered the experiments a success.
Having said all that, as always of course YMMV. :wink:

Not to go off on a tangent, but what differences do you see between Chico and US05? I thought they were the same, therefore never bothered with the liquid version.

The mouthfeel is very different. 05 tends to make the beer feel a little “thinner”. 05 has a fruity, peachy ester that 1056 doesn’t have. Attenuation is about the same, although 05 may be a bit more attenuative. I still keep 05 around, but I seldom use it. I decided it’s worth the trouble to make a starter and use 1056. Although they may have the same origins, they don’t perform exactly the same. If I had to guess, I’d say it was due to mutations that happened to 05 to make it suitable for drying.

Not to fall off on a tangent, but…

None of the yeasts between manufacturers that people say are “equivalent” or from the same source end up producing the same results, ever. The strains do mutate and diverge significantly over time.

[/tangent]

Personally I’d never make a starter with dry yeast, because… it’s cheap and easy to skip making a starter with dry yeast! It’s one of the big advantages of dry yeast – no starter required or recommended! I don’t rehydrate either. Just sprinkle it in and be done with it.

I love dry yeast. If I could, I would use it for every beer all the time, and never make a starter again. I think 10 years from now, this will be a very real possibility.

The mouthfeel is very different. 05 tends to make the beer feel a little “thinner”. 05 has a fruity, peachy ester that 1056 doesn’t have. Attenuation is about the same, although 05 may be a bit more attenuative. I still keep 05 around, but I seldom use it. I decided it’s worth the trouble to make a starter and use 1056. Although they may have the same origins, they don’t perform exactly the same. If I had to guess, I’d say it was due to mutations that happened to 05 to make it suitable for drying.[/quote]

What about the dry chico strains put out by other companies?

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