Yeast Starter Question

I brew only 2 gallon batches. Mainly because I don’t have the space to have a 5 gallon setup, nor do I have any 5 gallon equipment. So I have been brewing 2 of the NB 1 gallon recipes and just combining the ingredients. I ferment in a 3 gallon Better Bottle. My question has to do with a yeast starter. Everything I have read online suggests making a yeast starter if you are doing a 5 gallon batch or more, but what about if you only brew small batches like 2 or 2.5 gallons???

I like to use the Wyeast Smack Packs. It’s my understanding these liquid yeast packets contain roughly 100 billion cells. And, am I wrong to suggest a 5 gallon batch roughly requires around 200 billion cells and that is why people suggest making a starter? I understand that making a starter can also help you determine if you have healthy cells, but let’s just say the yeast is healthy and fresh…wouldn’t one smack pack be enough without a starter for 2 gallon batches?

I don’t want to do an extra step if I really don’t have to.

I would say you are probably fine. Has your beer been turning out good? Are you getting good fermentation? Some times when I make a low gravity beer (5gal) 1.032ish I wont even make a starter.

In addition to batch size, the other factors that influence whether you need a starter are original gravity and estimated viability of the yeast (determined by when the yeast was packaged–assuming it has been properly stored).

If you are making a normal to moderate gravity beer and your yeast is fairly fresh, you should not need a starter for a 2 gallon batch. Here is a great tool to help you determine if you need a starter and, if so, what size starter: