Yeast Starter - what is best method

SO I have a pryex glass flask for making starters. That said I am a bit confused as to what the proper method is for making a starter. I was under the impression that you use 4 parts water to 1 part DME - cook it up and bring temp down and then add the yeast. Then let it sit for a day.

This is where I get confused. After a day or so are you supposed to then add the starter to the beer you make or are you supposed to let the starter go for 2 days and then refrigerate to settle the yeast and get the liquid off before putting it into your beer?

There are lots of different opinions on the “best” way to make a starter. Here’s a tutorial from our host’s website that should get you headed the right direction: ... tarter.pdf

A starter is a small beer, 1.036 to 1.040 OG, with no hops. The wort of this small beer will taste terrible though, it is fully oxidized from the aeration through out the fermentation. Using a stir plate, for continuous aeration, the starter can finish in 12 to 18 hours. Fermenting a starter with the intermittent shaking method will take 24 to 36 hours, or longer. The IS method takes longer than the stir plate because of less aeration, unless you can keep swirling/shaking it every half hour.

The best way to make a starter is with a good pitch rate/starter calculator. Size of the starter needed is based on the estimated OG of your beer, age/vitality of your yeast, and whether your beer is an ale or a lager.

These are the calculators I use on a regular basis. ... alculator/ (My opinion is Mrmalty estimates yeast vitality, based on age, to low.)

Like all things brewing, the “Best” approach is to listen to the often conflicting mass of advice, then decide on your own what works for you.

I have the flask, and the home-made stir plate, and the thrill of feeling like a mad scientist. But lately, I’ve just been avoiding starters completely. I just brew a recipie that doesn’t need a starter. My preference for 3-gallon batches means there are lots more recipie’s that don’t need starters. I then reuse the cake from that “lighter” batch AS the starter for the next brew that would otherwse have needed a starter.

Sure, a stirplate starter takes like 20 minutes to prepare, and my process requires a whole extra brew day, but it sure seems like a lot less work. Especially given that I get an extra batch of delicious beer, and not a flask of skunky, oxidized, spent wort.

I’m making my starter tonight for my brew day Saturday.

2L flask, homemade stirplate, a little bit of DME and water, and bam. Tomorrow I’ll toss it in the fridge, then by the time Saturday rolls around and I am ready to pitch, I will decant most of the nasty wort and have plenty of yeast.

The calculators posted above are extremely helpful. Also, the instructions from the host’s site are great: ... tarter.pdf

Since I’ve started making starters for my beer, I’ve never had an issue with lag time or stuck fermentations. I don’t use a foam stopper, I just use sanitized tin-foil.

For me it depends on how well I am prepared before brew day.
I prefer to cold crash completely, decant. Then warm up and pitch.
If I dont have time, I just pitch at high krausen.
Brewers friend will tell you how much DME to add based on your flask starter size.

+1 to flars.
+1 to NB’s starter directions.
+1 to Brewers Friend.


Well I first got on here asking the question about this whole subject. I found that starting the day before using a stir plate and then with over the top sanitation split the batch, one to save ,refrigerate the other to pitch ASAP. I then have been able to comfortably use the first vial/smack pack for up to 8 batches before I get crazy thinking about bad yeast. Being a home brewer I do focus on economy, both fer great tasting brew AND saving some bucks! Keep asking and don’t be afraid to try… you’ll find its a life time experiment thats rewarding and intense!! sneezles61 :cheers:

I have starters waiting right now for the 12 gallons of Vienna Lager I plan to brew today. The starters are two 6.5 gallon carboys of Munich Dunkel that are getting racked to kegs for lagering. I’ll pour the new Vienna wort right onto the yeast cake from the Dunkel.

After a month or so of lagering my Dunkel ‘starters’ will be ready to drink. That’s the kind of starters I love making!

Starter beer, made with a stir plate and pitched at high krausen, is NOT oxidized; it is oxygenated, meaning it is saturated with oxygen. As for the advice to, “Taste it; you’ll see!”: Try tasting a fermenting full batch of beer after 24 hours. Yeah, that’s going to taste pretty awful as well, and no, you’re probably not going to dump it. That’s why we allow it to fully ferment and condition before we even thinking about drinking it.