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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * February 18, 2004 * General starter info < Previous Next >

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Captain Morgan (
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 07:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For my next batch I plan on using a starter instead of just pitching staight away. Its going to be a bit
of time before my next batch, so I was hoping to find a bit of info on it before hand. So any info, articles, tips would be appreaciated much.


Maxout (
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 07:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

From White Labs...

How do I make a "starter"?

A "starter" can be any volume of wort that you add yeast to before using it to make your beer. The yeast get active in this smaller volume, usually for 1-2 days, and then can be added to 5 gallons of beer, or 10 gallons, or whatever size your brewing. This can be a good way to "proof" the yeast, and also when making high gravity beers. White Labs recommends on their label to make a starter "if the gravity is over 1.070, if the yeast is past its "best before" date, or if a faster start is desired".

Make up a 1-2 pint wort, gravity ~1.040, hopped as normal. Boil for 30 minutes, cool to room temperature. Pitch one vial, shake well and let sit for 1-2 days. Little to no activity will be seen in the starter, since this is a very small volume compared to the quantity of yeast pitched. The yeast in a starter may be done within a couple of hours. But a layer of yeast should be at the bottom after 1-2 days. The wort on top of the yeast can be either decanted of the top, or left in and pitched with the whole volume. Most pitch the whole volume, but if the starter gets to the point of 2 liters for 5 gallons, then we recommend decanting the wort off the yeast.
Typical Starter Volumes for 5 gallons:
To activate the yeast: 1 pint
To regenerate expired yeast (there will be living yeast in the package for ~1 year): 2 pints
To brew a high gravity beer: 2 pints
To brew a lager beer, starting fermentation 50-55F: 4 pints

From Wyeast...

To increase the pitching rate, boil one-third to one-half cup of malt extract in a pint of water to make a wort of S.G. 1.020-30. Boil wort for 15 minutes and cool. Add yeast and aerate well. Keep at 70-80º F Pitch at high krausen, about 12 hours. Agitate frequently to increase aeration.

To pitch the yeast: clean the container or package with sanitizing solution. Shake well. Open, and pour the yeast into the fermenter.

Aerate well by stirring vigorously. Seal fermenter with airlock. Keep at 75º F until fermentation begins. Then cool to desired temperature. Signs of fermentation should be evident within one day, depending on yeast strain, brewing procedures, and fermentation temperatures.


Ale yeast 60-72 º F; Lager yeast 46-58º F.


A. Transfer yeast in active state (not after attenuated).
B. Aerate well at each transfer.
C. Use more yeast for high-gravity beer.
D. Use the freshest yeast possible.

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