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How BIG can a starter be?

 
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hennesse



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 38
Location: United States: Virginia

Drinking: On Tap: Quickie ESB

Working on: Primary: Body, Body, Body IPA, 2ary: Paducah Pale Ale


PostLink    Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: How BIG can a starter be? Reply with quote


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I routinely make a yeast starter, even if the yeast is pretty fresh (White Labs).

I was wondering: for a 10 gallon batch, instead of two packages of yeast, could I make a HUGE starter with just one package? Just how far can you take this?

BTW, I built my Electric Brewery five years ago, and it's been working flawlessly ever since!

Dave
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9607
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can make any size starter you like, with as little as a single yeast cell (most liquid packs have 100 billlion cells). You may have to do multiple steps however, if your flask (or whatever you're fermenting in) isn't big enough.

I always start with 1 pack myself. Why use two? Using DME or similar will always cost you less than a second vial, so if you're going to make a starter anyway just start with less yeast and use more DME.

More info in my HOW-TO: Making a yeast starter: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30668

Glad to hear the setup's still working great!

Kal

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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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Drinking: Barn Door #13, Rye Not Today, Blueberry Sunshine, Just Peachy, Autumn Amber

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PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a good link on yeast starters.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

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hennesse



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
Posts: 38
Location: United States: Virginia

Drinking: On Tap: Quickie ESB

Working on: Primary: Body, Body, Body IPA, 2ary: Paducah Pale Ale


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:27 pm    Post subject: Calculator Differences of Opinion Reply with quote

I tried a number of "Yeast Calculators", and found a BIG difference in their estimates of Viability v. Age

All of the calculators agree that I need about 581 Billion cells for this particular recipe. But after that, they all diverge A LOT. The very first disagreement is how many yeast cells do I have now...

( It's been a long, cold winter here in Virginia, and it's been too darned cold to brew out in the garage. So this batch of yeast is a little older than usual. )

My WLP001 was born-on 12/10/2017. Today is 4/2/2018. Here's what the various calculator say:

BeerSmith 2.1.02 says my yeast is 40% viable
Brewer's Friend says it is 21%
YeastCalculator says it is 39%
BrewUnited says 42%
Mr. Malty says 18%

So these calculators differ by a factor of TWO. Before we look at any subsequent methods and calculations, we really need to establish how many cells I am starting with.

Any thoughts?




https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/
http://yeastcalculator.com/
http://www.brewunited.com/yeast_calculator.php
http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 619
Location: Midwest

Drinking: Barn Door #13, Rye Not Today, Blueberry Sunshine, Just Peachy, Autumn Amber

Working on: RIS


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your frustrations. I agree and tend to think that most of the calculators error to the low side. I use Brewer's friend a lot and feel I have had great results but as you stated there is room for error without knowing the exact amount you're starting with. I figure at a 10 gallon batch size slightly over pitching is better than under pitching.
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unless you have a microscope, you'll never be able to predict an accurate number, the best thing to do is a 2 step or more starter and thats because the second step seams to react quicker meaning you woke up the yeast and they reproduced and are ready for more and even if half are dead you'll still have healthier live yeast to work with
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9607
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Calculator Differences of Opinion Reply with quote

hennesse wrote:
All of the calculators agree that I need about 581 Billion cells for this particular recipe. But after that, they all diverge A LOT.

BeerSmith 2.1.02 says my yeast is 40% viable
Brewer's Friend says it is 21%
YeastCalculator says it is 39%
BrewUnited says 42%
Mr. Malty says 18%

It may be a factor of 2 but remember that thatís only about 20B cells and youíre trying to make nearly 580B. So if you make
between 560-600 thatís not much of a difference. The bigger factor is (imho) how accurate the calc is at estimating how much yeast youíre growing as you need to make over 500B cells.

Like others say, always best to underestimate and pitch big.

Kal

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