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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: egghead on December 18, 2009, 05:54:40 PM

Title: Do I need a starter?
Post by: egghead on December 18, 2009, 05:54:40 PM
For my next brew, I'm planning on a 5 gallon batch of Scottish 60.  I've never made a starter before.  In fact, this will be the first time I've ever used liquid yeast.  The beer's intended OG range is 1.030-1.035.  Everything I've read about starters say that the starter wort's OG should be in the 1.030-1.040 range.  I didn't calculate exactly how many cells I'd need, but in estimating, I put it in the ballpark of 112 billion cells.  An Activator pack has 100 billion cells.  So my question to you experts: should I make a starter for this batch or not?  If so, how big and what OG should I shoot for?

Thanks
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: majorvices on December 18, 2009, 06:02:48 PM
An Activator pack has 100 billion cells. 

That is making an assumption that the cells are 100% viable, which unless the yeast is less than a week old it probably is not. With liquid yeast you are probably always better off making a starter than not - however for a beer under 1.040 SG you can safely skip making the starter as long as your yeast is fresh. For anything above 1.040 - yeah, always make a starter!

For more information check out the pitching calc. at www.mrmalty.com - it will tell you how large you starter needs to be for any size batch.
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on December 18, 2009, 06:37:54 PM
For that low OG beer you could do just "Wake up" starter.

MrMalty Calc says that you need 1.2 vials for 1.032 OG / 5.25 gal beer.
I would say your starter should be about 1000 ml to 1100ml. 
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: karlh on December 18, 2009, 08:24:12 PM
I always make starters with my liquid yeast packs.  The bigger the beer, the bigger the starter.  In my experience it always gives me a better product, so its well worth the small effort that goes into one.
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: hamiltont on December 18, 2009, 09:54:56 PM
Rule of thumb from my perspective.  Liquid Yeast = Starter.  Dry Yeast =No Starter.  If you want to skip the starter use dry yeast. There's nothing "taboo" about using dry yeast.  I use both depending on the situation. Liquid just gives you so many more options...
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: egghead on December 19, 2009, 05:38:46 AM
OK, mr malty says I need 1 liter (1.06 quarts) of starter for my 5 gallon 1.033 batch.  What gravity should my starter wort be, and how much DME do I need to get that gravity?  Based on a formula from another forum, I figure that if I'm after a gravity of 1.030, then I'd need 1/6 lb of DME per quart.  Is this about right?
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: denny on December 19, 2009, 04:15:04 PM
I use .75 oz. DME per cup of water.  That puts it somewhere in the 1.030-35 area.
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: egghead on December 21, 2009, 02:54:11 PM
Thanks Denny.  That helps a lot!
Title: Re: Do I need a starter?
Post by: majorvices on December 21, 2009, 05:01:49 PM
I find it easier to go with 3oz DME per liter.