Author Topic: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?  (Read 406 times)

Offline redzim

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After brewing exclusively with dry yeast for the last 4-5 years (10 gals every 2 weeks) and feeling pretty comfortable with my process and results, I'm think about trying some liquid yeasts from Wyeast or White Labs for some styles like Alts and Bohemian Pils that might benefit from a more specialized yeast than just US-05 or W-34/70. 

But having not thought at all about liquid yeast for these last years I need to get a couple simple questions answered. I hope to NOT start a huge discussion about the pros and cons of starters etc, I just want practical advice from anyone who has done a lot with liquid yeasts.

#1) Have either White Labs or Wyeast made a product that is truly pitchable into 5 gallons of wort? I know their websites say their products are, but I seem to remember a lot of guys saying that that is marketing BS and a starter is highly recommended. But that was a while ago and maybe things have changed, so I need to know: in real life scenarios, are they telling the truth or not?  If not, I can't see myself getting into making starters as my brewing schedule has to remain flexible.

#2) If answer to #1 is yes, which producer is better? Or are certain strains from each company better? It looks like pricing from NB is identical ($6.29 per pack/vial)...

I'll post again if/when I need specific recommendations for specific styles.

thanks
red

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 11:45:48 AM »
For a lager I would use 3 or 4 smack packs, or a starter of the appropriate size.

Offline duboman

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 12:09:53 PM »
IMO/IME, if your beer is 1.040 or less and the yeast is fresh no need for a starter.

Now, you can certainly just pitch a pack and most likely your beer will ferment but you might encounter issues such as off flavors or stalls/stuck fermentations due to stressed yeast.

I make starters for appropriate pitch rate for every beer I brew with liquid yeast, it's just good process.

As Jim mentioned, for lagers you will definitely need a starter due to the needed higher pitch rates.

As for one being better than the other, I've found both manufacturers to produce very good products and have no loyalty to one over the other, they both perform well, strain selection not being counted.
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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 12:49:57 PM »
IMO/IME, if your beer is 1.040 or less and the yeast is fresh no need for a starter.

Now, you can certainly just pitch a pack and most likely your beer will ferment but you might encounter issues such as off flavors or stalls/stuck fermentations due to stressed yeast.

I make starters for appropriate pitch rate for every beer I brew with liquid yeast, it's just good process.

As Jim mentioned, for lagers you will definitely need a starter due to the needed higher pitch rates.

As for one being better than the other, I've found both manufacturers to produce very good products and have no loyalty to one over the other, they both perform well, strain selection not being counted.

All of this with one minor exception...I prefer Wyeast, but mainly because it's produced near me.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online alestateyall

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 01:49:29 PM »
I am not sure of you exact constraints regarding remaining flexible. That being said, if you make a starter and then don't brew that weekend it can wait 1-2 weeks in the fridge for the day you need it.

One tough part about starters is you may need large ones (4L or more) for lagers. If you don't have a larger starter flask you need to do step starters which adds more lead time before brew day.


I recently have gotten into saving slurries using the same yeast 3-4 brews in a row. For all but the first use of a
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Online alestateyall

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 01:54:58 PM »
For my last post I hit send to soon. Meant to say I use the same yeast several times in a row. This reduces the number of starters I have to make.
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Offline duboman

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 02:40:10 PM »

IMO/IME, if your beer is 1.040 or less and the yeast is fresh no need for a starter.

Now, you can certainly just pitch a pack and most likely your beer will ferment but you might encounter issues such as off flavors or stalls/stuck fermentations due to stressed yeast.

I make starters for appropriate pitch rate for every beer I brew with liquid yeast, it's just good process.

As Jim mentioned, for lagers you will definitely need a starter due to the needed higher pitch rates.

As for one being better than the other, I've found both manufacturers to produce very good products and have no loyalty to one over the other, they both perform well, strain selection not being counted.

All of this with one minor exception...I prefer Wyeast, but mainly because it's produced near me.
I'm all for supporting local, you're lucky, nice fresh yeast:)
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Online denny

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 02:45:27 PM »

I'm all for supporting local, you're lucky, nice fresh yeast:)

Yeah, it's not too uncommon to get one with a date code the day before I bought it.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 04:22:30 PM »
I think WY and WL produce equally good products, and I've use plenty of both. But I use Wyeast pretty much entirely now since my LHBS switched to all Wyeast. I'm actually glad they did because the turnover is much better, meaning fresh yeast every time. I don't like to have yeast shipped by mail, so Wyeast is perfectly fine by me.
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 04:32:50 PM »
One other option is to brew a small beer first and repitch from that.

Offline majorvices

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Re: thinking about getting back into liquid yeast: starter/no starter?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 03:31:49 AM »
I almost never make starters any more. Just order 2 vials/packs per 5 gallon and make a low gravity beer and harvest that yeast. The exception is lagers. You just simply have mKe a starter (or order 4-7 packs per 5 gallons)
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