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Do I need a starter?

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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?



--- Quote from: egghead on December 18, 2009, 10:54:40 AM --- An Activator pack has 100 billion cells. 

--- End quote ---

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 - it will tell you how large you starter needs to be for any size batch.

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. 

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.

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...


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