General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

Do I need a starter?

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egghead:
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

majorvices:

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

Thirsty_Monk:
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. 

karlh:
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.

hamiltont:
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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