starter size, is bigger better

Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:00 pm

If I want to make enough yeast for a 11 gallon batch of 1.065 beer from 1 tube or smack pack is it okay to pitch into a larger starter (5000ml) to create more yeast? Should there be a step in between, say 1000 or 2000 first? Could pitching into a larger starter create off flavors or any other undesirables? Thanks.
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:13 pm

1 vial or smack pack is marketed as enough to ferment a 5 gallon batch (though obviously know that starters will improve the results). 5 Liters is only a gallon and a half or roughly a third of that size, so that's the same ratio as pitching 3 vials or packs into 5 gallons. So you can trust that you are fine going straight into a 5 Liter starter with either a vial or a smack pack.
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:56 pm

JZ and Whitey's book has a graph with vials and Liters, if you need more yeast, doing a step at 2L, then up to 5L will give you more cells than doing just a 5L.
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:14 pm

spiderwrangler wrote:JZ and Whitey's book has a graph with vials and Liters, if you need more yeast, doing a step at 2L, then up to 5L will give you more cells than doing just a 5L.


+1

Straight to 5L will work, but a 2L to 5L will give you better propagation results & happier yeast. It also presents an extra step where you could potentially contaminate it so don't forget to weigh that into the equation. Personally I would do the steps & if I knew a brewer was attentive with good cleaning/sanitizing practices I would urge them to do the same. If the thought of an extra step doesn't bode well with your confidence, just skip it.
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:11 pm

All great answers, just what i needed. I have read the yeast book but that area was fuzzy to me. Thanks!
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:26 am

You could also do a 5 liter starter with nutrient a few days before brew day, decant and then steal some wort from your 11 gallon batch to top up that starter again to 5 liters. Let this topped up starter go on a stir plate for a few hours and pitch that krausening starter into your actual batch.
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Re: starter size, is bigger better

Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:49 am

Everyone has covered the important bases; I'll just recap:

[*]the 2 liter and then the 5 liter start is better for a number of reasons but primarily because you'll end up with more cells
[*]You'll also end up with fewer off-flavor chemicals by proping up 2 starters but this isn't a big deal if you decant off most of the liquid after chilling for a few hours
[*]If you get some erlynmeyer flasks (proper borosilic ones) you can boil the starter in the flask directly on your oven which will santize both the wort and the flask and this generally gets rid of a lot of the hassle and infection risks of making starters. (You'll need fermcap drops to prevent the flask from volcanically overflowing during hot break; the shape leads to crazy violent hot breaks.)
[*]Even if you don't have a yeast stir plate currently, you'll already have the erlynmeyer flasks and be ready to go to get one. Stir plate starters will also help you get about 20% more yeast cells out of your starters.


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