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Is a liquid yeast starter necessary

Started by beanstalk, December 18, 2016, 02:08:50 pm

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beanstalk

Hi Folks,

I've only ever used dried yeast (and its fine) but between dodgy fermementation temps and that 'homebrew taste' I keep getting I wanted to try liquid, maybe the custom liquid yeast mash kits for a handy brew over christmas but I was wondering do I need to go down the route of making a starter or can you just pitch the liquid yeast straight in (the wort will be well aerated and at 20C).

Going for white labs 'pitchable' yeast

Bubbles

Unless the beer you're making is very low in gravity and the vial is very fresh, you really are better off making a starter. Pitch rate is very important to ensure a clean fermentation. Making a starter can be daunting if you haven't done it before, but it's a doddle.

For my first yeast starters I used a 2 litre bottle of lidl mineral water and fermented the starter in the plastic bottle. You don't actually need a stir plate and conical. Liquid yeasts are far superior to dried and are a must for styles like Belgian, English imo. The dried equivalents just don't cut the mustard. Again imo..

DEMPSEY

You mentioned that homebrew taste :o. Before you look at your yeast you need to start with your water. Poor water quality will lead to poor beer. After that you need to get an understanding of the right amount of yeast to pitch.
Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

beanstalk

Thanks have been meaning to look into the water here. Where do I go about getting a profile (Letterkenny). Is it the EPA?

DEMPSEY

The state water report is not much help as it does not give you the information you need. A salifert kit for testing hardness in the water will help alot. Not sure how bad the chlorine is in your water but you must treat that.
Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

Bubbles

Unless you're unluckly enough to have a supply with very hard or very soft water, I wouldn't worry about mineral additions for the moment. As Dempsey says, chlorine has to be removed, it's been the downfall of many a home brewer. For ease, use campden tablets, or else some sort of carbon filtering.

beanstalk

Good tips folks thanks. i know the water here is soft but I'm just not sure how soft...i'll try the campden tablets though!

Qs

I'd recommend doing a couple of starters. First time I tried them I thought there was a big difference. Could just be confirmation bias, could have just been coincidence but I use them most of the time now. I agree not to worry about a stir plate, at least not yet, I did starters for well over a year without one and have only recently added one to my set up. You just need some extra time for a simple shaken starter. Just do it in a demijohn instead. Give it a swirl whenever you think of it and you should be fine.

Bubbles

Making a yeast starter is really easy, there's lot of vids on YouTube. A couple of tips though:

- remember to aerate the starter well - remember that the objective is to increase the cell count of what is in the vial. Aeration is required in order for the cells to reproduce and to be healthy.
- observe the same rules around sanitisation. Everything that touches your cooled wort needs to sanitised with StarSan or similar - funnel, spoon etc.

Will_D

Making a starter will show you that the yeast is viable. Saves you all the waste of time and money of pitching a sub-standard yeast.


With regards water:

Water is one of your least important variables (apart from removing Chlorine with Campden Tablet) in the brewing process.

Most important is time and temperature control of your Mash/your Boil and most importantly your Fermentation T/T profiles!
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing

delzep

Quote from: Will_D on December 19, 2016, 09:41:02 pm
Making a starter will show you that the yeast is viable. Saves you all the waste of time and money of pitching a sub-standard yeast.


With regards water:

Water is one of your least important variables (apart from removing Chlorine with Campden Tablet) in the brewing process.

Most important is time and temperature control of your Mash/your Boil and most importantly your Fermentation T/T profiles!


Disagree, cleanliness is most important imo

Bazza

Quote from: delzep on December 20, 2016, 01:20:22 am
Quote from: Will_D on December 19, 2016, 09:41:02 pm
Making a starter will show you that the yeast is viable. Saves you all the waste of time and money of pitching a sub-standard yeast.


With regards water:

Water is one of your least important variables (apart from removing Chlorine with Campden Tablet) in the brewing process.

Most important is time and temperature control of your Mash/your Boil and most importantly your Fermentation T/T profiles!


Disagree, cleanliness is most important imo


Disagree, godliness is most important.

Actually, on reflection, it's at least next to cleanliness.

-Barry
I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
― Groucho Marx

imark

According to White Labs you aren't growing yeast cells when you make a starter.
See last question on this interview with Neva Parker:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/science-suds-interview-neva-parker-white-labs.html

This was something Chris White said at brewcon previously.
I don't buy it though. It would be interesting to put it to the test.

molc



Quote from: Bazza on December 20, 2016, 08:57:48 am

Disagree, godliness is most important.

Actually, on reflection, it's at least next to cleanliness.

-Barry


You have won this thread sir :D
Fermenting: IPA, Lambic, Mead
Conditioning: Lambic, Cider, RIS, Ole Ale, Saison
On Tap: IPA, Helles, Best Bitter

Leann ull

I always describe a starter as taking yeast from 1st, 2nd, 3rd gear for wort you want to hit the ground running rather than straining your yeast.
Feeding yeast also allows it to multiply so I'm a little confused about her comments.