Soliciting opinions on yeast starter

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by FedoraDave, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. FedoraDave

    FedoraDave Member

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    Specifically, whether it would be worth it/necessary to make a yeast starter for a smaller batch of lager. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5/3 gallons.
     
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  2. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    It all lies in the pitch rate. Gravity, and pitch temperature all play a role in pitch rate. Most lagers require a large pitch rate, especially if the pitch temperature is low. Gravity can affect pitch rate, the higher the gravity the higher the pitch rate.

    The other factor is dry or liquid yeast. Dry yeast has a high density of cell count. Most times 2 packs of dry yeast rehydrated will work. Liquid needs a 2 liter starter for a 2.5-3 gallon batch. That’s assuming a OG of 1.050-.60. Pitch rates of lagers should be 1.5 to 2.0 million cells per mL per degree Plato.
     
  3. Dilbert Fizzwinkle

    Dilbert Fizzwinkle Well-Known Member

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    I have never used a yeast starter.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I use batches that size with a single pack of dry yeast to build up slurry for a bigger batch. If you're determined to use liquid yeast, it'll depend on the age of it. If it's super fresh, you might be fine with a single pack, especially if you fermenting at the top end of the range. If it's 2-3 months old, it'll need a starter for just about anything.
     
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  5. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I do 1.5 gallon batches of lager I pitch one pack of dry yeast. It has way more than enough for a 1.5 gallon batch. Of course it depends on gravity. 1 packet dry for a normal gravity lager should be plenty for 2.5 gallons since many people pitch 2 packs for a 5 gallon batch
     
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  6. Dilbert Fizzwinkle

    Dilbert Fizzwinkle Well-Known Member

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    I use one half pack of yeast per batch.
    I rehydrate with baby bath temp water for five hours before pitching.
    It’s worked for me for the past three years, ale or lager.
     
  7. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Would need to see the recipe, your fermentation temp schedule, and the yeast strain that you are using to really give a spot on answer.

    However, I would say that @HighVoltageMan! is pretty much right on the money with his comments.

    Can you go without a starter? Definitely. Does going without a yeast starter for a lager in that size of a lager batch increase risk of issues (e.g. off flavors, long fermentation times, etc.)? Absolutely. Is it guaranteed that you will have issues if you don't use a starter? No.

    I'm sure that you know as we all do, yeast are a fickle critter. In the case of lager strains, the better you treat them, the better they do in the wort. IMO, yeast starters are typically a good idea with a lager strain.

    That's my two cents. Combine that with $10 and you could get half a cup of coffee at starbucks.
     
  8. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    This may be changing but the common recommendation was to use twice as much yeast for lagers vs ales. I would think you would be fine with one packet of dry yeast or possibly once vial/pouch of yeast if it's reasonably fresh.
     
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  9. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    I always use a starter from a liquid yeast. I'm currently fermenting a cider, my first, with dry yeast, my first, a wine yeast Lalvin 1118, also my first. So, I'm in uncharted waters but I've never had a problem with liquid yeast.
    I started with Lalvin 71-B at 1.052 but it stopped fermenting at 1.032. 8 days later still no activity. Yesterday, at suggestion of folks at LHBS, tried again with the 1118. Temp is holding at 72F but no activity this morning.
    Waiting impatiently with positive thoughts.
     
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