Yeast Confusion

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Gorm, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Gorm

    Gorm New Member

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    I've been reading a lot about yeast lately as I'm starting to experiment with it. I brew five-gallon extract recipes exclusively. I generally use the yeast pitch and starter calculator on this site.

    My understanding for using a yeast starter is to kick-start the yeast and increase cell count. When I check the yeast pitch calculator it often (almost always) suggests a single pack of dry yeast is not adequate and suggests a starter. Much of what I read states dry yeast packs don't need a starter and suggests rehydrating instead.

    My questions are:

    Why would I use multiple packs of yeast (as sometimes suggested on high gravity beers) instead of using a starter?

    Is there a detrimental effect on dry yeast when using a starter?

    Thanks
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Yes. You should rehydrate but don't make a starter. You can make beer without it but rehydration will keep more of the cells alive resulting in a cleaner fermentation.
     
  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    When I started brewing some 22 years ago, I brewed using extract kits made by Brewer’s Best. Great kits, and I still brew with them from time to time. They include all of the malt, hops, yeast, steeping bags if required, and even the bottle caps. Everything you need once you have the basic hardware. Back in the day, they included S-04 or S-05 for the vast majority of their kits. (They still only include dry yeast to this day, but more brands and strains.) Back then, the kit instructions specifically said, “DO NOT REHYDRATE THE YEAST” even though the instructions on the yeast packet included directions on how to rehydrate. So I didn’t rehydrate, allowing the kit instructions to trump the yeast instructions. After several brews, I wondered why BB advised not to rehydrate. I called them. The guy told me that they found that many people would not allow the water to cool sufficiently, and were killing the yeast in the process of rehydration due to water temperatures that were too high. He said there’s nothing wrong with rehydration, and properly done, it could lead to improved performance. So I started rehydrating for a while. But then I got lazy, and stopped rehydrating. That’s how that part of my process came about.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Reasonable. And I notice that the Safale packages don't include rehydration instructions. They don't say "do not rehydrate" any more. If you're getting the beer you want, you're doing it right. Period.
     
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    BB kit instructions still say not to rehydrate. See step 8. It’s the yeast pack itself that had rehydration instructions on it.
     
  6. Gorm

    Gorm New Member

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    That pretty much covers it. Thanks everyone :)
     
  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I've done a pretty wide range of yeast options. I haven't noticed any meaningful difference between the ways I deal with yeast other than it simply not working.
     

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