Making a yeast starter is very simple and is handy trick to have in your arsenal, its quick, cheap and easy and can make the world of difference to a fermentation. It's not generally needed when using dried yeast as purchasing a second packet of yeast is easier and sometimes a bit cheaper than making a starter, but with liquid yeast there are a few benefits to making a starter; less lag times, healthy yeast to pitch, consistent and healthy fermentations. Also if your yeast is old or if you are brewing a big beer (OG 1.060+) its a necessity to make sure you don't stress the yeast and cause issues with fermentation. The method outlined below is my preferred way of making a starter, but it can easily be adapted to suit your method or equipment. The list of things you'll need to make your starter is; Erlenmeyer flask (optional but very handy if you have one), Dried Malt Extract or DME, cleaner/steriliser, yeast nutrient, thermometer, hydromemter and trial jar, liquid yeast, scales, spoon, bowl and water. I like to use an Erlenmeyer flask as they are convienient and speed the process up a little, they are made from pyrex which means you can put them on the hob and also into cold water after the boil to bring the temperature down to pitching levels, saving the need to transfer to different vessels. Saying that though, many people do use a pan on the hob and then transfer to another vessel once cooled with no issues. If you are using an erlenmeyer flask, use a two litre one as a one litre flask doesn't really give you enough space onve you have a full litre of wort in it. Step 1: Sterilise the flask, for this I use half a teaspoon of VWP and hot water and let it sit for a few minutes, technically as this is on the hot side of the wort production, its not 100% necessary but I like to do it all the same. Step 2: Once the flask is clean we can weigh out the DME, for 1 litre of wort at a gravity of 1.040 you'll need 100g of DME and 1 litre of water, I tend to add slightly more than a litre to account for evaporation during the boil, not much, just another 100ml or so. Also, I've found that adding the yeast nutrient now instead of during the boil can prevent boil overs. Step 3: Boil. Get it on the hob and boil hard for about 15 minutes, this ensures a nice sterile wort for your yeast to munch on. Step 4: Cool to pitching temperature, normally 18ÃÂ°c/20ÃÂ°c. As I'm using a flask I can pop this straight into cold water to bring the temperature down. There is no need to use a bung, simply spray some foil with sanitiser and form this over the top of the flask, its not airtight but it does stop hitchhikers getting in and spoiling things. Step 5: Pitch the yeast. Spray your scissors and the yeast packet with sanitiser then carefully snip the pack and pitch the yeast directly into the wort. You'll also have to aerate the wort as the boil will have driven off most of the oxygen. This is simply achieved by shaking the flask for a few minutes, I also shake it for a minute or two every time I walk past it throughout the day. And that is pretty much it! Simplicity itself. I have found that to get the fastest start from a fermentation I make the starter 24 hours in advance, I'll pitch it (the whole thing) into my wort when its roughly 24 hours old and the main fermentation will kick off within 4-6 hours. I hope this will encourage a few of you to start using liquid yeast, I think its a good next step to homebrewing and can help make your brews that much more individual.