How to make a yeast starter.

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by TheRedDarren, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. Nov 27, 2016 #1

    TheRedDarren

    TheRedDarren

    TheRedDarren

    Regular. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,190
    Likes Received:
    441
    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    Step 4: Cool to pitching temperature, normally 18°c/20°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.
     
    MyQul, JerryP, cbates and 2 others like this.
  2. Nov 27, 2016 #2

    JerryP

    JerryP

    JerryP

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    NULL
    A nice write up of yeast harvesting is here: http://brulosophy.com/methods/yeast-harvesting/

    TLDR is, make your starter larger than required, then split off some of the liquid after the starter has finished into a sanitised jar. This jar can then be stored in a fridge ready for use to make a starter the next time. For most liquid yeasts being around £6 - £7 a time, this can save a fair amount of money over time.

    A stir plate also really helps with starters!
     
    TheRedDarren likes this.
  3. Nov 28, 2016 #3

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,423
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    Good write up. :thumb:
     
    TheRedDarren likes this.
  4. Dec 28, 2016 #4

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2014
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Harlow
    Followed your write up last night to make a starter for the Yeast Bay Wlp 4637 - Amalgamation - Brett Super Blend I have had a while for the Brett IPA i intend to get on in the next couple of days.
     
    TheRedDarren likes this.
  5. Dec 28, 2016 #5

    Hoddy

    Hoddy

    Hoddy

    Junior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    400
    Location:
    Greatham - East Hants


    Just out of interest (not saying that I know as I'm new to Brett beers) don't you need a fermenting beer yeast to go with the Brett? Or will you get an even more different beer if you use 100% Brett? And will it ferment and behave differently?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Dec 28, 2016 #6

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2014
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Harlow
    Im newer to Brett beers than yourself as I read about your beer swap earlier and this is my first.
    I ended up going ahead with a Brett beer after getting the yeast in a lucky dip selection from BrewUK. I then asked Greg for a recipe as I didn't have the foggiest what to do with it! Im hoping for the best. The yeast quantity in the flask looks as it growing in size.
    Here is the recipe link
    https://recipes.brewuk.co.uk/view-recipe/400

    The recipe I posted earlier in my own thread was the outcome from entering the ingredients (grain EBC & hops AA%) into Beersmith.

    I have also just purchased this book which should help continue the adventure into Brett & sour beers.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1938469119/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  7. Dec 29, 2016 #7

    Hoddy

    Hoddy

    Hoddy

    Junior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    400
    Location:
    Greatham - East Hants
    Well that looks like a good place to start with the book. Especially considering my beer recipe was based on a 100% guess generated from reading and what I wanted to get from a bretted saison. And it seems to have turned out ok.

    I like the idea of a Brett IPA though and my mind already whizzing with loads of crazy ideas for recipes.

    Really interesting that it suggested to have a lager type pitch rate for the 100% Brett. I wonder what it would be like to drop a dry yeast sachet of us04 in. I guess that would negate the need for a double pitch rate and crisp/clean up the ferment and finish of the beer.

    Crikey the possibilities are endless. I can see a home brew comp once a year coming in for Brett beers


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. Dec 29, 2016 #8

    Fil

    Fil

    Fil

    Regular. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    3,936
    Likes Received:
    888
    nice write up, and i only mention this as im a pedantic ol sod, but for a 1.040 solution using dme you want to add 100g of dme to your flask or vessel and make upto 1 litre of liquid adding less than 1l of water.. adding a full litre of water would provide a weaker solution with a lower gravity. edit* due to the mass volume of the 100g of dme.. ;)

    loss to evaporation needent be a concern if you simmer with a foil cap fitted, granted thats a lot easier to manage in a beaker than a thin necked flask. however there is still an initial foam up when the boil starts that needs attention to avoid a boil over ;)

    [​IMG]
    simmering dme mix hitting hot break after circa 25 mins ( liquor being preped for slants n plates not a starter, hot break isnt an issue in a starter so much.)
     

Share This Page