Yeast Starter – Part 2: How to Make One
In my previous post, I talked about when you make a yeast starter and the benefits of make one. Now I’ll tell you how to make one.
The most important thing is plan everything out. You need to have your yeast bought ahead of time and also know how much dry malt extract (DME) you will need. You also need to give yourself 3-5 days ahead of your brew day to give the yeast enough time to do it’s full job. Finally know what kind of yeast you are using. If you’re using a ‘smack pack’, you will need at least a few hours before that will be ready to be pitched into your yeast starter.
Here’s a step-by-step process of how to make a yeast starter:
1. Calculate how much yeast cells you will need for your upcoming beer and the corresponding amount of DME and water. There are several calculators out there but i use: http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/
2. After calculating the needs, add those ingredients and 1/4 teaspoonful of yeast nutrients to pot, mix and boil for 10-15 minutes. Boiling sanitizes the wort which is important because it will eventually be added to the wort of your upcoming batch of beer.
3. Cool the wort to a normal pitching temperature for the yeast, which is usually around room temperature of 70 degrees. I tried to cool using a freezer but I found that making an ice bath was a much quicker method of chilling.
4. Add the cooled wort to a sanitized container big enough to hold the wort, yeast and allowing for some head space during fermentation. A beaker is very typical.
5. Add a sanitized stir bar to the wort and place onto a magnetic stir plate. Others have found that they can get away with just shaking the bottle occasionally to increase the oxygen and promote fermentation.
6. Keep around room temperature or the typical pitching temperature for the yeast
Fermentation should be obvious within a few hours and should continue in the days leading up to your brew day. Remember that this yeast starter is going to be added to your beer after it has cooled and when it is the most susceptible to infection. Therefore it’s important that you keep this as sanitized as possible to avoid ruining a whole batch of beer.