Starter Stirring

Yeast Starter Example: Simple Ale

Let’s take the information from the post detailing how to plan a yeast starter and do something more common: plan for a simple, straightforward ale of moderate gravity. In this yeast starter example we assume a fresh (week-old) smack pack and a 5.5gal batch of 1.060 OG ale. Again, we’re using the Brewer’s Friend Yeast Pitch Rate & Starter Calculator.

Pitch Rate

For 1.060 and below, we use the Target Pitch Rate of 0.75 million cells / ml / °P (on the calculator there is an option to select “Pro Brewer 0.75 (Ale)”). If we were brewing a higher OG ale we could select a higher pitch rate. 

Pitch Rate

 Yeast Starter Options

Now we know how much yeast we need, let’s make a yeast starter assuming we don’t have a stir plate:

Shaking

So we need a 1.8L starter and 180gm of DME. If we have a stir plate, we can make a smaller starter:

Stir Plate

Using a stir plate cuts our raw material consumption in half for the same yield.

Lesson

Many instructional videos and websites about yeast starters suggest starting with 2 cups (473mL) water and ½ cup (about 65g) DME, regardless of the beer type or OG. Here is what that will yield (with and without a stir plate) for our example above:

Shaking

Stir plate

While using this as a guideline and creating a starter is definitely better than just pitching the yeast pack by itself, a small amount of preparation can ensure pitching at an optimal rate for your beer.

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