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Successful fermentation

Submitted by: Max on June 11th, 2002

If using packaged yeast, use the freshest yeast possible -- less than 30 days after the manufacturer's date. Keep the yeast refridgerated and away from light when not in use. Allow the yeast package to reach room temperature before using.

If the yeast is more than 30 days after the manufacturer's date, it can still be used. It is recommended that you use a yeast starter. Use a 1 pint (1/2 liter) starter by adding malt extract (2 oz DME to 1 pint water) to pre-boiled water and allowing it to cool to 75 degrees before pitching. This should work out to close to a 1.045 specific gravity solution. Add the starter to your beer when the yeast is closest to it's peak.


10 Comments Posted
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Re: Successful fermentation Jun 15th 2002, 06:31 pm
I assume you're talking about liquid yeast here, so I'll add a couple thoughts. I find 1.025 to be a little low for starters, with the possibility of shocking the yeast when it goes into a higher gravity wort. I shoot for 1.040, which works out to 4 oz. DME per quart of water. It's also much more accurate to weigh the DME, rather than use volumetric measure. Different brands of DME have different densities, so with weight you're always on the money. The fresher the yeast, the beter, but I've used year old smack packs without problems. It just takes them a little longer to get started. And _always_ make a starter, even with the so-called pitchable tubes of yeast. A "pitchable" tube still doesn't have an adequate number of yeast cells, no matter what the manufacturer would have you believe. And it's a great way to ascertain the quality and viability of the yeast before pitching it into your precious wort.
Comment by: Denny Conn reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Jun 18th 2002, 10:34 pm
I just realized Max and I are talking about the same ratio of DME and water for a starter. I believe he has his gravity calculations wrong. Assuming an average 45 ppg for DME, 1 lb. in 1 gallon of water will give you an OG of 1.045...so 4 oz. in 1 qt. should also be 1.045, as should 2 oz. to a pint.
Comment by: DConn reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Jun 18th 2002, 11:51 pm
Note from the webmaster... The tip was edited to reflect a correct calculation based on 45 ppg DME. The change was 1.025 specific gravity to 1.045 specific gravity.
Comment by: Webmaster reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Jul 11th 2002, 05:05 am
I appreciate this information now. I've used the pitchable tube yeast a couple times with good results. Now I have no visible activity >24 hr after pitching a tube yeast dated 4/30. And this was after I read your comment. Figured if it worked straight out of the tube before I could avoid messing with a starter. If I use a starter next time, how do I know when it is closest to it's peak?
Comment by: richter reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Jul 23rd 2002, 10:12 pm
"If I use a starter next time, how do I know when it is closest to it's peak?"

If you mean 'the peak' for the yeast tube - you really don't know when it is at its' best since you can't say for sure how it was handled between the manufacturer and when you got it... accidents do happen.... OTOH the vast majority of the time by the time it gets to your LHBS it should be in good shape, and making a starter will 'proof' the yeast before, as Denny said, you pitch it into your precious wort....

As far as when a starter is best to use, that's a bit subjective. I believe that ideally you should be pitching it when it is at high kreusen.... I've been doing starters for a couple years now and frankly I haven't paid much attention to where it is at in the cycle other than to assure that active fermentation is happening and it smells/tastes right.

Part of making a starter is to 'wake up' the yeast, and another is to increase the cell count... so when I have a tube for 5 gal and I need it for 10 gallons, I wait for the starter fermentation to be mostly done... mj
Comment by: M Jarvis reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Jul 27th 2002, 03:58 am
Thank you M Jarvis.
That batch with delayed fermentation didn't really start for 72 hr. It proved to be sour when I racked it to 2nd and tasted.
Today I brewed another using a starter of liquid tube yeast ( Wyeast American 1056 mfg 5/27/02) which I made 2 days in advance. This did bubble in the airlock esp when I'd shake it. It did not develop kraeusen, just some foam on surface. I got nervous letting it stay at room temp w decreased bubbling after 36 hr so I put it in the fridge as suggested in 'The New Complete Joy...' p280. Of course I let it come to room temp overnight before pitching today. So it was only cold 3-4 hr. Now it's 8 hr later and no activity in my primary's airlock yet. This is an IPA w OG 1.066. The starter OG was 1.050. I made 16 oz. Would you have left starter at room temp longer or do you think what I did was ok?
Comment by: richter reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Aug 20th 2002, 07:41 pm
Putting it in the fridge was probably unnecessary, but I doubt it hurt anything, either. You probably didn't see any krausen because it fermented out so quickly. Remember, that tube is _supposed_ to be adequate for 5 gal. of wort, so 16 oz. is gonna ferment fast! I generally pitch the tubes into at least a quart, sometimes 2. If you do this far enough ahead of time that the starter fermentation is completely finished, you can put the starter in the fridge for a day or 2 to drop the yeast out of suspension, then decant the spent wort on top before you pitch. My usual regime, though, is to make a 1 qt. starter and pitch the whole thing in. One thing you didn't mention was aeration...do you aerate your wort either before or after pitching? It not only helps the yeast take off more quickly, but also helps to ensure a complete fermentation and get the FG down where it should be. 8 hrs. isn't too bad for a lag time from a starter. If you save and reuse your yeast, you can see lag times as low as 15 min.!
Comment by: DConn reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Mar 14th 2003, 04:10 am
There is a tremendous pictorial guide to making a starter at:


Take a look

Comment by: d00fuss reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Aug 29th 2003, 08:03 am
Amen to that!! Also worrying about the finishing gravity isnt important as long as you pitch ( I pitch it all ) within 18 to 24 hours. Coordinating this so that you can is all that is neccesary. If your starting gravity is 1.055 or below a starter really isnt necessary. Mike
Comment by: Anonymous Brewer reply to comment
Re: Successful fermentation Aug 29th 2003, 08:06 am
Worth the look Neb. The rest of you take the fun out of homebrewing!
Comment by: Anonymous Brewer reply to comment