Starter for dry yeast

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Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:21 pm

Anyone here uses Dry yeast plus yeast starters?

I've noticed that Fermentis Saflager W34 and S23 have >6x10^9 cels/ gram (published in Fermentis website).
Each package of 11.5g has > 60 billions cells (more than 60 billions is how much??)
Mr Malty considers a cell count of 20x10^9 /gram for Dry yeat, this is, 200 billions cells per package (a litle optimist)

Fermentis suggest using 20-30g of yeast for 10 L wort. Therefore, for a 20L recipe we should use 40-60g. In other words, at least 4 packages. Each package costs approx. €6. For a 20L recipe, €24 of yeast. Not very cheap indeed.
I've heard people suggesting that yeast starters for Dry yeast aren't necessary since If we need more, just buy other package... I'm not so sure about this...

Brewers friend calculator for yeast pitching takes into account the numbers published by Fermentis and, from their calculator, we can estimate a yeast starter for Dry yeast.

Anyone with experience on this?
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby niels » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:07 pm

NOTE: I did overlook the fact that the OP was talking about lager yeast and I answered regarding ale yeast! The following info is not a correct answer to the OPs question!

The Fermentis recommendation is way too much. You can easily use 1 fresh package (11.5 gr) for 20 l of wort (~1.050) if you hydrate the yeast properly. Sprinkling the dry yeast directly on the wort could result in up to 50% loss of active cells (says the Yeast book). Decent aeration is also key.
Use a second package if you have older (or not stored in optimal conditions) packages or a higher gravity wort.

Here in Belgium the Fermentis yeast kost less than 3 EUR per package...

If you make a starter for dry yeast you could start using only a few grams to make a starter and save the rest to hydrate before pitching. Just make sure you squeeze out as much air as possible, tape it airtight and work sterile when handling the package.

- Niels
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby BrauTim » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:26 pm

niels wrote:You can easily use 1 fresh package (11.5 gr) for 20 l of wort (~1.050) if you hydrate the yeast properly.
- Niels


That recommendation is for ales, for Lager you need at least twice as much, although I agree that Fermentis are probably over the top on their estimations, based on single packet per 23L for an ale for nearly every dried yeast on the market it would be reasonable to assume 180Bn cells per 11.5g as long as it has been hydrated properly, so two packets should do a 23L batch of Lager!

Another technique that you could try is Drauflassen, I have used it once so far with success when I wanted to ferment 45L of wheat beer with a single smackpack of liquid yeast which I started to 2L size, so clearly not big enough for 45L, I pitched the second half of wort 24 hours after the first as the fermentation was approaching high Krausen.

With a dry yeast, you would pitch both packets into half the batch, then approx 24 hours later or around high Krausen, pour in the remaining wort and off you go.

With this technique you are effectively making one large starter (without associated off flavours) and pitching on top of that.
To brew or not to brew, that would be a stupid question !
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby cpa4ny » Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:51 am

Fermentis probably assumes that people would be sprinkling dry yeast straight on top of wort, which would indeed result in 50% yeast cell kill rate (as Niels pointed out) - hence, their multiple pack recommendation.

Starters are not recommended for dry yeast - manufacturers pack it with special nutrients that would be depleted if a starter is prepared.

Rehydration is indeed the way to go.

To add to BrauTim's comment that "for Lager you need at least twice as much", "twice as much" is meant for moderate gravity lagers (1.050). For high-gravity lagers you may need 3 or 4 packets of dry yeast (depending on your gravity and how fresh the yeast packs are).

I personally find Mr Malty's yeast calculator invaluable: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby niels » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:57 am

BrauTim wrote:
niels wrote:You can easily use 1 fresh package (11.5 gr) for 20 l of wort (~1.050) if you hydrate the yeast properly.
- Niels


That recommendation is for ales, for Lager you need at least twice as much, although I agree that Fermentis are probably over the top on their estimations, based on single packet per 23L for an ale for nearly every dried yeast on the market it would be reasonable to assume 180Bn cells per 11.5g as long as it has been hydrated properly, so two packets should do a 23L batch of Lager!

You are so right! I'm so used of using the ale strains that I totally overlooked the fact that the question is about a lager strain. I'm sorry!

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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Dicko » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:00 pm

The instructions from dried yeast manufacturers tend to assume that all conditions of storage and transport are met favourably.
My personal observation from where I live that these conditions are rarely met by by local suppliers and even when buying from some suppliers in my capital city then I am never sure of their storage practices.

Based on the above, I have found that I get a much better result by making a starter for packs of dried yeast.
In particular, by making a starter I can easily achieve the correct cell count for lagers resulting in a much cleaner and better fermentation.
Manufacturers say that by making a starter you will destroy the content of nutrients in the yeast but I always add yeast nutrient at the end of the boil.
Many commercial breweries use dried yeast and the original pitch may be from a large dried yeast pack but many then harvest that same yeast for future brews which really tends to negate any information that is given at the home brew level by yeast manufacturers.

As far as the economy of using dried yeast, for me personally to buy dried yeast from a reputable supplier in my capital city it cost me around $5.50 per satchet for an ale yeast and around $7.50 for a 34/70 lager yeast.
It then cost me postage of $10.00 for a post pack and some suppliers also charge for a small Ice pack as well.
I tend to buy multiple packs in one order to keep transport costs down and then I am prepared to make a suitable starter for each brew from one pack and then re use the slurry as the yeast for subsequent brews where it is practical. This avoids me having to use multiple packs in the one brew.

I am extremely happy with my results making starters from dried yeasts and I really cant see any difference between me doing this with packs of dried yeast or splitting a pack of liquid yeast and building starters from that providing, of course, that all other requirements of sanitation and oxygenation are met.
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi Dicko,

I'm also used to make yeast starter with Dry Yeast (Saflager S23). I do not have a stirplate. Simply agitate de Erlenmeyer.
What calculator you use to estimate final cell count? I feel brewersfriend software quite informative!
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Cervantes » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:51 am

Dicko wrote:The instructions from dried yeast manufacturers tend to assume that all conditions of storage and transport are met favourably.
My personal observation from where I live that these conditions are rarely met by by local suppliers and even when buying from some suppliers in my capital city then I am never sure of their storage practices.

Based on the above, I have found that I get a much better result by making a starter for packs of dried yeast.
In particular, by making a starter I can easily achieve the correct cell count for lagers resulting in a much cleaner and better fermentation.
Manufacturers say that by making a starter you will destroy the content of nutrients in the yeast but I always add yeast nutrient at the end of the boil.
Many commercial breweries use dried yeast and the original pitch may be from a large dried yeast pack but many then harvest that same yeast for future brews which really tends to negate any information that is given at the home brew level by yeast manufacturers.

As far as the economy of using dried yeast, for me personally to buy dried yeast from a reputable supplier in my capital city it cost me around $5.50 per satchet for an ale yeast and around $7.50 for a 34/70 lager yeast.
It then cost me postage of $10.00 for a post pack and some suppliers also charge for a small Ice pack as well.
I tend to buy multiple packs in one order to keep transport costs down and then I am prepared to make a suitable starter for each brew from one pack and then re use the slurry as the yeast for subsequent brews where it is practical. This avoids me having to use multiple packs in the one brew.

I am extremely happy with my results making starters from dried yeasts and I really cant see any difference between me doing this with packs of dried yeast or splitting a pack of liquid yeast and building starters from that providing, of course, that all other requirements of sanitation and oxygenation are met.


That's great information Dicko.

I'm also out in the boondocks, which make using liquid yeasts are a logistical challenge, so I tend to stick to dry yeasts.

Many thanks
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby royco » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:12 am

I'm inherently lazy, so where there is a split jury I go with the easier option. Fermentis strongly discourages starters, but indicates that rehydrating is OK, but not required. My last 2 brews have been done with simple rehydration and the ferm seemed to start much earlier, which can only be good. Dicko, you have done hundreds more brews than me so I'm not arguing with you, just regurgitating what has been debated at length on other forums like HBT.
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Elderberry » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:28 am

cpa4ny wrote:Fermentis probably assumes that people would be sprinkling dry yeast straight on top of wort, which would indeed result in 50% yeast cell kill rate (as Niels pointed out) - hence, their multiple pack recommendation.

Starters are not recommended for dry yeast - manufacturers pack it with special nutrients that would be depleted if a starter is prepared.

Rehydration is indeed the way to go.

To add to BrauTim's comment that "for Lager you need at least twice as much", "twice as much" is meant for moderate gravity lagers (1.050). For high-gravity lagers you may need 3 or 4 packets of dry yeast (depending on your gravity and how fresh the yeast packs are).

I personally find Mr Malty's yeast calculator invaluable: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html


+1
Don't make a starter with Fermentis. There a good recent Brew Strong podcast about this that goes into all the convincing technical explanations. I think it's this one: http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/1093
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Dicko » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:11 am

Guys,
My post in this topic by no means meant to override the instructions from much more learned people than me.
I only meant to explain and maybe indicate that sometimes conditions involving yeast pitching and growth may not achieve desired expectations due to other varying circumstances. Read my comments re storage and transport.
I go into my local HB supplier in my home town and the dried yeast is sitting on a rack in the HB section and that is about as good as the storage is.
This has not even come close to the expected storage requirements as far as dried brewers yest is concerned.
From this, I am quite prepared to make a starter rather than rely on an estimated cell count from figures and calculations that are derived from "more perfect" conditions.

This is the yeast calculator that I use;

http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitc ... alculator/

I have brewed great beer by sprinkling dried yeast on top of a wort, I have brewed great beer by rehydrating yeast and tipping it into the wort, but I am (for the moment at least with relation to my situation) brewing beer with predicted attenuation and no off flavours by making a starter be it for dried yeast or liquid yeast and then pitching the result.

:cheers: :beer:
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Lylo » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:24 pm

Like I always say Dick "don't knock it till you've tried it" I'll be giving it a try soon!
Just treat it the same as a WLP liquid yeast?
Mix it into about 1.5 L of 1030 wort and stir plate to high Kreusen?
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby niels » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:07 pm

Dicko, do you make a starter with a whole package of yeast or just a few grams? What is your starting volume and your aeration method?

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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Dicko » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:25 pm

niels wrote:Dicko, do you make a starter with a whole package of yeast or just a few grams? What is your starting volume and your aeration method?

- Niels


Hi Niels,

For ales I usually make a 1 litre starter for 20 litres buy using the whole pack 11.5 gramms.
I aerate the starter wort with oxygen for around 10 to 15 seconds and I add a pinch of yeast nutrient to the starter wort as well.
I put the starter on a stir plate generally overnite / 12 hours then in the morning I take it off the plate and leave it settle out at what will be the beer fermentation temperature / pitching temperature.
When the beer is made which is usually at the end of the day I decant any liquid carefully from the top and pitch the yeast into an appropriately oxygenated wort.

For lagers I double the starter size and allow a little longer for growth. If I have plenty of time I will step from 1 to 2 litres.

I have bought dried yeast in bulk packs of 500 gramms and made starters from smaller amounts by using the calculator on Brewers Friend but these days I am getting lazy and that is a lot of work to vacuum seal so many small packages. :D

I might add that since making starters for the small retail packs of yeast I definately have a better fermentation.

I have also made a starter as outlined above say on a Monday or Tuesday night and then put it in the fridge and removed it on brew day usually the Saturday and let it warm up to fermentation temp.
When it is cold it is an opportune time to decant the liquid off the top as the yeast settles into a hard layer at the bottom of the bottle. I have been lead to believe that a week in the fridge is not harmful and I quite often store a slurry in the fridge for a week when I take the slurry from a previous brew.
By using the slurry from the first brew, I double the value of the yeast or in other words I halve its cost.
You could keep doing this if you wanted to but I really think it is hardly worth it although there are some brewers who go for quite a few generations.
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Re: Starter for dry yeast

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:54 pm

I have bought dried yeast in bulk packs of 500 gramms and made starters from smaller amounts by using the calculator on Brewers Friend but these days I am getting lazy and that is a lot of work to vacuum seal so many small packages.


Hi Dicko,
I'm thinking getting a dry yeast 500g pack and split it into small 20g packs with vacuum seal. I'll keep them in the freezer at minus 2C.
Did you have good experience with this? For how long did you store them?
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