Making a Yeast Starter

I’m planning to brew in a couple of days and here’s how I made my yeast starter.  This is my first attempt at using liquid yeast and I am using some instructions kindly provided by Dominic Driscoll from the Thornbridge Brewery.  He visited our local homebrew group back in January and talked us through the key points to consider when brewing a high gravity beer.  I will be brewing an 8% Belgian Golden Strong Ale.

Equipment

  • A saucepan
  • A suitable flask or 5L demijohn
  • Sanitiser
  • Aluminium foil
  • A thermometer

Ingredients

  • Dried Malt Extract
  • Water
  • One vial White Labs or a packet of Wyeast
  • Yeast nutrient

Method

1. Took my liquid yeast vial (WLP500 Trappist Ale) from the fridge, gave it a good shake and left it at room temperature for a couple of hours.

2. Visited Mr Malty‘s pitching rate calculator to find out what size starter I needed to make to achieve the correct pitching rate.  With an Original Gravity (OG) of 1.077 and a wort volume of 19L (5.02 US Gallons), the calculator suggested a 2.2L starter.  Dominic’s starter recipe calls for 100g Dried Malt Extract (DME) to 1 Litre of water.  So, 2.2L of starter needs 220g of DME.

3. I mixed the DME and water in saucepan on the hob, added 1 tsp of yeast nutrient, brought the mixture to the boil and boiled for 15 mins.

4. I placed the saucepan in cold basin of water and cooled the starter mixture to a wort pitching temperature of 22C.

5. Once the mixture was at 22C I poured it into my sanitised demijohn (sanitised using Star San), then added my liquid yeast.

6. I then covered the top of the demijohn with a piece of sanitised tin foil.  The reason for using foil is to allow CO2 out of the demijohn, to keep O2 in and to keep any other nasties out!

7. With the top of the demijohn covered with tin foil, I aerated the mixture for 2-3 minutes.

8. I then returned to the starter every 2 hours to aerate (by shaking the demijohn).

9. Opened a beer and blogged my efforts.