Why Use a Yeast Starter?

Making a yeast starter can be the difference between good beer and a great beer. A yeast starter is essentially a small batch of un-hopped beer fermented for a few days. This makes the yeast multiply, become stronger and gets them pumped up for their next big job (making your beer). This will lead to a cleaner fermentation which, of course, will result in a clean overall beer. Pitching too little yeast cells means that your yeast will have to work harder to finish off the beer, which can cause off flavors and/or lead to under attenuated beer.

What You'll Need

How Do You Make One?

Making a yeast starter is easy! The basic rule of thumb is 1 g of DME (Dry Malt Extract) per 10 ml of water. This should get you a gravity reading of about 1.040 which is perfect for a starter. A 900 ml (per 5 gallons) starter will work great for most beers with an SG of about 1.050 or under. Anything over 1.050, you may want to use a 1200 ml starter to get a higher pitch rate.

  1. Mix 900 ml of water with 90 grams of DME into a Erlenmeyer Flask.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil for a minimum 5 minutes to sterilize.
  3. Cool wort down to somewhere between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C) by submerging the flask into cold water (similar to an ice bath).
  4. Shake vigorously to introduce oxygen to the wort.
  5. Pitch yeast into your wort and plug with bung and airlock or simply wrap some tinfoil around it.
  6. Allow your starter to sit for 2-3 days stirring as often as possible (a stir plate is recommended for this step).
  7. Pitch your yeast starter into your freshly brewed wort.