How to Make a Yeast Starter

This is a quick and simple way to make a yeast starter, which is a great way to start making better beer!

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I’ve never entered a competition before, but I figured it would be a good chance to document the experience. So if you’d rather not put yourself through judgement, you can just sit back and enjoy while I submit myself to a humbling brewing ego check.

-Brandon Copeland

How to Make a Yeast Starter

Making a yeast starter is a great way to improve the speed and completion of the fermentation of your homebrew. Not to mention, if you’re making a big beer, it’s essential if you want to save yourself the expense of buying multiple packs of yeast. The good thing is it’s fairly easy and doesn’t require too much additional equipment, and just needs to be completed 24 - 48 hours before your brew day.

What You’ll Need for a Yeast Starter

My yeast starter kit

How To Make the Yeast Starter

If you are brewing a 5 gallon batch, a good rule of thumb is combining:

  • 1 L water

  • 100 g Dry Malt Extract

  • ½ tsp. yeast nutrient

  • A few drops of FermCap S

Shake it up, cover with foil and bring it to a boil for twenty minutes. For me, I have a gas stove, so I made sure that the Erlenmeyer flask I purchased was laboratory grade and could withstand direct flame. Adding the FermCap S is absolutely essential - without it, a boil over is almost a sure bet (I know this from experience…).

Doing some science in the kitchen Breaking Bad style (kind of?)

Once the 20 minutes have elapsed, you’ll want to cool the wort down to below 70F. I just throw it in the sink with some ice water for 15 minutes which generally does the trick. After I’ll let it normalize to room temperature in case I cooled it down too far.

Once it’s at 70F or below, you can add your yeast. Pour it in to the flask, give it a good shake, and then drop in your sanitized stir bar and start the magnetic stir plate. I put it in my temperature controlled kegerator and let it start it’s fermentation.

Once you get to the part of your brew day where you normally pitch your yeast, you just pour the whole flask into the fermenter. Just don’t forget to take out the stir bar before you pour (I also say this from experience - whoops).

Pitching the yeast starter into my fermenter of choice: an old corny keg

That’s it! Making a yeast starter almost feels like a warm up for your actual brew day - you’re just making a liter of beer from dry malt extract and absolutely loading it with yeast. Every time I make one, it just gets me more excited to brew some beer.

Do You Make Yeast Starters?

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Beer Trivia Question

🍺 Since 1873 (and not counting prohibition) what year did the USA have the fewest breweries on record?

Read to the end to find out if you're right!

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And the Answer Is...

🍺 In 1978 the United States only had 89 breweries. This was coincidentally the same year that Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337 into law that made homebrewing legal. It’s no surprise that 46 years later there are around 10,000 breweries in the US.

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Happy Brewing!

- Brandon, Brew Great Beer Team

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