How to Make a 1 Liter Yeast Starter

Introduction

One of the simplest ways you can improve your fermentation is to make a yeast starter. Most folks are pretty intimidated by the process when they first start out, but The Brewer’s Life has taken the liberty to make a simple to follow tutorial on how to make a 1 liter yeast starter. I’ve also gone ahead, and included the transcript for the video in case you’d rather read than listen.

Transcript

Good afternoon everyone, this is Michael Heuer with The Brewer’s Life and today I’m going to show you how to make a 1 liter yeast starter.

As you can see you’re going to need a container for the starter — I use an 2000ml Erlenmeyer flask as it has easy to read the increments, and is made of pyrex so it can handle drastic temperature changes without any issue. You’ll also need a scale — any scale will work just fine as long as it can measure to the single gram. I’ve also got a pot to boil in, pale malt extract, a stir bar and stir plate, and finally some yeast nutrient.

First thing you’re going to do is measure out 1 gram of dry malt extract per 10 ml or water. I’m going with 110 grams for my estimated 1,100 ml. Technically, 1 liter is 1000 ml, but I always give myself a little extra.

Now I’m going to go ahead and add that 1,100 ml of dechlorinated water to the kettle. I say dechlorinated because it’s been through a charcoal filter to remove the chlorine.

Next, get your water onto the stovetop and set the heat to high.

Once the water reaches a boil, go ahead and add your dry malt extract — also known as DME — and stir it in. Be ready to drop the heat in case of a potential boil over. The wort loves to foam when you add dme.

Once the foam has subsided, let the wort continue to boil for 10-15 minutes in order to sanitize the solution.

Now that the wort has boiled, go ahead and add it to your sanitized erlenmeyer flask. From here on out, we have to keep everything that comes into contact with the wort nice and clean in order to avoid potential infection.

You’ll next want to place the flask in a cold water bath to get the temperature down to about 65 to 72 degrees F. You’ll also notice that I have sanitized foil over the top of the flask and a temperature probe inserted. The probe lets me keep track of temperature, and the foil keeps out any potential bacteria.

After the wort has cooled, carefully drop in your sanitized stir bar. At this point I like to go ahead and put the flask on the stir plate to get a whirlpool going.

Just so everyone’s tracking, this is what I mean when I say we want to achieve a whirlpool.

From there go ahead and add your yeast. If you read the instructions most companies recommend you sterilize the outside of the yeast package. You’ll notice as I pour that some liquid runs down the outside of my hand. That’s exactly why you take that precaution. Be sure to squeeze out as much yeast as possible. I’m using White Labs California Ale liquid yeast, but even dry yeast benefits from a starter.

Once you’ve finished adding the yeast replace the sanitized foil to the top of the flask, and the whirlpool will handle the rest of the mixing.

So, you might be wondering why the whirlpool?

The whirlpool not only helps keep the yeast in suspension, but it also pulls in oxygen to aid with the development of healthy yeast cells. The yeast nutrient that was mentioned at the start of the video can be added during the initial boil of the dme. I recommend a 1/4 tsp. The nutrient has everything the wort doesn’t to aid in proper fermentation — the key player being zinc.

With everything wrapped keep the starter at a normal fermentation temp between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. I typically let my starters go for 24hrs, but there’s some flexibility to that number. Once the starter is complete you can either add the liquid directly to cooled wort, or you can simply chill it in a refrigerator for a few hours, decant off the excess liquid, and then store the healthy yeast in a sanitized container with distilled water.

Thanks again for watching this tutorial on How to Make a 1 Liter Starter brought to you by The Brewer’s Life. Be sure to subscribe to the channel, and for more great info and tutorials on brewing visit our website at thebrewerslife.com

I’m Michael Heuer with The Brewer’s Life

Keep on brewin’.

 

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT USED

Erlenmeyer Flask

homebrew erlenmeyer yeast starter

Yeast Nutrient

yeast starter yeast nutrient

Dry Malt Extract (DME)

dme for yeast starter

White Labs California Ale Yeast 

white labs California ale 001

Magnetic Stir Bar

magnetic stir bar yeast starter

Stir Plate

stir plate for yeast starter

 Digital Thermometer w/ Probe

digital thermometer essential brewing gear

Digital Scale

anvil digital scale for precise measuring

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