Beer Quotes & Wisdom

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline-it

helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear

weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -- Frank Zappa

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making a Starter

I am planning on brewing a lager in the next week or so, so I needed to make a starter. Being that I brew 12 gallon batches, and lagers require a big pitch of yeast I started with 2 vials of White Labs Southern German Lager yeast.
I wanted to make as large a starter as possible. My limitting ingredient was my malt extract.

I determined that I had .95 kg of DME.

Using a water to DME ration of 10 ml to 1 gram, I had 950 grams of DME so I needed 9500 ml of water. 9500 ml is the equivelent to 9.5 Liters are about 2.5 gallons of water.

I am lucky enough to have a 3.5 gallon PYREX carboy. Being PYREX I can put it straight on the stove.
I like to heat the water up to boiling, then add the DME to the water in a mixing bowl. A little work with a wisk and it is good to go. A funnel is handy when getting everything back into the carboy.

Everything goes back on the stove for 20 mins or so and once cooled the yeast goes in. Nothing to sanitize other than the airlock.


  1. Will you use all the yeast when you pitch into the 12 gal. batch? How much of the liquid do you pour off when you pitch, or do you put the entire carboy into the beer?

  2. I will use all the yeast. I will decant off most of the liquid, leaving just enough to swirl up the yeast and pour it in.

    I also tend to use some rubbing alcohol and a lighter to flame the lip of the carboy before transferring.

    Also, I still do not think this would be enough yeast if I was going into 12 gallons of a higher alcohol beer. I plan on starting with a Helles of moderate gravity.


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