View Full Version : 1 Gallon Yeast Starter

05-28-2009, 11:49 AM
I really hate making my first post a question, as it seems a bit selfish. Though I am in a bit of a time crunch and have a question before I can begin my first solo mead. I'll make up for it : ).

Making a strawberry mel with 15# honey and 15# strawberries and am about to make my starter. I have a 1 gallon jug of spring water and a bottle of white grape juice for starter. What ratio should my water to juice be for a starter? I remember someone talking about using my hydrometer and getting around 25 bricks or something.... But can't quire remember.

Anyone have any suggestions for my starter gravity or a simple ratio of water to juice?

Thanks much all!

Ps. yeast is lalvin k1-v1116 (using 3 dry packets)

05-28-2009, 01:36 PM
I have an even simpler solution for you, Bob. Just rehydrate the yeast per Lalvin's directions, and pitch the rehydrated yeast directly into your main must. For the initial gravity that you are likely to see in that must (assuming you're trying for around 5 to 6 gallons, plus berries), your yeast will do fine without a need for any starter. Three dry packets will supply more than enough viable cells to get that batch going in short order.

So, Welcome to the GotMead community! Don't worry that your first post is a question - we welcome questions here!! However we do appreciate if with every question, you can give us a full outline of your intended recipe (see some of the previous recipe discussion postings for the format that works best) - basically it is a line by line listing of ingredients and amounts, then followed by a brief discussion of how you intend to put it all together. That allows us to not have to guess about any of the ingredients, or the steps, that you plan on using.

Oh, and by all means get an initial measurement of the specific gravity using your hydrometer, before you pitch the yeast. Whether measured in gravity points (eg., 1.120) or degrees brix (eg., 19), this is essential for both determining the estimated final alcohol content, and tracking the progress of fermentation for nutrient management.

05-30-2009, 01:59 PM
Thanks a lot for the warm welcome : ).

I should have mapped out my recipe a bit haha, may have made a bit of a difference in suggestions. But I decided to make a gallon starter, mainly because I am using the no boil method and want a large amount of yeast beasts to overpower any sort of possible contamination. So i used a little over 1/2 gallon of white grape juice and about 1/6th a gallon of water.

Now my next step is to either dump the whole starter in my must, or just take the yeast slurry at the bottom. My question lies in this; if oxygen is to not be exposed to fermented beverages, wouldn't adding the entire yeast starter do just that? Being that the must will be oxygenated, wouldn't the fermented grape juice starter create off flavors due to being exposed to the oxygen from the must?

I suppose I should just take the slurry, but I hate wasting yeast haha.
Thanks a lot for your help Wayneb : )

05-30-2009, 03:37 PM
You will want to oxygenate untill 1/3 break. So, no it wont hurt


05-30-2009, 05:23 PM
As Gardenfish has said, oxygen early in fermentation is beneficial, not harmful. So, swirl that whole slurry until the yeast are suspended in the liquid, and pitch the whole thing into your main must.

This is fundamentally different advice than is usually given for beer fermentations. Mead is more like wine than beer in this respect. The yeast actually need O2 early on to properly reproduce and develop a large viable colony. All the O2 that you introduce by swirling, stirring, etc., before the 1/3 sugar break will be used by the yeast, and will not be around long enough to oxidize your must.

05-31-2009, 03:01 PM
Yeah I am a beer brewer so I suppose that is where I got the oxygen avoidance quality. Thanks a lot for your explanations!

I just created my must and tomorrow I shall pitch my yeast :), which I am very excited about. I was really surprised to see how much volume my strawberries took up.... after all my ingredients were added in I could only fit about 2.7 gallons of water in my fermenter while leaving 2 inches of space for yeast activity

I have a little over 6 gallons of ingredients in my bucket. About how much of a volume loss have people had in the past while using whole strawberries (please say 1 gallon!)? I used 15# of whole berries by the way.

Any tips to minimize volume loss would be spectacular :D


05-31-2009, 03:56 PM
Check my Gardenfishes Yo's strawberry thread for some info on yeilds with strawberries.