View Full Version : Results From Using A Yeast Starter

08-24-2015, 10:35 PM
I'm very much a new bee when it comes to mead and wine but I just wanted to share something I learned yesterday. I've been reading in a lot of mead making books that a starter is a good way to go when starting a fermentation. I've been using Lalvin 71B-1112 for my mead ferments up to this point and have been simply rehydrating and pitching into the must. The few batches I've started have gotten off to a good fermentation within about 24-36 hours and have finished well. I know it's sometimes best not to fix something that isn't broken but for some reason I really wanted to try using a starter - heck I even dreamed about it. So for my current batch of mixed berry melomel I bought a 1 liter beaker and some pasteurized 100% mixed berry juice. I rehydrated the yeast per the instructions, and pitched into 450 ml (2% of must volume) of the mixed berry juice. Within about 30 minutes it was foaming pretty good. Within three hours it was vigorously fermenting. So I poured the starter into the must and loosely covered with the lid. This morning I got up to check on things and I could hear faint noises coming from the bucket. I lifted the lid and saw the must looked like it was simmering on an oven top. This was by far the most vigorous fermentation I've ever seen. I don't know if it'll make a difference in the end product but it certainly got everything off to a good start. I've read it's not necessary to use starters when using dry yeast since the cell count is already high enough as long as you use enough for your batch size, but none of my other fermentations got going as good as this one so I'm going to make a starter from now on. I highly recommend it if you're new and haven't tried it yet.


08-25-2015, 10:14 PM
I always use starters, for two reasons:

1) I do not boil or pasteurize my honey so a robust starter overpowers any wild yeast and bacteria that might be dormant in the honey.

2) I can save money by keeping the culture alive in the fridge for months (I use a few hard to find yeasts that cost a few dollars each plus shipping).

They generally kick off fast and pretty strong.