View Full Version : Is it worth it to make a low-gravity starter?

09-21-2015, 03:04 AM
I have a few days off of work, so I think I'll start another batch. I have plenty of time to baby the must and add nutrients and all that good stuff. I'll be making a half-gallon batch of western buckwheat traditional.
I have:
1 pound of honey
a packet of 71B
Fermaid O

If my math is correct, 16oz Honey in 0.5Gal water should bring me up to roughly 10.6% ABV. Well below what 71B should be able to handle, so this should ferment bone dry even if I added more honey. SO, since the gravity is going to be so low, is it worth it to make a yeast starter? I DO have all night.

09-21-2015, 08:44 AM
Most people don't typically make yeast starters with dry yeast, since the packets are relatively inexpensive and contain far more yeast than a pack of liquid yeast does.

09-21-2015, 05:44 PM
If you have the goferm, rehydrate and go for it. With such a small batch you should even be able to pitch dry, but the more you baby the yeast the happier it is and the less fusels you will get.

09-22-2015, 12:44 AM
I'm not very experienced making mead - only one 3 gallon mango melomel and one 6 gallon batch of mixed berry melomel, so take my advice with a large grain of salt. I made a yeast starter using Lalvin 71B-1122 with mixed berry juice for the berry melomel and was very happy with the result. It was up and running in no time and fermented completely to 0.995. The minimum batch size I'll make going forward will be at least five gallons and I plan to use starters for every one. For anything less than that though I don't think it would be worth the trouble. As valverig said, there's more than enough yeast in a single 5g packet to do the job up to around 5 gallons if not slightly more.

09-23-2015, 08:43 AM
I have made many batches, using primarily dry yeast packets. Have never used GoFerm, only first heard of it on this site. Will try it some day I'm sure. At first I pitched dry and waited. I had slow ferments and some stalls. But then I wasn't hip to smart nutrient additions so...anyway...I recently started making DME starters with all my yeast prior to pitching, and between that and good nutrient additions my ferments have gone from three months to about two weeks.

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09-23-2015, 01:04 PM
Using Go-ferm will result in cleaner ferments that produce less fusels. I bet once you try it, you'll use it every time.

09-24-2015, 01:50 PM
I bet once you try it, you'll use it every time.

So I did it. I think I got the expected results. The yeast was happy. So happy in fact that it spewed thick foam all over my workspace for six hours. I installed a blowoff tube and went to bed. When I woke up, I took a gravity reading to catch the 1/3 break. But that time had long passed and I was sitting on the 2/3 break.
The batch fermented bone dry in two days. The lees hasn't even settled yet and the bubbling has almost stopped.. That is much faster work than I would have imagined. Still smells like molasses. :D

09-25-2015, 09:15 AM
See? Lol.

Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

09-25-2015, 04:21 PM
Well I guess I'm using GoFerm in my next batch! Lol. Time to get with the times.

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09-25-2015, 09:23 PM
I'd recommend it, though keep in mind that this was only a half gallon batch. It wasn't going to take long to finish either way, bit damn it smells good

09-26-2015, 06:28 PM
Happy yeast equals happy drinking.

Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.