Making a Yeast Starter means to grow your small amount of yeast

into a larger amount of yeast. More yeast makes for happy yeast.

Happy yeast make better tasting beer.

Happy yeast start fermenting sooner, overpowering spoilage bacteria.

Happy yeast can more easily and quickly process malt into great tasting beer.


You'll Need:


·        LIQUID YEAST ( Either the Wyeast "Activator" smack pack or

                                                the White Labs "Tube" )



(1000 ml heat tempered Flask or 1/2 gallon Jug and a 2000 ml heat tempered Flask or another 1/2 gallon Jug for the "Step-up Starter" )

Note: Heat tempered flasks give you the advantage of being able to boil your starter directly in the flask, saving one step.








·        FLAME SOURCE ( A hand held Propane Torch from Home Depot, etc. works great. Prop it up at a 45 degree angle with a coat hanger stand )



The Flame Source is very, very important!


Those evil bacteria that will spoil your starter,

do not have feet and can't just crawl into your starter bottle.


However, they can and will drift in on the dust particles.


The flame source will create an updraft to prevent

the dust/bacteria from contaminating your starter.


·        OXYGENATION SYSTEM (Optional, but necessary for potential alcohols above 5% and all lagers))



Let's Make the Yeast Starter


 (For Wyeast "Activator" smack packs and

White Labs Tubes”, go directly to "Stepping Up" the starter)


( Work in a draft-free area, on a clean and sanitized surface )


1.   Sterilize the Flask or Jug. Use your favorite sanitizer. Rinse very well with hottest water. While upside down, after completely drained, cover with a piece of the aluminum foil. Keep the bottle warm.







2.   In a saucepan, mix together:

·        1/2 cup Dry Malt 

·        2 cups of Water 

·        1/8 tsp. of Startup

·        This makes about 700 ml. of a 1.040 S.G. mixture.


3.   Boil this mixture for fifteen (15) minutes with the lid 7/8 on (to reduce       

evaporation loss).


4.   Pour the boiled mix into your warm and sanitized starter bottle. Quickly recover with the foil.


5. Using a water bath, cool the boiled malt to exactly 75ºF.

    Check the malt temperature by checking the water bath temperature.


Do Not Open Up the Bottle to check the temperature!


6. Now, light the Flame Source.


From Now On, do everything under the

four (4) inch wide umbrella of the flame.



7. Shake the Yeast Tube, also warmed to 75ºF, to suspend the yeast.

Under the flame: open the tube and pour the yeast into the Starter Bottle. Quickly recover with the foil.


8. Keep the covered Starter Bottle in a warm, 65-80ºF, area.


9. As often as possible, give the Starter Bottle a swirl to suspend the   

    yeast and to draw in some needed oxygen. Or, use a “stir plate”.


       10. Go now to "Stepping Up" your starter.






The Yeast Starter is ready to use, or to "step up", when it has a light froth

over the top. You now have the maximum cell count.


This could be from 3 hours to 2 days,

depending on the viability/age of the yeast source.


If the Yeast Starter is ready…and you can't brew,

put it into the refrigerator.


Twelve hours before you need it,

repeat steps 2 - 9 to re-awaken the yeast.



"Stepping Up"/ Increasing the Starter Size


(Start here for Wyeast "Activator" smack packs and White Labs “Tubes”)


Reality states that you really need a minimum of 1-1/2 quarts per 5 gallons wort

of active starter, or 1/2 cup per 5 gallons wort of yeast slurry, to get your brew fermenting within an hour of pitching the yeast. Not having to grow, the yeast will grab all the nutrients and overwhelm potential bacteria and produce CO2,  protecting your brew.



To make this size of starter:





·         Let yeast pack or tube warm to room temperature, about ½ hour.


·         It is not necessary to "activate"/break the inner nutrient pouch. Just use the liquid (the yeast) inside the pouch).


·         For White Labs “Tubes”, just shake well to liquefy the yeast, and use.


·         Repeat steps 1-9, above


·         When ready to pitch/use this starter, pour off the liquid, using only the slurry.

    Be sure to "flame" all the edges that you pour over.





Pitching The Yeast Starter


Light your Flame Source. You're going to take it with you

as you pitch (add) your Yeast Starter into your wort.


·         Under the four (4) inch umbrella of the flame, remove the foil cover from the Starter Bottle.


·         Swirl to suspend the yeast.


·         "Flame" the lip of the Starter Bottle. This means to pass the lip, that the yeast will be poured over, through the flame to kill any bacteria.

     A three (3) second pass through is adequate.

Keep the Starter Bottle under the umbrella of the flame.


·         "Flame" the top of the carboy (if fermenting in glass).

Swirl and add your Yeast Starter.

Keep the Starter Bottle and fermenter under the umbrella of the flame.


·         "Flame" the top of the carboy again. Quickly cover with new foil.


Start cooling to recommended fermentation temperature.  








Oxygen (pure O2) builds up "sterols", like steroids for yeast. This builds stronger cell walls that resist alcohol poisoning. The result is a more constant ferment that goes to dryness. Oxygenation is mandatory in high gravity brews and in lagers.


Oygenation is highly recommended in all brews.


·         5 seconds, pure O2, into "first-stage" starter media, before adding yeast.

·         5 seconds into "step-up" starter media, before adding the first-stage starter.

·         30 seconds into the wort, before adding the stepped-up starter.

·         30 seconds into the wort, every 2 hours up to 12 hours later. No O2 after this.