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How to Make a Yeast Starter

Equipment Needed

  • 1lb of extra light dry malt extract (DME)
  • fresh water
  • glass container
  • small pan

Yeast is the simple most important ingredient in beer. Without a good healthy yeast your beer will suffer. Starters are meant to help bring the cell count up before pitching into wort. This is good practice to help ensure proper fermentation and yeast health, and can be applied to wort that has gravity of 1.040 and up.

Note: Canned yeast starters are also a quick way to make starters with very little effort. The typical 16oz can will make a 1L starter at 1.040 gravity.

More information on the amount of cells you would need you can also consult This calculator will help you get the right starter size for the beer you are making.

  1. First we have to get some basic math out of the way. The easiest ratio for a starter is 10grams of DME for every 100ml of water. The smallest starter you should consider is 1 liter.
  2. Once you have your ratio you want to add the water to the pan and bring up to a near boil. Once you are close to a boil ~190 degrees add in your malt extract.
  3. Bring the mixture up to a boil and maintain the boil for 5 minutes, this is going to make a small beer of ~1.040 gravity.
  4. Once you have finished boiling the mixture it’s time to cool.
    • Take the pan off the stove and place in a cold location and chill it down to 68-70 degrees
  5. Once cooled down, pour the mixture into a sanitized jar or glass bottle. Cover the container with loose fitting plastic or foil, the introduction of oxygen is a good thing.
  6. It is a good practice if you do not have a stir plate to periodically shake the mixture as to keep it slightly aerated.
  7. The starter should be ready to pitch after 36-48 hours.
Sulli at homebrewtalk had made a diagram to help illustrate the process.