How To Make A Yeast Starter For Beer

A starter is a crucial step in the process that helps ensure a successful fermentation. It involves growing a large population of yeast cells before pitching them into the main batch of beer. This not only increases the yeast cell count but also activates the yeast, making it more efficient in fermenting the sugars present in the wort.

To make a yeast starter for beer, you will need some dry extract, , and yeast nutrient. The dry malt extract acts as a food source for the yeast, while the yeast nutrient provides essential nutrients for yeast growth.

Start by weighing out 1 gram of dry malt extract for every 10 milliliters of your target starter volume. For example, if you want to make a 1-liter yeast starter, you would need 100 grams of dry malt extract. Add the dry malt extract to a vessel that you will be using for boiling.

Next, add enough water to the vessel to reach your target starter volume. In this case, you would add enough water to make a 1-liter starter. Ensure that the dry malt extract is fully dissolved in the water before proceeding.

Once the dry malt extract is dissolved, add about 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the boil vessel. The yeast nutrient provides additional nutrients that the yeast needs for healthy growth. Stir the mixture well to ensure the yeast nutrient is evenly distributed.

Now it's time to boil the mixture. Place the vessel on a heat source and bring it to a gentle boil. Boil the mixture for about 10 minutes to sanitize it and ensure that any unwanted microorganisms are killed off. This step is important to prevent any contamination in your yeast starter.

After the mixture has been boiled, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down. You can use an ice bath or let it naturally cool to room temperature. It's essential to cool the mixture before pitching the yeast to prevent any heat stress that can harm the yeast cells.

Once the mixture has cooled down, it's time to pitch the yeast. You can use any yeast strain suitable for beer brewing. Add a small amount of yeast to the starter, usually about 10% of what you would normally pitch into a full batch of beer. This small amount of yeast is enough to begin the fermentation process in the starter.

Cover the vessel with a sanitized lid or a piece of aluminum foil and place an airlock if available. The airlock allows the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to escape while preventing any unwanted air or contaminants from entering the vessel.

Allow the yeast starter to ferment at a controlled temperature for at least 24 to 48 hours. During this time, the yeast will multiply and become more active. You may notice a layer of foam or krausen forming on the surface, indicating that fermentation is taking place.

Once the yeast starter is ready, you can either use it immediately or store it in the refrigerator for future use. When using the yeast starter, decant the liquid portion and only pitch the yeast slurry at the bottom. This helps avoid diluting the beer with excess liquid.

By making a yeast starter, you are ensuring that your yeast is healthy, active, and ready to ferment the sugars in your beer. This step is particularly important for high gravity or strong beers, as the increased sugar content can be challenging for yeast to handle. A yeast starter provides the necessary yeast cell count to effectively ferment the beer, resulting in a well-attenuated, carbonated, and flavorful final product.

So, if you want to enhance your beer brewing process and achieve better fermentation results, consider making a yeast starter. It's a simple yet effective technique that will greatly improve the quality of your homebrewed beer. Cheers!

how to make a yeast starter for beer

How Do You Make A Yeast Starter For Brewing?

To make a yeast starter for brewing, follow these steps:

1. Gather the required ingredients: dry malt extract, water, and yeast nutrient.

2. Measure out 1 gram of dry malt extract for every 10 milliliters of your desired starter volume. For example, if you want a 100 milliliter starter, you would need 10 grams of dry malt extract.

3. Add the measured dry malt extract to the vessel in which you will be boiling the starter.

4. Add enough water to the boil vessel to reach your target starter volume. For instance, if you want a 100 milliliter starter, add enough water to reach that level after adding the dry malt extract.

5. Incorporate about 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient into the boil vessel. This nutrient provides essential compounds that promote yeast growth and fermentation.

6. Now, you can proceed with boiling the mixture. Make sure to bring it to a gentle boil and maintain it for around 10 minutes. This boiling process helps sterilize the solution and dissolve the dry malt extract thoroughly.

7. After boiling, allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. Ensure it is properly covered to prevent any contamination.

8. Once the starter has cooled down, you can add your desired yeast strain to the vessel. Follow the instructions provided by the yeast supplier for the appropriate amount to add.

9. Cover the vessel with a sanitized airlock or a loose-fitting lid to allow gas to escape but prevent any contaminants from entering.

10. Place the vessel in a warm and dark location, ideally around 68-72°F (20-22°C). This temperature range is generally suitable for yeast growth.

11. Let the yeast starter ferment for at least 24-48 hours, but longer if needed. During this time, the yeast will multiply and reach a higher cell count, making it more active and ready for fermentation.

12. Before pitching the yeast starter into your main batch of beer, it is recommended to cold crash the starter. This involves placing the vessel in a refrigerator for several hours to allow the yeast to settle at the bottom.

13. Once the yeast has settled, decant the liquid portion carefully, leaving behind the yeast sediment. You can then add the remaining yeast to your beer, ensuring a healthy and vigorous fermentation.

Remember, creating a yeast starter can help ensure a strong and efficient fermentation process in brewing. It allows the yeast to multiply and become more active before pitching into the main batch, resulting in better flavors and attenuation.


Creating a yeast starter is an essential step in homebrewing to ensure a successful fermentation process. By making a yeast starter, you are able to increase the yeast cell count, which is crucial for fermenting a strong beer or one with a high sugar content. Without a yeast starter, the yeast may not be able to handle the abundance of sugars, resulting in a sweet and uncarbonated beer.

To make a yeast starter, it is recommended to use 1 gram of dry malt extract for every 10 milliliters of target starter volume. This dry malt extract should be added to the vessel you will be boiling in. Once added, add enough water to reach the desired starter volume. It is also beneficial to add about 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the boil vessel to further support yeast growth.

Additionally, if you are interested in growing your own brewer's yeast, you can simply make a small batch of wort, approximately 1 gallon in size, using malted and cracked grains. Boil, steep, strain, and cool the wort as usual, and then pitch a small amount of yeast to initiate fermentation. This method allows you to cultivate your own yeast for future brews, ensuring a consistent and reliable source of yeast.

A yeast starter is a vital component of the brewing process, providing the yeast with the necessary conditions to thrive and ferment the beer properly. By following the recommended guidelines and techniques, you can enhance the yeast's performance, resulting in a delicious and well-carbonated final product.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.