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Should I add hops to my starter recipe? I just started using starters, and I haven't been hopping them at all. I didn't even think of adding hops until I read some of the answers on this question. What are the reasons to hop or not hop a starter?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

No, there's no need to hop a starter. You aren't trying to make a beer, you're trying to replicate yeast. Hop oils do actually inhibit the growth of yeast a little, so adding them to your starter would defeat the purpose.

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Hops tends to inhibit bacterial growth more that yeast, so some people hop their starters highly to prevent infection. –  Nick Jan 21 '11 at 17:00
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Permit me to say with tongue in cheek that if you can't make a starter without having it get infected, perhaps you should consider taking up knitting as a hobby.... –  Denny Conn Jan 21 '11 at 18:07
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There is no reason to hop a starter. The quantity compared to the full batch shouldn't have a dramatic effect on the flavor profile and the antiseptic qualities of hops should not be necessary if you prepare the starter well.

The best method I found for preparing starters is to make a 2-3 gallon batch of wort using a light extract and then filling canning jars with the wort, bringing them to a boil to sanitize and seal the jars. You then have a ready source to use in your starters without any extra work needed when you do your starter.

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To put a nail in this question: You do not need to puts hops in yeast starters.

The main reason to add hops to a yeast starter is because the alpha acids in hops have an antibiotic quality that inhibits the growth of Gram-positive bacteria, thus making way for brewer's yeast to do its work.

In practice, assuming you properly sanitize (which you should--you're a homebrewer!), there's really no tangible benefit to adding hops to a yeast starter.

If it really makes you feel better, add a couple of hop pellets or leaves to your starter and don't panic.

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