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It's almost always a good idea. Pitching the right amount of healthy, active yeast is one of the easiest and most important things you can do. This is especially true for high-gravity beer, which is harder for the yeast to grow in. There's a great and fairly concise discussion of these issues on Mr. Malty, as well as a calculator that tells you how many ...


The conventional wisdom is to use starters, per the other answers here. I won't argue with that--there's certainly no harm in pitching a lot of healthy yeast. That said, I've gotten very good attenuation at times just pitching dry yeast. My last brew was 1.077 and I pitched one packet of US-05 (5 gallon batch). So far it has fermented to 1.006. Pretty good. ...

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