I started using a yeast starter for the last two beers. So far I haven't shielded it from the light. Should I?

The first is currently aging - the second was pitched yesterday.

I'm thinking light is generally considered bad for beer - hence the use of opaque buckets and amber bottles.

2 Answers 2


According to Beer Advocate,

This is when the beer has been exposed to ultraviolet light for a period of time. Hop-derived molecules, called isohumulones, are basically ripped apart.

So unless you're adding hops to your starter (which you shouldn't be), light shouldn't be much an issue.

  • Actually hops are an important part of starters for thier anti microbial properties. Feb 22, 2016 at 21:35
  • I haven't been using hops, and the instructions I've seen don't mention hops.
    – winwaed
    Feb 23, 2016 at 13:25
  • Don't use them in a starter. The couple of days that you go from boil to stir plate to refrigerator to pitching won't be enough for bacteria to grow, particularly if you spray your foil covering with StarSan before you cover your flask. Feb 23, 2016 at 14:27
  • @CharlieHorse if you look at fresh wet yeast from White Labs at 400x you will see hop trub particles. They add hops for a reason. Feb 23, 2016 at 14:46
  • 1
    They also have a shelve life of months. Feb 23, 2016 at 14:58

Really depends if you use hops or not. I always put a few pellets in for thier antimictobial properties.

And it depends when and how you pitch your starters.

Light + hops would be bad If your starter is just to reduce lag time ie pitching it at high krausen. While this is common it's mostly of those that have never tasted a starter and ignorantly add all those bad phenols and esters to thier beer when pitching.

Your starter has only one real purpose, to grow healthy yeast in an amount for a proper pitch. Yeast health is the most important thing. You shouldn't care what phenols and esters it makes. Then you decant and only pitch the yeast not the starter liquid. In this case light doesn't matter.

  • I hadn't heard of hops being used - it isn't in the starter kit instructions or in White&Zainasheff;s book "Yeast". It doesn't mention light either - hence the question.
    – winwaed
    Feb 23, 2016 at 14:29
  • @winwaed funny you mention Whites. While on a tour at white labs I asked what thier starter recipie is. And was met with the response that the specific recipie was a trade secrect, but he did state it was a light color wort with a touch of hops for their antimicrobial properties. Feb 23, 2016 at 14:42

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