I'm giving my first starter a go: a 2.4L starter for a 21L batch overall. Since this looks like it will account for over 11% of the total volume, should I recalc for a 23L / 19L batch? Or should I keep the recipe for a 21L batch but only add total 19L before the starter?

The gravity will likely be quite different. I haven't measured the starter but assume it'll be around 1.040. The starter is made from straight LDME & the beer is a Saison, targeting about 1.071 OG.

Are there any other "tricks" for using a large starter in a relatively small batch?

  • It's not a "trick" for starters, but if I could say, from experience, keep that Saison HOT!!! And don't be surprised if it stalls out for a week for two half way through fermentation (depending on the year you're using)!
    – David PGB
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 5:04

1 Answer 1


With a starter that large, it's best to pour off the starter wort.

To do this, you can either leave it for a few days for the yeast to settle out, or put the starter in the fridge a few hours before it's needed. Either way, once the yeast have settled, you can pour off the starter wort.

You can then put the yeast somewhere that's close to pitching temperature. If you want to pitch actively fermenting yeast, you can add a half a liter of wort to the starter to get the yeast active again - this will give a shorter lag time.

  • 1
    I find it works best for me to put the starter in the fridge a day or 2 before I want to use it. That gives the yeast plenty of time to drop out. I also pitch the yeast cold from the fridge. I find that I get better performance that way than letting it warm up first.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 16:06
  • What about temperature shock?
    – mdma
    Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 17:23
  • 1
    Temp shock happens when you pitch warmer yeast into colder wort. When you pitch colder yeast into wort the same temp or warmer the yeast doesn't start using it's glycol reserves before it gets into the wort. That gets you faster starts and healthier fermentations. I've done it hundreds of times and it works great.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 17:47
  • Thanks guys - for a starter do I chill & pour off to keep only the solid stuff or do I need to preserve specific layers? Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 2:42
  • Yes, just keep the solid stuff at the bottom. You can keep a little bit of liquid in, which makes it easier to resuspend the yeast - flocculent strains will stick to the bottom of the flask - a swirl in a little of the remaining liquid will take care of that.
    – mdma
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 6:33

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