So, to make my starters I've been using online calculators for the past 5 years. Most seem to be in agreement with one another. As long as you enter in yeast dates, an OG, a batch size and a starter L size, it spits out how much DME to start with. I just finished reading Chris White's Yeast book, and the information is definitely conflicting. I would trust Chris over most online calculators, but without counting cells, which I'm not doing, I can't be certain.

Basically the general idea from the book says it depends on initial pitch rate into the starter, NOT available sugar (DME). It stresses that the best way to start is with a 2L starter and build up with a multi-step approach. So essentially you start with 100 bil cells (ideally) and with a 2L starter and 200g DME, you'll have a total 205 bil cells in 24 hours - 105 bil new cells. Then cold crash, decant, add 2L new wort and the next step gets you an additional 100 bil new cells, not another 200 bil. So it's not linear.

When I brew a big ale, the online calculators have been telling me to make a 4-4.5L starter from a single vial to get to the 450 bil or so cells. According to the book, if you pitch a single 100 bil pack into a 4L starter you don't get to 450 bil or so. It's MUCH less than that. It's only 276 bil cells! (This is without agitation. I use a stir plate which dramatically increases growth by giving the yeast a constant supply of new oxygen. So maybe the stir plate is the answer!

Basically the general idea from the book says it depends on initial pitch rate into the starter, NOT available sugar (DME). It stresses that the best way to start is with a 2L starter and build up with a multi-step approach. So essentially you start with 100 bil cells (ideally) and with a 2L starter and 200g DME, you'll have a total 205 bil cells in 24 hours - 105 bil new cells. Then cold crash, decant, add 2L new wort and the next step gets you an additional 100 bil new cells, not another 200 bil. So it's not linear.

When I brew a big ale, the online calculators have been telling me to make a 4-4.5L starter from a single vial to get to the 450 bil or so cells. According to the book, if you pitch a single 100 bil pack into a 4L starter you don't get to 450 bil or so. It's MUCH less than that. It's only 276 bil cells! (This is without agitation. I use a stir plate which dramatically increases growth by giving the yeast a constant supply of new oxygen. So maybe the stir plate is the answer!

***Edited - Seems as though the online calculators factor in agitation via a stir plate. I didn't think of that. More on the White Labs test below.**
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