BeerSmith™ Home Brewing Forum
Brewing Topics => All Grain/Advanced => Topic started by: brian_muz on September 20, 2020, 10:57:35 PM

I've always been a little confused by the two stage starter layout in BS. You have the first stage on the left, then a recommended start size that seems to be for a single stage, then size recommendations for a two stage, then on the right you can set up your second starter. It's not very intuitive.
Anyway, I'm currently doing a starter for a Belgian Quad I'm brewing this week and BS recommends a first starer of 968ml and a second of 1008ml. Easy enough. Just wondering if I should decant after the first stage and add to the second volume or if the second volume should be added to the first?
If it's the first then I'm essentially making two starters that are about the same size and I thought the volume was the most important thing to define how many yeasties you end up with.
If the second is added to the first then the volume will be greater but the resulting starter wort will be diluted and weaker than the first one, which I also understand is something yeast don't like (going from a higher gravity to a lower).
Thanks in advance for you help.

The whole idea of starters and the expected number of cells produced is a bit dodgy to begin with. Add to that the excessive depreciation of the number of viable cells based upon the packaging date and the suitability of the starter calculation becomes really a guess.
Personally, I do my own cell counts after making starters (which is why I can attest to the 'guess' part of the growth calculators) and so I can overbuild the starter and pitch part of it based upon my data. For a situation such as yours, I would basically recommend a single starter at 2 liters and let it fly. Chances are the number of viable cells in your package are much higher than the calculator assumes. Since that will affect both the growth factor and the number of viable cells produced, you will probably be pretty much near your target number of cells.
Pretty much, don't let yourself get too hung up on the starter figures. If you are somewhere close to the desired number you will be fine and your beer will not suffer from under pitching issues.

For any big OG beer, 1.080 and up, I gave up on making starters. I first make a lower gravity beer and pitch the big beer on the yeast cake of the smaller one. The smaller beer ends up being by starter.

I'm also finding the 2stage starter info lacking in the either the app's documentation and the online info including release notes/new features/etc. For those of us who don't have the capability of counting cells, it would be great to have a short overview of the fields specific to 2stage starters as well as verbiage that might answer Brian_Muz's question about decanting or simply adding the first starter to the second. Failing that, I will plan to use Chris White's and Jamil Zainasheff's guidance on doing multistage starters. Thanks to anyone who can add clarity.

I see that stepped starters are covered in the Yeast book by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff. I decided to use the webbased Brewer's Friend starter tool for quick answers to my questions while I read the material in the book. I found the Brewer's Friend tool to be intuitive and easy to use. I still hope to see BeerSmith improved with the use of the two stage starter tool.