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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Brewing Forum --> Brewing Discussion --> Starter Effectiveness

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Half Day
Pittsburgh, PA
8 Posts

I guess this is more of a question than discussion but would love to know if it is possible to measure how well a starter performs in terms of increasing cell count.  Is that possible without counting the actual cells?  I am guessing the only thing you can measure is gravity...would a certain drop in gravity have any relevance to the amount of cells grown?

Posted 34 days ago.

Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts

Without a cell count, it's impossible.  We can definitely estimate, but the calculator here on this site intentionally uses "middle of the road" numbers to estimate cell growth in a starter.  Different strains attenuate at different rates, and even the same strain will behave differently based on a number of factors - wort composition, temperature, aeration, starting cell count and vitality, and so on.

Posted 34 days ago.

Bastrop, TX
485 Posts

Grab a copy of Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

I believe the general math assumptions are documented there - as well as the Crabtree effect. The BU yeast calc should give you pretty good estimates.

Posted 34 days ago.

314 Posts

You could put samples in a cuvette and measure optical density and haze

Posted 34 days ago.

Plano, TX
2 Posts

Unfortunately, measuring for optical density would still not account for yeast flocculation characteristics unless you could measure the optical density while mechanically (or maybe chemically?) keeping the yeast in suspension.

Posted 34 days ago.

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