Dry Yeast

Dry yeast and starter

I decided to try out dry yeast since it seems to have come a long way even since I started brewing. I picked up a package of Fermentis Ale us-56, a typical American Ale strain, and a 1 liter Erlenmeyer flask. I figured the cost savings ($1.80 a pack) from using dry yeast twice would cover the cost of a pyrex starter vessel. Plus, I could use the flask to boil, cool, and pitch in – reducing steps and vectors for infection. Win, win!

I pitched the yeast around midnight last night and when I woke up, the little buggers are already hard at work, so it looks like I’ll be brewing this evening.

Making a Yeast Starter

Even with the advent of pitchable yeast packets and vials, a yeast starter is an excellent way to get quick and vigorous fermentation. Here’s how to make one using that empty growler you’ve been meaning to fill with a local brew.
yeast starter


  • 1 cup light DME (dry malt extract)
  • 1/4 tablespoon of yeast nutrient
  • Yeast – your choice


  • medium-large pot
  • 64 oz. growler bottle or pyrex flask
  • #5 rubber stopper
  • Air lock
  • sanitizer
  • something to stir with – no porous


  1. Sanitize your fermenting vessel and airlock
  2. Bring 1 liter of water (1 quart) of water to a boil. Add
    DME and yeast nutrients, stir in and watch for boil-overs. Boil for ~10 minutes
  3. Cool wort to 80F and transfer to your fermenting vessel. I’m using a 64 oz. growler
  4. Aerate the wort well. If you have a bottle of O2, you know what to do
  5. Pitch the yeast, lightly agitate the vessel, and cap with the airlock
  6. Let the yeasties ferment

Fermentation will probably start overnight, and you can use it as soon as yeast has started settling on the bottom of the vessel. Most people make a starter 2 days before brewing. Good luck.

Cooper Carbonation Drops

I purchased a bag of Cooper Carbonation Drops with the intention of bottling a couple of beers from each batch that I brew. Unfortunately, the use instructions fail to mention how to sanitize them.

I’d hate to go to all this trouble just to have a carbonating tab spoil a beer that I’d sent to a family member, friend, or even a competition.

The only method I can think of is steaming the item. Not fail safe by any means, but it may be a start. What about baking them? Seems extraneous.

Nalgene Wet-Dream

For some reason I stumbled on over to the Nalgene website, and found a Carboy section that was full of really cool containers. Maybe some day I can get some of these cool toys. I imagine they’d work fairly well for brewing. The other gear is really cool too. Now if only I could get that stout into the keg…

ABV Calculator, Tools Page

I finished and ABV calculator over the weekend, and added it and the IBU calculator to the Tools page, which you can get to from the top and side navigation links.

It should work with Specific Gravity and Plato, and do temperature corrections for Celcius and Fahrenheit. I didn’t add support for Potential Alcohol because, well, its pretty obvious.

Bert on Tap

I’ve moved my Yakima IPA 2 and Michelle’s Scotch Ale into the kegs, and they’re carbonating.

Also, we’ve got a new addition to the kegerator: a bronzed Bert Grant tap handle. Its cool. Pictures forthcoming.