Shaken-not-Stirred Yeast Starter (Illustrate Steps for the SNS Method)


Shaken-not-stirred is also know as SNS.

What you need

  • A little pot
  • Dry malt extract (DME) 100g
  • 4 liter (or larger) sealable container/bottle
  • Yeast nutrient (optional but recommended)
  • Yeast
  • Water (in case you forgot!)

A Word on Size

The size of your container (bottle) should be 4-5 liters if making a 1 liter starter. Shoot for the 4:1 ratio. This is to ensure adequate surface area. A lot of surface area provides enough space to get good foam. A lot of foam means you’ve got a lot of oxygen for the yeasties.

Mix, Boil, and Chill

I boil for about 5 minutes and then chill in a water bath. I like to add a pinch of yeast nutrient preboil. Chill to the same temperature you plan to use for fermenting the upcoming brew.

How Much DME and Water?

1 liter of water and 100 grams of dry malt extract (DME) will give a gravity of 1.035. You can also use the more standard 1 liter and 115 grams for a gravity of 1.040.

Sanitize, Add, Shake, and Pitch…

Shake That Thing

Be sure to shake until almost all the liquid has turned into foam (90%). I find it’s helpful but not entirely necessary to listen to some bump’n tunes. Try “Get Busy” by Sean Paul.

*For the yeast’s sake, PLEASE, shake first, then add them into your container. They’ll thank you later.

Let the starter “go” at the same temperature or a litter cooler than your planned fermentation temp. The goal is to pitch it when it is at high krausen. This can be a bit hard to time until you’re familiar with the yeast and process.

How Much Yeast?

Denny Conn said he used one Wyeast “smack pack” to brew his Noti Brown Ale that weighs in at 1.065-ish. He said he had great results. A Wyeast smack pack has 100 billion cells.

*As noted in the comments, the amount of yeast is not as important. Use “enough” yeast!


Thanks to Mark Van Ditta and Denny Conn for coming up with and “propagating” the shaken-not-stirred starter method. You can read more about it on the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Forum here.

Update 9-24-20

Mark Van Ditta contacted me and he has a new blog post about the SNS method. See it here

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