Shaken-not-Stirred Yeast Starter (Illustrated Steps)

I’m trying my hand at some illustrations. This is the first complete one. It’s a simple guide on how to make a starter in the “shaken, not stirred” fashion. Cheers to the visual learners!

Gather the Stuff (Pictured Above)

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.

Make the Wort

I boil for about 5 minutes and then chill in a water bath. I like to add a pinch of yeast nutrient for good measure at this point. Chill to the same temp you plan to use for fermenting the up coming brew.

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.

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.

Shake then add the yeast.

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.


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 AHA Forum here.

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