USING DRY YEAST- Most dry yeast will start the fermentation quickly without any preparation. It is important to use fresh yeast. To improve the chances of a good fermentation with dry yeast, the yeast can be rehydrated in a small amount of sterile water before adding to the beer. The water should be the same temperature as the fermentation temperature of the beer you are making. A yeast starter can be made with dry yeast (see below).

USING LIQUID YEAST- The most common form of liquid yeast available to home brewers is White Labs, which comes in a packet. 

MAKING A YEAST STARTER:

This is usually done the day before you brew. A yeast starter will start the fermentation of you beer more rapidly.

Equipment needed:

Starter vessel: quart size or larger jar (juice jars work well), a large beer bottle, or an Erlenmeyer flask

Stopper & Airlock*

Measuring cups, measuring spoons

Rubbing alcohol & cotton balls or swabs

*If you do not have a stopper that fits your chosen starter vessel, you may cover the container with a clean cloth that has been sanitized: boil the cloth for 10 minutes, and then soak it in a sanitizing solution. If using cheesecloth, or other loosely woven cloth, use 2- 4 layers so dust and bacteria are effectively trapped.

The starter should be at least 2 cups in size. Before making the starter, if using liquid yeast, follow the instructions above for starting the yeast growth.

To make a starter medium, use malt extract, dried malt extract, or some unfermented wort from a previous batch. It is important to use malt based sugars, as other sugars do not have sufficient nutrients for healthy yeast growth. Add water to the extract or gyle- the best specific gravity range for making a yeast starter is between 1.030- 1.040. Here are some guidelines for making starters with dry malt extract:

STARTER VOLUME VOLUME OF EXTRACT YEAST NUTRIENT (Optional) HOPS (optional)
1 cup 1 Tablespoon 1/2 tsp. 1/2 tsp.
2 cups 2 Tablespoons 1 tsp. 1 tsp.
1 Quart 1/4 cup 1 Tablespoon 1 Tablespoon
(For larger volumes, adjust above quantities equally)