The Next Step
After mastering the basics, the serious brewer may want to start adding a few more advanced techniques to the brewing routine. These may include some of the things such as a siphon for the kettle as previously mentioned, but a yeast starter culture and a partial mash are also things that may be added to the brewing process to improve beer. The two catagories that I won in the 1997 World Homebrew Competition were both won with brews made with partial mashes. Yeast starter cultures can be used on dry yeast packets and white labs tubes, or any yeast for that matter. The dry yeast therefore would be transformed into a liquid active yeast, while the white labs tubes will be thoroughly activated and ready to ferment a full batch. Yeast starters are necessary for any beer that is over a 1.07 original gravity, which would be beers such as IPA and Belgian strong ales. Lagers should always use a starter for at colder temperatures it is more difficult to obtain the desired quick start, without which some even slight off flavors can be produced and make the lager a bit ale-like. Lager making will be discussed in the next section, as lagers are more difficult than ales to do properly.