Brewer's Ed

Starters 101: Lactobacillus

Pitch it and forget it

By Lance Shaner

May 5, 2022

Lactobacillus starters are even easier than ale or lager yeast starters because you really don’t need to bother with agitation or stir plates. Just pitch it and forget it. 10°P (1.040) wort works well. Please note, however, that it is absolutely essential that the wort is unhopped because Lactobacillus is very hop sensitive (meaning they will not grow well in hopped wort). No stir bar or stir plate is required to make a Lacto starter.


Lactobacillus does not flocculate or sediment like yeast does nor does it form a lot of biomass. So you should not expect a creamy layer of stuff” on the bottom of the flask. However, you may see a dusting of trub and bacteria and the appearance of the starter will shift from clear amber to cloudy pale. The smell will shift from typical wort aromas to yogurt-like aromas (it will become familiar with experience). Because the bacteria does not settle, you will not be able to decant and will instead pitch the entire starter into your batch.

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