I just brewed a batch of a Bell's Two Hearted clone kit. Used the liquid yeast for the first time and I'm excited to see how it turns out. Hope it's good since it's gonna be like half my Christmas presents.
On the other hand, I just looked up yeast starters and concluded I'm in no hurry whatsoever to tack that onto the routine
The IPA I made was called 'Dead Ringer'. It used to be called 'Three Hearted Ale', and apparently it's like the Bell's 2 Hearted. I used the Wyeat American Ale II and so far it's been big, bitter, not as citrusy/piney as Id like but still delicious. Even flat.
How to make a Yeast Starter:
You need: 1 Erlynmeyer (sp?) flask, preferably 2000ml, 1 pound DME, stopper (piece of breathable foam to fit inside the flask)
0) 3 hrs before, smack the pack, leave somewhere warm
1) fill flask up 3/4, dump into pan, bring to boil.
2) Cut heat, add DME, return to boil, 10 mins.
3) Pour into flask, aluminum foil top of flask, stopper sink, fill sink with could water up to waterline in flask, put flask in sink, do something else for 15 minutes
4) pitch expanded smack pack into flask, stopper it with foam
5) everytime you walk past it in the next day, pick it up and swirl it to get the yeast off the bottom, give it at least 12 hours and not more than 48
Starters greatly decrease chance of infection, make better beer with less off-flavors, and are kinda cool to make. Takes about as much effort as making rice, all said and done.