What is the advantage of a yeast starter?

We build starters for 3 main reasons. First, to ensure yeast health. By making a starter 1-3 days in advance, you ensure that your yeast is healthy and strong and ready to do its job. Second, to create more yeast. By making the starter you will increase the cell count of the yeast, giving you a better chance of keeping bacteria's and wild yeasts from fermenting your wort. Third, if you are making high gravity beers. If you are making a high gravity beer (1.060+) you will need more yeast to start the ferment faster. High gravity beers will also finish more completely when you pitch ample quantities of yeast. More information on the subject: Before yeast start to convert sugars to alcohol, they go through two stages of respiration. It is during this time that they are building their cell walls up to be strong and healthy. As soon as the yeast eat all the oxygen in the wort, their cells tell them to switch to eating sugars. It is at this point that we as brewers want the yeast to be introduced into the wort so there is a minimal lag time. A starter will do two things for you: one, it will allow the yeast a media in which to "wake up", and two, it will allow the yeast a good environment for multiplication. The more hungry, healthy, and viable yeast cells you have, the faster fermentation begins, and the cleaner the flavors that are produced.

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