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Old 06-26-2009, 11:27 PM   #1
BigNastyBrew
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Default Bigger Starters take longer?

I usually make 1-2L starters depending on the beer, of course. This time, I made a 3.5L starter. After 20 hours, I see no signs of anything in this starter. I usually get krausen in 6-12 hours.

Is it just slow in appearance because of how much bigger the starter is? I know yeast only reproduce prior to fermentation so I'm hoping they're just propagating now (which is the point of a start, right?).

I am using a stirplate.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

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Old 06-26-2009, 11:57 PM   #2
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Did you use only 1 vial or smack-pak? Did you step it up?

Many of my starters (usually 1-1.5 Liters) don't show much in the way of activity or krauesen.

I have only had a couple that have krauesened. Regardless, I have never had a lag time over 6-8 hours when using a starter, and as an example my starter of WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast has only take 3 hours to begin fermentation, even the second time I used it as first generation washed yeast no krauesen either time.

Smell the starter, does it have that good yeastie scent, if so it is probably growing. RDWHAHB starters will not always krauesen, and like you said they reproduce first.

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Old 06-27-2009, 12:05 AM   #3
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I would expect larger starters to take longer. It makes sense, right? You make a starter for your 5 gallon (or more) brew because there's more lag time if you only use the little vial/pack of yeast. So, if you make a large starter, but use the same amount of original yeast, there should be more lag time than a smaller starter. But 20 hours does sound like a bit long....

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Old 06-27-2009, 01:09 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'm going to go smell it now. I didn't step it up and I used 1 vial of White Labs Trappist Ale.

I'm brewing a 1.085 beer tomorrow and don't want trouble with the yeast.

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Old 06-27-2009, 01:17 AM   #5
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I didn't see any krausen on my starter of a trappist yeast. Smelled like a belgian though, so I assumed there was some yeast activity.

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Old 06-27-2009, 04:20 AM   #6
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Man I hope it's going good. I've never brewed a Blegian and I'm screwing with the water profile for the first time tomorrow morning.

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Old 06-27-2009, 06:34 AM   #7
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For a Belgian, personally, I would allow it to rise to room temps. I pitch around 65, then allow it to rise to the ambient temperature of around 76-78, some allow the temps to get even higher. It is a classic belgian technique to get more of the fruity/funky goodness.

Also, normally for a 3.5 Liter starter it would require 2 vials or smack-paks to reach the 304 billion cells that are required for your 1.085 gravity, however, that is for near full attenuation in an 18-24 hour time period.

Since you did not step up your starter, and pitched only single vial, it would definitely take a bit longer to see any activity (if there would be any at all).

As an example I made a starter with a vial of WLP 540 Belgian Abbey IV Platinum strain, no krauesen or visible activity, but it smelled nice and funky, and this was before I had a stirplate, when I swirled it I could hear the fizz of co2 coming out of solution.

So RDWHAHB, just give it about 36-48 hours because of the larger size of your starter, and it should be gravy. You could definitely let it go a bit longer if you have the time, however, I like to pitch at high krauesen when the yeasties are ready to rock!

Let us know how it turns out. Brew on

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