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Old 12-08-2006, 11:34 PM   #1
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Default Lager yeast starter

I know we've talked about this before, but I can't seem to find it. I have a smack pack of Wyeast Bavarian 2206 (46-58 degrees). I'm going to make my starter tomorrow. Do I smack the pack tonight and leave it at room temperature (64 degrees or so), put it in the basement at 50 degrees, or not smack it at all?

I know I have to make a huge starter. Do I then keep my starter at 50 degrees until done?

I think that's all the questions I have for now- I'm sure I'll think of more later.

Lorena

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Old 12-08-2006, 11:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenae
I know I have to make a huge starter. Do I then keep my starter at 50 degrees until done?
This all depends on when you plan to bew. Assuming that you will brew this weekend, I suggest keeping the starter at room temp. The yeast will grow faster that way. And yes, smack the pack tonight and leave it at room temp as well.

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Old 12-08-2006, 11:47 PM   #3
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I was planning on brewing on Tuesday or Wednesday, or next weekend if the starter wasn't done. I'm not in a rush at all.

I'll smack it now- thanks, Kai.

Lorena

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Old 12-09-2006, 01:04 AM   #4
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Rule of thumb is to keep a lager at room temperature until fermentation starts, so it would be reasonable to maximize your starter by keeping it warm. That's what I did for my Schwarzbier & it is doing quite well.

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Old 12-09-2006, 02:10 AM   #5
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Not my thumb.
I brew my starters at room temps to get the maximum amount of yeast growing.
Then when my yeild is reached, I keep it in the fridge at aprox 5 degrees less than
the temperture I intend on primarying at. I get my wort to fermenting temps (50f for lagers), decant the spent beer on top of my starter, and pitch my starter at fermenting temps. Doing this avoids generating fusels and esters not wanted in a lager. This is a picture of my current lager at 50f 2 days after pitching just this way.

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Old 12-09-2006, 02:40 AM   #6
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I think the source of information for keeping a lager above fermentation temps until fermentation starts is from yeast manufacturers who claim their product is "pitchable". I assume it's so the yeast will grow relatively fast and start fermenting giving the brewer a warm, fuzzy feeling. As boo boo points out the risk is excessive esters and possibly heavy alcohols.

Make a big starter (around 4L/1g) and eliminate the need for that so you can ferment at the temperature the yeast is happiest at.

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Old 12-09-2006, 03:36 AM   #7
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I'd still keep the starter at room temp. This way it will ferment out until you brew. That causes the yeast to settle and you can decant the beer off that yeast.
Once you have more experience you can also try growing them at lower temps, but I don't think it makes much of a difference.

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Old 12-09-2006, 03:44 AM   #8
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Yeah, I should clarify that I'm referring to the main batch. I'd do the starter at room temp, as well.

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Old 12-09-2006, 11:45 AM   #9
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To make myself clear also, I make my starter at room temperture and when I have the volume of yeast I need, I cool the yeast to 5f below my fermenting temperture ( in my case I cool the yeast to 45f ) and pitch my yeast minus most of the spent wort on top of my starter into wort at 50f.

Making the starter at room tempertures only helps the yeast grow faster and thats's what it is all about for a starter. Since I decant most of the spent wort on top of my starter, I don't get off flavor beer into my wort.

Pitching colder yeast into slightly warmer wort means not too much of a shock to the yeast so it can "warm" up to the wort temps and start the process faster.

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Old 12-09-2006, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boo boo
Making the starter at room tempertures only helps the yeast grow faster and thats's what it is all about for a starter. Since I decant most of the spent wort on top of my starter, I don't get off flavor beer into my wort.
I generally propagate my lager yeast cold though. I believe that the colder temperatures do a better job in hindering infections to grow, which is important if you grow yeast from a small sample of yeast you kept from a previous batch. You can get more O2 into cold wort/starter and this way the yeast doesn't even get used to working at warmer temps. This is also done in commercial yeast propagation after the initial yeast growth in the lab, which was done warm. Some brewers also reported a change in the flocculation characteristic of lager yeast when grown warm. But in the end it's more important to have the proper pitching rate and if you have little experience with lager starters it is just safer to propagate them warm. A stir plate certainly helps to speed up the growth at lower temps.

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