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Old 01-29-2009, 02:15 AM   #1
egurney
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Default Lager yeast starter schedule

I've looked around for the answer to this to no avail...
I'm planning on brewing a lager on Sunday. After reading the Mr. Malty FAQ on starters it seems like the starter should be good @ 12-18 hours. So...
If I make my starter and leave it at room temp for the 12-18 (stir plate), then put it in the fridge for 24-36 hours, decant the wort and pitch into the main wort @ fermentation temps.

Does this sound like a viable plan? Or am I missing something.

Thanks,
Eric

BTW, the first lager we did, we just pitched a Wyeast Activator and it turned out great...

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:41 AM   #2
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Well my lager starters usually take about 48 hours at room temp to get going.. This is with white labs 830...
I think the fridge may be a little too cold..

Edit: i dont usually decant so the fridge may be good but i would give it alittle more time to get going before putting in the fridge.

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:43 AM   #3
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Yeast propagated with a starter can be kept for at least several days and probably a lot longer if need be. Your schedule should allow you to make the starter tonight or tomorrow and it will typically finish out in about 24 hours using a stir plate. You could then step it up again if desired and let it finish out until Saturday evening. At that point you migh want to chill the starter overnight to let the yeast settle out. Decant the starter just prior to pitching and you're good to go. Considering that you are making a lager it would be beneficial to pitch a large starter of at least two liters. The Mrs Malty info is excellent and you can't go wrong following his advice.

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:47 AM   #4
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stir plate?
The fridge is to cold crash so I can decant off the wort.

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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What/How do you mean by 'step it up again if desired'?
I only have a 2L flask. Is this too small for a 2L starter?

Thanks

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:05 AM   #6
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I generally make only 1.7l starters in my 2l flask. You'll need some room for the kraeusen. But 1.7l should be enough as well. It has worked for me at least.

You want to give the starter enough time to ferment out. Unlike ale yeast, lager yeast isn't easily crashed when it is still fermenting. I found that I have to let the yeast finish all the yeast and at that point I just put it into the fermentation fridge to settle overnight. It will also get the yeast to the right pitching temp.

Kai

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egurney View Post
stir plate?
The fridge is to cold crash so I can decant off the wort.
You mentioned a stir plate in your original post so I assumed you were using one.

I don't understand what you mean when you say the fridge would somehow prevent you from decanting the starter. Why would that be?

Your two liter flask will work just fine. By stepping it up I mean to decant the wort, transfer the yeast to another container then make a second starter in the flask using the yeast from the first stage.
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:28 AM   #8
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If you are going to pitch your entire starter then Jamil recommends 8-18 hours at room temp which will get you almost maximal numbers and they are active and healthy. If you want to decant then, as Kaiser said, you want them to ferment out, go dormant and floculate out (with a little help with crash chilling). This requires going for 24-36 hours + the time it takes to chill. FWIW I do mine the way Kaiser describes and it works fine. With lagers started at 46F I see the first signs of fermentation within about 24 hours and a good krausen forming by about 36 hrs.

GT

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Old 01-29-2009, 02:27 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the help. I'll start the starter later this afternoon. And go from there based on what happens.

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