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Old 04-16-2010, 02:29 PM   #21
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I found this out the hard way the last time I tried building a lager starter. You have to start like a week before brew day. My plan was to build up in two steps with a crash cool and decant in between steps and it took way too long for the initial ferment. I ended up pitching the whole thing because I could tell they weren't floc'd yet.

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Old 04-16-2010, 06:52 PM   #22
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I've read that propagating lager yeast at room temp (maybe a little on the cool side of it) is perfectly fine and I've not noticed ill effects from doing so. I've also read that when propagating lager yeast at room temp you want to chill it for at least 24 hours before decanting/pitching.

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I have a question about your method. Allegedly, making too small of a starter yields yeast that is less ready-to-ferment your batch of beer because the yeast cell mass doesn't increase much and the yeast will be depleted of nutrients. So you'll get a little more quantity but reduced quality. It seems if you step up a starter, the second step must be WAY bigger than the previous step. Otherwise you're just making too small of a starter for all that yeast you grew in the first step, thus yielding yeast that is depleted of nutrients. I've done something very similar to what you outlined but the results were not always that good. Doesn't mean it was the yeast though.

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:21 PM   #23
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I could see the yeast getting depleted of nutrients if you let the second step go too long on the stir plate. The job gets done very quickly if you're adding just 1L to 274 billions cells. If it sets on the stir plate too long after they're done, they start to eat away at their glycogen reserves since you're still keeping them in an active oxygen environment...that will weaken them. 1L won't give a lot of growth but you're only after so much...it can take less than 12 hours for that small second step to be fully finished. I'm not a veteran at this procedure so if there's a better way, I'm all ears. I know that when I was over pitching lagers, there was a problem with hitting the final gravity. Ales with WLP001 weren't as sensitive.

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Old 04-16-2010, 07:49 PM   #24
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I must not understand it correctly then dstar, I thought the short fermentation was exactly the problem that yielded yeast with depleted nutrients. As far as an alternative, I wish I had one. It's difficult without getting into unrealistic sized starters. May as well just make a low grav 5 gal batch, which is often what I do.

Ha, I doubt I've ever over-pitched a lager! Interesting observation.

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Old 04-16-2010, 08:21 PM   #25
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In this example, it may be best to start out with a 1L starter (from 1 package of yeast) and then step that up with a 2L starter, that will get you the same cell count in a healthier way I suppose. The second step I do is always bigger since I do 12 gallon batches.

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Old 12-13-2010, 11:12 PM   #26
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I'm bringing this thread back because it is addressing exactly the issues I'm facing while looking at building a big lager starter for the first time. I've done 1 and 2L ale starters, but this is a first.

So, for now I'm thinking I'll go from 1L to 3L total for my Vienna lager starter using the approach outlined above

Anybody else care to comment on their BLS (Big Lager Starters) or their experience with them?

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Old 12-14-2010, 11:06 AM   #27
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The best thing to do is just get a bigger flask and bigger stir plate if needed. For double batches of big beers, I've been using a carboy on my scrappy stirplate.

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Old 12-15-2010, 05:26 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t View Post
The best thing to do is just get a bigger flask and bigger stir plate if needed. For double batches of big beers, I've been using a carboy on my scrappy stirplate.

That stirplate is epic.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:31 PM   #29
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Just a question here, I`m getting ready to do a 1.076 beer.Would it be ok to just do a 3 quart starter right from the beginning instead of stepping up?I`m not sure of the benefit of stepping up vs just doing a big starter.I have never stepped up a starter, but was looking into doing so, but I want to try to avoid that if possible to reduce to chances of infection.Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

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Old 12-15-2010, 04:49 PM   #30
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What size batch and what yeast are you going to use?

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