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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Lager starter/pitching/temps
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:13 PM   #1
nolabrew85
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Default Lager starter/pitching/temps

Ok. I have heard a lot of different opinions about the following, so I put out my own feelers on the issue:

1) should the lager starter be kept at the same temperature that the lager is going to ferment at or should it just be kept somewhere closer to 65-70 F?

2) what is the best yeast pitching temp for a lager? I hear people saying to pitch at below 50 degrees and let it come up; I have also heard to pitch about 5 degrees above the fermenting temperature and let it slowly fall.

3). My issue is that it will take me a long time get the wort below 60 degrees (especially 50). In the summer, I don't think the immersion chiller will get it much below 70, regardless of the fact that I am pumping ice water into the via a submersible pump. So, I think this means, that for me to get the temp below 60 degrees, I would essentially have to cool it to 70 with the immersion chiller, then put it in the fermentation bucket and then stick the fermentation bucket in the fridge or icewater for an additional 20-30 minutes before pitching. My issues with this are that 1) I would be worried about the additional time without yeast for an infection take hold and become the dominant culture; and 2) it seems like some of the aeration I achieved by splashing the wort while pouring it into the bucket (my sophisticated aeration method) would be lost by the time I pitched the yeast. Should I just pitch at right under 70 or is the extra time ok or is there some other affordable/practical method I can employ?

What are your opinions these three points; any of these questions (especially number 3) that you can answer, would be much appreciated, or any other advice. This is an octoberfest with Wyeast Octoberfest. THANKS!

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Old 07-28-2013, 09:17 PM   #2
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1.) room temp is better. You're making yeast, not beer, and yeast grows better at warmer temps.

2.) IME, my lagers got much better if I pitched below my intended fermentation temp. I try to pitch when the wort is between 45-50F

3.) the method you propose is fine. It will be much better to chill before pitching than to pitch warm. Many people chill the wort overnight, then rack off the trub before pitching. You don't necessarily need to go that far, but do not pitch warm. And don't warm up the yeast before pitching. Take it out of the fridge, decant, and pitch immediately.

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Old 07-28-2013, 09:30 PM   #3
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thanks. the manufacture date on my wyeast octoberfest is June 13, 2013. Beersmith is telling me I need 3 packs and 4 liter starter!!! that is like $20 of yeast and a gallon of starter. That just seems crazy to me. Is there anyway I can do it with less and be ok?

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Old 07-28-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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I mean with a gallon starter, about 20% of the batch would be starter.

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Old 07-28-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Mr Malty says only 2.5 liters, but still need 3 packs!?!?!?

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Old 07-28-2013, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolabrew85 View Post
I mean with a gallon starter, about 20% of the batch would be starter.
No, because you decant the spent wort before pitching.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolabrew85 View Post
Mr Malty says only 2.5 liters, but still need 3 packs!?!?!?
Or you can make a larger starter with fewer packs. Assuming a 5.25 gal. batch of a 1.060 Ofest, you can use 1 pack with a 14L starter. If you hop the "starter", you can just make a 3.5 gal. batch first, then use that slurry for your Ofest.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
Or you can make a larger starter with fewer packs. Assuming a 5.25 gal. batch of a 1.060 Ofest, you can use 1 pack with a 14L starter. If you hop the "starter", you can just make a 3.5 gal. batch first, then use that slurry for your Ofest.
A 14 LITER starter? As in, 3.5 gallons of starter? Holy massive pitch monsters, Batman!
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:44 PM   #9
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A 14 LITER starter? As in, 3.5 gallons of starter? Holy massive pitch monsters, Batman!
Yep. IME, not uncommon for a lager. Which is why I suggested making a small, low gravity batch and using that yeast for the Ofest.

Or, 2 packs of yeast and a 5.7L starter.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:49 PM   #10
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ok. Denny, I appreciate all your help, but the more info I get the more questions I have. So I thank you in advance for your patience. I have only done 1 lager before. My Ofest should come out with about 1.057 OG. Before starting this thread, I already smacked the wyeast, but only have one pack and only have one pound of DME. Can I just make a 3 liter starter tonight with 12 oz DME, and then tomorrow when I am able to get more yeast and DME, step it up by adding 2.7 L (with 10 oz DME) and the other pack of yeast? Or is it just better to wait for everything, regardless of the fact that I already activated the pack.

Also, when decanting, do I just cold crash the starter once it is finished bubbling and then just carefully pour most of the spent wort out or should I siphon it out? thanks.

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