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Old 07-22-2014, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default Can I make two starters from one vial of yeast?

I only have one vial of White Labs 802 at about 35% viability. Beersmith says that I need two vials to make an appropriate starter for the lager that I would like to brew on Thursday.

Can I make a starter over the next 24 hours, pour off the yeast, and then use it to make another starter?

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Old 07-22-2014, 05:28 PM   #2
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You can step it up i'd think. Use yeastcalculator.com and plug in your numbers. For a lager like you want to brew, something in the 1.050 range (5 gal) you are going to need ~400 billion cells. To get that from one vial of yeast, i'd pitch it into a 1L starter on a stir plate, then chill, decant, repitch into a 2L+ starter. From there i'd be happy to pitch into a 5 gallon batch.

One thing i'm not sure of is if there is enough time between now and thursday to get a starter going, get proper growth, chill enough to drop the yeast, etc. I like to chill for 2 or 3 days to make sure the most attenuative yeast actually flocculate out and aren't left in the "beer" i dump down the drain before pitching.

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Old 07-22-2014, 05:36 PM   #3
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Yes, that's called stepping up, and that's exactly what you should do. The cold crash/decant step takes longer then you think. I usually allow for 3 full days of cold crashing to be sure the yeast has all flocc'd out and I'm not decanting precious yeast cells before the step up.

Also, I will usually start my 2nd starter boiling, then pull the 1st starter and decant...leaving it at room temp so it gradually comes up to the temp your 2nd level starter wort is going to be at when you pitch it. The cold crash/decant trick works great for lager starters, but take extra care not to temperature shock the yeast at any point of the process.

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Old 07-23-2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
The cold crash/decant trick works great for lager starters, but take extra care not to temperature shock the yeast at any point of the process.

Thanks guys. I think that I'll push my brew day back to Sunday or even later next week. I put my first starter on the stir plate last night and will let it go for another 24 hours, cold crash it, and then begin the second starter to step it up.

How do you keep the temperature drop from shocking the yeast? Cold crash in stages?

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Steve
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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Cold crashing will not cause shock problems to the yeast. The yeast cells will just drop out and go dormant. It is when you want the yeast to go to work on a fermentation that temperature shock can stress the yeast.
The temperature difference should be less than 10°F when you add new wort to a starter or are pitching the yeast to the wort in your fermentor.

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Old 07-23-2014, 03:11 PM   #6
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Ah, I get it.

You want to bring the yeast up to fermentation temperature, whether from first step to second step, or from starter to fermenter, before pitching the yeast.

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Old 07-23-2014, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flars View Post
Cold crashing will not cause shock problems to the yeast. The yeast cells will just drop out and go dormant. It is when you want the yeast to go to work on a fermentation that temperature shock can stress the yeast.
The temperature difference should be less than 10°F when you add new wort to a starter or are pitching the yeast to the wort in your fermentor.
At first I got all defensive thinking this was an attack on my post. LOL...and now I realize it's a response to a direct question, and it's exactly what I would've said in response to the same post. Good advice flars...lol...I gotta read back more then one post sometimes.....
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:34 PM   #8
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Ah, I get it.

You want to bring the yeast up to fermentation temperature, whether from first step to second step, or from starter to fermenter, before pitching the yeast.
In general yes. I follow a simple rule. The yeast and the wort you put it into should both be at or just below your desired pitch temp at the time of pitching.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:42 PM   #9
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I generally aerate my wort and pitch my yeast in a modified chest freezer - and maintain my fermentation temperature there. Easy enough to bring the starter up to temp by letting it sit in the chest freezer, while bringing my wort down to temp before putting it in the freezer to stabilize.

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Old 07-23-2014, 03:45 PM   #10
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As a sidebar - I haven't done a signature until now. By "on deck," do we mean a beer that we're preparing to make, or a beer that's been kegged and about to be tapped?

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