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Old 10-04-2012, 07:05 AM   #1
dinnerstick
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Default crashing a lager starter

i'm stepping up a starter for a big bock (dutch style herfstbok). 5 liters, then stepped up in a second 5L. trying to get this going as quickly as possible as there are only a few free days to brew (was hoping for sunday), but the damn yeast is happy as clams in sauce fermenting away in my fridge!! which is at 6 degrees C and doesn't feel up to the task of going any lower. pretty close to the recommended range for this yeast. there's a beautiful light yeast cake but the starter beer is still very cloudy and fizzing like mad. i didn't measure gravity, but i gave 3 days at room temp with constant stirring. i imagine it was well through the growth phase. then overnight in the fridge. it's wyeast 2206 bavarian, and it's my first time using this yeast. can anyone with experience here give me, in the name of beer, an estimate of whether this is going to settle down or if i should postpone my brewday and let it run through the starter? in which case am i better off warming it back up to finish more quickly? no way i'm adding any of the liquid to the final beer, although it does surprisingly smell wonderful, really fruity, don't really want that in my bock, so i'm happy to be patient. i have beer on tap. thanks!

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Old 10-05-2012, 06:50 AM   #2
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perhaps the title of this thread was too intimidating! looks like i'm the only one who has even read it!
on that note, if a tree falls in a forest...

has nobody done this?? how do people usually prepare their stubborn lager starters before decanting? oh well, after a solid 36 hours in the fridge this thing is fermenting away pleasantly. i thought the drop from room to fridge temp would convince the yeasties to flocculate but they turned it into an all nighter instead. brew day reluctantly postponed

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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I do all my starters is the 70deg range. When they are done cold crash decant all the starter beer and pitch the yeast. With a starter all we are doing is growing the yeast cells no need to keep it so cold even for a lager yeast. Sounds like you didnt let the yeast finish up at room temp damn things are done when they are done.

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerman0001 View Post
I do all my starters is the 70deg range. When they are done cold crash decant all the starter beer and pitch the yeast. With a starter all we are doing is growing the yeast cells no need to keep it so cold even for a lager yeast. Sounds like you didnt let the yeast finish up at room temp damn things are done when they are done.
yeah i know. i grew it at room temp, as i do with all my starters. it says as much in the original post. it's in the cold not because i want to grow a lager starter in the fridge but because i'm trying to crash the yeast so i can decant the supernatant. but indeed, i didn't let it finish fermenting. this was intentional, i thought i could get the yeast to drop after the growth phase but before terminal gravity
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #5
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What gravity was your starter??? You said you gave it 3 days at room temp - granted it was 5l, so it was bigger than most of us are used to handling, but a typical 2l starter is chewed up at room temp inside of 24 hours. Hard to believe 3 days wasn't enough for 5l!

Anyway, as you're seeing, once yeast starts up, it's incredibly hard to stop. Particularly in a starter that you've been frequently or constantly stirring - that constant addition of O2 keeps the yeast in the propagation phase, rather than moving them into the fermentation phase, which is probably where they went once they hit the fridge and got off the stir plate (or stopped getting shook up / etc). Your best bet may be to warm it up, get it stirred again, and delay brew day until that starter's truly done.

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Old 10-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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yeah i think you're right. i am also used to my smaller starters being done pretty quickly. it's possible this smack pack was sub optimal as the starter didn't show any obvious signs of life for quite a while. once it was going it was really fizzy. i never check the gravity but it was a standard wort that should have been 1.030-1.035, with nutrient and FAN. if it's still going gangbusters when i get home today i'll warm it and call it out! i imagine it must finish pretty soon back at room temp.
anyways every cloud has a silver lining, brew day postponed = trip to the orchard = cider

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